Connected Self-Ownership and Implications for Online Networks and Privacy Rights
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Connected Self-Ownership and Implications for Online Networks and Privacy Rights


>>We’re super excited today to have Ann Cudd joining
us from Boston University. Ann is the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Boston University. She’s also a professor
of philosophy. Before that, she was at
the University of Kansas, where I was leaving
behind me in the alley. I said she was not
living in the alley. She was living across
the alley in a lovely home, a lovely home, yes. I’ve raised her since she
was a whippersnapper. Ann is a very interesting person
for this lab because she has a undergraduate degree in mathematics,
she’s a philosopher, she wrote her dissertation
on game theory, she studies feminism,
she studies oppression, and she has a lot of
overlaps with a lot of different interests
that a lot of us have, so I thought it would be
delightful to have her come by. I will let you go ahead. She has tons of
accomplishments, lots of books, lots of praise,
all of that stuff, but I would rather hear
what you have to say.>>Thank you so much, Nancy. It’s such a privilege to come
here and to speak with you, and thank you for allowing
a philosopher to come in and talk about the metaphysics
of the cell parts. I don’t think that’s what Nancy had initially imagined
that I would speak about, but I told her this is actually the most recent research paper
that I’ve been working on, so she said,” Well, if
you’re passionate about it, then go for it.” So, I am promising
some implications of my work for something that I think maybe many of
you are interested in. So basically let me
just get started, and let me provide some context
of why I’m thinking about self-ownership and
how this could play a role in those kinds of things that many of
you think about. So, if you think about it, there’s a very basic moral
or political question that moral and political
philosophers should try to answer, and that is something like what two persons have a
right to do and say, and what can society or other individuals force us to do on pain of some
social sanction. Whether that’s from
just disapproval, all the way to
incarceration or worse. Okay, so any kind
of social sanction. So what do we have a right to do and what can society
force us to do? Basically, philosophers’ method, the typical philosophers’ method is to establish
some basic concepts, some basic principles,
go to first principles, that can then ground a theory that can
answer the questions. Okay, so our theory is
usually built up with some kind of argument from example or analogy
or counterexample, and really it’s pretty basic, and so it’s not
usually empirical, although as we were talking
about at lunch today, sometimes philosophers do a little bit of
experimental work, but I’m afraid I’m not one
of those philosophers. So, it’s basic argumentation, so that’s the kind of
methodology I’m going to use. So self-ownership is one
of these basic concepts. In particular, it’s a basic
concept for libertarianism. So libertarianism,
I’m going to be speaking of libertarianism,
not very much, but a little bit today as a political philosophy and not necessarily in
the sort of Rand Paul, contemporary political empirically practically
political world, okay. I’m going to be talking about. Insofar as I do talk
about libertarianism, I’m going to be talking about the basic political philosophy. So, what libertarians do with self-ownership as they say
that they posit this idea, and they don’t usually
examine it very carefully, but they posit the idea that
each of us owns ourselves, and they especially
concentrate on this idea of ownership and that brings a lot of moral political
weight with it. It’s because ownership
rights are taken to be very stranger rights.
The rights to use or possess or exclude
others from using, rights to dispose of or
transfer some kind of a thing. So if I own my toothbrush, I can use it, I possess it, I can exclude you from using it, I hope, I can throw it
away when I want to, and if I want to give it
away, I can give it away. So there’s something about, we think about ownership as
having those kinds of claims. Now of course, you
can take those apart, you can make up
different kinds of ownership rights legally, you can take
all of those pieces apart, but basically, this
is why libertarians are interested in this idea
of self-ownership is because it gives us a very solid significant stringent claim over our own bodies, and then by extension, over the things
that our bodies do, and in particular, the ways that we gain the right to property. So libertarians, well, if you think about even old liberals, classical liberals
like John Locke, who argued that from
the ownership of ourselves, when we work on
some unknowns nature and we we pluck an apple from
an apple tree that nobody owns, we come to own that
through our labor. We come to own the apple
that we have now labored on, by an extension of
our own bodies. Anyway, I’m not really going
to talk much about that, I’m just trying to motivate the idea that
self-ownership provides, especially for the libertarian, this important stringent right over our bodies and
then over our things. Libertarians appeal
to this idea to say, first of all, that
for each of us, our bodies or ourselves, whatever a self is in
addition to a body, but over our bodies, we cannot be used or possessed
without our consent. That’s pretty important
right, right? That’s one thing, and another
is that our duties to help others or to do
things for others can only arise from
our voluntary consent. So Libertarians are very keen to say that you cannot
force me to help you unless I consent to some kind of contractual arrangement
with you, okay. So that’s how you
get this idea of libertarianism that’s
against taxation, that’s for very stringent
property rights, and builds this cocoon, if you will, around
the individual, and I’m characterizing a little
bit so if our character, so if you’re a libertarian, please feel free to
