Logic and Natural Rights, the Road to Philosophy
When it comes to Natural Rights and the ideas formulated here, it is also important to look at how one comes to these basic conclusions. What exactly makes logical thought click? When it comes to economic theory there is a trend where rationalized theory explains economic trends better. This is an idea formulated from “Debunking Economics” by Steve Keen. He bases his reason off of the failures of neoclassical economics and how it utilizes mathematics to perceive trends. This is an example of empirical data utilized in the wrong way. To put this in perspective, it is important to utilize both rational and empirical thought to fully utilize a logical conclusion. Those logical conclusions must be made up of sound and logical statements that can lead to that conclusion. So first, we will look at the proper way to formulate an argument using inductive and deductive reasoning.
The Critical Thinking Model
To formulate an opinion on something the importance of consistence is critical. This gives the person credibility. A model to remember when formulating an opinion can be seen as followed-
Each of these items are definable. Any situation where there is an actual question of merit is important. The answers to those questions should not come from a biased point of view but from an objective point of view based off of research, analysis, and the application of that research and analysis. Here, one must look at all possible routes and which route leads to the most sound conclusion. With any question there can be multiple right or wrong answers so the adherence to all possibilities are a must. Once all possibilities are measured, one must make a decision, evaluate that decision, and reflect upon that decision. Reflection is the most important part of the model because of its necessity to show a person the strengths and weaknesses in their logical thought.
Types of Arguments and their Utilization
Arguments, at their core, are statements that point to truthful conclusions. This is important because it encompasses the idea of truth. One can spin an argument that leads to a completely false conclusion by manipulating the parts of an argument. It is important for a person to be able to recognize those situations and combat effectively with sound arguments of their own. When it comes to arguments there are two types: Deductive and Inductive:
A deductive argument bases itself off of what is called “truth-preserving.” That is a deductive argument is set up in a way that the premises are true and hold an absolute true conclusion. This kind of argument holds more force than an inductive argument primarily because of its form.
A deductive argument’s form, based off of classic Aristotelian views, is called a syllogism.
Syllogism: Consists of two premises followed by a third that is a conclusion.
- Example: All dogs are mammals. Tobby is a dog. Therefore, Tobby is a mammal.
In this argument the premises are truth preserving which makes the conclusion hold absolutely true. If one stated “All mice are mammals” and kept the last two statements then the conclusion is unsound.
Next, there are inductive arguments. Inductive arguments are arguments that tend to lead to a more general conclusion (called enumerated induction). Modern science bases their theories off of inductive arguments often until they are able to define them in a deductive form. Because the conclusion of an inductive argument is general it can not be considered truth-preserving because it is subject to change.
- Example: If Mars, Venus, Earth, Mercury, and Neptune are all spherical then all planets are probably spherical.
As you can see the conclusion to this argument is subject to change depending on technological advance and societies knowledge of space.
A deductive argument has the ability to be valid or invalid. This is based off of the truthfulness of the structure. If the structure holds true, so does the conclusion. If any part of the structure is false the conclusion is invalid.
Inductive arguments are based off of cogent and uncogent. Cogent means the presmises hold true and give strong evidence to a true conclusion. If any premises proves false then the conclusion is uncogent. Cogency is based off of a percentage due to the structure of inductive arguments and their multiple parts.
In society people tend to utilize the argument procedure improperly. The improper use of the argument structure can lead to fallacies in logical thought. Fallacies are the attempt to persuade people emotionally or psychologically and not logically.
Natural Rights: An Analysis
The above was defined to outline the proper use of logical thinking. In today’s society it is important for societies to be able to come up with logical conclusions to big issues. Some issues include abortion, death, and natural rights.To step into the realm of natural rights one must look at two prominent philosophers that have delved deep into the rights of man. Those philosophers are Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.
Thomas Hobbes was born in 1588 and is a philosopher who takes a cynical view of society. His view of human nature is malicious. He believes that without constraint humans will tend toward war and destruction. This is because humans play off of the idea of greed. (Sorell) Hobbes wrote the “Leviathan” in which he argues his points on human nature.
