Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Krauthammer on Gitmo

I'm linking to this column by Charles Krauthammer because it recapitulates my sense of what's happening in Guantanamo and how we should respond to it.

I'm open to a revised opinion based on hard fact, but for now I think Krauthammer has it about right.

Here's an excerpt:

The self-flagellation has gone far enough. We know that al Qaeda operatives are trained to charge torture when they are in detention, and specifically to charge abuse of the Koran to inflame fellow prisoners on the inside and potential sympathizers on the outside.

In March the Navy inspector general reported that, out of about 24,000 interrogations at Guantanamo, there were seven confirmed cases of abuse, "all of which were relatively minor." In the eyes of history, compared to any other camp in any other war, this is an astonishingly small number. Two of the documented offenses involved "female interrogators who, on their own initiative, touched and spoke to detainees in a sexually suggestive manner." Not exactly the gulag.

The most inflammatory allegations have been not about people but about mishandling the Koran. What do we know here? The Pentagon reports (Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, May 26) -- all these breathless "scoops" come from the U.S. government's own investigations of itself -- that of 13 allegations of Koran abuse, five were substantiated, of which two were most likely accidental.
Let's understand what mishandling means. Under the rules the Pentagon later instituted at Guantanamo, proper handling of the Koran means using two hands and wearing gloves when touching it. Which means that if any guard held the Koran with one hand or had neglected to put on gloves, this would be considered mishandling.

63 comments:

Tlaloc said...

So out of curiousity how many helpless prisoners can we abuse before it stops being okay?

See I kind of thought the number was 1. As in the very first time our government exercises the power it has over helpless human beings to torture them it was wrong, but according to this article that standard is simply too tight.

So then how many people is it okay to leave bound so they can't move and are forced to soil themselves? How many people is it okay to subject to freezing or blistering temperatures? How many times can you "accidentally" urinate on a person's holy texts? How many people can you grope lewdly in a way that they believe threatens their very soul?

Just curious as to the quantifiable nature of issue.

Hunter Baker said...

I don't know, based on your claimed worldview of relativism, it's all fine if the people doing it think so.

The Liberal Anonymous said...

You still don't understand relativism, do you hunter? Is the ignorance willful?

Also this:
G.I. Attacked During Training

KeithM, Indy said...

He was the new guy on the block, and he says he got special treatment from the detainees: "They wanna try the new guy. See how much they can push you. You know? How much water they can throw on you. How much urine they can throw on you. How much feces they can dump on you."

**********

And how many liberals want to go be guards down at Gitmo...

What happened to that soldier was regretable, and it sounds as if proper procedure wasn't followed in setting up the trainin exercise. As such, the people involved in setting it up should be reprimanded an apropriate amount.

But, what bearing does this have with anything that's happened or alleged to happen to the terrorists being held prisoner in Gitmo.

Should uncooperative terrorists be left in their cells until they calm down and have thought better about not cooperating? Injuries in cell extractions happen in our civil prisons as well. So should we let the prisoners run the jail?

Tom Van Dyke said...

The authoritative take on relativism, via The Anchoress.

Was going to muckjump into this discussion, but the above was better. I do like KeithM's reverse chickenhawk argument, tho. Salut!

The Liberal Anonymous said...

What happened to that soldier was regretable, and it sounds as if proper procedure wasn't followed in setting up the trainin exercise. As such, the people involved in setting it up should be reprimanded an apropriate amount.

Yeah. The procedure that wasn't followed was that the soldiers were never told that he wasn't a detainee. So they just treated him like they'd treat a detainee. Do you get it now?

Should uncooperative terrorists be left in their cells until they calm down and have thought better about not cooperating?

Oh, so they're terrorists now? Got any evidence?

James Elliott said...

Tvd, you just don't get it, do you. That's what absolutists would love for relativism to be. Wishin' don't make it so, friend. Wishin' don't make it so.

Hunter Baker said...

T and E, please put your cones together and give us your explanation of what relativism is and how it should apply to this situation or do it separately. I promise my rapt attention. We might even post it as a regular post and wait for the comments box to go CRAZY!!!