attack that caricature, but I’m trying to do it for the sake of simplicity
and clarity, and it’s overly
simplistic, perhaps. Okay, so that’s the idea of self-ownership as the
libertarian looks at it. The ideal itself, I think, has two very important
characteristics. It’s one very the
individualistic. So the self is to be fully identified with the individual. On some theories, that’s
the individual body, and on other theories, well you don’t have to just identify the self with the body, it could be with the rational
individual that’s inside of me or a rational individual. The thing that is the agent in game theory or something like that or in decision theory, and the others’ aspect of it is that it’s an atomistic theory. So individuals are separable from the external world,
at least in principle. So the people who populate a libertarian theory
are these self-contained, self-sufficient rational
individuals, okay. So that might be familiar to some of you economists,
and the theory, basically the theory
of homo economicus or something like that, it’s not not that
different from that. So what I’m going to do
in my argument today is, I’m going to deny both
of these aspects of self-ownership and argue
that a self owner, so an entity that can own itself and that can be the foundation of
a political or moral theory, is actually necessarily
connected to other self owners. So is not atomistic, but connected within a network of norms and social practices, and he social practices of guiding each other
according to social norms. So that guidance and being
guided by and guiding others according to
norms, rules, practices, things that judgments of better and worse,
that kind of thing, are really really
important to making us the kind of things we are namely, self owners that can be the foundation of a moral and
political philosophy. So are you with me? That’s the basic context here
that we’re talking about. Okay, so I want to
draw sharp disarray, a careful distinction between descriptive and
normative individualism. So, I take myself
to be a liberal, in the large, broad
sense of liberal. In the sense of what I would say is normative individualism. That is, I take the human self, whatever it is, to be of
ultimate intrinsic moral value. So, the whole point, to me, of doing political and
moral philosophy, is to, in some sense, give a theory that protects
that individual moral self. We are of ultimate value. Descriptive individualism
by contrast is just claims that the human
self can be described and explained by reference to forces and causes
that act only on the individual and not having to refer to
any irreducibly social facts. So, I think that descriptive
individualism is false, but normative
individualism is true. I think that
the atomistic self-owner of libertarianism is a
descriptive, individualist theory. It’s also normatively,
individualist. But I deny the descriptive part, I don’t deny the normative part. So, as I say, liberalism rests on normative individualism, but it need not embrace
a descriptive one. I think that libertarianism
is a form of liberalism that embraces both descriptive
and normative individualism. Just to give you a contrast, and I’m not going to be talking
about this view at all, but communitarianism denies
normative individualism as well as descriptive
individualism. Okay? Yes.>>Is it necessarily either
or when you think about it, is it possible to both be
a normative individualist and also communitarianism that says each self is of ultimate
in terms of moral value. So, two is a
community in which we always I before another?>>I don’t think that’s
impossible and that’s my view, but I think that’s a liberalism. But that’s a really
good question. So, here’s where I think there’s the two might- I would
have to hear more about what you mean by
communitarianism but where they might split apart.>>It’s all there.>>Yeah, well, where they
might split apart is suppose you think that we should sacrifice individuals for the sake of preservation
of some community. So, for instance, not allow a right of exit from a community. There are communities that don’t allow individuals
to exit without very, very significant cause that I would say is a denial
of right of exit. To me, that’s anti-liberal. But then you might
say, “Well, okay, but then that’s denying
normative individualism.” So, I think you can’t be a normative,
individualist and communitarian. So, here’s the thesis
that I’m going to defend. I’m going to argue that
self-owners can’t be the atomistic
individuals portrayed by the concept of
libertarian self-ownership. They’re essentially
constituted by their connections
with other selfs. So, this word “Essentially” is obviously a pretty important
word for a philosopher. It means I’m going to start
talking metaphysics here, because it’s got to be really, that’s a strong claim, essential is really basic. So, I’m giving a metaphysical arguments because I think that’s a more stringent argument
than a merely causal one. So, lots of libertarians will
say to me, “Oh, of course, we think that infants
have to be cared for by their parents and people
need all kinds of care, and so causally yes, we’re all dependent
on each other. Sure.” But essentially, we
are separable individuals. So, that’s why I
think I have to go to this metaphysical claim, or metaphysical plane
if you will. So, join me in this quest, on this metaphysical plane, to really make the argument. In the end, if you all want to say or
somebody you want to say, “Well, really why do we care
about the metaphysics?” In some sense I’ll say, “Yeah, I understand where
you’re coming from, because what’s really
important ultimately is the politics and what we actually hold each
other accountable for.” But my view is that if you
want to defeat the argument, the best rational argument
of the libertarian, you have to go to
this metaphysical plane. Yes.>>Are you predicted on
the idea of there being a singular self, fixed singular self,
as opposed to a dynamic or multiplicity
of selves in a person?>>I don’t think it
is dependent on that. However, if there’s not
a connection among those cells, then it’s hard to say what the right self would have
