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Banned from sex





Indi
The UK has provided us with an interesting philosophical question, based on a recent court ruling that bans a mentally-deficient man from having sex.

Here's the gist of the article. The man, 41 years old, was in a sexual relationship with another man. However, he didn't understand where babies come from (he thought storks delivered them or that they were found under a bush), and thought that sex could give you "spots or measles". The court ruled that because the man didn't understand the "mechanics" of sex, he should be banned from having sex.

So there's the situation. Obviously the only reason this was even in the court was because it was a gay relationship, but that's really irrelevant for our purposes. Needless to say, this opens up many philosophical questions. Here's just a sampling.

  • The ruling is intended to protect the man himself, because his IQ is so low he doesn't know what's good for him and what's not. But an objective view of the particular situation is that what he was doing really wasn't all that harmful - he was, so far as we can tell, having consensual sex with just one person that he knew quite well.

    Now, i think we can all agree that when a mentally-deficient person is going to do something that will most probably harm them - such as walking out into traffic - every capable person around is not only justified in stopping them, they are obligated to do so. But what about activities that might, in some remote possibility, harm them, but chances are more likely that it won't - such as sex? If the activity is unlikely to harm them, does anyone have the right to decide that they can't do it? If so, who?

  • The man was banned from sex because he wasn't intellectually capable of grasping all of the details and potential results of the act. Is that justifiable? The cockroaches in his house are certainly not intellectually capable of grasping the details and potential results of sex. Yet the cockroaches in this person's house are able to have sex, but this person is not. What does that mean?

  • Consider this: despite his physical age, as far as sex is concerned this man is about as intellectually capable of understanding sex as an average eight-and-a-half-year-old. Ignoring the physical limitations, if this person were allowed to have to sex, shouldn't eight-and-a-half year olds also be? Taking the physical limitations into account, people as young as twelve or thirteen are usually physically ready for sex and, on average, are above the adult-equivalent IQ level we use to define mental deficiency (certainly more intellectually capable than that man). What about them? Turn this problem the other way around: if the reason we're denying this person sex is because he is mentally incapable of it, what if we had a physically ready twelve-year-old with exceptional mental development - in the same way that the waive the blanket permission for adults to have sex when a person is mentally incapable, should we waive the blanket prohibition against sex for children who are mentally capable?
deanhills
Looks as though it was a difficult decision for the Judge to make:
Quote:
A man with a low IQ has been banned from having sex by a High Court judge who admitted the case raised questions about “civil liberties and personal autonomy”.

However that he made the ruling because of the finding of the psychiatrist in that Alan did not understand the health risks involved.
Quote:
The judge said it requires an understanding and awareness of the “mechanics of the act”, “that there are health risks involved” and that sex between a man and a woman may lead to pregnancy.

He said that the psychiatrist thought Alan “believed that babies were delivered by a stork or found under a bush”, and that “sex could give you spots or measles”.

On that basis the judge ruled that Alan did not have the capacity to consent to sex,
However, the judge did leave the door open.
Quote:
but also ordered that the council should provide him with sex education “in the hope that he thereby gains that capacity”.


Indi wrote:
  • The ruling is intended to protect the man himself, because his IQ is so low he doesn't know what's good for him and what's not. But an objective view of the particular situation is that what he was doing really wasn't all that harmful - he was, so far as we can tell, having consensual sex with just one person that he knew quite well.

    Now, i think we can all agree that when a mentally-deficient person is going to do something that will most probably harm them - such as walking out into traffic - every capable person around is not only justified in stopping them, they are obligated to do so. But what about activities that might, in some remote possibility, harm them, but chances are more likely that it won't - such as sex? If the activity is unlikely to harm them, does anyone have the right to decide that they can't do it? If so, who?
A judge, such as in this case, after investigating the matter.

Indi wrote:
  • The man was banned from sex because he wasn't intellectually capable of grasping all of the details and potential results of the act. Is that justifiable? The cockroaches in his house are certainly not intellectually capable of grasping the details and potential results of sex. Yet the cockroaches in this person's house are able to have sex, but this person is not. What does that mean?
  • Society is not interested in cockroaches. Society is concerned that this man could be harmed if engaging in sex when he does not understand what the consequences can be.

    Indi wrote:
  • Consider this: despite his physical age, as far as sex is concerned this man is about as intellectually capable of understanding sex as an average eight-and-a-half-year-old. Ignoring the physical limitations, if this person were allowed to have to sex, shouldn't eight-and-a-half year olds also be? Taking the physical limitations into account, people as young as twelve or thirteen are usually physically ready for sex and, on average, are above the adult-equivalent IQ level we use to define mental deficiency (certainly more intellectually capable than that man). What about them? Eight-and-a-half-year-old's would harm themselves as well, as they aren't sufficiently developed yet physically to have sex. I'm sure if that should happen that society would call that rape.
  • Eight-and-a-half-year-old's would harm themselves as well, as they aren't sufficiently developed yet physically to have sex nor does society regard twelve or thirteen to be ready for sex. I'm not so sure that this is a good example.

    Indi wrote:
    Turn this problem the other way around: if the reason we're denying this person sex is because he is mentally incapable of it, what if we had a physically ready twelve-year-old with exceptional mental development - in the same way that the waive the blanket permission for adults to have sex when a person is mentally incapable, should we waive the blanket prohibition against sex for children who are mentally capable?
    The physically ready twelve-year-old with exceptional mental development would get away with it. No one would know about it as obviously the 12-year old would be too smart to be manipulated by society. And through that won't need any protection. OK let's say for argument sake it does get to court. Then obviously that exceptionally bright 12-year old would be the exception to the rule. Unfortunately society has to make rules for the society as a whole and when it gets to young children their age determination would probably be made on a common standard. So because of that, this 12-year old will be a victim, similar to Laura Decker, the Dutch/NZ girl, who wanted to be the first girl to sail solo around the world at age 13, but society interfered as they thought it would be harmful to her. When the Dutch court investigated her situation, they did their investigation on the basis of a standard 13-year old, not an exceptional 13-year old. Laura had to prove first that she was exceptional before they allowed her to go ahead, and that ruling also came with a long list of conditions so as to protect her. So she lost one year in the process. In fairness to the courts, after careful investigation they allowed her to start her trip last July.
    Dialogist
    Indi wrote:

    The ruling is intended to protect the man himself, because his IQ is so low he doesn't know what's good for him and what's not. But an objective view of the particular situation is that what he was doing really wasn't all that harmful - he was, so far as we can tell, having consensual sex with just one person that he knew quite well.


    As in the case of the rare prodigious 8 to 12 year old, the laws concerning issues such as age and legal limit can't really assess everyone individually's ability to drive or approach alcohol in a mature manner. They must be applied with a blanket ruling for the sake of absolution because, I assume, it's better to protect the majority than grant special liberties to those who may intellectually or biologically qualify. Assessing everyone on a personal individual basis would be extremely laborious in lieu of a blanket ruling that simply just asks, "wait". I would imagine in this scenario you have an irresponsible adult male who has many dangers that his mental deficiency may be vulnerable towards preventing. He could become a father of a child he can't support (I know he's gay but it could happen), he could become a storage vessel for any number of viruses, he could be raped or rape. There's many possibilities where harm could be caused by him or caused unto him.

    Indi wrote:

    [*]The man was banned from sex because he wasn't intellectually capable of grasping all of the details and potential results of the act. Is that justifiable? The cockroaches in his house are certainly not intellectually capable of grasping the details and potential results of sex. Yet the cockroaches in this person's house are able to have sex, but this person is not. What does that mean?


    The cockroaches differ in terms of their role in society and the potential to affect or be affected by it in a negative manner.

    Indi wrote:

    [*]Consider this: despite his physical age, as far as sex is concerned this man is about as intellectually capable of understanding sex as an average eight-and-a-half-year-old. Ignoring the physical limitations, if this person were allowed to have to sex, shouldn't eight-and-a-half year olds also be?