Tlaloc said...

"I don't know, based on your claimed worldview of relativism, it's all fine if the people doing it think so."

Hunter we aren't talking about the actions of an individual but of a government, an organization. In this case an organization that has openly condemned the use of torture, signed treaties banning torture, and then turned right around and tortured helpless prisoners.

It should go without saying that governments have no morality, they have only the code of laws, and when they do not adhere to their laws they are unethical.

Tlaloc said...

"T and E, please put your cones together and give us your explanation of what relativism is and how it should apply to this situation or do it separately. I promise my rapt attention. We might even post it as a regular post and wait for the comments box to go CRAZY!!!"

Relativism speaks to the individual morality not to the actions of the group. Yes I absolutely believe that if a given individual believes in torturing the weak he should go ahead and try, just like I'm happy to go ahead and try to stop him. But that isn't relevent to this topic which is how the government of the United States has acted. Governments don't get to plead relativism. They write down in black and white the principles by which they function. Our government has done this and has since violated those principles on any number of occassions this being the latest.

Is that clear now?

James Elliott said...

Look, I'll try an analogy. I'm going to trust to your intellect and not use small words, so if I leave tvd and KeithM behind, forgive me.

Consider an ancient tribe. Perhaps they are native Americans. Perhaps they are Vakhan Turks or Mongols of the steppes. It doesn't really matter. An encroaching civilization lies across the mountains. In order to beat back this civilization, they cross the mountain trails time and time again. But when they raid neighboring tribes on the plain or steppes, they never use the same route twice. The choice of paths over the plain or steppe is innumerable and endless.

Every human task, thought, and deed is like one of those journeys, with a beginning and a desired destination. All these things that men do, they are journeys. Even words and thoughts.

If all that we do is a journey, why choose the same paths - our customs that bind us - over and over again, when the routes to our destination are without number?

Because, they (and we) are told that there is One Way that is sacred and immutable, that the ways of others are fickle and degenerate. But aren't all ways just similar trails to similar destinations? What makes one way the only way? How can this be if the journey is inherent to everything man does and thinks?

A true relativist understands the sublimely subjective nature of this question, which is inherent to life.

For example: One of the most frequent critiques of relativism, found from the Pope to that idiot tvd linked to, is that relativism claims that there is no difference between man lying with woman and man lying with man. This is a simplification. A relativist looks at a world were heterosexuals prohibit homosexuals from being with those they love and says, "If I lived in a world dominated by homosexuals, I would not wish for them to prevent me from loving the woman I choose."

Relativism allows you to evaluate from more than one perspective, placing yourself in the other's subjective experience in order to better inform one's own decisions.

Think of it as the Golden Rule, Hunter: Do unto others as you would have done unto you.

It was good for when we were kids. Still good now.

Tlaloc said...

Besides which you keep arguing that this torture isn't so bad because of x or y which means you are inadvertantly accepting moral relativism (even though you are applying it incorrectly). Were you truly convinced of a universal morality you wouldn't try to rationalize how THIS instance of torture was okay even though all others haven't been.

James Elliott said...

I'll use a kiddy version for the likes of tvd and KeithM. A wise friend of mine once summed up moral relativism thusly:

"Moral relativism is the acceptance that you might be wrong."

KeithM, Indy said...

Well, when one purposely conflates abuse, torture, and what happens in the course of trying to control violent prisoners...

Well, I think that says enough about the motives of those that do that...

Considering that Saudi Arabia burns the Bibles of people peacefully entering their country, I'm not going to get worked up about alleged "desecrations" of the Koran. Not when al Queda trains their terrorists to lie about their treatment.

Wonder how many guards have been injured by detainees at Gitmo? Anyone have a reference handy. Just started searching and so far I've found some interesting tid-bits.

"One guard working inside Camp Delta said injured detainees have attempted to stab American troops by pulling out pins surgically implanted by doctors."

Personally, they are in Gitmo therefore they are terrorists until proven otherwise. I trust our military implicitely on this one. They captured them in place and manner which A) does not provide the detainee with Geneva Convention rights, and B) makes the detainee an enemy of our nation.

