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Marcus_N comments on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Marcus_N 16 November 2017 02:21:18AM *  -1 points [-]

Your response comes off as very defensive and lacking in substance, so I don't have much to say other than reiterating my previous views.

Intent is a critical part of moral and legal philosophy, and rape is a general intent crime. The stigma for rape comes from a time when rape was considered to be an unambiguous or obviously intentional violation, such as a stranger jumping out of the bushes. It is both inaccurate and socially harmful to apply this stigma to a wider range of situations that may involve lack of intent or male-female communication problems.

I think the statistical approach to rape is barking up the wrong tree. Lisak's work, whether quantitative or qualitative is especially untrustworthy, and sheds doubt on the entire field. Using a more conservative, and less-debatable criteria for rape is essential, because the more aggressive definitions have large externalities in terms of distrust between men and women, policies that destroy civil liberties, and tear apart institutions and communities with finger-pointing.

People can interpret terms like "want to" differently. Here is a study by feminists discussing a category of "consensual unwanted sex."

As for other people's sexual psychology and consent practices, our perspectives seem very different, so there is little point in discussing it further.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 17 November 2017 04:19:58AM 1 point [-]

Your response comes off as very defensive and lacking in substance

Is that because I gave a point by point rebuttal to each of your ideas?

Intent is a critical part of moral and legal philosophy

Actually, in consequentialism intent is irrelevant.

The stigma for rape comes from a time when rape was considered to be an unambiguous or obviously intentional violation, such as a stranger jumping out of the bushes. It is both inaccurate and socially harmful to apply this stigma to a wider range of situations

That doesn't follow. The stigma for rape also comes from a time when the world population was less than 5 billion, but that doesn't mean that rapes that happened when the world population was more than 5 billion aren't equally bad.

I think the statistical approach to rape is barking up the wrong tree

Why?

Lisak's work, whether quantitative or qualitative is especially untrustworthy,

Why? That article doesn't do much to indicate that he is untrustworthy. Right-wing blogs on the Internet are not very trustworthy either, so I'm not sure why I should take anything at face value here.

and sheds doubt on the entire field.

What field? You do realize that "feminism" is not an academic field, right?

Using a more conservative, and less-debatable criteria for rape is essential

What is debatable or controversial about the statements in the surveys used in Lisak's study? Can you name a kind of sexual assault which would count as rape in that study, but which we shouldn't care much about?

because the more aggressive definitions have large externalities in terms of distrust between men and women

Pretty sure that there's just as much distrust whether rape is accidental or not.

People can interpret terms like "want to" differently

And in none of those ways is it okay to have sex with someone who doesn't want to.

Here is a study by feminists

What makes you say they are feminists?

discussing a category of "consensual unwanted sex."

And also discussing a category of "nonconsensual wanted sex," indicating that Lisak's figures may well be underestimates.

Comment author: DavidMoss 17 November 2017 05:29:47PM 2 points [-]

Actually, in consequentialism intent is irrelevant.

It might be relevant to the evaluation of the rightness of acts (in a certain sense), but it's not irrelevant (for consequentialists) to what type of act an act is or the evaluation of the actor. (We have other moral concepts aside from the rightness of acts) Consequentialists don't claim that open heart surgery is a murderous stabbing if it happens to be unsuccessful.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 20 November 2017 06:58:46AM *  0 points [-]

Consequentialism doesn't care about "what type of act an act is" because it views the rightness of acts purely in terms of their consequences, not in terms of what type of act an act is, or what kind of actor an actor is. Imagine if you said, "Utility is irrelevant for Kantian ethics", and then I said "no, it is relevant, because even though Kantians don't make decisions on the basis of utility, the amount of utility caused by a decision affects the Kantian's belief about the amount of utility caused by an action." So what? It's still irrelevant.

Comment author: DavidMoss 21 November 2017 01:30:27AM *  1 point [-]

Consequentialism doesn't care about "what type of act an act is" because it views the rightness of acts purely in terms of their consequences

This is definitely false, because consequentialists can and do analyse and evaluate acts in terms other than their rightness. I made this clear in my first sentence, whereas in your reply you are sliding from "consequentialism doesn't care..." to consequentialism "views the rightness of acts."

The claim MarcusN is making above is about what does and what does not count as rape. Consequentialists can say anything they like about their criterion for the _rightness of acts and it does not tell us anything about what type of act an act is. Put simply: irrespective of whether intent is relevant to the rightness of an act, consequentialists (the same as anyone) can still say that intent is relevant to whether an act is rape, just as they can say that consent is irrelevant to the rightness of an act, but relevant to whether it counts as rape.

Edit: For example, whether someone is intentionally killed may be irrelevant (to the consequentialist) to whether the act is wrong, but it's not irrelevant to whether it counts as murder.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 21 November 2017 06:06:06AM *  0 points [-]

This is definitely false, because consequentialists can and do analyse and evaluate acts in terms other than their rightness. I made this clear in my first sentence

If you mean it is normatively relevant to consequentialists what type of act an act is or what kind of actor is doing it, you are incorrect. Consequentialists are only normatively concerned with consequences, hence the name.