    I agree with that. He shouldn't be allowed to be unless he has a sponsor or referee. ie: A carer or wife/husband of some professional capacity (similar to what is required from referees on college application forms) who can verify that he is a responsible or monitored relationship. The difference could be this man in a matrimonial or monogamous relationship as opposed to this man becoming a gay club sex doll whom many people take advantage of and the many physical, health and further mental dangers that may follow the eventuality of him out on his own unsupervised. If the eight and a half year old was in the latter scenario, it would be an unthinkable horror.

    Indi wrote:

    Taking the physical limitations into account, people as young as twelve or thirteen are usually physically ready for sex and, on average, are above the adult-equivalent IQ level we use to define mental deficiency (certainly more intellectually capable than that man). What about them? Turn this problem the other way around: if the reason we're denying this person sex is because he is mentally incapable of it, what if we had a physically ready twelve-year-old with exceptional mental development - in the same way that the waive the blanket permission for adults to have sex when a person is mentally incapable, should we waive the blanket prohibition against sex for children who are mentally capable?
    [/list]


    Children are not able to support a child, arguably not mentally but also literally as they can't be employed to earn the money needed, find accommodation, or even be eligible for benefits, etc. They are lawfully required to attend school. Even if they are geniuses, they still can't even get a job in a factory at that age.

    I think the cusp of it is how do we assess every single person on the planet individually and put provisions in place to suit them personally which seems a little bit inconvenient. I know that there is measures already in place to aid gifted youngsters in education and sports but these tend to be to aid progression rather than prevention. They can also be clearly assessed by education boards or some standard of official evaluation. I dread to think how the examination of mentally deficient sexual competence would be conducted.

    [edit: deanhills beat me to it]
    ocalhoun
    Indi wrote:

    But what about activities that might, in some remote possibility, harm them, but chances are more likely that it won't - such as sex? If the activity is unlikely to harm them, does anyone have the right to decide that they can't do it? If so, who?

    Well, in borderline cases like this, I'd say err on the side of allowing people more freedom, unless they show a demonstrable propensity toward harming themselves or others.

    (ie. stay out of other people's business until it becomes a real (not just potential) problem. I'd like to know who first brought this to the government's attention, and why. Knowing that would help everyone to understand if government intervention was warranted or not.)
    Quote:

    if this person were allowed to have to sex, shouldn't eight-and-a-half year olds also be?

    Well, I don't know about UK laws but...
    In most states in the USA, it is not statutory rape if both parties are within 4 years of age.
    So, a 8.5 year old could legally have (consensual) sex with anyone from 4.5 to 12.5 years old.
    --Sounds strange when put that way, but that's because you generally don't have 8 year old kids 'interested' in younger kids.
    It does make sense if you're considering a case of a 14 year old and a 16 year old though. What are you going to do in that case otherwise? Charge them both with statutory rape?

    Perhaps the answer to this dilemma is similar - only retards should have sex with retards?
    Not good from a eugenics perspective though. Confused
    Indi
    ocalhoun wrote:
    Indi wrote:

    But what about activities that might, in some remote possibility, harm them, but chances are more likely that it won't - such as sex? If the activity is unlikely to harm them, does anyone have the right to decide that they can't do it? If so, who?

    Well, in borderline cases like this, I'd say err on the side of allowing people more freedom, unless they show a demonstrable propensity toward harming themselves or others.

    But that's not really answering anything. What are the parameters of this "erring"? What heuristic, exactly, do we use to decide to take away the right of another person to decide on when, how and who they have sex with? How do we go about "banning" sex for someone we decide to ban from sex? Lock them up? Castrate them?

    You're not even clear on what makes this case "borderline"? Is it the fact that the man is an imbecile (to use outdated medical terminology)? That is: if he were any smarter we shouldn't even consider banning him from sex, but if he were any less intelligent there should be no question about banning him? Or is it the fact that the act may be harmful to the person? That is: if the only sex he was engaging in were frottage we shouldn't even consider a ban, but if he were involved in some really dangerous sex like intense sadomasochistic sex without proper precautions then there should be no question banning him? (Or is it the fact (and this is what i gather from what you wrote) that somehow his being allowed to have sex could harm others? And... how?)

    ocalhoun wrote:
    (ie. stay out of other people's business until it becomes a real (not just potential) problem. I'd like to know who first brought this to the government's attention, and why. Knowing that would help everyone to understand if government intervention was warranted or not.)

    (Not that it's really relevant, but i think it's pretty obvious how this case came to legal attention, and why it became an issue at all. Let me repeat myself: The man, 41 years old, was in a sexual relationship with another man. Let me repeat myself again with emphasis: The man, 41 years old, was in a sexual relationship WITH ANOTHER MAN. i seriously doubt this would have been an issue if the man was in a relationship with a woman. As for how it even came to the court's attention, the man is mentally deficient, and has a history of bad behaviour in public. Most likely he did something inappropriate in public and was charged, and his defence was mental deficiency, leading the court to investigate whether that was true, and if so whether he should be committed or what other action should be taken... which leads us to the ruling in question.)

    But i don't see how any of that is relevant. Who exactly do you think might have had warrant to report the relationship? Whose business do you think it should be other than the man and his lover? Some court-assigned guardian for the man? If one were to assign someone to watch over the man, wouldn't the logical choice - assuming nothing else - be his lover?

    ocalhoun wrote:
    Well, I don't know about UK laws but...
    In most states in the USA, it is not statutory rape if both parties are within 4 years of age.
    So, a 8.5 year old could legally have (consensual) sex with anyone from 4.5 to 12.5 years old.
    --Sounds strange when put that way, but that's because you generally don't have 8 year old kids 'interested' in younger kids.
    It does make sense if you're considering a case of a 14 year old and a 16 year old though. What are you going to do in that case otherwise? Charge them both with statutory rape?

    This is not a legal or political forum, it is a philosophy forum.

    i think it's quite obvious, and not in contention, that a four-and-a-half-year-old is clearly neither mentally nor physically ready for sex, regardless of what they may think (assuming it even occurs to them). Thus, regardless of the combined opinions an eight-and-a-half-year-old, a four-and-a-half-year-old, and the American judiciary, we are morally justified in banning the four-and-a-half-year-old from sex.

    As for the fourteen- and sixteen-year-old... WHY does it make sense for them but not the eight-and-a-half- and four-and-a-half-year-old? You see, you're not explaining anything, you're just offering random facts (like American law) and assertions - which are fine, provided there's a rationalized context for them. What do you mean by bringing this stuff up? Do you even mean anything? It's not clear from the context, which leaves me with two options: assume you were just spamming random nonsense... or try to deduce a possible meaning you might have had in mind and use that as the basis for discussion - and if i do that and guess wrong, there'll be hell to pay, as usual.

    Philosophy requires thought, and insight, and argumentative support for any assertions made. Why is it okay for a fourteen- and sixteen-year-old to have sex, but not a fourteen- and forty-year-old? Or is it? You don't even say! You leave me to either ignore your comments, or make assumptions in order to intellectually consider them, then when i do, you get huffy and say i'm making assumptions and putting words in your mouth! (And of course, this isn't a problem specifically with you, but rather one that is endemic here. People say things without supporting them, or with vague or unclear support, and leave others to have to try and figure out what they mean... then when others assume wrong, claim the problem is with them and not the fact that they were vague or unclear to begin with. We have a forum for making unsupported assertions; this isn't it. In this forum, we should insist on support for assertions, and when it's not provided, it's open season on assumptions for what you might have meant.)

    ocalhoun wrote:
    Perhaps the answer to this dilemma is similar - only retards should have sex with retards?
    Not good from a eugenics perspective though. Confused

    ^_^; No, i suppose not. But from a philosophical perspective, if the problem with this man (or anyone in general) having sex is the chance that he could father a child he could not support, there is an obvious solution to that. The same solution can, of course, be applied to physically and mentally ready eight-and-a-half-year-olds who want to have sex. This is the twenty-first century, we have the technology.