KeithM, Indy said...

Yeah, the Golden Rule...

Ya know if I'm trying to murder other people, I want someone to put a bullet through my brain, because I'd obviously not be in my right state of mind...

Tom Van Dyke said...

James, has your leftism robbed you of your sense of humor entirely? The website was actually ribbing the Pope.

In your analogy, the existence of a higher moral order, is the destination. But you assume all roads and paths lead there. Not so. Most are dead ends. Perhaps all, except for one. ;-)

(Per Tlaloc v. Beckwith, Baker, et al., implicit in your analogy is that the destination does indeed exist. Good. You have stopped arguing the ends, and all that remains is the means.)

But tolerance as you describe it, is not a virtue. It is inertia, rationalized into some sort of moral quality.

As for your kind addendum: I'm a fallibilist as well as a believer. I'm not alone. But allowing that one may be wrong, although healthy, is not grounds for the moral paralysis that characterizes the modern left--- the Pilate Syndrome---washing one's hands of everything unpleasant or morally complicated.

To do so, one, for example, must cleave to the assertion that the Gitmo prisoners are innocents rather than probable killers, past or future. This obviates the dilemma of protecting one's own while still preserving the illusion of moral rectitude.

Anonymous said...

I trust our military implicitely

And the truth comes out.

James Elliott said...

Our entire system of justice, the system by which we deprive others of their liberty, is predicated upon the belief that we are innocent until proven guilty. When we ask that the government be held accountable to the standards it professes to live by, how is that, in any way, a bad thing? Tlaloc has made this point repeatedly and has yet to be refuted by anything other than attempts to distract with strawmen.

Keith, your argument boils down to a series of strawmen and is seriously in danger of boring me into a catatonic state. In fact, your "Bible burning" analogy is poorly-applied moral relativism in action. Wake up.

Tvd, in fact, the destination in my analogy is no such higher moral order. That's your destination. If there is any true, final destination in the actions of man, it is to better comprehend the world he lives in.

Let's put it this way: Children question, always. It's why we have the phrase "child-like wonder." A child asks questions not just to obtain answers but to discover boundaries. What's the single most irritating question a child can ask? "Why?" Over and over again. Why is it so irritating? Because eventually we don't have an explanation for the question beyond "Just because!" Or, in your tidy little corner of the world, "God."

But then, what happens when a child asks, "Why?" To continually ask that question becomes socially unacceptable. To continually ask that question, while accidentally profound, is to move beyong all permissible social order. For when a child asks "Why?" we see the uselessness and foolishness of our customs and social prohibitions. We see them for what they are: not truths, but mad vanities and arbitrary rules, no matter how sensible.

When the paths are endless, the only sinner is he who misses his destination. This is the only time a man can stray, when the strays from HIS path. A person can choose to include custom in his path, and, by KNOWINGLY choosing that path (say, knowingly accepting that they have to take the nature of God on faith), their sincerity cannot be in doubt. Relativism isn't one path, tvd, it's knowing that there are many paths and choosing the one that's right for you. It is to travel with one's eyes wide open.

Traveling with your eyes wide open often leads to paths not often traveled by others. That can be scary. Hence the "paralysis" you observe. (I would contend that the "paralysis" is more a result of trying to resolve absolutist teachings with the revelation of relativistic nature of the world.) Relativism isn't for the faint of heart, tvd, but it is the honest way to travel. Custom, absolutism, is nothing more than an easy path, well traveled, worn by others, and so crowded that you need only stretch your arm to catch yourself on another when you stumble or falter. Unfortunately, all too often that path is trodden by the blind leading the blind, and they usually end up traveling in circles.

James Elliott said...

*That should be "beyond" and not "beyong."

Tlaloc said...

"Personally, they are in Gitmo therefore they are terrorists until proven otherwise."

Wow, how totally unamerican of you.


"I trust our military implicitely on this one."