if it changes over time. So, I think there has
to be some continuity. So, I would subscribe to a psychological continuity thesis about personal identity. If that’s basically
the philosophical problem I think that you’re referring to. But within that, of course, psychological continuity
is consistent with a lot of change over time just as long as there’s a memory or a connection from
one moment to the next. So, here’s just to say
a little bit more about why this has to be
metaphysical argument and not a causal one, or to say a little bit more
about what that means. So, I think you can
separate out what I would call the causal origins
of any given self. So, I was born on a certain day, to a certain pair of parents, with a certain set of
genetic components, nurtured by the food
that they gave me and then taught by the words
that they spoke to me. The various stimulants
that they presented to me. Then over time, as I became a child and started playing with
peers and so forth, there were further
causal interactions that have formed me, up to the point where I
am the person that I am. So, those are all
causal origins of this self. The metaphysical
origins of a self, though are something
a little bit different, this is the question, what are the necessary conditions for something to be a self
that is a self-owner? So, that’s a very much more basic and conceptual question than the causal question of how did I get to be the self
that I am today? Or even the generic causal
question of how do people generally grow up to be the adult human beings
that they are? So, you can ask
that causal question in those two separate ways. A very particular way
and a more generic way that has to do with
the causal laws. By causal I mean not just physical but also
mental and social causes. So, the things that
I think right now, the self having these thoughts about metaphysics and so forth. Right now as I speak, has
social causes and mental causes. I’ve had previous thoughts
about philosophy, about, whatever. All
of those things. That have made me think the things that
I think right now. I guess I am
deterministic, right? That’s just to say
the self is deterministic, and their social causes. There are all kinds of
different sciences that would play a nice role in
explaining how human beings come to be the things
that they are today in this culture with these
thoughts, with these tendencies. But metaphysical
origins has to do with what is a self-owner? How does it come to be
the thing that it is? If you’re thinking about
moral and political philosophy, and what you wanna do is, have a theory that
holds regardless of the particularities of how the being came into
existence causally. And philosophers tend
to want to do that, because we want to have a
moral and political philosophy that would work for robots. Or for entities on a distant exoplanet,
right? Doesn’t matter. Provided that they are the kinds of things
that are self-owners, this moral and political theory
should fit for them. Okay? Okay. So, the assumptions I’m making about
what a self-owner is or has to be in order to be the grounding for social and
political philosophy or for moral and
political philosophy is that, those self-owners have to
be intrinsically valuable. They have to be capable of making and respecting ownership claims. In other words, what
is it to be an owner? Well, it’s to be able to
make a claim on something. So, that’s the basic assumption. What is it to be
normative individualism to hold? Well, has to be intrinsically valuable and not valuable just because of the advantages
it brings to somebody, it’s something else, right? Has to be valuable in itself. And the part about respecting
ownership claims-. And there, I think it’s
going to be an entity that’s a grounding for a moral and
political philosophy, then it has to be capable of
basically acting morally. So, it has to be able
to respect the claims of others. Just capable of that. Might turn out to be
an immoral version of one of these beings
but at least it’s capable of understanding
and respecting them. So, as I say though, the metaphysical question doesn’t assume that self-owners are necessarily human or even biological or that
they’re embodied. And an analogy to this kind of metaphysical
question I’m asking is-. Think about chess
pieces and chessboards. You could have a set of chess pieces that are made out of ivory and you
could have a wooden board. Or you could have
a digital representation of chess pieces and the rules of chess and chessboards, right? And both of them are equally chess pieces and chessboards. It doesn’t matter. So, what makes them that
is the set of rules that you’re applying to the movements of
the chess pieces. Okay? Yes.>>Are there examples you
can give that would satisfy the criteria that would not be human biological
or embodied?>>Well not human. Might be
some other social primates.>>Right.>>That be easy. But
I’m not sure of that, because I’m not
a biological anthropologist. But I bet maybe
baboons are like this. I don’t know, they could
respect. Biological? Well, you could imagine a virtual beings. In fact, that would count
as not embodied too, right? Algorithms there might be Hal? Right? It could be a self-owner. I don’t think that Hal could
be a connected self-owner. No. Maybe Hal is connected to the people that he lived among.>>Dave?>>Dave. Right.
Maybe between them. Yes. But that’s
where I’m trying to leave open the possibility
of a virtual being, and the idea that there might be an artificial
intelligence where you would say, it would be immoral to unplug it or to kill it because it’s
intrinsically valuable. Why? Because it’s capable of the same capabilities of
self-ownership that we are. I don’t think it exists yet, but in our dreams, right? Okay. Good. So, this is just a little representation of these sort of hierarchies. So, they’re actually
existing self-owners, are a subset of
the physically possible ones. But the metaphysically
possible ones are even beyond a bigger set, right? I think that’s just it.
Okay. So, here we go. Here’s the argument. Okay.
