1.History of the Word Humanity
The earliest members of species Homo sapiens had, of course, no idea of "humanity."  They were a single species, in our modern scientific meaning of the word; but these people had no idea of science, no idea of the extent of their planet or who or what lived on that planet.    Outside their immediate bands and local groups, they had little awareness at all of one another.   Even their immediate neighbors appeared more as monsters and alien beings than fellow humans.  The condition of hominids and hominoids at that period could only be called one of isolation. These early men till then were until entirely recent times happily ignorant of the whole idea of humanity or a human race.  This is how things stood throughout the Upper Paleolithic cultural period.     It was only long after humans had appeared as a species--defining species as biologists define it, as individuals capable of interbreeding--that the idea of "humanity" appeared.    In the meantime there could be no comprehension of the species as something distinct in nature, not to say the possible basis of a social relation.  That humanity could be the basis of a social relationship waited until relatively recent times.  Society such as existed in that early day, on the other hand,  was the result of personal relationships within the band itself, the relations, in other words, that existed among hunters working together and families living together.   Yet, as a matter of fact, societ--in these sense understood by Force Theory--had long existed.  Society has already been defined here as a simple agreement between two persons.  Thus we may assume that society did not wait, at any rate, for the idea of humanity in order to appear.   Humanity is not an idea necessary to society.   The real question now is:  is humanity a concept that can be understood at all as a social relationship?   The question as to whether or not humanity is a social relation can be answered by first asking whether humanity is an agreement. 

2.Humanity is a highly abstract and arcane idea
Humanity is an idea moreover that appears in certain settings and contexts.  But generally, far and wide throughout the landscape of human culture, there almost nowhere is a hint of the idea, .  The Africans and other primitive cultures have no such idea other than through missionaries.   Humanity is not a part of primitive religions.   In the case of larger, more complex civilizations any real or vital sense of the word is absent among laypeople.  Humanity belongs to the arcane ideas of a culture along with God and Justice and such words.  This is the way things stand almost universally regarding the word "humanity."  On the other hand, as I just said, "humanity" appears central to the sacred documents of a given land; the word is basic to the mission statement of universities--places of "universality."  I have already mentioned religion.  The utter absence among people generally of any sense of humanity as an idea, and on the other hand the absolute centrality of the word in the esoteric culture of a given place, is a contradiction which has to be resolved by Force Theory.   I want to suggest that "humanity" replaces the word God in sacred documents, and in this capacity is a symbol of impersonal unity.  We may now attempt to formulate our theory in very simple terms.  Humanity is not an idea through which human beings have a relationship, so much as it is an idea about which they have a relationship.   But this consideration--that humanity is the thing about which people come together--relegates humanity to a wide range of things about which, or over which, humans come together. Humanity is not an agreement.  The basic conditions of agreement are absent if humanity is considered by itself.  That is, people do not agree to become humans.  But they may agree to, in conjunction with one another as a sort of ritual of group behavior, "express" the idea of humanity.  They may "affirm" the humanity of people in general.  This they may do as they do any group activity.  The only idea that qualifies as a true social relationship--in the way Force Theory defines "society"--is the idea of an agreement itself.  Moreover, while certain humans--or entities capable of understanding an agreement--are within an agreement, others are outside.  Thus clearly, if a humanity is the thing about which certain humans agree, anyone--Homo sapiens or not--not in the agreement is not "social" vis-a-vis the agreement.  The history of religions is an unequivocal reminder of this principle.  Religions which are about humanity in general can be highly exclusive and mutually hostile groups.  Force Theory explains this paradox.

3. Humanity as a "Moral" Idea
Humanity is an idea as I say entirely divorced from, and alien to, the scientific category Homo sapiens.  Humanity is a concept that cannot at all  be "about" members of the species Homo sapiens.  Humanity is an idea like other such ideas--God is an example we have already given--which can be properly thought only as a pure idea, uncorrupted in other words by an taint of contact with reality.  Humanity is an abstraction from the fact of Homo sapiens, which abstraction has become divorced from Homo sapiens.  The two ideas--the scientific and the moralistic [new word-check] ideas--have finally little or nothing to do with one another.   Earlier [cite] I talked about purity of ideas and their necessity to likewise pure human relationship.  A relationship through God, which is what marriage is theologically proposed to be, is a "pure" relationship.  I am taking inspiration from the painter Philippe Guston who said, "Art is never pure."  Art says Guston is always corrupted in the viewing by real people.   Hegel, my second inspiration,  said that a pure idea passes, by the process of logical thinking itself, into its own opposite.  These are points I will be thinking about now. The Logical Positivists [cite] shed light on this issue:  they are the ones who sought in philosophy to purify terms otherwise corrupted by use into pure, uncorrputed terms.   I am saying that humanity is an idea that is intolerant of any taint of corruption through real people.  Humanity frequently is seen, then--because all positive ideas are capable of corruption--of passing abruptly into its own opposite.  Humanity becomes in these terms, to remain "pure," inhuman.  This tendency is a paradox that has been identified before.  Only "Christian" nations, it has been said, could be capable of the bilateral excesses of World War II. 

