Vegetarian Discussion: The Burden Of Proof

The Burden Of Proof
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Rupert
2010-06-21 19:05:30 EST
Ball, when you make the assertion "Species membership counts" you are
making a positive assertion. You are required to back it up. If I say
"Nonhuman animals have rights", I am making a positive assertion and
am required to back it up. I am more than happy to do that on
request.

When I point out that you have an intellectual obligation to back up
your assertion, I am not being intellectually dishonest.

Fred C. Dobbs
2010-06-21 19:07:17 EST
On 6/21/2010 4:05 PM, Rupert wrote:
> when you make the assertion "Species membership counts"


No. *You*, "ar" idiot, are the one asserting in the first place that
species membership does not or should not count. Back it up.


--
Any more lip out of you and I'll haul off and let you have it...if you
know what's good for you, you won't monkey around with Fred C. Dobbs

Rupert
2010-06-21 19:15:04 EST
On Jun 22, 9:07 am, "Fred C. Dobbs" <fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
wrote:
> On 6/21/2010 4:05 PM, Rupert wrote:
>
> > when you make the assertion "Species membership counts"
>
> No.  *You*, "ar" idiot, are the one asserting in the first place that
> species membership does not or should not count.  Back it up.
>

If someone wants to ground a moral distinction in a differential
factor the onus is on them to give an account of why that differential
factor is morally relevant, as discussed in the passage I quoted to
you from Shelly Kagan. You obviously don't agree with that point of
view. But perhaps you should say a bit more about why you don't agree
with it, in particular with regard to Kagan's example of the
slaveholder. Then maybe we can get a bit of a feel for your views
about moral methodology.


Fred C. Dobbs
2010-06-21 19:17:48 EST
On 6/21/2010 4:15 PM, Rupert wrote:
> On Jun 22, 9:07 am, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
> wrote:
>> On 6/21/2010 4:05 PM, Rupert wrote:
>>
>>> when you make the assertion "Species membership counts"
>>
>> No. *You*, "ar" idiot, are the one asserting in the first place that
>> species membership does not or should not count. Back it up.
>>
>
> If someone wants to ground a moral distinction in a differential
> factor the onus is on them to give an account of why that differential
> factor

You made an assertion: species difference is unimportant. Back it up,
or shut up.

--
Any more lip out of you and I'll haul off and let you have it...if you
know what's good for you, you won't monkey around with Fred C. Dobbs

Fred C. Dobbs
2010-06-21 19:42:27 EST
On 6/21/2010 4:15 PM, Rupert wrote:
> On Jun 22, 9:07 am, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
> wrote:
>> On 6/21/2010 4:05 PM, Rupert wrote:
>>
>>> when you make the assertion "Species membership counts"
>>
>> No. *You*, "ar" idiot, are the one asserting in the first place that
>> species membership does not or should not count. Back it up.
>>
>
> If someone wants to ground a moral distinction in a differential
> factor the onus is on them to give an account of why that differential
> factor is morally relevant,

"You assume the equal moral considerability of animals that it is your
obligation to prove."

<vg2qi.12138$zA4.4059@newsread3.news.pas.earthlink.net>

That's what I said to you nearly three years ago, and nothing has
changed. You and the other "ar" idiots *do* assume equal moral
considerability of animals as axiomatic. There may be some unexamined
underlying assumption of /unequal/ moral considerability on the part of
omnivores, but virtually no one actively asserts it to be the case.
Now, you and the other "ar" idiots come along, and you start by
/assuming/ the equal moral considerability of animals. You ostensibly
are trying to /persuade/ omnivores to let go of the prevailing
orthodoxy, but rather than point out what's wrong with it, you just
assume it's wrong, then "challenge" the opposition to prove you wrong.

As Carl Cohen points out, a widely held intuition that a particular
moral position is right does not in itself make that position right, but
it can't simply be dismissed casually, as you and the other "ar" idiots
are doing with your assumption. It deserves a certain amount of weight,
and when it is an overwhelmingly prevailing sentiment, it deserves a
*lot* of weight.

By making your unsupported assumption, you give it none. You fail from
the start.