Now I need my notes. Okay. So, the first premise
is just to say that, if the self-owners are to be foundational for moral and
political philosophy, then they’re going to have to
have intrinsic moral value, and they have to have the ability to participate some
community or polity. It’s just from the meaning of moral theory or
political philosophy really. Okay? If they’re
not valuable then, then they’re not sort of
the subject of a moral theory. Okay. If they’re valuable-. I should draw the distinction between intrinsic and
instrumental value. I’m assuming that. So, something that’s
intrinsically valuable is valuable in and
of itself, right? Without considering
anything else. Something that’s merely instrumentally
valuable is valuable because it’s valuable
to something that is intrinsically
valuable, right? So, the subjects of
moral and political theory, I believe have to be. I don’t think this controversial. Have to be
intrinsically valuable. And what is it to participate
in a community or a polity? Well, minimally I think, it means that you’re able
to reflect on norms, rules or something
more informal rules that are given to you externally and guide your
actions according to them. So for instance, to learn
that it’s bad or wrong to do X and it’s good
or right to do Y, or just some basic rules and
some basic normative claims, something is apt, appropriate,
good, right preferable. Any of those kind of judgments. Okay? And then even more, fully than that,
more fulsomely is to be able to guide
others actions. Minimally, you have to be able to guide your own
actions according to these rules, but even better, real participation in
a polity or community, is that you are not just the subject but
you’re the agent as well. Okay? And that means, I think, in order to be able to
do that reflection on norms and guiding one’s actions
according to those norms, one has to have mental states and intentions, beliefs, desires. Okay? One has to be able
to see what the norm is, consider an action, and judge whether that action fits
the norm or doesn’t. And likewise, judge
about others actions. Do they fit according
to the norm or not? Okay? And right now, I’m using norm in a very descriptive way
in the sense that, it might be a bad norm, right? But it’s a norm agreed
upon by some community. Okay? Some group.>>Does it trouble
your definition of technology? Actions that violate
norms as participation, if I’m murdered in cold blood, Am I still participating
in the community or have I stopped participating
in the community?>>Right. I’m just
trying to get-. As long as you can see
that you violated a norm, then you’re participating
in this very basic sense.>>Acknowledgement.>>Acknowledgement,
yes, at minimal. And I’m just trying to get
the minimum qualifications for something to be a self owner, again because I’m trying to get this metaphysical very broad view and include everything
in that we possibly can, and the reason for
that is because, suppose I make a very broad-. All of these things could be self owners but
the one thing that can’t, are the atomistic individuals
of libertarian theory. Right? That’s the
structure of my argument. Okay. So, have to have mental states,
intentions, beliefs, desires, so that they
can take in norms, reflect on norms or rules. And what is it to be an owner? Well minimally, again, that’s to have a claim over a
thing that is owned and a claim against others over others exclusively claiming it. And an ability make
use of or possess it. Again, this is just from the very definition of ownership. What it is to own something. Okay? So what I am saying though, is that one has to be able
to actively make a claim. And that again is bringing in intentions
and beliefs and desires. Okay? So I’m concluding from those last two premises
about ownership and participation that
a cell phone or must be a thing that
intends and acts, and that can take and
respond to norms. And that’s just what in
other words is a moral person. So, philosophers always talk
about what is a person, and there’s a high bar for person-hood it’s
not just having the right number of chromosomes or roughly the right number
of chromosomes, it’s actually having
this ability to intend and act and take
and respond to norms. So, a self owner has
to be a moral person. I guess key premise is six, which is to say that, what makes a self’s existence
as this moral person, as this thing that
can think, intend, and act, is that it’s embedded in a normative web
of meaningfulness. Why is that? Well, if I’m
going to have an intention, I intend to do X or I intend
some meaningful thing, it has to have a meaning for me. But meaning then immediately, I think brings in language. And language is
essentially social. One individual,
atomistic individual, cannot come up with a language. A language is essentially social. I believe that once we start to talk about things
as having intentions, beliefs, and desires,
we’ve already brought in the social, namely language. But there are lots
of other norms that also make our world meaningful. So, our judgments are
better and worse, apt and inapt, good and bad, also color the whole world
that we live in. We never see anything as
green their chair, right? We see it as, it’s
a certain kind of green, it’s a chair that you can sit in, but you wouldn’t want
to lie down in it. There are all these
judgments that immediately come
with our perception. We never perceive things
purely as some data, but always we perceive
it as something, and that I believe brings
in norms and language. And if that’s the case, so that cracks
the argument for me. If that’s the case,
then we are essentially connected in this web
of social norms. We are essentially
socially connected. Do you want to ask a question?>>I was just curious whether somebody who understands
some of the norms but not all the norms or
respects some of the norms not all the norms would be
considered an immoral person, because they don’t respect
some of the norms?>>Yes, I haven’t even
gotten to that point. I would say jumping
ahead a little bit. There are many norms in any given community that are bad norms and should be flouted. There are others that
are optional, right? It’s normative for women to
paint their fingernails, but it’s optional, right? So there are these things that maybe is a general judgments of better and worse in a community
that you don’t need to.>>I’ve been thinking
about your inability to recognize a norm.>>Right.>>You can recognize some but
you don’t recognize others.>>I like if you
can recognize one. You count as one of these intrinsically
valuable, self-owners.>>Even if you go against it?>>Yes, right. Even
going against it, right?>>If you don’t
even recognize it?>>Right. Yes. There is no probably you No second person who
would be kind of said-. Well, somebody who has
become comatose and will never regain consciousness again, will count as not a
self owner on this. Doesn’t mean you can
do whatever you want to to anything that’s
not a self owner. I’m not saying that, therefore, we can cut down all the
trees in the world because they’re not self owners.