    So perhaps we should sterilize the man, and offer freely available contraceptives to minors who want to have sex - including emergency abortions in the tiny percentage of cases where the contraceptives fail? Would that solve the problem?
    watersoul
    Indi wrote:

    Consider this: despite his physical age, as far as sex is concerned this man is about as intellectually capable of understanding sex as an average eight-and-a-half-year-old. Ignoring the physical limitations, if this person were allowed to have to sex, shouldn't eight-and-a-half year olds also be?

    Regarding the assumed mental age of this man, it is my experience that every client I've dealt with in my career who has been 'under the court of protection' were in very poor mental health, with reasoning skills at a standard much lower than any 8 year olds I've known.
    Becoming a ward of the court is the very last safety net in the UK, it tells me he's no family available (or who wish to) look after him. It tells me that he is unable to manage any of his affairs at all, and has been in extremely vulnerable/dangerous situations in the past as a result of his own decisions, or lack thereof. In this case he would have already been under the courts protection, which is why they had the authority to decide on the mans behalf.

    The court has effectively become his mother & father in a similar legal sense as the parents of the 8 year olds we're making a comparison with, and as such it (the court) has absolute authority over the final decision in every part of the mans life - same as the 8 year olds parents.
    That said, I imagine most parents of 8 year olds wouldn't want them to be having sex and would 'ban' it themselves, as that is pretty much the norm of our society.

    This is such a difficult one to call morally. We don't know enough detail of the case, was the primary carer (court appointed deputy) concerned by things that have not been made public? What happened before to force a situation of the court having to make a formal judgement?
    Whatever is in the finer details was certainly important enough for expensive court proceedings to be brought by the local authority.

    The fact that the Local authority actually pursued the case tells me they are already acting as court appointed deputies to make decisions in his life, so perhaps there were some other challenging issues involved in them caring for him 'as parents' while he continued having sex?

    If the issue is should we automatically ban two men from having sex with each other if they are mentally incapable of understanding the consequences, I would say no, as long as they both enjoy it without unreasonably offending others and no one is harmed in any way as a result of it - no babies will result of course, but unprotected sex could be an issue so an understanding of the use of condoms would be helpful.

    If the issue is whether the decision of the court of protection was moral/amoral/immoral/right/wrong?
    I'd have to know more about the specifics of the case to decide if I thought it was or not.

    If the issue asks us is if it's morally wrong for the court of protection to have the power to make this decision?
    My instinct tells me no, as to become a 'ward of the court' you have demonstrated to many health & welfare professionals (over a long period) that you are at serious risk of harm to yourself without major help, and there is also no one in your life who can or will help. The court of protection really is the last expensive resort in this country after family, friends, state funded carers/support workers etc. I really cannot believe this guy would be able to make decisions and understand them as well as any 8 year old I've known.
    But even if you are correct, the man (like an 8 year old) has someone who tells him what he can and cannot do (court appointed deputy acting as a parent), and the courts decision may well have been totally correct in the circumstances, because the court is acting as a parent making an informed decision, based on the history, knowledge and situation of the person it's deciding about.

    In relation to the issue of 8 year olds being allowed to have sex if this man is allowed (assuming that your assumption of his mental age is correct), aside from the obvious (separate) child protection law, it would still be down to the parents (in control) to decide if it was appropriate. In this mans case, the court of protection.
    Changing the 'age of consent' affects all children. The decision taken in this case is specific to the man concerned, by a court acting as his sole guardian. You won't find much case law changes being made through or from this court though, because the individual situations of mental incapacity are so complicated and different for each person.

    The CoP is obliged to make it's decisions in full consideration of the directions under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA), this is because he must previously have been deemed 'incapable' to be put under the ultimate & sole responsibility of the court.
    With that in mind I can only assume the decision in this case was in the mans best interests when all the issues/evidence have been taken into account.
    I cannot see a link between this case and with allowing young children to have sex, other than this man has a pseudo parent (The Court of Protection and appointed deputies/carers) while the children have real parents. If the guy had parents/family who were willing or able to be interested in any responsibility in the decisions of his life, they would still be controlling what he did, and the court would not have even been involved.

    Social Care Institute for Excellence - scie.org.uk
    Quote:
    What is ‘best interests’?

    The MCA provides a non-exhaustive checklist of factors that decision-makers must work through in deciding what is in a person’s best interests.

    Some of the factors to take into consideration are:

    Do not discriminate. Do not make assumptions about someone’s best interests merely on the basis of the person’s age or appearance, condition or any aspect their behaviour.

    Take into account all relevant circumstances.

    If faced with a particularly difficult or contentious decision, it is recommended that practitioners adopt a ‘balance sheet’ approach

    Will the person regain capacity? If so, can the decision wait?

    Involve the individual as fully as possible.

    Take into account the individual’s past and present wishes and feelings, and any beliefs and values likely to have a bearing on the decision.

    Consult as far and as widely as possible.

    Again, it is vital that you record your best interests decision. Not only does this concur with good professional practice, but given the evidence-based approach required by the MCA, you will have an objective record should your decision or decision-making processes later be challenged.
    deanhills
    @Watersoul. Excellent posting. I learned a lot from it. And it makes much greater sense to me now.

    I don't quite get where Indi wants to go with this discussion. If he is not getting the response he wants, maybe his questions need to be rephrased? Confused
    watersoul
    deanhills wrote:
    I don't quite get where Indi wants to go with this discussion.


    I'm not sure, but it's certainly unwise to assume that this issue has reached the court solely because it involved gay sex. The court would have already been involved with the guy as 'ultimate guardian' and it would have only been after a long process (unrelated to the sex at the residential support home) involving many health professionals etc giving evidence that he was 'incapable' before they originally took responsibility for him.

    Basically, no one else took responsibility so the Court of Protection did.
    It's not perfect but equally it doesn't set a legal precedent that all mentally incapable folk cannot now have sex in the UK, just that someone in this mans exact circumstances should be denied it. Unfortunately we don't know the exact circumstances, but the ruling was certainly not a statement that has any bearing on a parents interest/influence in when their young child has sex, or a government/judiciary deciding a legal age for the nations children to have sex.
    Bikerman
    It is an interesting one.
    I would support the observations of watersoul as regards the court. I have a little experience of how the courts function in this area (having worked a little in what used to be called 'special needs' education at one college). The fact that the Court of Protection was involved is rare, but I'm not actually sure that it would be because of the homosexual nature of the relationship - my own experience is that homosexual relationships between 'special needs' students was not a particular matter for concern - but I have to say that I only have experience of one such relationship between two students I worked with, so I'm certainly no authority.
    The temptation would be to actually treat such a relationship LESS seriously than a heterosexual relationship - since the issue of children would not arise. From a philosophical stance that would, to me, be wrong, since the issue in either case would be the persons right to enter into a full sexual relationship of their own choosing.
    I am genuinely torn on this one. On the one hand I think that any interference in personal choices by a court has to be a matter of concern when those choices are perfectly legal. On the other hand, having worked with adults of a similar 'mental age' to Alan, I know how vulnerable they can be.
    So the issue now becomes - should the court be involved where the action is not likely to lead to substantive harm to the person concerned? The problem that this throws up is - should homosexual relationships be treated differently than heterosexual relationships? Is it OK to partake in a homosexual relationship, because the issue of pregnancy, and therefore the whole complex question of caring for any offspring, does not arise, where it is NOT OK to partake in a heterosexual relationship?

    On balance I think I would come down in favour of the Judge's ruling, on the grounds that it should not be the business of the court to discriminate between a homosexual and heterosexual relationship. It should be remembered that the Judge said that although he was ruling that Alan was not capable of consenting to sex, he hoped that with some work on sex education, that he WOULD be able to consent to such a relationship with at least a working knowledge of the consequences.
    ocalhoun
    Indi wrote:
    ocalhoun wrote:
    Indi wrote:

    But what about activities that might, in some remote possibility, harm them, but chances are more likely that it won't - such as sex? If the activity is unlikely to harm them, does anyone have the right to decide that they can't do it? If so, who?