4.Humanity as a Word Evolves from "We"
Before humanity could be understood as a social relationship, human beings--members of Homo sapiens--had to be capable of understanding itself.  The phrases "mutual understanding" and "human understanding" suggest themselves.   Clarifying these terms would go a long way to defining the word humanity.  Humanity here would be rather an understanding, or, in terms of this philosophical blog an agreement, than simply a taxonomic designation.  Humans in order to rise to the level of "humanity," or an idea of humanity, would have to have language, of course, at first; but they would have to share knowledge.  Humanity rose, I am saying, not out of the perception of the individual of "many persons,"  but out of shared experience made possible by language.    The notion of humanity appeared first, perhaps, as "those persons with whom I can talk understandably."  The suggestion here--since early humans were not taxonomists and biologists--is that the notion of humanity arose through language.  Human beings in these terms would be a community of language, or we should say a common language.  There were from the beginning of language itself any number of different, mutually unintelligible languages.  The Greek word barbaros was coined out of the Greek perception of foreigners, that their languages sounded like "ba ba."  Human beings form their communites out of a certain mutualism, that is not language itself but requires language.    So, in addition to distinctions humans made on account of band membership and family, there were differences in dialect.  A sense of "humanity" must have first arisen on the level of language.   It is a special feature of language that, unlike the biology of one's own body--which significantly separates one from other people and objects--it, language, is inherentlyshared. 

6.More: Critique of the Idea "Humanity"
Language in these terms can be referred to as a "shared identity."  The sense we have of humanity is that it, humanity, too,  is a shared identity.  Language itself is an "understanding," which may not be, but certainly prefigures, an agreement.  I have talked about agreements at length.   Humanity is a product then, first and foremost, not of biology but of language.   The idea would be in these terms is that persons share their humanity in the same way, on on the same basis, that they share a language.  Of course, there are many languages.  There are in that sense many humanities.  What social theory has attempted to do, but only in historical times, is to derive a common humanity of Homo sapiens out of the fact of the capability of language.  This would  be to say that all Homo sapiens members belong to humanity because of their potential to understand one another in a uniquely human way, through language.  Presently however humans, because of language differences, do not understand one another--except through translations of their languages.

In my earlier blog on Philtalk, now verschoben, I raised the very important philosophical question posed by Koko the talking gorilla (this material can be accessed by computer).   (The Germans seemed ignorant on the subject of Koko and wanted to deny she existed!  This is the sad condition German scholarship is in now!)  That question is:  if Koko can talk, is she human?  The answer I gave was that, if we understand a human being to be one capable of language, then it is true:  Koko is human.  There is no escaping this conclusion.  The taxonomic species, in other words, and the classification of human being as one capable of human understanding, are mutually independent categories.  We come to a breakdown, finally, of the word "agreement."  "A" is Latin to or toward; "gre" is the prefix to gregarious.  An agreement is a "to-be-drawn-together.":| [this needs work.]   Through the twists and turns of argumentation we arrive at the possibility, or tentative conclusion (still to be supported), that a person, human or humanoid, of species Homo sapiens or one of the higher apes, is "of humanity" only through an agreement.  That is to say, humanity is something not about persons but between them; there must be mutuality in any notion of humanity.  Humanity itself in these terms is a an object or topic of an agreement but not the agreement itself..  The agreement itself assumes that a party to the agreement will be capable of understanding the agreement.  What is being proposed in this phase of our argument is that the general elements of "humanity" appear, in outline, in the elemental agreement.   All that was ever meant by the word "human" was, or has been, "party to an agreement."   There is a fundamental distinction made by humans between what is outside an agreement and what is inside an agreement.   Speaking of the word "humanity," such an entity would not properly exist but could be made to exist, theoretically, by defining beings as party to an agreement--or an a-gretation--formed through language, promises and the other elements of agreement.