Good lord why? They've admitted to torturing prisoners in iraq and afghanistan. They've admitted to sweeping up lots of innocents along with the guilty. They;ve fought tooth and nail to prevent these people from getting trials and when they have failed they have almost universally failed to prove any guilt on the part of the detainees. What exactly is it that makes you trust them after so many admitted failures?



"They captured them in place and manner which A) does not provide the detainee with Geneva Convention rights, and B) makes the detainee an enemy of our nation."

Bull, the geneva conventions apply to everyone. There are subsections that only apply to enemy combatants but there are other subsections that apply to civilians. These people are one or the other (bush's made up term "unlawful combatant" is not legal).
GCIV


getting captured makes them an automatic enemy of our nation? So some Afghani shepherd out in the middle of nowhere who gets caught in a big round up operation is an enemy of america? Well after several years without recourse to any authortity and facing torture yeah good bet he's an enemy of america NOW.

Tlaloc said...

Nice, JE.

Hunter Baker said...

James, you've gotten all mystical on us. We can burn incense and get this thing worked out quickly.

Tlaloc, you continue to ride on the objective morality sitting beneath your stated relativist morality. Why on earth should relativism apply only to individuals and not to governments or groups? What are the latter if not merely accretions of the former set up to accomplish some purpose? This is really an odd stance for a self-proclaimed anarchist.

Let's just assume that you are right that relativism is not for governments and groups who have stated other rules? Why should they follow those rules? What's doing the work here? It's your feeling (from the natural law or the creator) that agreements should be honored and the promises should be kept. Otherwise, why not accept naked self interest and not be so upset about Gitmo?

You're literally in so deep you can't see anything. James is your enabler. Co-dependency is a bad thing guys. "De Nile" "River" "Egypt" We know where this is going.

Tlaloc said...

"Tlaloc, you continue to ride on the objective morality sitting beneath your stated relativist morality. Why on earth should relativism apply only to individuals and not to governments or groups?"

When was the last time you met a sentient government? Never because a government is nothing but an organization.


"What are the latter if not merely accretions of the former set up to accomplish some purpose?"

Indeed but as they say in semantics the map is not the territory. You are made up of cells yet you are not yourself a cell. A building may be made of bricks but it is not itself a brick. An organization is made up of people but is not itself a person. It has no sentience, no mind, no moral code.



"This is really an odd stance for a self-proclaimed anarchist."

No it fits exactly. I value people because people have moral codes. I devalue organizations because not only do organizations not have moral codes but they try to compell people to live according to their rules rather than according to their individual morals.



"Let's just assume that you are right that relativism is not for governments and groups who have stated other rules? Why should they follow those rules?"

If we must have organized groups then those organization's laws are what it has in place of a moral code. An organization that doesn't follow it's own laws is then just as sick as an individual who refuses to follow their moral beliefs. It is a sociopathic organization.



"It's your feeling (from the natural law or the creator) that agreements should be honored and the promises should be kept. Otherwise, why not accept naked self interest and not be so upset about Gitmo?"

My self interest is most assuredly on the side of no more torture for the reasons above: it doesn't work and provokes more hatred and hence terrorism.



"You're literally in so deep you can't see anything."

I can see the evidence of torture, unlike keith who wishes to blindly accept whatever the military says. I can see the inefficacy of torture unlike you who thinks it works despite the research to the contrary. I can see the difference between a living sentient individual and an organization. Seems like I'm seeing just fine here, hunter.

James Elliott said...

Hunter, your entire argument ignores everything Tlaloc and I have said. You argue like a fanatic. And like a fanatic, you think you own The One Truth. Zealots cling to their truths, proclaiming and waving them about. But when confronted with facts or reasoning that puts them to the lie or, more frequently, the test, the zealot ignores these facts and reasons. For him they simply cease to exist, for to acknowledge them is to deny the order his world is set upon.

It's not mysticism, it's an analogy. In fact, I've proposed two logical analogies, neither of which was refuted. Tvd either completely misunderstood the analogy or decided to misunderstand it and attempted to jump on a single semantic ambiguity and wage his little misguided war with that. The analogy still stands, unscarred and unbent.