The claim MarcusN is making above is about what does and what does not count as rape. Consequentialists can say anything they like about their criterion for the _rightness of acts and it does not tell us anything about what type of act an act is. Put simply: irrespective of whether intent is relevant to the rightness of an act, consequentialists (the same as anyone) can still say that intent is relevant to whether an act is rape

But whether an act is rape or not is irrelevant to the consequentialist, because the consequentialist cares about the consequences of an act, not whether or not it counts as rape. I literally just addressed this in my prior comment and you are repeating yourself. Imagine if you said, "Utility is irrelevant for Kantian ethics", and then I said "no, it is relevant, because even though Kantians don't make decisions on the basis of utility, the amount of utility caused by a decision affects the Kantian's belief about whether actions are utility-maximizing or not." Yes, in a basic and trivial sense the Kantian's beliefs depend on the question, but in a normative sense it's totally irrelevant and a silly thing to bring up.

Never mind the fact that it is blatantly false that the definition of rape involves intent; Marcus gave no definition or support for this claim, even though I gave a substantive source to the contrary.

Comment author: DavidMoss 21 November 2017 06:37:19AM -1 points [-]

If you mean it is normatively relevant to consequentialists what type of act an act is or what kind of actor is doing it, you are incorrect.

I not only explicitly distinguished between criteria for rightness (normative) and other evaluations in the first sentence of first my reply, but I pointed out that I had drawn and repeated that explicit distinction in the first two sentences of my second reply. Consequentialists obviously analyse acts (e.g. whether they are rape / murder / making a bank withdrawal) in terms other than whether whether they are utility maximising and they can and do engage in other (moral and non-moral) evaluations (e.g. character evaluations, like that a person is dishonest or viscious or badly motivated).

Seriously, the fact that you can look at someone saying "consequentialists should care less about these rapes because the criminals didn't intend to break the law" and not laugh them out of the room for the abject idiocy of the claim they made is worrisome to say the least.

His claim above, that I'm addressing, is about the definition of rape (a question which is totally orthogonal to the normative theory of consequentialists/Kantians), not whether consequentialists should "care less [or more]" depending on intent. I don't have any particular views on the differing definitions of rape, but the claim that intent matters for whether an act is accidentally killing (by giving you a peanut) or murder (by giving you a peanut) or whether or not you are a consequentialist is uncontroversial.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 21 November 2017 06:50:42AM *  0 points [-]

I not only explicitly distinguished between criteria for rightness (normative) and other evaluations in the first sentence of first my reply

You did not do so clearly, since not all moral theories see normativity as purely a matter of evaluating the rightness of actions.

I pointed out that I had drawn and repeated that explicit distinction in the first two sentences of my second reply.

Yes, and I pointed out twice that your repetition of this distinction is just missing the point, so I don't know why you think that repeating it for a third time without addressing my counterargument is going to do you any good. You also seem to have overlooked the fact that I was talking about consequentialism the moral theory, not the practices of consequentialists, which is what you are talking about.

Consequentialists obviously analyse acts (e.g. whether they are rape / murder / making a bank withdrawal) in terms other than whether whether they are utility maximising and they can and do engage in other (moral and non-moral) evaluations (e.g. character evaluations, like that a person is dishonest or viscious or badly motivated).

And, for the third fucking time, these evaluations carry no normative relevance for the consequentialist, so to bring them up here is pointless. If this basic point still eludes your grasp, sorry but I just don't know what to tell you.

Comment author: DavidMoss 21 November 2017 06:58:09PM 0 points [-]

Yes, and I pointed out twice that your repetition of this distinction is just missing the point, so I don't know why you think that repeating it for a third time without addressing my counterargument is going to do you any good. And, for the third fucking time, these evaluations carry no normative relevance for the consequentialist, so to bring them up here is pointless.

The claim I make quite clearly (based on this distinction) is that even if intent is not relevant, for the consequentialist, as to the _rightness _of the act, it may still relevant, for the consequentialist, to other questions like what kind of act an act is (e.g. a murder, a rape)

You then keep reiterating that it is not normatively relevant, which actually is ignoring my contention, given that I am saying that even if x is not normatively relevant to the consequentialist, it may still be relevant to questions like whether something is a rape.

I don't know what counter-argument you think I've missed, but you need to establish that whether something is part of the consequentialist's criterion of rightness is relevant here, rather than simply whether something is relevant to whether an act counts as a rape.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 21 November 2017 08:41:14PM *  -1 points [-]

You then keep reiterating that it is not normatively relevant, which actually is ignoring my contention, given that I am saying that even if x is not normatively relevant to the consequentialist, it may still be relevant to questions like whether something is a rape.

No I'm not, first of all because I have already pointed out that it is entirely false that whether something is rape has to do with intent. Secondly, I'm not "ignoring" your claim, I'm denying that it carries any weight, since my point was that the definition question of whether something is rape doesn't factor into the consequentialist's normative considerations.

If you repeat the same thing three times, and each time I tell you "that's irrelevant, because you're totally missing the point of what I said," then in one sense sure I'm ignoring you, in the same sense that I ignore anyone who makes irrelevant points. Just because I haven't directly told you that the claim is wrong doesn't mean that your position hasn't been addressed. Sometimes people just say things that miss the point of the conversation, and this week it's you.

I don't know what counter-argument you think I've missed, but you need to establish that whether something is part of the consequentialist's criterion of rightness is relevant here,

Why? It's pretty obvious that what is normatively relevant is, quite simply, relevant. I don't have to explain why having a reason to do something is relevant in any broader sense. It's trivially true that normativity encompasses all of our reasons for doing things, and we can't appeal to anything more basic and foundational than reasons, so whatever grander sense of relevancy you have in mind is nonsensical.

rather than simply whether something is relevant to whether an act counts as a rape.

No, I think the burden of argument is on you to tell us why a dispute over definitions, which you've already essentially admitted is normatively irrelevant, should concern us.