--
Any more lip out of you and I'll haul off and let you have it...if you
know what's good for you, you won't monkey around with Fred C. Dobbs

Rupert
2010-06-21 21:58:47 EST
On Jun 22, 9:42 am, "Fred C. Dobbs" <fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
wrote:
> On 6/21/2010 4:15 PM, Rupert wrote:
>
> > On Jun 22, 9:07 am, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
> > wrote:
> >> On 6/21/2010 4:05 PM, Rupert wrote:
>
> >>> when you make the assertion "Species membership counts"
>
> >> No.  *You*, "ar" idiot, are the one asserting in the first place that
> >> species membership does not or should not count.  Back it up.
>
> > If someone wants to ground a moral distinction in a differential
> > factor the onus is on them to give an account of why that differential
> > factor is morally relevant,
>
> "You assume the equal moral considerability of animals that it is your
> obligation to prove."
>

The claim under discussion is a claim about where the burden of proof
lies. The defender of the claim that species membership is morally
relevant might be able to meet his burden of proof. But it is his
obligation to provide an account of why species membership is morally
relevant. That is the claim.

> <vg2qi.12138$zA4.4...@newsread3.news.pas.earthlink.net>
>
> That's what I said to you nearly three years ago, and nothing has
> changed.  You and the other "ar" idiots *do* assume equal moral
> considerability of animals as axiomatic.  There may be some unexamined
> underlying assumption of /unequal/ moral considerability on the part of
> omnivores, but virtually no one actively asserts it to be the case.

No. Most people believe that for some reason or other we are morally
entitled to give nonhuman animals considerably less moral
consideration than we give humans. That is common knowledge. The point
being made is that there is an obligation to give an account of why
this is the case. If a satisfactory account is forthcoming, that is
fine. The point being made is simply that there is an obligation to
provide an account. This point isn't especially controversial among
serious students of moral methodology.

You apparently think differently. It would be interesting to examine
this in the context of the example of slaveholding. It is probably a
safe bet to say that the people opposed to enslaving black people in
the nineteenth century made a claim that skin colour in itself is not
a morally relevant determinant of how one should treat a person. You
presumably think the burden of proof was on them to show. Now,
apparently you feel confident that they met it but you think it's my
job to go and find out how they did this. Is that the story?

> Now, you and the other "ar" idiots come along, and you start by
> /assuming/ the equal moral considerability of animals.  You ostensibly
> are trying to /persuade/ omnivores to let go of the prevailing
> orthodoxy, but rather than point out what's wrong with it, you just
> assume it's wrong, then "challenge" the opposition to prove you wrong.
>

The way we point out the problem is by pointing out a "dangling
distinction", in Shelly Kagan's terminology. A distinction is being
used as a basis for different moral judgements without an account of
why the distinction is morally relevant. The defender of the
distinction owes an account of why the distinction is morally
relevant. So we challenge them to provide one. This is a legitimate
move. This idea, as I pointed out in my talk, dates back to Aristotle.

But anyway, supposing for the sake of argument that the burden of
proof lies with us, the question arises how do you suppose that the
defender of the claim that skin colour is not in itself morally
relevant met his burden in the nineteenth century. You apparently have
no interest in pursuing this question, but you feel confident that the
burden was met. It would be of interest to examine what was actually
said at the time, and maybe I will. But it's really your job to defend
your account of how the debate unfolded.

> As Carl Cohen points out, a widely held intuition that a particular
> moral position is right does not in itself make that position right, but
> it can't simply be dismissed casually, as you and the other "ar" idiots
> are doing with your assumption.  

It's not a casual dismissal. You're allowed to challenge the defender
of the moral orthodoxy to defend his position. If it is based on a
dangling distinction, then you're allowed to challenge him to explain
why that distinction is morally relevant. That's a legitimate move.

But supposing otherwise, you really owe us an account of how the
challenger to the prevailing orthodoxy that skin colour is morally
relevant managed to meet his burden of proof. You simply assert that
it was done and that it's my job to find out how. Well, it's not my
job. It's your job to defend your account of what happened. But I will
perhaps look into what was written at the time in an attempt to move
this conversation forward.

> It deserves a certain amount of weight,
> and when it is an overwhelmingly prevailing sentiment, it deserves a
> *lot* of weight.
>

But challenges can be made and sometimes radical revisions are
required, as has taken place in the past. If the prevailing orthodoxy
is based on a dangling distinction, it is legitimate to demand that an
account be given of why that distinction is morally relevant.

It's not rocket science, really.


