Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn
dachte

Law and Prethought

I keep discovering that existing legal systems already have significant content that I independently thought out, and they generally state it better and take it further. My fairly-random studies of law have also introduced me to new ideas for jurisprudentially-compatible moral philosophy. A few weeks ago, I bumped into the idea of proximate cause (yessssss). This morning, I came across the distinction between direct and oblique intent in mens rea:

  • Direct intent (to a consequence) is when a consequence of an act is directly intended when the act is committed
  • Oblique intent (to a consequence) is when a consequence of an act is foreseen-and-accepted (but not necessarily desired) as part of an act that is committed
I think this is a very important distinction, particularly because I think it is very reasonable, given the numerous effects of any philosophical position, to take stances that happen to not-be-maximally-empowering to certain groups or individuals that nontheless are not anti-those-groups.

I would prefer different terms though! I don't like phrasings that imply intent-to-a-consequence for all the consequences of something when only the thing is intended.

A few scattered thoughts that will let me close some open browser tabs for things to write about:

  • If libertarian sea colonies (or space colonies, for that matter) ever are shown to actually be effectively sovereign nations, I hold that it should be considered a duty to overthrow-or-embargo-or-destroy those places. Centuries of progress in labour rights should not be so easily undone, and these rights were and are worth fighting for. We should not permit the return of slavery nor the rebirth of rawer forms of capitalism.
  • I don't believe that confession should be legally protected. Particularly when it amounts to sheltering and indulging sexual predators within the church. The primate of Ireland claimed: 「Freedom to participate in worship and to enjoy the long-established rites of the church is so fundamental that any intrusion upon it is a challenge to the very basis of a free society」. I could hardly disagree more. Problematic practices do not become immune to criticism or change simply because they've been around for a long time.
  • The Justice Department is working to block ATT's purchase of T-Mobile. As a T-Mobile customer I'm both pleased and bothered. Pleased because the purchase would've been anti-competitive and bothered because it would've been nice to see the better GSM coverage from a merged network (T-Mobile really doesn't have great coverage). I would like to see better service at much lower costs, but these goals seem to be in conflict.
  • A 「recent entry in Law and the Multiverse」 raised an issue that's long bothered me; "as long as it can be scientifically justified, and the funding can be arranged, animal experimentation is not legally problematic". I don't think that's the right standard. I think it's important to have some basic ideas of moral acceptability beyond scientific justification.
  • As Qaddafi's offices have come under TNC control, evidence of his dealings with US and other western governments have become public, often to great embarassment. I am disappointed-but-not-surprised at Dennis Kucinich, whose foreign policy ideas have always struck me as deeply facile and shortsighted. Ethical foreign policy requires we be willing to wade into morally murky ground because the easy perspective of deep pacifism preserves ongoing and systemic atrocities.
  • Interesting criticism of Žižek's take on the Arab Spring.
  • I'm worried by Rick Perry, who as far as I have heard is either not particularly bright or has pragmatically taken a rather populist anti-science stance. That so many people might respect and even consider electing someone like that is deeply irksome. I'm inclined to think that someone should have to have a proper PhD (maybe be the dean of some college in an accredited and respected university) to be eligible to be the US President, and that a Bachelors college degree (from a programme that does not skimp on general curricula) should be required to be qualified to vote, ... but there's no way I could support the latter unless education were entirely subsidised through college. Sigh. I like the idea in principle, anyhow.
  • I think this is a fair criticism of Apple's two-facedness on patents wrt things relating to the iPhone and iPad. I'm fairly hostile to how closed a platform Apple's products are, but much more ragetastic about their patent claims/lawsuits (not that Google doesn't have some stupid patents of its own).
  • Wikileaks had a screw-up large enough that, IMO, it would've been better had Cablegate never been released (and even, with all things considered, that Wikileaks never existed). Due to some fairly serious error showing organisational weakness on many levels (from inadequate care taken about passwords to Julian Assange being insufferably arrogant to Assange hiring and dealing with untrustworthy people), the US Diplomatic cables were accidentally released in unredacted form, placing many government informants in full public view (and grave danger). Cablegate was only a good idea in redacted form, and it was a great thing in that form. In this form, it is a terrible idea, and the fact that Wikileaks accidentally did this means that nobody can or should trust Wikileaks in the future. Once it was clear that it had been accidentally released, Wikileaks decided the cat was out of the bag and openly published what others already had. Epic fail.
  • I find this criticism of Dan Savage to be really interesting. It's written by a political (conservative homosexual canadian) webcomicist (JJ McCullough) I've watched for years, and it focuses on Savage's coverage of Santorum and (Mr) Bachmann. Two questions: Is it appropriate to treat reprehensible-but-politely-argued ideas with dignified responses, and is it productive? The first is a matter of discourse-ethics (what do we owe people in discussion) and the second a matter of pragmatism. The one area where I know I disagree with McCullough (as I understand him; I'm reading this into his phrasing of "genuine religious passion") is that I give zero extra leeway to people whose morality happens to be that largely defined by a religion. I believe everyone is responsible for their moral ideas, equally if they created them themself (as I did) or accept them from outside (as many religious people do). If your faith would place women in a certain social role, and you agree with that because it's your faith, I believe you should be treated exactly the same as if you individually decided to place women in that certain social role. Otherwise, I'm initially inclined to agree with McCullough. I am inclined to debate almost anything, and am not that comfortable with mockery/dismissal to deal with views, particularly those that are still reasonably mainstream (even if those of us who believe in gay marriage are over 50% in America now, we're not so large a majority that our position can be described as being effectively universal). This is indeed a civil rights issue, and one where we should be willing to push very very hard for our way, but we can probably better do so politely.
  • An initial guide to post-Qaddafi Libya's politics
  • For what it's worth, I believe R vs Dudley and Stephens set a bad legal precedent, and note this as being possibly applicable and definitely a better standard for such situations.

I recently came across this webcomic called 「Things Could Be Worse」. It's quite good.

Tags: philosophy
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  • Hi Ku, Bye Ku, We All vie for Haiku

    For Pi Day Today/To Eat and Park With A Friend/Ate More Than My Fill

  • Garden of Roses

    The home has roots, the wind beats its retreat to the corners of my realm.The garden in back is very pretty, as I pretend to be duke.The sky is warm…

  • Crystal and Glass

    A chair. My eyes move open, the sound of ten thousand raindrops, beads moving across a table, pearls or cheap gems, their surface carelessly…