I don’t wanna say that. But I’m simply trying
to make this claim that anything that we’re
going to ground moral or political philosophy on, has to be something that can recognize and guide itself
according to norms. Yes?>>[inaudible] I think this is an
example of that kind of thing. It feels like the concept
of the self owner, you’re saying that needs to be practical for moral philosophy. And therefore, it
has to be grounded in notion of participation. And then participation has
norms and norms great->>Right.>>-connections,
impulse, et cetera. So, should I take
away that this is not a useful concept
without the communities or roughly or I
should think of it-. it’s not even a well-defined
concept to that conclusion.>>Right, yes. I think the idea that
a self owner could be separable from
all other possible self owners, like there could be one in the history of
the Big Bang happens, then there’s one self owner, Robinson Crusoe let’s call him, he’s out there and
that’s impossible. That’s metaphysically impossible, because he could
never have language, he could never have norms to
guide himself according to. There’s also the fact that well, who’s going to make
claims against? But that’s not the point
that I’m making.>>Okay.
>>Right? Yes. He might make claims against
this flying asteroid that’s going by or
something. Yes?>>[inaudible] You take a human
being and now you take him to another planet alone
and he stays there. Should he himself think of
himself as a self owner?>>Good. Yes. Yes. So, I think that once you’ve
acquired norms, and you remember them, and you think, crap I miss my family but they
would have wanted me to go on or that’s already a normative way
of guiding your actions. So, you’ve internalized
these norms. I think we can internalize them, and then you know be
all alone in the world. Now, if you then get hit
by the asteroid and you have amnesia and you remember
no norms and no language, you’re longer a self owner. Yes. So, the Robinson
Crusoe story, which is often brought
up by libertarians as an example of
the ideal man, right? Is to me, it’s loaded already with all
of the norms that he was, so didn’t keep a diary and stuff. He was very much trying to
live like a proper Englishman, that’s a very normative
framework to be living within. Okay. So, this normative web I
think is constitutive of-. Philosophers love
to use that term. -Constitutive of self-hood. And this is just to
reiterate the main points of my central argument and
that is to be a person, is to be enmeshed in a web
of social relations. The normative web that
we are enmeshed in is this emergent normative
framework that we collectively create through our individual behavior
and social interactions. Right? But our individual
behavior then creates norms, nobody set out to-
Probably to- I don’t know. Create some silly norm that there exists today in
fashion or something that somebody tried something out and all of
a sudden other people started copying it and
pretty soon became a normative way of dressing or acting or
something like that. To use a Heideggerian phrase, which I rarely will do but
this is my favorite one. Social institutions are
always already there. Okay? So we’re dropped
into as individuals. In fact, were sort
of dropped into this normative world
that we find, and that shapes us
inevitably. Yes?>>Is there any reason why
the web is your metaphor, like spider web as [inaudible]
to some other kind of structure?>>There’s a kind
of an illusion to something that Willard Van
Orman Quine wrote but, I don’t know. Maybe that’s it. The web of relations. I’m not sure how much
I’ve loaded into that, except that I think that, you have to think of
physical individuals as nodes in a network or a web and that
that’s a significant. So both the connections and
the nodes are important. So, I don’t know. That’s probably not
a very good answer. I thought it was cool.
The picture was cool.>>[inaudible] biological or
some other kind of connective-.>>Yes. There will be
connective tissue. Network is the other
other metaphor. So, my conclusion the
normative web including linguistic norms that connect individuals who are capable
of moral personhood. And without which, there
could be no moral persons, it has to be itself
intrinsically valuable. So, it’s not just the individuals but all of our connectedness. So, this is a relational accounts or our relations
with each other are also intrinsically valuable not just the individual node. Yes?>>I don’t know, maybe somebody
ask something like that. Does it count if you have
a relationship with let’s say, with the environment with nature. I’m thinking about
indigenous community and their sense of society. So, I am kind of such person
if a relate with the tree. For me a tree is a living being
that determine my norms. Because it’s influencing
my behavior. So that the individual
can be something thus, not human. You know what I mean?>>So, the thing is, a tree can’t be a
self-owner on my view. Okay? Doesn’t mean that
the tree is invaluable. But on my view, it would have to be
instrumentally valuable. And so, I would have to
have a long conversation to figure out a way in
which I would be able to see the tree as
intrinsically valuable, in the way that self owners are.>>The man or the woman
that interact just with the tree that say
other people don’t exist, intrinsically valuable or not?>>No, because it
can’t be self owner. Right? Now I could imagine, that suppose there’s one human being ever and there’s also one other sentient being that can also form intentions where they could interact in some way. I could imagine that they could develop a kind of
language between them and eventually both
become self owners, that seems imaginable to me, like higher-order primates
or whales or dolphins. So, I think there are probably-. I’m not enough of a biologist
to know which things are. I’m pretty sure trees can’t
be because they can’t form intentions or
beliefs or desires. Yes?>>I’m really curious
because I feel like in my questions, I’m hearing some
of the other ones. I’m hearing an exercise
where we’re all looking to try to like
change your presumption. In fact, I think most people in this room have a kind of like connected theory
of illness whether it’s kind of like a social constructionist
on the sociological side->>Right.>>-we’re studying
webs of people and recognize the influence
of [inaudible] k. So, I’m trying to see if you’re arguing at someone
who is like No, they are atomistic individuals, people are billiard balls,
they’re bumping each other, and they are otherwise alone, and it’s those people you’re
challenging or you saying, despite the fact
that we’re actually connected and we all know that, there’s a convenient fiction that’s been there that
we kind of lean on.>>Right.>>You’re trying to
just like take fiction.>>Right, yes.>>Okay. That’s great. Then,
one questions is like, maybe it’s a fiction and it is a convenient fiction and it
helps us organize things, and we could say it’s
pragmatic fiction or we can say maybe there would be
a better fiction that would better understand this. But it makes sense to me that there’s a world
where I both recognize that I am deeply tethered to people through
social relations in language but I still have
way to like have contracts, and that contracts
relies on like, I’m me, you’re you. I have stuff. I can give you
stuff. That’s your stuff.>>Great. Yes. Right.