I think, Hunter, that what Tlaloc is doing is asking that either the government and its enablers - i.e. you - agree to actually live by the rules you claim to live by, or fess up to your hypocrisy. Since you do neither, you remain the worse kind of relativists (the unwitting kind, hiding behind a shield of absolute righteousness) and utter hypocrites.

Hunter Baker said...

No, the organization/person distinction is completely artificial because organizations simply have the moral codes given them by persons. Besides, you conflate your earlier analysis by breaking the dichotomy when you proclaim that an organization can be sick just like a person with a moral code.

I'm done, pally. Law of diminishing marginal returns and all that.

James Elliott said...

The coward always hides behind a jape and then leaves.

You got your behind handed to you, man. Admit it.

Tlaloc said...

"No, the organization/person distinction is completely artificial because organizations simply have the moral codes given them by persons."

Ah but that code of laws is not an internal product of the organization itself, rather it is a formulation of certain members and then pushed upon the remaining members. When you develop your moral code there is not one atom in your body that objects because it is a product of the only part of you that exhibits sentience. An organization then is different. It is composed of sentient cells if you will and the ones in the nervous system control it even if the ones in the circulatory system object.



"Besides, you conflate your earlier analysis by breaking the dichotomy when you proclaim that an organization can be sick just like a person with a moral code."

It's an analogy. There are some parallels between organizations and people. Enough so that we can make analogies without implying that the two are actually identical.



"I'm done, pally. Law of diminishing marginal returns and all that."

Pity, you just seemed to start actually making headway.

Hunter Baker said...

James, you're hilarious. You make the mistake of conflating lack of willingness to spend hours on a comment board with a lost argument. I made my argument. Tlaloc denied that any of it made sense. You may not have the Scripture to understand this, but there's a little thing about shaking the dust off one's sandals and moving on.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Now, now, James, no war. Implicit in your analogy is that there's a destination. Then you turn around and say there is none; that the journey is its own end. Fair enough.

No one is saying accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior. They are only speaking of First Things.

Your inquiry isn't as honest as you fancy it, by purposefully pursuing the purposelessness (now there's some purple prose) of the byways and remaining willfully ignorant of the highways, the way of First Things, the Tao.

(I say this not pejoratively, but because even Immanuel Kant, who inquired of First Things without an interfering deity, knew what an "ought" is.)

The beginning of that highway is admittedly well-travelled; but not one of us (maybe there was one, once) can keep from falling in the ditch, over and over.

Perhaps you'll avail yourself of the gift I intended for your soulmate (if you indeed have souls, eh?) and not be content with the appendix. I don't think there's any Jesus stuff in it, just a lot of First Things. Besides, it's free.

Peace.

James Elliott said...

The point, Hunter, was that you never refuted anything. You hid behind a jape (your mysticism comment) which is the first refuge of someone who doesn't have any ammunition in their rhetorical arsenal. The jibe and run tactic implies that you have nothing probative to add.

James Elliott said...

Tvd, there was nothing implicit or implied about my analogy. There were destinations (plural), which implies a different goal for each act. For you, all acts seem to be on a path that appears to have a goal of finding some sort of greater truth or answer, a single summation. That is a fine goal. Relativism allows me to wish you well on your journey and to take an entirely different path, with different goals.

Tlaloc said...

"You may not have the Scripture to understand this, but there's a little thing about shaking the dust off one's sandals and moving on."

Or you could try opening your mind and learning something. Even if you ultimately reject what you learn it's a growth experience.

Tom Van Dyke said...

You'll do anything to get out of reading the damn book, won't you, James? ;-)

Hunter Baker said...

By the way, gentlemen, I haven't had my a$$ handed to me since I was five and a rogue German Shepherd tried to bite it off.

Kathy Hutchins said...

I haven't had my a$$ handed to me since I was five and a rogue German Shepherd tried to bite it off.

When I run out of patience with commenters, I just replay that scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail in my head:

BLACK KNIGHT: I'm invincible!

ARTHUR: You're a loony.

BLACK KNIGHT: The Black Knight always triumphs! Have at you! Come on then.