7.The Moral Issue
Humanity has been talked about, traditionally, not so much as an agreement--religion and universalism (dogma of the universities) do not speak of anyone agreeing or refusing to be human--but as an obligation.  Human beings, by virtue of their being born into the so-called human race--are "obligated" to one another.  Obligation is a word we can talk about here.  Let us say a mother somewhere in the world tells her daughter (presumably the culture is primitive) to carry some water. This is the command of the larger and stronger parent to a smaller person, a child.   This sort of command is issued every day in every culture throughout the world.  We may ask what sort of relationship this is between commanding parent and obedient child:  is it a social relationship.  I would say that obligation is a transitional relation, mediated by common understanding, between brute force on the one hand and agreement on the other.  The child may not want to carry the water but sees that he or she must do this.  Also the child is fully capable of understanding that there is a "clear and present" need for the water to be carried.  I think this relationship is made possible by a human--sapient--level of intelligence, even with regard to the child, and is somewhat above the level of behavior of a gorilla or chimpanzee.  The child does not agree to the request, in the sense of being a willing participant, so much as the child "understands" the request.  Everyone in the culture believes that this child should carry the water.  We may reasonably say that the child by virtue of membership in this group is, and believes him- or herself to be, obligated to do tasks of this sort.  This is the way people grow up in any culture.  As they grow older, on the other hand, these sorts of obligations give way to more voluntary associations.  The individual person may choose or not choose, as the result of "personal considerations," to do this or that requested task.  The individual may ask for quid pro quo, something in return.  Because he or she is now a larger person, and prominent in the community, a certain deference is accorded by the people of their community.  This person has a higher standing.  In that sense, then, an agreement is now required.  That is, no longer being obligated to do a task the person must now agree to do that task.  This is all that is meant by the term freedom.  Freedom is a concept that is, like other abstract ideas, capable of corruption from real situations.  Freedom is an abstract idea, but it is also relative to individual situations and personalities, always changing.  To agree is to enter into an agreement.  But within that agreement, and in accordance with the terms of that agreement, the person is now "obligated" to carry out terms of the agreement--or face a penalty.  The person must be "as good as his word" to remain a credible member of his society.

The issue now appears as to whether humanity could be an obligation.  We have seen that humanity is not an agreement, and therefore not a fully developed social relationship, on account of the fact that persons do not enter humanity voluntarily.  Nor--and this is another feature of a true agreement--is there in any way a reciprocal relationship.  The person which the agreement is about is not involved in a reciprocal relation:  one person is thinking of another as the object of an agreement; but this object is not thinking of the party to the agreement.  This we have already concluded.  Because humanity is not an agreement, it is also not a social relationship.

Fascism Revisited:  The Social Program of Force Theory
Fascism, as the word is defined in Force Theory, means:  obligation with understanding.  There may be agreements but these come into being and pass away; agreements are subordinate to an overall concept of social order.  Human beings within a Fascist society are not equals but are in a "State of Nature" in regard to one another, which order includes a kind of primal bossiness that characterizes the relationship of obligation in the smallest family and band unit.  Fascism models itself upon, and essentially becomes, a family--a family large enough exist in a world of forced, anti-evolutional humanity.  Fascism thereby reconciles human concerns and proclivities with those of the biological species Homo Sapiens:  mindful, that is, that the species is vital and progressive only through its individual forms.  Race is at issue here. 

I.Fascism includes in its program a central idea of race, which is an idea based in reality.  Where understanding exists there is also a common sense of "clear and present" need.  Clear and present need must be, for understanding to exist, also a common experience.  Therefore people who are more closely related through nature--race--are capable of this understanding.  Force is an option.  That is, humans may be forced to do what they do not immediately want to do.  On the other hand, it may be assumed by persons of authority that what they are being forced to do they need to do.  This is for the good of the whole group.  Such a "fascist" concept excludes, or renders unnecessary, any concept of "humanity," for much the same reason that no one, particularly, throughout the world and in diverse cultures, understands humanity.  Agreements that there are are temporary and ephemeral.  Race determines what must and must no be made to happen; and also who is to make these things happen.:|

II.Fascism includes the idea of obligation.  This would be the same obligation that compels a child to obey its parent.  This is obligation without agreement.  Fascism in this sense is grounded in what Rousseau would call a State of Nature; but at the same time is a "humanization" of that State.  Fascism is modeled on the Spartan conception of Socialism, accepting as it is of a "certain" qualified slavery.