- “And therefore if any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies; and in the way to their end (which is principally their own conservation, and sometimes their delectation only) endeavour to destroy or subdue one another.” (Hobbes, Pg. 76)
Due to the greed and maliciousness of humans, Hobbes believes that humanity can only live within societies by the
mass approval of a sovereign.
That is the masses delegate power to a government by their will, therefore the people lose liberty in the favor of safety. He believed human emotion spurred three differing types of issues from one human to another. Those are:
Competition is used as a control technique. A person utilizes their strengths to impose their ways upon others. Diffidence (modesty from the lack of self-confidence) refers to a persons want for safety. This makes sense because self-confidence is a defining factor in a persons ability to pursue life goals and without a safety net the person may have issues in pursuing those specific life goals. Glory has to do with a persons need for self satisfaction. That self satisfaction stems from others recognizing ones accomplishments. These attributes to the human character thrust humanity into a cycle of war that is never ending unless a society is able to place upon themselves a social contract, as stated above. Hobbes sees war as a natural tendency of humans. Though natural, he believes war is an impediment to human development:
- “Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition there is no place for industry.” (Hobbes, Pg. 78)
Hobbes believes industry is the back bone to society because it leads to human development. So, a sovereign should oppose the ideals of war and aim for a peaceful society. Because humans tend toward greed and ambition, the sovereign will aim to create laws that protect those ambitions. Since those ambitions are natural to human tendency, that makes those laws natural in which the society has a right to attain. In today’s society it is prevalent. Humanity has grown to be more accepting and industrious under the social contracts created with democratic ideals in mind.
Lecture on the Sovereign State:
John Locke was born in 1632. Locke differed from Hobbes in a couple of different areas. Locke agrees with Hobbes with regard to the wants of humans. That is that people, in general, strive to acquire goods and that this ambition will put people into competition with each other. However, he believes that humans are morally good and that they will choose a civil society over a warring society. Since humans have an understanding of morals and an understanding of human ambition they will choose to abide by a social contract for the good of everyone within the society. Locke proposed the specifics of a just society in his
“Two Treatises of Government.”
- “To understand political power aright, and derive it from its original, we must consider what estate all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of Nature, without asking leave or depending upon the will of any other man.” (Locke Pg. 106)
Locke believed that man had the rights to life, liberty, and property, and that a government is bounded by these rights. This means that an established State must maintain a sense of reciprocal power and jurisdiction to the people. That is equality between the state and the people they govern.
Locke explains the ideas of liberty quite extensively. This is due to the disregard liberty can cause to life and property as well as other peoples liberty. Therefore, for Locke, liberty is subject to the Law of Nature and Reason. Locke bases the Law of Nature to an omnipotent “Maker” who placed the world in motion to correspond to a higher order and states that humans are the “workmen” of this world. This has a religious undertone where we are the shepherds put on the Earth by God to tend to his creatures. To go further this order is based off our ability to reason and teach future generations. Because we are able to reason and pursue goals as a group, we are not meant to do harm to others with regard to their life, liberty, or property. This makes sense on the basis that killing and war leads to a decrease in human evolution. (Similar to Hobbes’ idea of industry)
Locke also assumes the position of absolute rule with the people. If a government over steps its bounds in anyway, involving life, liberty, and property, the people are justified to step in and reshape the government.
Overall, Locke’s ideals shaped the extent of all revolutions that led to a democratic form of society. Majority of countries with democratic systems have Declarations that impose some kind of Natural Rights given to humans.
Lecture on the “Two Treatises of Government”
Using Deduction: A Philosophy Called Natural Association
Now that the ideas of social contracts and natural rights have been explained in further detail, thanks to Hobbes and Locke, it is time to use the formulas of deduction to propose a new theory upon the ideals of natural rights. This theory does not just cover natural rights. It also extends to ethics, metaphysics, and logic. The theory proposed is called Natural Association and starts at the basic form of nature, and the basic form of rights.
First, one must look at what constitutes natural.
- Natural: existing in or caused by nature.