    Well, in borderline cases like this, I'd say err on the side of allowing people more freedom, unless they show a demonstrable propensity toward harming themselves or others.

    But that's not really answering anything. What are the parameters of this "erring"?

    Quite simple really, If you're trying to make a decision about it, and not sure what the answer should be, choose the answer that gives people more freedom.

    I can't know what questions will make you unsure or not, but this one leaves me unsure because I don't know all the pertinent facts.
    Given that I am thus unsure about the correct choice, I would err on the side of allowing people more freedom.
    (If you happen to be sure about it, then the 'when in doubt' part is not applicable.)
    Quote:

    You're not even clear on what makes this case "borderline"? Is it the fact that the man is an imbecile (to use outdated medical terminology)? That is: if he were any smarter we shouldn't even consider banning him from sex, but if he were any less intelligent there should be no question about banning him?

    There is certainly a point where one can be too stupid... I'm not an expert, nor am I overly familiar with this particular case, so I don't know exactly where that point is, nor do I know if this guy is above or below that point.
    Quote:
    Or is it the fact that the act may be harmful to the person? That is: if the only sex he was engaging in were frottage we shouldn't even consider a ban, but if he were involved in some really dangerous sex like intense sadomasochistic sex without proper precautions then there should be no question banning him? (Or is it the fact (and this is what i gather from what you wrote) that somehow his being allowed to have sex could harm others? And... how?)

    Not particularly... Just to say that if demonstrable harm was being done (to any party), then the decision would be easy.
    I'm sure you know I'm not a big fan of banning things because they might cause harm.
    Quote:

    ocalhoun wrote:
    (ie. stay out of other people's business until it becomes a real (not just potential) problem. I'd like to know who first brought this to the government's attention, and why. Knowing that would help everyone to understand if government intervention was warranted or not.)

    (Not that it's really relevant, but i think it's pretty obvious how this case came to legal attention, and why it became an issue at all. Let me repeat myself: The man, 41 years old, was in a sexual relationship with another man. Let me repeat myself again with emphasis: The man, 41 years old, was in a sexual relationship WITH ANOTHER MAN. i seriously doubt this would have been an issue if the man was in a relationship with a woman.

    Completely irrelevant.
    Even if the government's involvement here is prejudiced, that doesn't mean we need to be.
    Quote:
    As for how it even came to the court's attention, the man is mentally deficient, and has a history of bad behaviour in public. Most likely he did something inappropriate in public and was charged, and his defence was mental deficiency, leading the court to investigate whether that was true, and if so whether he should be committed or what other action should be taken... which leads us to the ruling in question.)

    Unless the inappropriate something had to do with the relationship, then the court is overstepping when it comes to ruling about the relationship.

    My question is, who was it who found out about this and thought "this is a problem - something must be done"? Knowing more about that person would help us to know if the case was brought up for bigoted reasons or not.
    --It might also help us know if intervention was warranted or not.
    Quote:

    But i don't see how any of that is relevant. Who exactly do you think might have had warrant to report the relationship? Whose business do you think it should be other than the man and his lover? Some court-assigned guardian for the man?

    If there is a court-assigned guardian, then yes - that would be who's business it is.
    Quote:
    If one were to assign someone to watch over the man, wouldn't the logical choice - assuming nothing else - be his lover?

    If he's retarded enough to consider banning from sex, then he's retarded enough to assign a guardian to.

    The idea of assigning his lover as such would be convenient - but I think it is fraught with too much conflict of interest.

    A father who had sex with his children would not be allowed to keep them... So a father shouldn't become a lover.
    Likewise, I think a lover shouldn't become a father (guardian).
    Combining the roles of lover and guardian is probably a bad idea.
    Quote:

    ocalhoun wrote:
    Well, I don't know about UK laws but...
    In most states in the USA, it is not statutory rape if both parties are within 4 years of age.
    So, a 8.5 year old could legally have (consensual) sex with anyone from 4.5 to 12.5 years old.
    --Sounds strange when put that way, but that's because you generally don't have 8 year old kids 'interested' in younger kids.
    It does make sense if you're considering a case of a 14 year old and a 16 year old though. What are you going to do in that case otherwise? Charge them both with statutory rape?

    This is not a legal or political forum, it is a philosophy forum.

    [...]

    you're just offering random facts (like American law) and assertions

    A little random? Perhaps.
    The main reason I brought that up was to provide a context to the half-hearted suggestion that he should be banned from sex except with other retards.
    (In other words, that a relationship between two retards would be no different than a relationship between two minors.)
    Quote:
    you get huffy and say i'm making assumptions and putting words in your mouth!

    ^.^ Now this is a fun irony...
    You're putting words in my mouth... and what words are they?
    Me complaining about you putting words in my mouth.
    Quote:
    (And of course, this isn't a problem specifically with you, but rather one that is endemic here. People say things without supporting them, or with vague or unclear support, and leave others to have to try and figure out what they mean...

    If I was being vague and unclear, it wasn't for the purpose of making others interpret my stance...
    My stance on this issue is vague and unclear, because my knowledge of the subject - and especially the case in particular - is also vague and unclear.
    Quote:
    it's open season on assumptions for what you might have meant.)

    Or... I might have meant only what I said, and not been alluding to some deeper fundamental stance on the issue.
    Perhaps I was just posting my (vague and unclear) thoughts on the issue without trying to make any particular assertions?
    Quote:

    So perhaps we should sterilize the man,

    What for? Afraid his male lover will get pregnant?
    Quote:
    and offer freely available contraceptives to minors who want to have sex - including emergency abortions in the tiny percentage of cases where the contraceptives fail? Would that solve the problem?

    Well, that wouldn't solve this particular problem, but removing any extra barriers to minors obtaining contraceptives would be a good idea.
    Indi
    deanhills wrote:
    I don't quite get where Indi wants to go with this discussion. If he is not getting the response he wants, maybe his questions need to be rephrased? Confused

    i don't want it to "go" anywhere, and i'm not asking a question to get an answer. i'm starting a philosophical discussion, or trying to anyway. The problem is, that people aren't discussing philosophy; they're discussing other, tangential stuff.

    Every time i introduce a philosophical problem i provide a (usually recent) real-world case to frame the problem and give it practical meaning. And every damn time, without fail, at least a few people ignore the philosophical question and focus in the framing case. If you want a clear picture of what that means, imagine this:

    Imagine someone goes into a group of physicists at a physics conference, and says "i have a physics problem for you. A ball is sitting on the top of a sloped roof with an angle of 30°, and the ball has a mass of 10 kg. If the roof is 10 m long and 5 m above the ground, how far from the edge of the roof does the ball hit the ground?" But then the physicists start this:
    • What was the ball doing on the roof anyway?
    • Sounds like the ball might be a bowling ball. You know they use different size bowling balls in different styles of bowling.
    • I'm really against this putting balls on roofs thing, people shouldn't do that.
    • What colour was the roof?
    • And so on....
    Of course, there are questions that can and should be asked about the problem that weren't originally mentioned - like the hardness of the ball and roof material to determine the rolling friction - but they are issues that lead to a legitimate physics discussion of the problem... not just random "asides".

    This is a philosophical forum. What the law says or does in any given country is of no philosophical concern - if you want to discuss that, we have a forum for that, and this ain't it. Why the man was in court in the first place, or what he may have done in the past, is of no philosophical concern - if you want to discuss that, we have a forum for that, and this ain't it.

    There are at least half a dozen very good philosophical discussions that can come out of this single little news piece - i only mentioned a couple - but they (like most of the good philosophical discussions in this forum) are going to be drowned out with nonsense if we don't focus the discussion. If you want to talk law, or if you want to gossip about this man's foibles, sexual or otherwise, leave. This is a philosophical forum, for philosophical discussion.

    i wouldn't even mind random asides if the signal to noise ratio were even remotely acceptable. And of course, in a good philosophical discussion, it's not uncommon to stumble across a new philosophical issue that causes the original discussion to branch - that can either be done in the same thread or in a new thread. But it's damn near impossible to have a good philosophical discussion around here because of all the NON-philosophical discussion... which has its own place in other forums. Not here.

    watersoul wrote:
    I'm not sure, but it's certainly unwise to assume that this issue has reached the court solely because it involved gay sex.

