Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Telling others what to do


All philosophers know that philosophy is powerful tool for understanding things, which is good for deciding what to do. (In fact I believe that all philosophy is trying to answer the question "what will I do next?") But when are we allowed to impinge on others.

One might say that the philosophy of one-man-one-vote applies, and that we should maximise freedom of choice. But even that is only one of a myriad of positions.

Let's say we come to a position about which we a really certain, and let's add that in the course of the rest of our lives we would never change our minds. (It's a thought experiment, okay?) At what point does our certainty give us the right to affect others? Is there any general principle which has greater authority than that which is chosen by the majority? From where can such authority come, and assuming we are open to the idea of absolute authority, when should we ourselves recognise when we should submit our own will to that of external authority?

Is believing in God this kind of thing? If it is, and person has absolute faith of the kind just described, at what point are they justified in forcing the behaviour of others? Is believing in science this kind of thing? Is any kind of principled system more authorative than the confidence given it by those who believe in it?



Anonymous nfwai said...

those thoughts had been playing around in my head, and i'm glad to see someone who can articulate it.
If one person believes in his God, or an abstract unproveable ideal, he should believe that the next person will understand and accept that god or ideal too. opposing parties should have a chance to voice their stand and listen to another's before making a decision. i believe you can't overstep the line by using any means of harrassment. Everyone has the right to speak, so any restrictive authority is void. bottom line, freewill thinking by means of logical deduction.
people with twisted minds are another story though.

12/10/2006 05:31:00 PM  

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