[lit-ideas] Re: The Rise & Fall of Somalia's Islamic Courts: An Online History (The Fourth Rail)

  • From: Phil Enns <phil.enns@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2007 11:40:02 -0400

Lawrence Helm wrote:

"I've been thinking about Phil's theory that those who advance the Moral
Equivalence argument have logical assumptions for it and are only inhibited
from presenting them by not being clever enough writers."

This is not even close to what I wrote.  I don't know what a 'logical
assumption' is, but I suggested that people enter these conversations with
differing assumptions, and that the differences can't be settled through
logic.  (I suspect Lawrence is using the word 'logic' in a much broader and
looser manner than I am, but I don't want to get into that.)  I also pointed
out that the problem has nothing to do with being clever, or being a clever
writer.  Some of the people I disagree with on this list are terribly good
writers and I am in awe at their use of language.  The point I wanted to
make was that certain assumptions rule out the possibility of making moral
judgments.  If I assume that one's upbringing causes a person to act in a
particular manner, I cannot hold that person morally responsible for acting
in that manner.  To be morally responsible for one's actions necessarily
entails that one can act otherwise.  If one's upbringing causes one to act
in particular ways, then one cannot have acted otherwise.  Therefore, there
is no possibility of making moral judgments.  To be clear, it isn't that one
is not clever enough to articulate a moral judgment, but rather that there
are no grounds for such a judgment.


Phil Enns
Glen Haven, NS
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