Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Rules You Can Count On

Continued from Prostitution

- But I want to say more. Prostitution then is never good. I thought you were against against rules. Against them being invariable.
- Rules are productive principles. Being forced into temporary prostitution might be better than death. Defining prostitution as the uncreative destroying the creative is a theory, a way of understanding. It helps us make our choices.
- Why can't we find some rules that are invariable? I agree that we can't. Don't kill, don't steal, don't lie, all have exceptions.
- We choose, not between different worlds defined by the rules followed in each of them, but between many different productive principles. We choose to apply the particular rule that in a particular situation makes life better.
- Then what is the rule telling us what makes life better?
- There we've reached the foundation. Not a rule, rather a fundamental judgement that compares invariably preferable experiences to the rest.
- What are they, your indisputable experiences?
- Love, beauty, good.
- Exactly the experiences most in dispute in human life.
- The experiences themselves, how they feel, are not in dispute. The dispute is about what produces, leads to and away from them.
- "Never choose prostitution except by force of circumstances." Isn't that a rule?
- I think it is.
- Then there are invariable rules!
- Yes. They all have the same form: being forced by other people to do what you don't want to do. We have different names, specificities, for these rules: don't prostitute, don't enslave.
- We can make invariable rules about social conduct, but not individual conduct?
- Yes. Do you know why?
- Give me a moment. If we have an invariable rule, we have an invariable decision principle. That means there are no alternative kinds of decisions to choose between. We don't return a gun to an insane owner because the principle of property is decided against acting on in favor of a principle of saving life.
- There is no good to prostitution. Prostitution undermines any possible social relation. Am I right?
- You're right. We have invariable rules of this kind because they are tautologies. They mean no more than: If you want to make a society you have to make a society. If society is cooperation it cannot be founded on violence, the opposite of cooperation.

Further reading: The Golden Rule & The Deviant Path