III. The Fascist society is exclusive, accepting some persons as members but rejecting others.  The kind of trust--which is not an abstract trust but an instinctive acceptance--in Fascism is not borne from agreements, in the legal sense of the word agreement, but is the result of a prolonged shared and evolved coexistence.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2009-09-09 18:55:26)


We search for a definition of the word society that is coherent and consistent.  Society in the human sense--as opposed to the group life of animals--is an organization, first and foremost, around the uniquely human capacity for agreements.  Society as we think of it, as a human phenomenon, begins with an agreement.  An easy example of this would be an agreement between two paleolithic hunters who, needing food for their families, talk together; in their talk they plan a hunt for the following day.  There is nothing here that is difficult for us to understand.  But in their talk they soon realize that their plan is complex and there is the possibility that some dispute will arise between them. They know that such a possibility of disagreement exists because of their past experiences together in the "crowded" environment of the hunting band, where small numbers of men are together throughout their lives and living in close quarters among themselves.  Men of such tiny bands would be inclined to argue. The men know also that the weapons they use in the hunt, that extend and leverage force beyond what any other animal is capable of, can be used against one another.  So disputes that inevitably appear are potentially very dangerous.  At this point in planning the hunt each vows to the other that, in the event of such a dispute or disagreement, no weapons will be used to settle the dispute.  This is all there is to the agreement.  To finalize the understanding each touches the hand of the other to signal that weapons are not to be used, and to determine, if only symbolically, that no one holds in his hand a weapon.  In human terms "weaponless" means friendly.  (Even animals, in their long acquaintance with human beings, have come to understand this symbolism.)  We have now understood human society as it first appeared since the beginning of language--and the promises and agreements made possible through language--seveal hundred thousand years ago.  There was nothing to human society originally except the agreement among hunters.

The agreement was the original human (Hegelian) Idea, but one as every Idea must, carry within it its own negation--the dis-agreement.  We may be explicit on this point.  The point of an agreement is to eliminate the main agent of violence--weaponry-- within the framework of the agreement; but, as the hunters know all too well, the possibility of disagreement still exists.  The agreement, an arrangement for peace, is still about disagreements that may occur.  In fact, the dis-agreement remains as the (Hegelian) negation of the agreement.  The dispute, here called the dis-agreement, is the potential dis-solution of the agreement.  We may get ahead of ourselves here to say that, in the event of dis-solution of the agreement, there can be no re-solution (resolution) within the agreement.  Parties to the agreement can expect a "settlement" of their differences, but no resolution of differences (settlement to the satisfaction of all parties).  I strive here to keep matters as simple as possible.  The dis-agreement was anticipated in the agreement; and the disagreement appears, then, first within the agreement explicitly.  I suggested earlier that there would be no disagreement possible without there being an agreement.  This is true.  Men in the primal situation of hunting together would simply be self-ish, thinking of only themselves.  Each would take what he wanted from the hunt without explaining to others or even thinking of them.  With the agreement, on the other hand, this potential for self-ish behavior is explicity or implicitly recognized and taken stock of.  Provision is made for the eventuality of self-ish behavior; that, namely, no weapons will be used in settlement of the dispute; that, also, the settlement of the dispute will depend on some reference (perhaps) to a law that is impartial "mediator" in disputes.  At that point in history there was no government, so no active human agent present to settle disputess; appeal had to be made to some "higher" or "authority" (a god?).

The fact remains, on the other hand, that the dispute or disagreement was still "within" the agreement as what the agreement was essentially "about."  I am going to say here that the disagreement was "implicit" in the agreement; that, finally, for the disagreement to become visible and present in the relationship between the men, some man had to explicitly disagree with the others.  In the event one man evoked a dis-agreement, the agreement itself would be ended, virtually, in dis-solution. What would be required at that point would be that the agreement be reconstituted or "resolved" at a "higher level," which would be through moral authority.  In Hegelian terms, the thesis of the agreement would, in having evoked within itself the antithesis of the dis-agreement, be resolved at a "higher"--moral--level.  In this event, that thesis and antithesis resolved themselves into a moral group, that group would be a "full" social group in the modern sense of the word "society."  All society is, in the sense that it exists today in its tiny or massive forms, from the society of the Bushmen to that of modern America, is the primal relation that existed between paleolithic hunters.  These hunters lived in groups not larger than 15 persons and had only the basic elements of language.  The point of philosophical anthropology, as I have discussed the discipline in this forum, is to extract this basic sense of society and apply it to present human life.