[ARTHUR chops the BLACK KNIGHT's other leg off]

BLACK KNIGHT: All right; we'll call it a draw.

ARTHUR: Come, Patsy.

BLACK KNIGHT: Oh, oh, I see, running away then. You yellow bastards! Come back here and take what's coming to you. I'll bite your legs off!

Tlaloc said...

SO much effort put forward not to think about things that endanger your cherished beliefs...

If you were willing to brave the cognitive dissonance I wonder what conclusion you'd have to then reach about those beliefs?

Hunter Baker said...

OH MY DEAR HEAVEN! You are the one so deep in cognitive dissonance you are completely unable to see it. I finally understand what Chesterton meant when he said you know the insane man because he has a carefully worked answer for everything, even when it makes no sense at all!!!

Tlaloc said...

That's called projection Hunter. The reason it makes no sense to you is because it forces you to re-evalutate something you've indicated you absolutely cannot re-evaluate.

I on the other hand have been in your place, asked myself questions, followed the logic and ended up here. I can help you leave your chosen delusion but only if you want to actually accept that your most cherished beliefs may be wrong.

The Liberal Anonymous said...

Sorry guys and gals, but Tlaloc is right: Your arguments will only convince him when they actually rebut his position. Sadly, all you're doing is rebutting misinterpretations of his position.

It's getting rather frustrating watching him and James explain themselves over and over again, only to see people totally miss the point.

These discussions are not the usual arguments over facts or the interpretation of facts.

Hunter Baker said...

This is really, really the last try. There are two possible positions. Foundationalism and anti-foundationalism. Foundationalism holds that there is some true source of value behind our reason, morality, philosophy, etc. Anti-foundationalism declares that there is not, or that we could not know if there is because we are all captives of our own biases.

Now, which one of these are you, Tlaloc? Pick one.

Tlaloc said...

I think it's a false dichotomy.

So (in your terms) each person is a foundation unto themselves and only for themselves. Their values are indeed true for them but not for any other.

Hunter Baker said...

Now we need a definition of truth. Please provide one so we may proceed.

Tlaloc said...

I think the generic meaning of truth will do fine:
a statement or observation which is to the best of one's knowledge factual and reflects reality.

Hunter Baker said...

I might take issue with your definition of truth, but let's go with that.

Is something like gravity true? Is it true that it rains? Is there anything about those two things that would end up falling subject to a personal truth? If someone said that it was not raining when in fact, it was, would we say that their personal truth was still intact?

This is not intended to be some kind of deathstroke, just more clarification.

The Liberal Anonymous said...

If someone said that it was not raining when in fact, it was, would we say that their personal truth was still intact?

One whose personal truth is that it is raining would probably believe the the personal truth of one whose is that it is not is not intact. (Love my prose!)

Tlaloc said...

"Is something like gravity true?"

If by gravity you mean the statement of mathmatical law that governs gravitational attraction then it's certainly true in the sense people believe it and the experimental data certainly suggests it's a physical fact.


"Is it true that it rains?"

I guess it depends on where you are when you make the statement but on most places on earth it's certainly true that rain has been observed.


"If someone said that it was not raining when in fact, it was, would we say that their personal truth was still intact?"

If it is raining and someone claims otherwise there are two possibilities:
1) there is a communication issue caused by some disagreement of definitions
2) they are lying
in the first case the person is being truthful, in the second the are not.

However if you are going where I suspect I have wo warn you to be careful of confounding physically verifiable observations and subjective moral judgements.

The Liberal Anonymous said...

However if you are going where I suspect I have wo warn you to be careful of confounding physically verifiable observations and subjective moral judgements.

Tlaloc, it's only physically verifiable because you believe that your observations reflect your concept of reality.

Hunter Baker said...

I can certainly do without any warnings. You act as though I'll be shot if I dare venture into unprotected territory.

You claimed truth is personal and not collective. We seem to have identified that truth, at least where certain physical phenomena are concerned, is not merely personal. Is that correct?

Tlaloc said...