    Who assumed that, now? -_- (To quote myself: As for how it even came to the court's attention, the man is mentally deficient, and has a history of bad behaviour in public. Most likely he did something inappropriate in public and was charged, and his defence was mental deficiency, leading the court to investigate whether that was true, and if so whether he should be committed or what other action should be taken... which leads us to the ruling in question.)

    watersoul wrote:
    Basically, no one else took responsibility so the Court of Protection did.
    It's not perfect but equally it doesn't set a legal precedent that all mentally incapable folk cannot now have sex in the UK, just that someone in this mans exact circumstances should be denied it.

    Again, we're not interested in what happened. We're NOT interested in the specifics of this, but rather the philosophical questions of justice and morality that underlie the general problem. So if no one takes responsibility for the decisions of an incapable person, is it okay to then rob that person of the ability to make, experience of benefit from those decisions at all? Discuss. See? That is a philosophical issue, not the specific social status of "Alan".

    If you want to say something like "in general a mentally incapable person shouldn't be denied sex, but in this specific case he might", you have to say what would make a specific case (NOT this specific case, a specific case) justified in banning sex? What factors are important?

    That's another problem endemic here that's snuffing philosophical discussion: people just saying things with no justification. In one of the questions i mentioned, i pointed out that cockroaches were far less capable of understanding the consequences of sex than a mentally-challenged man, yet even they can have sex, and one of the responses was basically, "yeah, well, it's different with cockroaches". BUT HOW? Why? What exactly is different? And what is different that cannot be fixed by other, more direct means? (For example, if you want to say that a human baby resulting from an unwanted pregnancy is a far greater burden than an unwanted cockroach baby that the parents can't care for, fine, but if unwanted pregnancies are the problem, why not just enforce a vasectomy so the man can still enjoy sex?)

    Bikerman wrote:
    I am genuinely torn on this one. On the one hand I think that any interference in personal choices by a court has to be a matter of concern when those choices are perfectly legal. On the other hand, having worked with adults of a similar 'mental age' to Alan, I know how vulnerable they can be.

    Naturally mentally-deficient people are more vulnerable than fully-competent people, but what specific vulnerabilities are relevant here? If a mentally-competent person wants to have sex with a mentally-deficient person who also wants to have sex... is that rape?

    i am not all interested in the question of homosexuality vs. heterosexuality in this issue. (Other than to observe that if this person had been in cohabiting, long-term sexual relationship with a woman, his private sexual habits would probably haven't been a concern in the court - and again, and i can't believe i have to repeat this - I AM NOT SAYING THE MAN WAS IN COURT BECAUSE HE WAS HAVING A GAY RELATIONSHIP; the man was in court because he was a public nuisance, and i think the article even says as much, obliquely. However, once in court, there were a number of things the court could have discussed banning - they could have banned him from fatty foods, playing football, daytime TV or the Daily Mirror, all of which have a far better chance of harming him than sex - but for some reason they chose to ban him from sex, even though he was in a long-term relationship. Why? Because he was doing something lewd in public? That doesn't follow (they banned him from sex, not being lewd in public, and anyway if he's going to break the rules and be lewd in public how would the ban from sex help). Because he is a rape risk? That also doesn't follow (if he's going to rape or be raped, the ban won't help much). The only reason i can see for them even considering the question is the gay issue.)

    But i am not all interested in the question of homosexuality vs. heterosexuality in this issue. As far as i am concerned, the only relevant factor that brings into the discussion is that homosexual relationships can't result in babies. And if that's the real issue, then:
    1. Infertile couples have the same status.
    2. It opens the question of enforced sterilization (rather than banning sex, prevent babies so the person can still enjoy sex).
    3. It opens the question of whether heterosexual sex should be banned, but homosexual sex allowed - or in other words, despite what you said, there should be discrimination between a heterosexual and homosexual relationship.


    ocalhoun wrote:
    I can't know what questions will make you unsure or not, but this one leaves me unsure because I don't know all the pertinent facts.

    And what would be pertinent facts?

    ocalhoun wrote:
    Not particularly... Just to say that if demonstrable harm was being done (to any party), then the decision would be easy.
    I'm sure you know I'm not a big fan of banning things because they might cause harm.

    And what harm would be caused by sex? And for each harm - unwanted pregnancy, STDs - is there not a way to prevent that harm to a very confident degree? If so, doesn't that make sex effectively harmless? And if so, doesn't that mean it should be allowed for everyone physically capable? And for those physically capable, but not mentally, if they are monitored by a responsible overseer, shouldn't it be allowed for them, too? Wouldn't that also include physically capable nine-year-olds? So should nine-year-olds be allowed to have sex, so long as their parent or guardian screens the act and approves it? What if the parent or guardian wants to have sex with the nine-year-old?

    ocalhoun wrote:
    Quote:
    (Not that it's really relevant, but i think it's pretty obvious how this case came to legal attention, and why it became an issue at all. Let me repeat myself: The man, 41 years old, was in a sexual relationship with another man. Let me repeat myself again with emphasis: The man, 41 years old, was in a sexual relationship WITH ANOTHER MAN. i seriously doubt this would have been an issue if the man was in a relationship with a woman.

    Completely irrelevant.
    Even if the government's involvement here is prejudiced, that doesn't mean we need to be.

    There must be a problem with your browser that cut part of my comment off, but FYI, it starts with: "Not that it's really relevant"...

    ocalhoun wrote:
    Quote:
    As for how it even came to the court's attention, the man is mentally deficient, and has a history of bad behaviour in public. Most likely he did something inappropriate in public and was charged, and his defence was mental deficiency, leading the court to investigate whether that was true, and if so whether he should be committed or what other action should be taken... which leads us to the ruling in question.)

    Unless the inappropriate something had to do with the relationship, then the court is overstepping when it comes to ruling about the relationship.

    My question is, who was it who found out about this and thought "this is a problem - something must be done"? Knowing more about that person would help us to know if the case was brought up for bigoted reasons or not.
    --It might also help us know if intervention was warranted or not.

    ... and the "not really relevant" part continued until the end of the bracket above.

    ocalhoun wrote:
    If there is a court-assigned guardian, then yes - that would be who's business it is.

    So what if the court-assigned guardian decided they wanted to have sex with the man? Hell, what if the guardian decided they wanted to "pimp" the man out, offering him as a sex toy to anyone who asks, without accepting money (so it's legal!)?

    What if the court-assigned guardian wanted to have sex with the man... but the man didn't want to have sex with the guardian? After all, it's up to the guardian to decide what's best for the man, not the man, right?

    ocalhoun wrote:
    The idea of assigning his lover as such would be convenient - but I think it is fraught with too much conflict of interest.

    A father who had sex with his children would not be allowed to keep them... So a father shouldn't become a lover.
    Likewise, I think a lover shouldn't become a father (guardian).
    Combining the roles of lover and guardian is probably a bad idea.

    i think we have a different definition of "conflict". The man wants to have sex with the (potential) guardian. The (potential) guardian wants to have sex with the man. Whenceforth the "conflict"?

    According to you, a guardian is responsible for making all decisions for the ward, correct? We've discussed this in the past, and while i've insisted that all a guardian can do is oversee the ward by using objective reason to determine what's best for them - that is, the guardian has no say whatsoever what's best for the ward, reason does, and the guardian's only job is to make sure that reason is properly applied - you've insisted that a guardian has total dominion over the ward; whatever the guardian decides is best, is best. At best, you've hedged (as you are now) by suggesting that not everyone makes good guardians. Well i'm calling you on it now. If a parent is not the best guardian for their own child, how do you determine who is? Why does a parent wanting to have sex with the child make them a bad guardian? Especially if the child also wants to have sex with the parent? It is not a "conflict of interest" when a guardian derives pleasure from guarding their ward, unless the ward does not. And if it is... don't all parents take great pleasure in raising and taking care of their kids, and wouldn't that be a "conflict of interest", using your definition?

    ocalhoun wrote:
    Quote:
    you get huffy and say i'm making assumptions and putting words in your mouth!

