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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5593/the-hoppeian-way/

The Hoppeian Way

September 11, 2006 by

Hans Hoppe is a thinker of striking originality, and this excellent collection of his essays is filled with arguments: it is, as my great teacher Walter Starkie used to say, “packed with matter.” I shall confine myself to a few of his points, but it would be an easy task to write several other reviews, each emphasizing completely different arguments. FULL ARTICLE

{ 11 comments }

Don B September 11, 2006 at 11:04 am

The following two excerpts, reflecting Hoppe’s ethical thought, are nonsense:

“Hoppe rejects the view that ethics is goal oriented…sidestep altogether the vexed “is-ought problem.” No factual statement, it is claimed, implies a judgment of value. [What] I [Hoppe] offer is an entirely value-free system of ethics. I remain exclusively in the realm of is-statements and nowhere try to derive an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’” (p. 401).

If Hoppe is correct, we know the form of a system of ethics: it will consists of demands of reason, not hypothetical judgment that tell us how to get what we want.”

MY Comment:

As soon as you assume Reason, you assume that it is of value to humans, such an assumption implies a (the) nature of humans (the “is”) and, therefore the need or disrability of Reason based on that nature (the “ought”). Hoppe’s way of stating it is simply a pragmatic, after the fact rationalization of reason while trying, clumsily, to avoid actual morality.

Paul Edwards September 11, 2006 at 11:51 am

This was a fantastic review. Thank-you David Gordon.

…But the one phrase “If Hoppe is correct…”, compels me to ask for fun: Does David Gordon think Hoppe’s “argumentation ethics” is correct?

David Gordon September 11, 2006 at 12:01 pm

Don B seems to me entirely right that having the ability to reason is of value to humans. But whether a principle of morality can be established by showing that its denial leads to a contradiction is a different issue, not obviously related to Don B’s claim.

Paul Edwards September 11, 2006 at 12:23 pm

Don,

The problem is not that it is nonsense. The problem is that you’re missing the point of the observation and Gordon’s comment. If you had read further you possibly would have seen it.

One outcome of Hoppe’s reasoning is simply this: one cannot put into question the validity or existence of reason. The act of attempting to cast doubt on reason would in fact presuppose the use of reason. It would constitute a dialectical contradiction.

To ask “why should i be reasonable” both presupposes the need for a justification, and the use of reason and so, as Hoppe puts it, it is “impossible to argue against it”. The validity of reason is an aprioristic truth that simply cannot be denied. One cannot defend anything other than the proposition that reason “is”, without demonstrating a knowledge that reason “is”.

When we know that reason is an “is”, rather than an “ought”, we can show that the entire realm of ethics is within the “is” realm as well.

iceberg September 11, 2006 at 12:43 pm

Does anybody on this blog have a decent understanding of both E-Prime and Quantum Psychology?

I have not of yet explored that field, and I wouldn’t know if its a crankish psuedoscience, but I would really like to know how it squares with Aristotelian logic, and what a student of that field would make of Hoppean argumentive ethics.

Nick Bradley September 11, 2006 at 2:20 pm

While Hoppe may now be best known for his argumentation ethics, in time he will be known for his book Democracy: The God That Failed.

Richard September 11, 2006 at 5:37 pm

Don’t suppose there’s any chance that his Theory of Socialism and Capitalism will be reprinted anytime soon?

averros September 11, 2006 at 7:40 pm

From my point of view (somewhat biased by the training in formal logic and natual sciences, I admit) Hoppe is guilty of forgetting the old maxim: Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Ethics is an entirely evolutionary phenomenon; and its only raison d’etre is that it helps society of its carriers to survive.

There is NO NEED to invoke anything supernatural to explain ethics.

In fact, any theory of ethics is total and complete garbage if it fails to explain the existence of various damaged kinds of ethics.

averros September 11, 2006 at 7:49 pm

iceberg – I do not see how E-prime is relevant… it is merely an attempt to clarify statements by prohibiting use of various forms of “to be”. As such, it is quite redundant; the formalism of mathematical logic is well developed, so anyone wishing to be more precise is welcome to learn how to use it.

Quantum psychology is at best an implausible speculation, a literalist reading on Copenhagen interpretation of QM. I’m not aware of any neurophysiologist taking it seriously. I guess we should credit Penrose’s Platonism for this hobgoblin.

David Z September 12, 2006 at 12:10 am

I attended the 2006 Mises University with 7 of my classmates from Walsh College, in Troy, MI. We jokingly referred to Hoppe as “Triple-H,” a reference to the WWF/WWE superstar, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, aka, Triple-H.

In all seriousness though, I found Hoppe’s arguments and logic absolutely impeccable. I consider myself a market-anarchist, so Hoppe’s ideas did not catch me off-guard. Unfortunately, some of my classmates would disagree.

Paul Edwards September 12, 2006 at 1:47 pm

Averros,

“From my point of view (somewhat biased by the training in formal logic and natual sciences, I admit) Hoppe is guilty of forgetting the old maxim: Keep It Simple, Stupid.”

There is that maxim, but there is a more complete form of it which people tend to neglect even more: “Keep things as simple as possible; but no simpler.”

However, it is you who violates a different old maxim which is equally important and suggests why your comments are not useful here. The maxim? “Know the question before you criticize the answer.”

“Ethics is an entirely evolutionary phenomenon; and its only raison d’etre is that it helps society of its carriers to survive.
“There is NO NEED to invoke anything supernatural to explain ethics.”

The purpose of Hoppe’s argumentation ethics is not to explain the reason for the existence of ethics, or what problem it proposes to solve. He merely points these things out as a starting point from which people can begin to follow his thesis. His purpose is to show how and why only the libertarian ethic is justified.

“In fact, any theory of ethics is total and complete garbage if it fails to explain the existence of various damaged kinds of ethics.”

Hoppe shows that the libertarian ethic allows for peaceful cooperation and conflict avoidance and that all non-libertarian ethics fails because they all necessitate and encourage aggression. He shows that reason and argumentation demand no less of an ethic. What more can you ask for?

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