Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethics: Two Objections

December 26, 2011

Lets review two common objections to the argument in the previous post.

First-

When people engage in argument they don’t use their body, but rather parts of their body. They use the mouth, or the hands, but they don’t use their kidney! Therefor, engaging in argumentation does not imply participants recognize each other’s right to own their kidney, only the parts used for discourse.

In his book Theory of Socialism and Capitalism Hoppe examines various presuppositions of discourse (I didn’t have room to mention all in the previous post). One such presupposition is that language is capable of meaning, that is. words have an objective interpretation both parties can recognize. This of course is assumed by anyone who chooses to speak to someone else. Another such presupposition is that objects have distinct boundries. That is, objects have boundaries which can be recognized by both parties. If I hold a ball it is distinct from the air around it. The boundary of the ball is not arbitrary. I can also say you are distinct from me, we are also separateobjects. To deny this presupposition is the say the world is one big moosh. Nothing is distinct. No meaningful discourse can take place. When the following objection is raised, i.e. that the “mouth” is distinct from the body, what objective border is refered? Which specific line separates the mouth from the rest of the body? Such a line must probably dissect an artery at some point, or otherwise simply pass through flesh, blood vessels ext. To say that the “mouth” or the “hand” are distinct from the body, even the speaker’s kidney, is to deny the universe has any meaning at all.

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Second-

What you say may be relevant for the actual participants in argument, but it is not relevant to a third party. When I’m speaking to you, I can’t logically say I own you body, but, I can say I own someone else’s body with no contradiction. Imagine two slave owners talking to each other.

You must remember, we are talking about dispute resolution. When one say’s “I own someone’s body” he is really saying, I prefer unjustified violence to discourse in some cases. One cannot justify such a claim in an argument, which presupposes  justification has nothing to do with force of violence (and everything to do with content). True, one can, however, babel as much as he wants, If he were to act on his beliefs he then could not justify his actions in argument. Actual violent actions can’t be justified, only the NAP.

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See more replies to critiques here.

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One Response to “Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethics: Two Objections”


  1. […] In the next (short) post, I will deal with a few misunderstandings I encountered about the argument. Meantime, have a blast. Live Free. Tu ne cede malis. Next post coming up. Update: next post here. […]


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