Fred C. Dobbs
2010-06-21 22:30:33 EST
On 6/21/2010 6:58 PM, Rupert wrote:
> On Jun 22, 9:42 am, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
> wrote:
>> On 6/21/2010 4:15 PM, Rupert wrote:
>>
>>> On Jun 22, 9:07 am, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
>>> wrote:
>>>> On 6/21/2010 4:05 PM, Rupert wrote:
>>
>>>>> when you make the assertion "Species membership counts"
>>
>>>> No. *You*, "ar" idiot, are the one asserting in the first place that
>>>> species membership does not or should not count. Back it up.
>>
>>> If someone wants to ground a moral distinction in a differential
>>> factor the onus is on them to give an account of why that differential
>>> factor is morally relevant,
>>
>> "You assume the equal moral considerability of animals that it is your
>> obligation to prove."
>>
>
> The claim under discussion is a claim about where the burden of proof
> lies.

The burden lies with you. In attacking the prevailing orthodoxy, you
make a positive assertion that you then don't support.


>> <vg2qi.12138$zA4.4...@newsread3.news.pas.earthlink.net>
>>
>> That's what I said to you nearly three years ago, and nothing has
>> changed. You and the other "ar" idiots *do* assume equal moral
>> considerability of animals as axiomatic. There may be some unexamined
>> underlying assumption of /unequal/ moral considerability on the part of
>> omnivores, but virtually no one actively asserts it to be the case.
>
> No. Most people believe that for some reason or other we are morally
> entitled to give nonhuman animals considerably less moral
> consideration than we give humans. That is common knowledge. The point
> being made is that there is an obligation to give an account of why
> this is the case.

See above about a powerful prevailing intuition. *YOU* must
successfully attack that intuition, *not* fold your arms and smugly
mince, "Since you can't prove me wrong, then I must be right."

Rupert
2010-06-21 23:02:29 EST
On Jun 22, 12:30 pm, "Fred C. Dobbs" <fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
wrote:
> On 6/21/2010 6:58 PM, Rupert wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
> > On Jun 22, 9:42 am, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
> > wrote:
> >> On 6/21/2010 4:15 PM, Rupert wrote:
>
> >>> On Jun 22, 9:07 am, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
> >>> wrote:
> >>>> On 6/21/2010 4:05 PM, Rupert wrote:
>
> >>>>> when you make the assertion "Species membership counts"
>
> >>>> No.  *You*, "ar" idiot, are the one asserting in the first place that
> >>>> species membership does not or should not count.  Back it up.
>
> >>> If someone wants to ground a moral distinction in a differential
> >>> factor the onus is on them to give an account of why that differential
> >>> factor is morally relevant,
>
> >> "You assume the equal moral considerability of animals that it is your
> >> obligation to prove."
>
> > The claim under discussion is a claim about where the burden of proof
> > lies.
>
> The burden lies with you.  In attacking the prevailing orthodoxy, you
> make a positive assertion that you then don't support.
>
> >> <vg2qi.12138$zA4.4...@newsread3.news.pas.earthlink.net>
>
> >> That's what I said to you nearly three years ago, and nothing has
> >> changed.  You and the other "ar" idiots *do* assume equal moral
> >> considerability of animals as axiomatic.  There may be some unexamined
> >> underlying assumption of /unequal/ moral considerability on the part of
> >> omnivores, but virtually no one actively asserts it to be the case.
>
> > No. Most people believe that for some reason or other we are morally
> > entitled to give nonhuman animals considerably less moral
> > consideration than we give humans. That is common knowledge. The point
> > being made is that there is an obligation to give an account of why
> > this is the case.
>
> See above about a powerful prevailing intuition.  *YOU* must
> successfully attack that intuition, *not* fold your arms and smugly
> mince, "Since you can't prove me wrong, then I must be right."- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

Well, you ought to explain how this worked in the case of slavery,
then. How did those who denied that the powerful prevailing intuition
that black people were less entitled to moral consideration
successfully defeat this intuition?