So, that’s exactly-.>>We don’t have to be like.
No, I believe in atomistic individuals, should actually
get to like, is this a foolish fiction for us
to keep on sticking with?>>Yes. Yes. That’s exactly the point that I want to get to. So, the response is often that, well, this is
just an idealization, this atomistic individual, just like idealizations in physics, in economics, whatever, right? And my response to
that is to say, the value of an ideal
In that sense, depends on its use, right? What does the theory give you? That you get out of
making that idealization. Well, in political philosophy, it gives you libetarianisim. So, it gives you a theory
that says you have no necessary obligations to others that you don’t
voluntary contract for, okay? I think that’s a real problem. I think that’s a problem
for the world. I think that we actually owe each other some things by virtue of what we are given without ever asking or accepting voluntarily, those things, that we
inevitably have so much, that we owe it, to the pay it forward or pay
it back one or the other. We have an obligation to do that. And so, the libertarian ideal that you actually should have, the tax list state except for defense
something like that, is a mistake and it comes about as a result of
this ideal, idealization. So, I judge the value of
an ideal based on what you get out of it and I think you get something not
so good out of it. So, it’s question begging to say, you know this, oh but it’s just an ideal but it gives
me this bad outcomes. So let’s examine the ideal.
The ideals of fiction. Here’s the way in
which it’s a fiction. What would this give us? Alright? Well, I’m going
to pass on by this one because that was just to
say there are lots of different causal origins
of different but let’s move on to
Autonomy as ideal. So, if we are the self owners what is
an ideal way to be a self owner. Well traditionally, autonomy has been a value in moral and political philosophy for lots of reasons I could
talk about later but it’s the basic idea of people
as self governors. So, it’s an ideal of freedom. Right? I get to set my own beliefs and
desires and so forth, and nobody forces them upon me. Autonomy as long
been thought of as a kind of individualistic notion. But more recently,
and I’m talking about 20 years now or something of political and
moral philosophy, a notion of relational
autonomy has been developed and
particularly by feminists. And so, that’s the ideal
of autonomy that would go together with this connected
self ideal, alright? So, one of these, that’s particularly
appealing to me is the idea that
an autonomous person is one who has the ability to participate in
a collective self-government. So is not only a taker of
norms but also a giver. So, can give and take, argue about debate, disagree, agree, whatever about the norm. So, on my view, the connected self could not be a lone originator of norms, alright? Got to be others. But autonomous
connected selves are both contributors to and participants in the making and giving
of normative guidance. Now, we get a little
bit of pay off. There’s not very much, because I don’t have a lot of time. But a little bit of
payoff is, well, the web of connection society,
community, networks, ought to allow each node
within to become such a reciprocal participant
giver and taker of norms in order to promote this kind of
relational autonomy. So, we could now judge communities as oppressive
or as autonomy enhancing. So those would be two opposites, depending on whether they enhance people’s ability to be full participants in
this norm creation, or whether for some people merely be takers and the others get to be
both givers and takers. Okay? So, this is just the
basic difference between the atomistic self-owners
and the connected. I am going to pass out and by too because that’s
basically [inaudible]. So, what are these autonomy enhancing
communities or networks? Well, they’re the ones that
encourage reciprocity. And one way of doing that is by encouraging or having norms
of dignity and equality. Because if everybody has
dignity and equality, they’re authorized by
the normative framework itself to be givers as well
as takers of norms. So, now I’m getting
a little bit of political payoff here to this. And morally speaking,
connected selves, good connected selves,
moral ones, nourish autonomy in each other by teaching and encouraging
autonomous capacities, that is capacities
to debate civilly or without violence and to talk about norms
with each other, which, of course,
we do all the time. This is what much of
our conversation is about. It’s about normative facts. And by discouraging violence and other emotionally or socially or psychologically
damaging practices, which disable us from being these full participants in the reciprocity of norm
giving and taking. And so, basically, this
is a basic principle I think and that is
networks or communities that are not autonomy enhancing, have no right to exist as such, and persons have
moral obligations to reform those or to help those who are oppressed by them to find autonomy enhancing networks
in which two exist. So, now we can talk a little bit about online communities and, the sort of reciprocity that
should be enabled by them. So, just like communities
in the material world, online communities can be either oppressive or autonomy enhancing. So, if there are norms of bullying and shutting
people down and so forth, those are obviously
non-autonomy enhancing. There are some networks, some online sharing spaces that provide the ability
to have full conversations without flaming and that
sort of thing but allow for continuing threaded
discussions in ways that are more productive or to say. And obviously, spreading
false news is one way of psychologically
damaging people. And then just for privacy rights, I think we have a duty
not to harm others, that’s not autonomy-enhancing
after all. And norms of trolling
behavior or creating false news that gaslights persons or making defamatory false claims about people and those