"I can certainly do without any warnings. You act as though I'll be shot if I dare venture into unprotected territory."

Just trying to head off an avoidable mistake.


"You claimed truth is personal and not collective. We seem to have identified that truth, at least where certain physical phenomena are concerned, is not merely personal. Is that correct?"

If you are asking if there is an objective reality which we might access were we able to remove all our subjectivity from observation then yes I'd have to say so. This is afterall what science is for, to develop better and better approximations of the physical realm independent of personal subjectivity.
Or to put it another way since I do believe that the tree makes a noise even if no one is there to hear it we have to assume that the physical reality can exist regardless of subjective interpretation.

Tlaloc said...

"Tlaloc, it's only physically verifiable because you believe that your observations reflect your concept of reality."

You can always kill any philosophical argument with the brain in the jar routine. We have to assume that what our sense feed us is reasonable real (if subjective) because otherwise we are lead to true nihilism and the belief that we can no nothing about anything which, while possibly true, is useless so we might as well bet on the alternative.

Tlaloc said...

doh "know" not "no"

stupid english and all it's homophones.

Hunter Baker said...

Next question. Are certain physical phenomena that we observe the only things that exist in this objective reality you admit is applicable to everyone?

Hunter Baker said...

By the way, if I should take a long time to respond at any point, it will just mean life crept in and I'll be back.

Tlaloc said...

"Next question. Are certain physical phenomena that we observe the only things that exist in this objective reality you admit is applicable to everyone?"

It's impossible to say. The physical phenomenon are the only ones we can say exist. But who knows how many physical senses there are in the universe that we don't happen to possess and therefor are ignorant of.

Hunter Baker said...

Okay, then we seem to be either clarifying your original position or arriving at some other position. We are all (not merely individually, but collectively) subject to the objective reality of the universe. That entails certain physical forces such as gravity and precipitation, but we are unsure what else it might entail because we may be incapable of perceiving certain other realities. Is this a correct statement of your position?

Tlaloc said...

"Okay, then we seem to be either clarifying your original position or arriving at some other position. We are all (not merely individually, but collectively) subject to the objective reality of the universe."

Only given our specific shared choice of definition which means that there is already a layer of subjectivity between us and this objective reality.
In other words this consensus view of the objective reality is only possible with great care taken that we communicate in the same way.
As before the person who says it's not reaining may be perfectly truthful if they don't agree that those droplets constitute rain.

Hunter Baker said...

I'm having a little trouble with this after you became so annoyed with me for refusing to engage. We'll have to assume we can get somewhere with careful communication or there is no reason to communicate is there?

Tlaloc said...

"I'm having a little trouble with this after you became so annoyed with me for refusing to engage. We'll have to assume we can get somewhere with careful communication or there is no reason to communicate is there?"

Indeed as was the thrust of my point to liberal anonymous. I'm just trying to point out to you that we have barriers between us and our ability to mutually interact with this objective reality. Maybe it's too fine a distinction for this discussion but depending on where you plan to go I want to make sure I made it as it may become relevent.

Hunter Baker said...

So at least for now, we have an acceptable statement of your position. There is some objective reality to which we are all subject. Good examples include rain and gravity. There may be physical phenomena to which we are subject and of which we may not be aware.

Now, here's the next question. Have you ever experienced anger and if so, do you suppose we might be able to discuss anger between the two of us and agree that we are talking about essentially the same emotion?

Hunter Baker said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hunter Baker said...

Tlaloc seems to have left the field or at least is on hiatus. I can shorten this conversation by offering this bit.

Consider the following two sentences:

1. Vanilla ice cream is better than chocolate.
2. Torturing innocent persons for fun is wrong.

If all of humankind would interpret these two statements as fundamentally different -- one expresses a preference, the other a moral truth -- then this debate is over.

They would. And so it is. (Thanks to Hadley Arkes' book First Things)

James Elliott said...

Just "torture for fun," Hunter? Have you descended into relativism?

Hunter Baker said...

Purposefully extreme example to make a point. You get it, James. I know you do. Can't fool me that you don't. You're a smart one when you want to be.