To settle a dispute and resolve a dispute are two different things.  I will talk later about this distnction. Society as it exists today in a "modern superstate" such as America is largely a "fabric" of settled and unsettled disagreements, most of them unresolved.  Society is viable and functioning so long as disagreements are settled.  But in most cases parties to the agreement are left unsatisfied, and the agreement is injured.   Reolution of disputes can only be symbolically, through the "majesty of the state, or some final "negation of the negation" such as Hegel's Absolute Idea."  In fact, everyday modern life is an ongoing process of making agreements, completing them or violating them--disagreeing--and submitting these violations to a civil authority. 

I said in finalizing an agreement two hunters shake hands, symbolizing that they both abjure weaponry in the settlement of disputes.  This symbolism carries over into the present day.  All society is is agreements and the settlement of agreements.  Thus today as earlier the basic human relationship, the agreement, is an abjuration of weaponry--and that is all there is to human society.  We may continue however to think about weaponry.  If two men abjure weapons, do they also abjure anything else?  That question emerges now, at this stage in our argument, as important.  Do the hunters also abjure anything further of themselves, for instance part or the whole of their personality?  This is the question that I will raise and the one that leadus to "race theory."  Race is the personality of the human being in modern society.  This is the thesis I will shortly develop.  First, on the other hand, we must try to discover if, when two men abjure weapons, they abjure also something of their personality that, over perhaps millions of years (humans have had weapons this long), has grown together with, and has become instinctively associated with, tool and weapon use?  There may be inhibitions associated with tool use they are abjured, along with weapons, in the simple agreement.  There may also be a certain cunning (German: List) that, having originated to soften group perception of weapons--which are always laying about a given campsite--actually conceals weapons or distorts perception as to what they are.  Weapons bode ill for some hapless animals; they may be source of anxiety for group members as well. Does the human hunter, then, in planning a hunt, agree to forego all hidden thoughts that as a human hunter he is bound to have?   This is another question we must ask.  What I am suggesting is that there is more to an agreement, in the formal sense of the word, than merely an abjurement of physical weaponry. Such an understanding may be merely implicit in an agreement.  The very foundation of the individual personality may be called into question.   Human society as we know it in the modern age raises this possiblity.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2009-06-29 14:19:15)


I talked earlier of marriage as a (contractual) agreement where the parties are "unequal."  This statement needs careful clarification.  Obviously "similar" does not mean "equal," necessarily; and equal does not mean similar.  Two gay men in a "marriage"--assuming this is really allowed--are both similar and equal in their marriage contract.  That is because they are similar "by nature" and their contract implies, as contracts always do, an equality in the exercise of force (to settle disputes).  These things have already been made clear.  The heterosexual relationship is entirely different.  Male and female are not similar, and they cannot be made similar in their respective roles within the agreement; they are equal, however, in the terms of the contractual agreement.  That equality consists of the fact that neither party can advance his or her point of view by the exercise of force.  Force is out of the hands of both parties.  So, while male and female still do have different rights and responsibilities within the agreement--and it would be impossible to measure or assess who is finally advantaged and who is disadvantaged--there is the consideration, finally, that there is no point of similarity between parties in the contract of marriage; and in regard to equality there is only one point of equality--that respecting force.  I mentioned earlier the "rule of thumb," which is the British common law stipulation that a man can hit his wife with no object longer than the length of his thumb.  In fact, what finalizes an agreement is traditionally some concession of force:  this is what the handshake is, essentially.  The handshake, as anthropologists tell us, is the extension of the open hand to be examined, with the application of the other party's hand, for the presence of weapons.  An open hand, touched, states:  I have no weapon.  In the context of the relationship the handshake means that no force will be used by me to enforce any provision of our agreement.  The handshake symbolizes agreement of both parties to the final statement of the agreement, as I say.

A topic which needs to be discussed here is the type of agreement that sprang out of the type of economic and technological environment of the Colonial Period of the early United States.  I am talking about indentured servitude.  This would be called a full or contractual agreement. Yet the agreement specifies that one man will be a "servant" and the other will be a "master," much as under slavery.  There is a lot to say here about indentured servitude.  This institution appears to be an example of "unequal" conditions within the framework of a contractual agreement.  One man is already disadvantaged and the other is advantaged; and this relative position continues within the contract.  Thus when we say that a contract (or full agreement) is a relationship of equality we need to examine the details of the relationship.  There is full explicit statement in the contract of the fact that one man, the servant, will serve the other.  My point however is not to examine every detail of the contract, or who is advantaged and in precisely what way, but to find the point in which the parties are equal.  We have already talked about the problem of apparent inequality in the case of marriage.  Indentured servitude, I aver, is no different.   Yet indendured servitude is both entered into voluntarily--this is a necessary assumption of any true agreement--and also there would be a consignment of force to an entity outside the agreement, a third party.   In the case of true slavery, on the other hand, there is no agreement and thus no equality either in advantage-vs.-disadvantage or in the relegation of force.  Force is present in the relationship of slavery and there is no attempt on anyone's part to get rid of force. Indentured servitude of course is for a limited term.  There must be some reason that the servant enters the relationship in the first place; and that reason would be that he feels he benefits from the relationship.

