Saturday, October 13, 2012

Comment on UPB page 37

I still do not know what "universally preferable" means. I am starving for a concrete example, rather than an analogy.

When someone argues, someone "exhibits UPB." "The very act of debating requires an acceptance of universally preferable behaviour (UPB)." If only I knew what UPB meant. I can't help thinking that there is a logical argument that Molyneux should make here, that would make this conclusion clear by proceeding step by step. This page leaps to the conclusion, with hardly a hint how we poor plodders might follow.

One point that might apply directly to the investigation, hidden in among the digressions on this page, is the idea that when arguing, a blank stare does not suffice to replace an argument or a concession. Here we're idealizing debate a bit - my impression is that many debaters never do actually concede a point, but rather change the subject, and written debates often employ ignoring (the equivalent in ink of a blank stare) as a tactic. But I am also digressing, as in ideal debate, a point is pursued until there is agreement between the debaters. Perhaps this forms the basis of the claim that debate implies acceptance of something. But what? How?

1 comment:

David Burns said...

The very act of debating requires an acceptance of universally preferable behaviour (UPB). There is no way to rationally respond to an ethical argument without exhibiting UPB.
I interpret this to mean that UPB and all it's concepts, categories and treatment of members of each category, are derived from a performative contradiction. That means that if I try to justify an action that violates a valid moral principle (a member of that category according to UPB) or deny the definition of a category, etc. that I must contradict myself in some way.