Not a standard fallacy by any stretch or means, rather, I would argue it as a variant of a red herring. The name I gave to it, comes from reductio ad absurdum which is a logical device, wherein one attempts to disprove a statement by showing that it leads to an absurd conclusion. Alternatively, to prove that a statement must be true, as it not being true would lead to an absurd conclusion. Combined with “ethica” the Latin word for ethics. The impetus for the creation of this new variant of logical fallacy, is that it is becoming quite common to observe that people engaged in a debate, seek to turn a debate regarding facts, into a debate regarding ethics.
While ethical considerations are important, they are not the be all, end all of argument. When one pivots from a debate on solid factual foundations, to one based in ethical considerations one at the same time moves to a foundation of sand. Furthermore, the concept of “Virtue signalling” where a person asserts opposition to an opponents position based not in fact, or logic, but in order to increase their social status within a group or groups.
The fallacy takes place when someone changes the premise for the discussion to be a primarily based in ethics. Continue reading
Perhaps it is a little conceited of me to steal the title of Mill’s classic work for this post, however it seemed the only title apt for this train of though. Recently, I’ve been reading and viewing many historical documentaries, and it made me think of what actually constitutes liberty. We live in a modern world, with the internet, and the human freedom index, which shows the Western Democracies as the most free in the world relating to its metrics. Yet, they also have the highest volumes of laws and regulations of any nations in history. In fact, one of the major contentions in BREXIT was not only the volume of laws and regulations, but also who was permitted to influence their passing. Laws are rules that are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, with the social institutions having the power to coerce people into following them. After all, law without enforcement is moral philosophy.
However, this seems to be a contradiction to me, that the most free societies are also those with the strongest rule of law. The United States has 5000 Federal criminal laws with 10.000 – 300.000 regulations that can be enforced . The European Commission passed a total of 49,699 laws between 1993 and 2014 . The UK Parliament So, what strikes me as strange, is the thesis that these countries are the most free while their citizens are regulated and controlled by law to such an extent. Continue reading
I suppose we’ll never know for sure who had the radical idea that “people should be free to express their views without fearing reprisal”. I know that it was a somewhat popular idea when Socrates took his final shot of hemlock, and that a lot of was absorbed into the Roman Empire, and the Hellenic empire after that. After all, at that time they were the greatest cultures and empires the world had ever seen, both in terms of social progress. The Ancient Greeks wrote works that are still central to many modern fields of inquiry, such as Plato’s treatise of government, “The Republic“, Aristotle’s work on logic, and ethics, the Pythagorean theorem, and Archimedes’ law.
These were civilizations that showed technological prowess that disappeared after the fall of the Roman empire when Europe descended into what has become known as the dark ages. This is until human beings, strangled by Christianity, and a church that dominated every aspect of life, from your bedroom to the chambers of government. Where God-Kings and God-Emperors feared the excommunication from the Pope of Rome, as their power was considered willed to them by the divine. Started rediscovering the works of Ancient Greece, of Rome, and we got the period known as the Renaissance, a French word that means “Rebirth” or “Revival”. Where philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Protagoras, Marcus Aurelius and artists such as Virgil and Cicero, inspired a new generation of artists such as Leonardo, Michelangelo, scientists such as Galileo. Those works lead to that the Phoenix of ideas and exploration rose from the ashes of the great empires and minds of history and once again brought light to a world that had laid in darkness. It made us strive for enlightenment once more. Continue reading