Returning to the subject of marriage:  marriage could be thought of as bilateral servitude.  Commonly partners in marriage speak of "owning" one another.  This is an apt expression.  The philosopher Fourier spoke of marriage as a vestige of slavery, being as it is that persons "own" one another.  That is, persons in marriage have the (legal) right to "control" one another, to force one another into a behavior or exclude them from it.  This right is conceded by the state, as possessor and dispenser of force itself.   This agreement is entered voluntarily, of course, and can also be exited depending on the society in question.  The final obligation in marriage, however, is not of the principals toward one another but of the principals toward their own children.  In this sense, apparently, children are the true masters and parents are the slaves.  Society or the state as dispenser of force sees to it that this obligation is carried out.  Children in these terms are not left at the mercy of their parents.  No one seems to find fault with marriage; everyone seems to want it for themselves and for other people in their social group.  This appears to be true.  Marriage is imperfectly understood.  Marriage was instituted early in human society as one of the first agreements (I would say the desire to collaborate in hunting would be virtually the first agreement in human history).

Force is not eliminated as a factor in a given relationship, so much as force is transfered out of the relationship as the relationship is narrowly construed; the force exists, as such, but under control of an "impartial" party.  This party exists, at least initially, for the sole purpose of holding the force and dispensing it according to rules (rules which the third party, incidentally, can often unilaterally initiate).  What has transpired over the course of history is the following.  Human beings at first exercised force in virtually every relationship that they had.  Thus, between hunters there was the factor of personality differences with one or several hunters being dominant and the other more or less submissive.  The personality pecking order was in place.  Gradually, however, as men were inclined not to hunt together unless they first agreed to hunt together, there came to be a strong tendency to leave some decisions to band headmen, who were trusted and often older men of the group.  The concept of "mediation" and "arbitration" came into being.  To agree, then, on something so small even as a daily hunt meant also to suspend force within the immediate hunting party and to postpone dispute settlement until, later in the day or week, the hunters could present their sides of the dispute to the chief or elder.  Thus the business of hunting ran smoothly.  More frequently, however, agreements were substituted for forcible relations.  It is to be remarked at this point that Africans tend to settle disputes promtly and through immediate and direct force, rather than submitting these disputes to mediators.  Of course, even African tribes have chiefs and such; but there is still in Africa a pervasive violence on the level of individual interaction.

Among Europeans and white people in general,  the state or society as an abstraction has taken upon itself the exertion of force to settle disputes in relationship.  More and more, as agreements multiply and as parties concede the element of force to the state, the state for its part has become virtually the sole possessor of force.  The state in an important sense is force.


From  [edit later]

hi belinda.  You are taking up the cause of "naturalistic ethics" that was fashionable late 19th century.  I can't remember names but Spencer, Sumner and the social darwinism come to mind. The BriT paleontologist.... ??? The idea is that love, first and foremost in the family, had survival value and so, in a naturalistic sense, was affirmed and "true."  Survival value = truth.  I'm afraid these social darwinists would disagree with you, Belinda, on the issue of race.  Races were in a struggle for survival and between them there would be no ethical respect. 

Hume said, and carnap followed, that you can't get a value from a fact.  That is true.  You can argue, for instance, that people of the different races are the same.  Or you can argue that they are different.  In either case you are simply talking about facts, not about values. You can say that because x race is the same as we are, we "should" love them or that they are good.  This is a value statement.  But you could also say, equally, that the groups are different and we "should" love the differences. These last statements are of value, higher morality, duty and so forth, the so-called transcendental values that Kant talked about.   It does make any difference what you say, Belinda--and I could simply agree that the races are the same, different or in some sense "equal."  We are only talking about fact when we allude to these differences.  But we still cannot get a value out of a fact.  What is the "value" of this factual sameness or this difference?  Values do not come from facts; therefore we have no "duty" to anyone, our nextdoor neighbor or someone in China.  I can agree with you on facts, Belinda, but our ethical points of view may be very distant from one another.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-11-20 16:02:53)