kinds of things, those are kinds of
privacy violations and some of them,
they cause harm. We have a duty I think to avoid doing things like
harvesting personal data without permission or passing on data that’s been
legitimately collected in one way but using in ways that then lead to
these kinds of harms or that can lead to non-autonomy
enhancing networks. Right? And so, I would say we can derive the idea that
software developers have a duty to avoid having
their products be used in such a way
that they harvest personal data without
permission or pass on data that’s
been legitimately collected in various ways. Yes?>>What do you think about
different cultures having different normative
webs, for example, the United States and the European Union having
different ideals about self-control and
autonomy and that we’re seeing in exact this issue?>>Right.>>Now Facebook is
just like, well, we’re not quite gonna
give North Americans the same kind of privacy
protection as we give Europeans.>>No. That’s just because
they want to abide by the minimal laws rather than-.>>Right. They want to
abide by minimal laws? Is that the case where, from your perspective,
you can say, well, Facebook is infringing on the autonomy of
Americans and Canadians. They’re wrong or that’s not
more moral way behave or is there an argument that could
be legitimately made but instead we’re abiding by
the norms of our community, which is the American
community and why should we be cultured by the norms
of another communities?>>Good. So, what
my theory allows us to do is to judge entire
normative frameworks. Right? So, what we
could say is that it turns out the North
American normative framework, legal framework is not
the best normative framework. The EU has a better one, right? I mean, you could make it in terms of this
autonomy enhancement, and the likelihood of
creating the False-light, false news and harvesting
personal data. I didn’t say much
about why that’s so bad violations of privacy, but I could talk some
more about that. So, this I think is a framework that gives us exactly the kind of ammunition we need to argue that
the whole framework of the legal structure is
inadequate at this point. Right? Not that legal structures
are the only ways of creating normative frameworks but they’re pretty important
and it seems like, if we have a sharp
disagreements like Facebook on one side and
others on the other, we’re going to have
to adjudicate that in a way probably that uses
a certain amount of coercion and legal
forces probably what’s required. Yes Bill?>>I have a question ma’am. I like
the [inaudible] the language as a basics for connectiveness. I stressed about kind of [inaudible]
multiple languages though. So, if I’m going to
[inaudible] immigrated to a place where my government or my tax code doesn’t
speak my language, Am I still connected
to them or if I’m in the indigenous community inside a bigger country that doesn’t recognize
or connect my language, does that mean that I
have any obligation to participate or respect
their norms or is not? Do you consider people to be connected if they speak
different languages that are connected to
ancestors or have-.>>People will inevitably become connected when they
meet each other, I mean they’re going to find ways of communicating even if it’s not through
knowing exactly the language of each other. So, I use the language
maybe in a little bit of a minimal sense. But what I would say that a community that say
takes in another community, refugee community, say of people who don’t speak
the same language, is not going to be very
autonomy-enhancing if it doesn’t help those individuals
to communicate with the rest of the community. But I should also say
that I think lots of autonomy-enhancing normative
frameworks and so, you could have two different
communities that have very different norms, well, especially aesthetic
norms, etiquette norms, moral norms, still there could be some differences
in moral norms I think. That could both be
autonomy-enhancing and yet, not exactly the same. Okay? So, when they
come into conflict, probably some respect norms
that need to come into play in order to enhance
the autonomy of both. But I do think that individuals need to have the
right to abandon one set of norms and go to
another community if their autonomy is not enhanced within
a particular community. So, once a self-owner, always a self-owner, sort of. So, you don’t have to speak
the language that you’re dropped into a new country and you don’t speak
their language, you’re still a self-owner. But you’re going to
have to probably to be an autonomous self-owner
within this new community, you’re going to have
to learn some of their language in order to be able to participate. Yes?>>So, continuing this questioning
of normative frameworks, it seems we’re still trapped a little bit in this libertarian
framework because emphasis on privacy rights. I think this pervades a lot of current
policies of course, if we just can’t protect our privacy or if we are
able to own our own data. So, there’s still this adoption of a kind of
individualistic framework, and I’m just wondering if
we can broad in the social imaginary and think
about the trend of not just individuals, but social rights,
collective rights. Is that deserve a vocabulary
we can move from?>>Well, one thing is I
think it’s important, I don’t know, if this gets there, but it’s really
important to see why publicity is so important
to us as well as privacy. So, that’s a value because
without publicity, our ability to make public to each other what we think
and what we believe, we don’t have a normative web. So, publicity is very
valuable as is privacy, and I think privacy is
valuable because, again, each of us is a node, each of us does suffer
an individual fate, if you will, and can
be individually picked out for abuse or
something like that. So, what I think the connected
self-ownership ideal helps us to see is how