Natural constitutes a state of being. Philosophers have discussed the idea of humanities state of being for thousands of years. (For example: Descartes, “I think therefore I am”) So when it comes to being natural, a human must take into account their ability to reason because that is what defines humanity.
A fundamental principle that comes to mind when speaking about a natural state is the ability for life to grow. Growth is something that is the essence of natural. One comes into life and grows without any empirical or logical data. Everything, so far, has a life cycle within our see able world. A star expends its energy till it becomes a red giant then explodes to become a neutron star/red dwarf/black hole. The supernova of gases that are expelled begin to create new stars that grow and produce energy. Growth is natural; unconditionally.
Second, one must take into account the ideals of rights by human standards:
- Right: a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way.
A right constitutes the idea of an entitlement. Human’s Natural Rights, as defined by Locke, are our right to life, liberty, and property. Rights, defined in the U.S Constitution, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Since a right involves entitlement, one must prove that human’s are truly entitled to them, which is a hard feat. If we are entitled to these rights naturally, that means the Universe (naturally) will abide by these rights. However, the Universe does not. This disproves the idea of rights being natural. What rights can be, however, is natural by association.
When the above ideas are put into perspective and combined, the theory of Natural Association can be seen. Since rights, on their own, cannot be natural, they need something to give them a backbone. That backbone is human reason.
Since rights, on their own, cannot be natural, they need something to give them a backbone. That backbone is human reason. Since the pure, basic form of natural is growth and human growth involves their capacity to reason, it is safe to assume that logical thought is natural within a human’s growth cycle. Because the ability to reason is natural, the ideals that are based off of logical thought are also natural. To go further, since the idea of natural rights has come from humanities ability to reason then, by association, natural rights are natural.
Due to the theory above, some ideals have to be redefined. Life is not guaranteed within the Universe. Laws cannot prevent any number of things that can kill a person. The same goes for liberty and property. A hurricane can destroy a house, kill hundreds of people, and the Universe will continue expanding and moving. Since applying this model does not guarantee natural rights overall it will be important to apply this theory and use critical thinking to see if natural rights can be applicable.
The Theory Applied
It is hard to think about a world where life is disregarded. Murders could be rampant and abortions more then births. How can Natural Association apply to the right of life? Well, life can not be guaranteed. What can be guaranteed is if a person survives, they will grow. That growth will foster reason, and that reason will garner potentiality. (the potential of a human being) Because human’s form societies, it is necessary to apply this theory to a society. In a society, people use reason to form how a society runs, so the rules and regulations of a society are natural by association. Human’s do this to ensure their growth and potentiality. This is an idea expressed by Lock and Hobbes where a sovereign or government utilizes peace to expand human evolution.
- Murder: This would be considered impractical within the theory of Natural Association because it deters humanities ability to grow. (Think of all the wars and prejudice throughout history)
- Abortion: This is hard to place. At one end, abortions can be detrimental to society because it takes away a human’s potential to help humanity grow. (Think of Martin Luther King Jr. or Jonas Salk) However, taking into consideration how modern society operates, not having an abortion could also be detrimental. This is a problem depending on situation. If the person has the ability to support the child and give it a proper lifestyle that helps them grow and be involved in society then an abortion should not be an option. If the person is in a situation that is detrimental to the growth of the child that can lead to improper behavior within society then abortion should be an option. (Think of situations where someone has a child and only one parent works a part time job while the other is a drug addict, should they raise the child in that scenario?)
- Acceptance: One of the biggest ideas proposed here is the ability of acceptance. Growing rationally means a person is able to accept the multitude of things that can accompany life within the Universe. Prejudice and hate are very prominent character traits in today’s society. Those traits lead to a digression in growth in the individual and the society as a whole.
I believe there is an important distinction here. Assuming humans have entitlement to anything in this Universe is illogical. So, making the assumption that rights are natural by association makes more sense than trying to assume that those rights are absolute. This also gives the ideals behind those rights the ability to expand and grow as our ability to reason does. Nothing in this Universe is absolute and it is always evolving and changing. Our ideals should not be absolute, they should be like the Universe.