As a "performance philosopher" I allow myself to shift position, to some extent, in the middle of a dissertation without rewriting the whole work.  This will be my policy now.  I stated that "equals cannot have agreements among themselves because there would be no provision for enforcement of said agreement."  This is the basic point around which my entire corpus of writing presently turns.  What I am saying now is that equals would never enter an agreement in the first place, by their own volition, inasmuch as an "equal" is a hypothetical abstraction.  Equals do not exist spontaneously and "in nature"; they must rather be declared equals, which comes about only when an agreement is subjected to a further "agreement of enforcement," or contract.  Thus when I say equals cannot enter agreements, so long as these agreements are merely agreements--two-sided promises--I meant to say that equality in agreements comes about only insofar as parties subject their mutual promise to a third party.  This third or governing or arbitrating party, by concession of all parties, takes from the principal parties all force or real power, itself holds this power and exercises this power in order to enforce terms of the first agreement.  Equality in these terms is no naturally existing phenomenon but is created, and created solely in contracts.  So-called equality in democratic theory is a philosophical abstraction that is an afterthought, essentially, in the creation of specific contracts.  Finally, the original statement [cite] to the effect that "equals cannot form agreements" should be qualified to say that equals ultimately do not exist before contracts; so that, of course, it follows they could not enter agreements.  In the expectation that such fussy details might compromise my overall thesis, I make mention of this point now.

There arises out of all the agreements that there are a "general contract" which is basically itself an agreement, but an agreement to enforce agreements; and this "stands" or "is a standing" agreement that, finally and in the course of world history, does not pass out of existence with the natural passing of each particular agreement.  In this the standing agreement does not follow the course of the specific agreement, but exists in perpetuity.  This has all been said above.  I also concluded that there comes to be, finally, a standing agreement to the effect that agreements can be enforced where it is expressly understood, and is so stated in writing--codified even in the sacred documents of the epoch--that there be nothing specific to agree upon.   It is written into the agreement that there is no mutual purpose in the agreement except the agreement itself.  I want to make this point clear.  The agreement is entirely, in other words, about the agreement itself; the agreement has as its purpose solely the agreement itself.  If we analyze the content of democratic theory we see clearly that democracy is its own purpose, or an end-in-itself.  Thus here specific agreements must, under terms of the general contract, have as their sole purpose and contend the general agreement.  This is a state of affairs that evolves slowly, perhaps, but is inexorable and pushes societies built around democratic theory into a final self-contradiction.  Within the framework of this "agreement of agreements," all special agreements, or for that matter even the smallest conversations where some mutual proposal is hatched--agreements that do not have an advace "licence" to exist, become conspiratorial.  Conversations, other than the most shallow everday ones, among citizens, are violations of the general contract.  They have a sinister revolutionary intent, it is thought.  For such conversations to even exist, finally, they must be authorized or declared permissable. 

The resulting condition I call the "paradox of equality."  Equality is not merely permitted but required under terms of the general or standing contract.  Equality is enforced.   Obviously there must be an enforcing party, which itself--but solely in terms of its duly ceded force--is unequal.  The general conclusion to be drawn is that somewhere in history, perhaps not long ago, equality was obtained by citizens who traded for this equality all personal force. But there is more.  A contract is more than a simple meeting of minds between two persons; it is much more an obligation.  The final paradox of democracy (which is a specical form of the general contract) is that it is a quite logical and altogether possible consequence of such theory that humans can enslave one another.  There are specific examples of this mutual slavery--marriage is one of them--which can be given to illustrate my point.

An agreement means that all parties to the agreement are agreeble to it.   Agreeable means that they "agreeably" submit to the agreement.  Agree, agreeable and agreement have consistent meanings (the German Einverstandnis however does not imply anything, however, "agreeable" (I am connecting then only the English terms).  One "agrees" only if the terms of the agreement are "agreeable."  The English word agreeable means that one's feeling toward the agreement are positive or pleasurable ones; an agreeable person is, for his part, a person who is positive and compliant.   In any case, Rousseau raises an issue (whether he resolves the issue on the other hand is another question) that can be delt with here:  whether any person would submit him- or herself to slavery.  Is there an "agreement" of slavery wherein, of course, the terms of the agreement would specify inequality.  Actually no agreement specifies, as the content of the agreement, the equality of partners.  Marriage is a good example of what we are talking about.  In marriage there is no equality--a better word would be similarity--between male and female partners.  There are imponderables here and issues that I cannot presently resolve.  Nonetheless, all we say at this time is that it is assumed that persons will not enter an agreement except one where they do not feel disadvantaged;  disadvantaged appears now as a word needing definition.  Parties to the agreement are simply "agreeable."  They are pleasantly disposed and also accept terms of the agreement.  All we can presently mean by disadvantaged is that a person thinks that his interest is better served by being within the agreement than being left outside it.  Thus it is quite conceivable that there could be an "agreement of slavery" wherein one party is declared a master and the other a slave.  I am raising these issues--questions regarding the term "equality"--so that someone else does not raise them.  Whether I resolve the questions is another matter.