Fred C. Dobbs
2010-06-21 23:21:56 EST
On 6/21/2010 8:02 PM, Rupert wrote:
> On Jun 22, 12:30 pm, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
> wrote:
>> On 6/21/2010 6:58 PM, Rupert wrote:
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>> On Jun 22, 9:42 am, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
>>> wrote:
>>>> On 6/21/2010 4:15 PM, Rupert wrote:
>>
>>>>> On Jun 22, 9:07 am, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> On 6/21/2010 4:05 PM, Rupert wrote:
>>
>>>>>>> when you make the assertion "Species membership counts"
>>
>>>>>> No. *You*, "ar" idiot, are the one asserting in the first place that
>>>>>> species membership does not or should not count. Back it up.
>>
>>>>> If someone wants to ground a moral distinction in a differential
>>>>> factor the onus is on them to give an account of why that differential
>>>>> factor is morally relevant,
>>
>>>> "You assume the equal moral considerability of animals that it is your
>>>> obligation to prove."
>>
>>> The claim under discussion is a claim about where the burden of proof
>>> lies.
>>
>> The burden lies with you. In attacking the prevailing orthodoxy, you
>> make a positive assertion that you then don't support.
>>
>>>> <vg2qi.12138$zA4.4...@newsread3.news.pas.earthlink.net>
>>
>>>> That's what I said to you nearly three years ago, and nothing has
>>>> changed. You and the other "ar" idiots *do* assume equal moral
>>>> considerability of animals as axiomatic. There may be some unexamined
>>>> underlying assumption of /unequal/ moral considerability on the part of
>>>> omnivores, but virtually no one actively asserts it to be the case.
>>
>>> No. Most people believe that for some reason or other we are morally
>>> entitled to give nonhuman animals considerably less moral
>>> consideration than we give humans. That is common knowledge. The point
>>> being made is that there is an obligation to give an account of why
>>> this is the case.
>>
>> See above about a powerful prevailing intuition. *YOU* must
>> successfully attack that intuition, *not* fold your arms and smugly
>> mince, "Since you can't prove me wrong, then I must be right."
>
> Well, you ought to explain how this worked in the case of slavery

Where?



--
Any more lip out of you and I'll haul off and let you have it...if you
know what's good for you, you won't monkey around with Fred C. Dobbs

Rupert
2010-06-22 00:43:45 EST
On Jun 22, 1:21 pm, "Fred C. Dobbs" <fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
wrote:
> On 6/21/2010 8:02 PM, Rupert wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
> > On Jun 22, 12:30 pm, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
> > wrote:
> >> On 6/21/2010 6:58 PM, Rupert wrote:
>
> >>> On Jun 22, 9:42 am, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
> >>> wrote:
> >>>> On 6/21/2010 4:15 PM, Rupert wrote:
>
> >>>>> On Jun 22, 9:07 am, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
> >>>>> wrote:
> >>>>>> On 6/21/2010 4:05 PM, Rupert wrote:
>
> >>>>>>> when you make the assertion "Species membership counts"
>
> >>>>>> No.  *You*, "ar" idiot, are the one asserting in the first place that
> >>>>>> species membership does not or should not count.  Back it up.
>
> >>>>> If someone wants to ground a moral distinction in a differential
> >>>>> factor the onus is on them to give an account of why that differential
> >>>>> factor is morally relevant,
>
> >>>> "You assume the equal moral considerability of animals that it is your
> >>>> obligation to prove."
>
> >>> The claim under discussion is a claim about where the burden of proof
> >>> lies.
>
> >> The burden lies with you.  In attacking the prevailing orthodoxy, you
> >> make a positive assertion that you then don't support.
>
> >>>> <vg2qi.12138$zA4.4...@newsread3.news.pas.earthlink.net>
>
> >>>> That's what I said to you nearly three years ago, and nothing has
> >>>> changed.  You and the other "ar" idiots *do* assume equal moral
> >>>> considerability of animals as axiomatic.  There may be some unexamined
> >>>> underlying assumption of /unequal/ moral considerability on the part of
> >>>> omnivores, but virtually no one actively asserts it to be the case.
>
> >>> No. Most people believe that for some reason or other we are morally
> >>> entitled to give nonhuman animals considerably less moral
> >>> consideration than we give humans. That is common knowledge. The point
> >>> being made is that there is an obligation to give an account of why
> >>> this is the case.
>
> >> See above about a powerful prevailing intuition.  *YOU* must
> >> successfully attack that intuition, *not* fold your arms and smugly
> >> mince, "Since you can't prove me wrong, then I must be right."
>
> > Well, you ought to explain how this worked in the case of slavery
>
> Where?
>

United States, nineteenth century.

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