important it is to balance the needs of publicity
and the needs of privacy. But maybe you’re right,
maybe that’s still doesn’t get beyond the individualism. As I said, I am ultimately
a liberal just not a libertarian and
normative individualism is something I embrace. So, maybe I can get totally over to
the communitarian side. So, let’s see. Yes.>>So, as much as I
like this idea of, this connecting to self-owner, I’m seeing several
problems if you try to put it out there as
a strategy on the Internet. So, one is that a lot of
these terms you’re using, which I, again, that I love, like normative web and social
relations and all this, a libertarian is
just not going to listen to any of those concepts. Secondly, one thing that
we’ve learned about libertarians or similar behavior, especially in the last
lecture, if I recall, from sociologists, is that their notion of group is
very different from what, say, me as a sociologist
would consider a group. So, like Ally showed
us had this book on Tea Party Movement. The way that this group thinks about who’s their inner circle
is very different. It’s not everybody’s,
it’s not the entire web, and there are
various groups on the web. It’s their immediate circle. That’s the care group
that they would care about in a quorum forum. So, how would you make them think about
the web is normally web is this larger community. Third, who’s
the subject that we’re really talking about here? So, we have all these
individuals that are on the web and many of them are thinking, “I have libertarian rights,
I can do what I want. I can hate speech, I can do, this is
sort of my right.” But it’s not just
individuals now we know. The difficulty thing is
that the trolling and the false news is now being conducted by
one, bots, right?>>Right.>>You know, we can’t
really talk to. Number two, by this Cambridge
Analytica and Russian, what do you call them? The trolling
organizations and such. So, it’s these
elicit organizations and it’s these tech designers, and now it’s like
Zuckerberg who is, himself, like aligned with these groups who are doing these things. So, this idea that
there’s a single sort of libertarian person that we have to convince,
it’s so difficult.>>Yeah. So, philosophy is pretty impotent,
there’s no doubt about it. That is, what I can say
is you libertarian, you have the wrong
metaphysics itself. That’s not very powerful in the world of coercive agents who are willing to use force to
get what they want. I agree. But those who say, “Well, but I’ve got these rights
and I-” That’s actually no, if that is supposed to
have some moral grounding, or some rational grounding, turns out you’re wrong. But if you want to
coerce me, well, I’m going to have to
bring force against your force, that’s true. So, philosophy is
ultimately impotent against people who are willing to use force against others. As for the bots though, they’re created by actual
human beings and I’m saying, no, you have a duty not
to create these things. Having a duty, I am going to shun you if you don’t stop creating those bots. That’s not a very
powerful position in the world of bad people. But in the world of those
who are saying the right to, say, free speech regardless of the consequences for
the community, well, no. Actually, I’m going to
argue that you don’t have this kind of right that’s
completely unbounded. Yeah, so it depends
on the amount of force that your opponent’s
willing to apply. Yeah.>>I’m interested in the ownership concept and
the foundation of it. I can see why it’s a very
powerful anchor or grounding, but if there are elements implicit in ownership concept
dissociation with possession, with control, with domination. That sort of pull against what you’re trying to do
on a connective side, and if there were
other groundings or metaphors, if we consider to do
this foundational working.>>Yeah. So, maybe
too much disclosure. I was assigned to do some kind of critique
of libertarianism. So I took up
the self-ownership idea, and then I said, “Oh, there might be a different way
of thinking about it.” But then the question is why preserve the idea
of self-ownership? I can think of five reasons. So, it retains
this idea of claim. So, ownership brings
with it claim. It preserves the idea
that there is this node in the self that is of primary
moral importance, the individualism, the normative individualism
I think comes with it. But it also, because it’s
connected self-ownership, it suggests that the creation of selves is a collective endeavor. I think the ownership metaphor
brings some good things, but I agree, there are
some bad things too. But it’s just investment, and that we’re still
paying forward that’s what investment is. That we have an obligation to invest ourselves
in the project of this norm creation in order to be really autonomous,
fully fulfilled beings. Then finally, it’s
traditional liberal way. So, going back really, you can trace it back to
at least the 15th century, a traditional way of
thinking about it. Also we have a compliment
to somebody is to say, “Oh, you’re very self possessed.” That’s a kind of
confidence and so forth that is supposedly admirable. So, there are
some good aspects to it, but I admit it might come up with so much baggage that it’s
not a good idea. Yes.>>I wonder if played
with the idea of agency. I can see all the arguments
there and that makes sense. But within philosophy,
is there room to make agency the shadow
that’s connective and still allows for
sense self-determination but the self can be indefinite or open-ended in a more, in an
indigenous approach?>>Yeah, absolutely.
The idea of agency doesn’t necessarily come with
this idea of a claim, a self-possession claim,
but certainly agencies always a very
important concept for philosophers. So, yeah.>>I think that we’re->>We’re a little over.>>We are past time. There are supposed
to be snacks we can mingle and chat some
more. Thank you so much.>>Thank you so much. Okay.

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