    ^.^ Now this is a fun irony...
    You're putting words in my mouth... and what words are they?
    Me complaining about you putting words in my mouth.

    i wasn't "putting words in your mouth". i was repeating complaints you have made in the past. They are your words.

    ocalhoun wrote:
    Quote:
    it's open season on assumptions for what you might have meant.)

    Or... I might have meant only what I said, and not been alluding to some deeper fundamental stance on the issue.
    Perhaps I was just posting my (vague and unclear) thoughts on the issue without trying to make any particular assertions?

    If your stance is vague and unclear, the logical thing to do is come straight out and say that, rather than asserting what should be done without qualification. In point of fact, what you literally did was make particular assertions.

    This is the statement of a person who is trying to say that their stance is vague and unclear: i'm not sure what the right thing to do here is; maybe we should wait to see if they're going to harm themselves before making a decision?

    This is the statement of a person who is trying to say that they have an answer figured out: Well, in borderline cases like this, I'd say err on the side of allowing people more freedom, unless they show a demonstrable propensity toward harming themselves or others.

    You see, you only say you're vague and unclear after i point out that your assertion is incomplete and unsupported.

    So, in future, if you make an assertion that is incomplete and unsupported... i should just assume you don't know what you're talking about?

    ocalhoun wrote:
    Quote:

    So perhaps we should sterilize the man,

    What for? Afraid his male lover will get pregnant?

    You tell me. You're the one who brought up eugenics.

    ocalhoun wrote:
    Quote:
    and offer freely available contraceptives to minors who want to have sex - including emergency abortions in the tiny percentage of cases where the contraceptives fail? Would that solve the problem?

    Well, that wouldn't solve this particular problem, but removing any extra barriers to minors obtaining contraceptives would be a good idea.

    "This particular problem" is not a philosophical problem, it is a legal one. The question is: is the underlying philosophical problem in this particular legal problem the same as the philosophical problem of minors having sex? i don't know. It might be. It sure looks like it to me.

    One way to find out is to see what we think about this problem, and see if the same solution applies to minors. If it doesn't then either a) it's a different philosophical problem, or b) it is the same philosophical problem, but other factors like our biases are getting in the way.

    So, if the problem with this mentally-deficient man having sex is the chance of pregnancy, then it should be okay if we remove the chance of that happening, correct? And if that solves that issue, does it also solve the issue of minors having sex? And if not, why?

    Those are philosophical questions.
    watersoul
    Indi wrote:

    watersoul wrote:
    I'm not sure, but it's certainly unwise to assume that this issue has reached the court solely because it involved gay sex.

    Who assumed that, now?

    And then you said...

    Indi wrote:
    I AM NOT SAYING THE MAN WAS IN COURT BECAUSE HE WAS HAVING A GAY RELATIONSHIP


    ...urm, unfortunately the following statement originally posted by you is completely at odds with the above two quotes though:
    Indi wrote:
    Obviously the only reason this was even in the court was because it was a gay relationship

    ...and it's quite a firm statement, so please forgive me for assuming you meant 'obviously the only reason this was even in the court was because it was a gay relationship', perhaps I mis-read what you meant to say? Perhaps think carefully about your statements if you do not want them challenged or rebutted.


    ...and then you ask:
    indi wrote:
    Again, we're not interested in what happened. We're NOT interested in the specifics of this, but rather the philosophical questions of justice and morality that underlie the general problem. So if no one takes responsibility for the decisions of an incapable person, is it okay to then rob that person of the ability to make, experience of benefit from those decisions at all? Discuss.

    I understand that you feel philosophical discussion has been binned here, but in relation to this case it does matter. It was a poor example if you were looking at how mentally incapable people are 'judged' in the UK overall. This chap was clearly under the Court of Protections care before this case had to be considered (because no one else would take the job) and as such the court became his 'parents' in a legal sense. That said, would you use a decision of 'real' parents to place a philosophical argument about when their 8 year old child should have sex?
    The fact is that the guy has no rights of his own other than basic human rights under common European laws, he is under the care of the court as if they were his parents - because the state has been left as the final option of care for him.

    You might be searching for some philosophical critisism regarding his rights etc, but when someone is completely incapable in the UK and no-one else wants to be involved in their life then eventually the court of protection takes over.
    Note the key word, protection. No decisions are made lightly, and to be honest I've experienced enough occasions in my career dealing with the C of P to know it is a ridiculously bureaucratic arm of government that is hard to deal with at times.

    For all we know the guy could himself have been an absolute nightmare case to deal with.
    Picture the scene - He has no money apart from what the tax-payer gives him in benefits, he is being cared for in a residential setting (with other residents) and paid for by the state. The state has become his legal guardian because everyone else has sacked him off (family and friends).
    His behaviour in the home could have been absolutely horrible, for example: Throwing excrement around, after sex with the other resident, leaving stinking sheets for the care team to have to wash, arguments and violent rows with his sexual partner in the day room, upsetting other residents?

    All of the above I have seen myself over the years, and for you to try to make this single case a discussion about moral rights or wrongs of the state deciding things for people who's cognitive skills are shot to bits, whilst trying to compare it with the question of what should be the age of consent, it's just not possible, at all. The state is this guys legal guardian and already was before the sex issue. The state funds it all, and the state has care workers (court appointed deputies) who have to put up with whatever shit he's giving them on a day to day basis while trying to keep other residents (the pseudo family) safe and happy. What we don't know about the case is more important than what was divulged to the newspaper you quoted, but like it or not, the state was already his legal guardian, and it has to make decisions that take the welfare of all the people in it's care fully into account - as a parent does in a family, the family in this case being the state funded residential care home.

    He's just lucky he lives in the UK so his objections actually made it to a court of law and the decision was made and based on evidence. What the evidence was we don't know, but it certainly isn't as simple as:

    Indi wrote:
    Obviously the only reason this was even in the court was because it was a gay relationship
    Indi
    watersoul wrote:
    Indi wrote:

    watersoul wrote:
    I'm not sure, but it's certainly unwise to assume that this issue has reached the court solely because it involved gay sex.

    Who assumed that, now?

    And then you said...

    Indi wrote:
    I AM NOT SAYING THE MAN WAS IN COURT BECAUSE HE WAS HAVING A GAY RELATIONSHIP


    ...urm, unfortunately the following statement originally posted by you is completely at odds with the above two quotes though:
    Indi wrote:
    Obviously the only reason this was even in the court was because it was a gay relationship

    ...and it's quite a firm statement, so please forgive me for assuming you meant 'obviously the only reason this was even in the court was because it was a gay relationship', perhaps I mis-read what you meant to say? Perhaps think carefully about your statements if you do not want them challenged or rebutted.

    Aiya, comprehension skills in this forum border on the atrocious. -_- Let me explain this, step-by-step.

    The man was probably in court because he misbehaved in public. Follow? Clear?

    The issue of banning him from sex probably came up in court (after the man was already there!!!) because he was in a gay relationship. See it now? Two different situations, two different causes. First the man's bad behaviour got him in front of a judge...

    ...

    ...

    ... then, once in front of that judge, somehow the question of whether or not to ban him from sex came up.

    Clear now?

    watersoul wrote:
    It was a poor example if you were looking at how mentally incapable people are 'judged' in the UK overall.

    i wasn't.

