Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Second Response to Casey


This should not be viewed as a critique of Gerard Casey's paper but comments about how it relates to the main direction of this blog. I've noticed that my own usage of words, such as possession, ownership and property, differs from that of Casey's usage. Possession, for me, is a word that is relevant to legality, i.e. illegal possession of stolen goods. Ownership is a word that is more abstract, and more ordinal in terms of relationships. Possession references facts about society. It is cardinal and concrete. We use these terms in opposites ways.

One mistake that I've made but have not included on my blog is not recognizing the distinction between property and propriety (and thus propertarian and proprietarian). I can attempt a definition of property as, a thing imbued with intentional qualities by an individual. It is possible that this definition is too abstract, but it does serve the purpose in conveying what I am implying by property. Furthermore, the definition recognizes overlapping is a possibility that must be resolved by the development of norms and customs, that is the establishment of precedence from prior events. In addition, ownership can be defined as the act of imbuing a thing with intentional qualities. In other words, a single individual, rather than a society, is the only thing that is necessary for there to be property and ownership.

[Interestingly, is it odd to associate precedence with property when property is established as an ordinal relationship in the first place? Possibly that is too abstract, but then why accept a prior claim? Why is a prior claim stronger than just pure will and desire?]

Propriety is a social product. For example, propriety can refer to a governing order to grant exclusivity, or a corporation protects a secretive process or formula. Rather than precedence, as with factual development of norms in relation to property, propriety is based on privilege. Casey does not use the word propriety, but he identifies both meanings. However, I suggest that the general philosophical discourse on the topic has conflated the meanings of these two words. Above I've broken them apart enough to say something substantial without taking a compatibilist disposition.... Property can be described independently of propriety, but propriety cannot be described independently of property. In the same way, ownership can be described independently of possession, but possession cannot be described independently of ownership. Property and ownership are prior to the social constructions propriety and possession.

On my last post, I translated Casey's question into what are the limits of property, from a question about where you draw the line between mere possession and ownership. I think Casey basically has the same idea. Nevertheless, what are the limits of property is at the core of what competing ethical, religious, social, moral and political systems are battling over. It is the meat and potatoes of social philosophy. The Stephen Toulmin's argumentation model has had an influence on the way I understand fallacies. For example, Toulmin tended to interpret informal fallacies as strategies, or fallacious strategies. Instead of ad hominem, straw man, appeal to emotion or black or white, the informal fallacious can be seen as a part of a larger argument and a strategy within that argument. Getting to the point, dispositions of ethical et al. systems that proceed past the limits of property without addressing the notion of vagueness, or cannot satisfy the burden of proof to overturn property titles, i.e. a divine right of kings type of theory, can be deem as fallacious strategies, since they are attempts to not advance an argument.

Lastly, Casey references a paper by Block & Barnett that I'll have to properly cite later. I read the paper two years ago. I recall they mentioned trail by jury as a way to deal with ambiguity (vagueness or fuzziness) as opposed to a decree form of sentencing. I agree with the notion that juries can deal with vagueness with regards to justice a lot better than lawyers. Lawyers have too much structure going on to deliver verdicts.

My April 2012 Post

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