PHIL 2170 Lecture Notes - False Dilemma

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15 Nov 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
“If the well being of two lovers is intimately tied up with each other’s, it is hard to see
how they can have robust concern for each other. (36)”
Critique on Nozick’s ‘we’
“The fact that some degree of autonomy is necessary for such self-determination is
crucial: it prevents a complete merging of selves, allowing lovers to feel concern for each
other. (39)”
Self-determination – Robert Soloman (background); shared identity is intimate,
shared sphere of concern, goals, needs, etc. well-being becomes tied in with one
When the well-being is tied up this way, my partner is also happy (Nozick)
Halwani says this is an error; everything that affects me doesn’t affect my partner
the same way – would have a relationship similar to Aristophanes
We don’t have the union of two autonomous selves; impossible to share that
much and still have autonomy
Complete merger prevents concern; selfish concern. If we’re just one self, we
don’t have concern for each other – becomes circular, begs the question
Utilitarianism – maximize utility; if we’re just trying to maximize everyone’s else
happiness, and you’re only happy by making others happy, and everyone the same
way, you can’t be happy – becomes circular, begs the question
1. My beliefs cannot be your beliefs, because they are mine. (They are not
the identical same beliefs as yours – even if the contents are the same.
Two different sets – a problem of identity)
2. Beliefs I have about me are different than beliefs you have about me. (Ex.
When I say “I love you,” you hear “You love me.” Different in the
perspective has changed – changes content, reverts back to #1)
3. I have some beliefs that you don’t have (and vice versa) (39)
Logically inconsistent.
Robust concern: “x desires for y that which is good for y, x desires this for y’s own sake,
and x pursues y’s good for y’s benefit and not for x’s (a corollary: sometimes at possible
loss to x)”
- Soble (in Halwani, p.36)
Need to be concerned for their sake, not your own; Robust concern is best defined as the
opposite as selfish love.
Halwani explores ways love could be selfish:
Human beings act selfishly always, so love must be selfish
oNot true, humans often do selfless or self-sacrificing things
oSo what?; this is a fact about humans, bot about love (p.40) – can still
have a concept of love that differs
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