    That is not a philosophical issue. It is a legal issue. This is a philosophical forum. This is not a legal forum. i don't care what the UK court did in this case or what they do in general. i'm six thousand kilometres away and in another country. You can get as defensive as you like about what the courts in Newcastle-upon-Tyne are doing... i really don't care. i only used the particular issue to frame philosophical questions (just like how real-world situations are often used to frame math or physics question). If you can't see those philosophical questions, you don't belong in this thread; you certainly shouldn't be going on about how the courts in the UK operate unless you have a philosophical point to make, and "He's just lucky he lives in the UK" is not a philosophical point.

    As for the rest of what you wrote, it's all philosophically irrelevant. The man could have been the worst human being in the world, the most out-of-control person in the world, or the most helpless person in the world. Doesn't matter. The man could have burnt down a hospital, shot up a retirement home or raped a busload of orphans. Does. Not. Matter.

    The question at hand - the philosophical question - is whether it is just to ban someone from sex, and if so, under what conditions. Who can make that decision for someone else, how, and why? The age of consent keeps coming up because the most common justification for taking control of someone's choices about sex is their inability to make those choices themselves... which is true both for the mentally-incompetent and minors, so whatever is true for one must be true for both unless other factors are involved, and if so, what are those other factors. That's what a philosophical discussion looks like. It does not look like an outline of how the UK justice system works.
    watersoul
    Indi wrote:
    Obviously the only reason this was even in the court was because it was a gay relationship

    Nope, the original statement you made was clear, and wrong.

    Indi wrote:
    Aiya, comprehension skills in this forum border on the atrocious. -_- Let me explain this, step-by-step.

    The man was probably in court because he misbehaved in public. Follow? Clear?


    The issue of banning him from sex probably came up in court (after the man was already there!!!) because he was in a gay relationship. See it now? Two different situations, two different causes. First the man's bad behaviour got him in front of a judge...

    Wrong again.
    The guy is 'under the court of protection', it is not a normal criminal court, it is a special arm of the judiciary that makes decisions for people who have previously been deemed incapable and there is no-one else to take that responsibility. If his condition is from birth then it is likely that he has been a 'ward of the court' for many years - hence the responsibility and involvement of the judge.

    Every aspect of his life is decided by the court and if there is a dispute it goes to the judge to decide 'as guardian'.
    If there is a change to a direct debit for his care fees then this has to be agreed by the court of protection before the bank will authorise payment (deputies usually make the decision if there is no dispute). If the local authority tried to move him to a different care home and he refused, it would also 'get him in front of a judge' to make the decision on his behalf. If he refused medical treatment, a judge would make the decision for him. Any dispute that the man is involved in will be ultimately decided by a judge.

    You are completely wrong in thinking he's before a judge in the sense of anything other than the court is the ultimate decision maker in his life (has already been for some time, and will continue to as long as he is deemed incapable). The judge is only involved in the final decision when the man has a dispute with any party, otherwise the decisions are devolved to court appointed deputies.

    indi wrote:

    ...

    ...

    ... then, once in front of that judge, somehow the question of whether or not to ban him from sex came up.

    Clear now?

    Yep, clear that you are wrong again. The judge would have been asked to make a decision because of the sex issue which was probably detrimental to him and everyone in the care home he is at. Stop looking at it as a criminal court, the court is involved in his life as guardians and only get involved in cases of dispute when the man disagrees with something.

    indi wrote:

    The question at hand - the philosophical question - is whether it is just to ban someone from sex, and if so, under what conditions. Who can make that decision for someone else, how, and why?


    OK, yes it is just in this situation because he has already been deemed incapable (for whatever reason) and the court acts as his carer & guardian anyway - responsibility for his welfare is always ultimately in the court/judges hands. The court decides all aspects of his life just as a parent would for a child. Before you disregard the legal issues I mentioned and cry about the philosophical discussion that should be going on, you need to understand the processes that put the man under the sole responsibility of the court long before the alleged misbehaviour in public.

    And yes it is relevent if his behaviour is affecting the other residents/care staff. They are effectively his family and the court is his 'parents'. If behaviour is unacceptable by someone in a conventional family then the parents usually put a stop to it, as in this case.

    In a nutshell, the care staff probably didn't want him screwing (or being screwed) by the other resident (for whatever reason) and he would have said no (a dispute), thats why it went before a judge, not because of the prior misbehaviour in public - if that had been the reason it would have been in a criminal court, not the court of protection.

    If you don't understand the workings of this court, please feel free to PM me, it's important to know the framework of the whole situation before its possible to make reasoned philosophical observations about the moral issues - especially when your initial statement (regarding his sexual orientiation being an issue) is, well, simply wrong.
    deanhills
    OK Indi. I think I've found something in the direction of what you may have wanted to discuss .... maybe .... Smile BUT, problem is I can't access it and I would really love to read the paper. Do you have access through your University to get hold of this paper? The closest I could get was the first page below. The paper is by Prof. Stephen Kershnar of the Department of Philosophy of the State University of New York College at Fredonia. Title: The Moral Status of Harmless Adult-Child Sex. It was published in the Public Affairs Quarterly 15 (2):111--132. Do you have access to the Journal?

    Here's a copy of the first page from Google citations:
    watersoul
    Interesting introduction there, and to take the following key statement:

    Prof. Stephen Kershna wrote:
    I argue for the following thesis: other things equal, pedophilia is wrong if and only if it is harmful or the childs parents do not agree to it


    In the case of an individual who is a 'ward of the court of protection' (such as the man in the OP), the court and all appointed deputies are effectively the same as a parent is to a child, having absolute authority over what he does, when & where.
    The judge (legal pseudo parent) did not agree to the sex, but we do not know the details why due to the confidential nature of the system. It is certain however that a team of health professionals would have indicated to the judge that the decision was in the mans best interest, and it appears the judge agreed with them.

    In that circumstance I would be inclined to feel the decision was probably morally right, because the guardian holding the position of responsibility made the choice taking all factors into account - details we are unfortunately not privy to.
    deanhills
    I'm completely bowled over. I wrote earlier to Prof. Kershnar and he forwarded his paper to me almost immediately. That was awesome of him. This is the conclusion of the paper:
    Quote:
    If adult-child sex is harmless and the child’s parents consent to it, then it is probably morally permissible. This is because the most plausible explanations of the wrongfulness of adult-child sex: the absence of the child’s consent, the pejorative exploitative nature of such acts, and the intuitive wrongfulness (and aesthetic distaste that most people have for it) all fail to show that it in itself is morally wrong. If it is in fact harmful, then its wrongfulness can be accounted for in a straightforward way.

    However, two points about harmfulness are worth noting. First, the claim that such an activity is harmful, or more specifically psychologically harmful, can be empirically investigated. Should the studies fail to establish a strong enough causal relation between psychological harm and sexual interaction with adults, the burden would then fall to those who wish to disallow the activity.

    Second, even if adult-child sex is psychologically harmful, the degree of harmfulness is important in determining whether such sex ought to be banned. This is because some activities which produce minor harm, e.g., eating unhealthy foods, watching large amounts of television, ought not be banned because the child enjoys them and they fall within the domain of parental rights. Hence, the legal status of adult-child sex should be determined in large part by the outcome of the empirical investigation of its degree of harmfulness.

    watersoul wrote:
    In that circumstance I would be inclined to feel the decision was probably morally right, because the guardian holding the position of responsibility made the choice taking all factors into account - details we are unfortunately not privy to.
    Agreed. Looks as though Prof. Kershnar's paper would have supported this point as well. The court made an empirical investigation of the matter, the end result of which was that there was harm involved for the "minor". The act itself however to me was not morally wrong. Since the "minor" did consent to sex. On the face of it I can't see any harm in the relationship, but then as you said perhaps there are details that are unknown to us and that had been empirically investigated.
    ocalhoun
    Indi wrote:

    ocalhoun wrote:

    I'm sure you know I'm not a big fan of banning things because they might cause harm.

    And what harm would be caused by sex?

    I dunno... Ask a rape victim.
    Quote:
    So should nine-year-olds be allowed to have sex, so long as their parent or guardian screens the act and approves it? What if the parent or guardian wants to have sex with the nine-year-old?