Is humanity a social relationship?  I am now taking the position that humanity is indeed a social relation insofar as society is or becomes a moral concept.  But we are also saying that humanity does not exist for a society which is based, as it is in its beginnings, soley on simple practical agreements.   Advanced ociety has a moral, not a practical basis; although society originates through agreements that are practical. Society is the generality of all agreements; and is evoked in concept when trust in these agreements falters.  If our money fails, we still have society.   This is a state of our argument now;  there is a situation of minor confusion which I will attempt to sort out.   Two men in an agreement do not have to attribute to one another any sort of so-called humanity.  ....????   There is nothing in the taxonomic or scientific definition of the human species that includes society.  We include in such a definition a notion of interfertility; we also include certain physical and behavioral traits with which we are entirely familiar.  That is as far as science goes.  Regarding the collective life of humans, we might point out certain features.  These include war and peace; they include family and certain relations through language and agreement we call "business."  All these things can be included under the heading of the human species without invoking any sense of humanity as a whole.  These are traits that appear here and there, in this group but not that group, and so forth.  The scientific definition of Homo sapiens is entirely in the particulars of this species and the ways they are clustered.  Humanity, on the other hand, is an esoteric idea that contradicts everything we know of humans in their individual lives.  Humanity is a moral idea, and like other such ideas, is an ideal to aspire to rather than anything real.  But we will go on to say qualify this statement.  This moral idea is still capable of uniting vast numbers of human beings.  We move to the idea, finally, that society itself may be something moral, ultimately, rather than a simple business relation.   That is, simply because humans can interbreed--which fact makes them one taxonomic species--does not mean that they need be anything more than enemies.  To say that humans who can mate and produce viable offspring is itself a social relation would limit our concept of society.  Society is based upon human attributes--mind and language--that go beyond biology.  I want to suggest that society is more a statement of moral or ethical belonging--and mutual obligation--than it is of biological fact.  The family and its instincts of sharing and mutuality is an issue.  Clearly, though, since these instincts do not extend beyond the family, and certainly not to the whole of humanity, something other than an instinct is the basis of society and the kind of mutuality that ethical philosophers talk about.  The whole subject is vague.  The concept of humanity is fairly recent at any rate as some idea based on arcane science but also shared widely among non-biologist laypeople.   Among Australians all men are enemies to one another who are not of the same clan.  Of course the Australians have no concept of the human race; and so, without this concept, they cannot be social.  We are left with a confusing picture, if not of the whole of mankind, then of our own "responsibility" to others of our kind.  Here we have talked about society in terms of agreements or understood relations of reciprocity.  There is little more to society, we are saying, than that.  I used the word "moral."  Here we take the position that responsibility is based on a trust in a promise; and furthermore that this trust is the true source and ground of all higher morality and, if you will, "Christian love."  Our position is not, in other words, that Christian (or higher religious) morality is the basis of business ethics, but rather that the opposite is true.  Business ethics is the basis of all morality.  This is our provisional conclusion and one we can invoke as a certain "critique" of morality in general and, finally, of the idea of humanity as a purely moral--not a factual--fact.  How and where the idea of humanity appeared is still a mystery.  It appears in the idea that "...all men are created equal... and are entitled to..." such and such in our own Declaration of Independence, the central sacred document of our civilization.  The ideas of equality and entitlement are both moral ideas; they are ad hoc pronouncements without basis in anything real.  They are the application of business principles where there is essentially no business.  Again, as I said above, such a moral idea may unite people.  That is where we stand here.  We may have to conclude, finally, that humanity in fact is the ultimate social idea.  But we have also reduced society to something arbitrary and artificial in human life than to something necessary.


in any agreement, trust is necessary
trust is to proceed in the face of an unknown
broken trust
broken trust negates the agreement
a hiatus opens which is categorical and unknown to nature, just as the agreement is  unknown to nature.
no natural mending is possible of the breech of trust
hiatus must be bridged, likewise, by an unnatural idea--that of humanity
ergo, humanity is born out of a sort of inhumanity, a breech of trust. 
society is negative--serves no practical purpose--but protects men from an unnatural war where their unnatural agreements have failed.