    Again, no, mainly because of the conflict of interest. The giver of consent and the receiver of consent should not be the same person.
    Quote:

    ocalhoun wrote:

    Completely irrelevant.

    There must be a problem with your browser that cut part of my comment off, but FYI, it starts with: "Not that it's really relevant"...

    *confused*
    *checks back*
    Doh!
    Okay, I agree, it was rather irrelevant to state that it was irrelevant.
    Quote:

    ocalhoun wrote:
    If there is a court-assigned guardian, then yes - that would be who's business it is.

    So what if the court-assigned guardian decided they wanted to have sex with the man? Hell, what if the guardian decided they wanted to "pimp" the man out, offering him as a sex toy to anyone who asks, without accepting money (so it's legal!)?

    What if the court-assigned guardian wanted to have sex with the man... but the man didn't want to have sex with the guardian? After all, it's up to the guardian to decide what's best for the man, not the man, right?

    A: This hypothetical guardian is being a VERY bad guardian, and should be replaced.
    B: Why is he/she being a bad guardian? Again - conflict of interest, with the high likelihood of putting his/her own priorities above those of his/her ward.
    Quote:

    ocalhoun wrote:
    The idea of assigning his lover as such would be convenient - but I think it is fraught with too much conflict of interest.

    i think we have a different definition of "conflict". The man wants to have sex with the (potential) guardian. The (potential) guardian wants to have sex with the man. Whenceforth the "conflict"?

    Whenceforth the conflict?
    The conflict is not between two people - the conflict is within the guardian.
    Protagonist: The man* wants to be a faithful guardian and do what's best for his ward.
    Antagonist: The man wants pleasure at the (possible) expense of his ward.
    That's where the conflict is; it's not a conflict of people, it's a conflict of interest.
    define: conflict of interest wrote:

    a situation in which a public official's decisions are influenced by the official's personal interests
    wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

    Quote:

    According to you, a guardian is responsible for making all decisions for the ward, correct?

    With the proviso that the ward can make decisions that should be approved or disapproved by the guardian.
    Quote:
    We've discussed this in the past, and while i've insisted that all a guardian can do is oversee the ward by using objective reason to determine what's best for them - that is, the guardian has no say whatsoever what's best for the ward, reason does, and the guardian's only job is to make sure that reason is properly applied - you've insisted that a guardian has total dominion over the ward; whatever the guardian decides is best, is best. At best, you've hedged (as you are now) by suggesting that not everyone makes good guardians. Well i'm calling you on it now. If a parent is not the best guardian for their own child, how do you determine who is?

    The best guardian is one who puts (his rational interpretation of) the ward's wants/needs as top priority when making decisions.
    Quote:
    Why does a parent wanting to have sex with the child make them a bad guardian?

    Assuming a 'consenting'** child, the conflict of interest is the main problem.
    Quote:
    Especially if the child also wants to have sex with the parent? It is not a "conflict of interest" when a guardian derives pleasure from guarding their ward, unless the ward does not. And if it is... don't all parents take great pleasure in raising and taking care of their kids, and wouldn't that be a "conflict of interest", using your definition?

    If the official interest and the personal interest coincide, then there is no conflict.
    But if the official interest (wanting what's best for the ward) and the personal interest (wanting sex with the ward) might conflict with each other, that is a conflict of interest.
    If a conflict of interest is present, the decision should be made by someone who is not conflicted -- who has no personal interest in the matter, and only has the official interest (wanting what's best for the ward).
    Quote:

    So, in future, if you make an assertion that is incomplete and unsupported... i should just assume you don't know what you're talking about?

    Eh, probably.
    You don't start from that assumption already?
    (I do have a bad habit of just typing thoughts into the post, leaving it easy to confuse uncertain musings as assertions.)


    *could be a woman too, just using man because the he/she stuff gets old.
    **Perhaps 'willing' would be a better word
    Indi
    watersoul wrote:
    Indi wrote:
    Obviously the only reason this was even in the court was because it was a gay relationship

    Nope, the original statement you made was clear, and wrong.

    Indi wrote:
    Aiya, comprehension skills in this forum border on the atrocious. -_- Let me explain this, step-by-step.

    The man was probably in court because he misbehaved in public. Follow? Clear?


    The issue of banning him from sex probably came up in court (after the man was already there!!!) because he was in a gay relationship. See it now? Two different situations, two different causes. First the man's bad behaviour got him in front of a judge...

    Wrong again.
    The guy is 'under the court of protection', it is not a normal criminal court, it is a special arm of the judiciary that makes decisions for people who have previously been deemed incapable and there is no-one else to take that responsibility. If his condition is from birth then it is likely that he has been a 'ward of the court' for many years - hence the responsibility and involvement of the judge.

    Every aspect of his life is decided by the court and if there is a dispute it goes to the judge to decide 'as guardian'.
    If there is a change to a direct debit for his care fees then this has to be agreed by the court of protection before the bank will authorise payment (deputies usually make the decision if there is no dispute). If the local authority tried to move him to a different care home and he refused, it would also 'get him in front of a judge' to make the decision on his behalf. If he refused medical treatment, a judge would make the decision for him. Any dispute that the man is involved in will be ultimately decided by a judge.

    You are completely wrong in thinking he's before a judge in the sense of anything other than the court is the ultimate decision maker in his life (has already been for some time, and will continue to as long as he is deemed incapable). The judge is only involved in the final decision when the man has a dispute with any party, otherwise the decisions are devolved to court appointed deputies.

    indi wrote:

    ...

    ...

    ... then, once in front of that judge, somehow the question of whether or not to ban him from sex came up.

    Clear now?

    Yep, clear that you are wrong again. The judge would have been asked to make a decision because of the sex issue which was probably detrimental to him and everyone in the care home he is at. Stop looking at it as a criminal court, the court is involved in his life as guardians and only get involved in cases of dispute when the man disagrees with something.

    You know, you really should check the facts before telling someone they're wrong. ^_^; In point of fact, the court was convened because of incidents involving police complaints - in particular, the man apparently harassed some young girls on the bus, trying to look under their skirts (there was also an incident of touching himself in front of a boy or something). The judge flat out says so himself.

    The facts are that the man was already under court protection and had been for a long time. But this particular session was called because of those incidents of public bad behaviour. And then, something caused the court to not only scrutinize the man's sexual habits... but to consider it necessary to put a ban on them. We're not told explicitly what that something was, but, as i said, i speculate that it was because the sexual shenanigans the man was involved in were homosexual.

    But all this is what i said in the beginning, of course.

    watersoul wrote:
    OK, yes it is just in this situation because he has already been deemed incapable (for whatever reason) and the court acts as his carer & guardian anyway - responsibility for his welfare is always ultimately in the court/judges hands. The court decides all aspects of his life just as a parent would for a child. Before you disregard the legal issues I mentioned and cry about the philosophical discussion that should be going on, you need to understand the processes that put the man under the sole responsibility of the court long before the alleged misbehaviour in public.

    And yes it is relevent if his behaviour is affecting the other residents/care staff. They are effectively his family and the court is his 'parents'. If behaviour is unacceptable by someone in a conventional family then the parents usually put a stop to it, as in this case.

    No one's arguing that the court is responsible for watching over the man or his welfare, or that the court has rights to put limits on the man and his behaviour for the sake of his welfare. i mean, duh. The question is whether the ban on sex is justifiable. If you're arguing that the court has authority over the man's welfare, the question now becomes whether the ban on sex is in his welfare.

    Parents have the legal right to ban their kids from playing or from making friends... but this, and i don't know why i have to keep repeating this, is not a legal forum. The question is do parents have a moral or ethical right to ban their kids from doing otherwise harmless things? Yes, parents "can", in the legal and practical sense, ban their kids from singing songs or listening to music, but "can" they in the philosophical sense? We don't allow parents to wantonly saw limbs off their children, so obviously we don't allow parents full and unequivocal jurisdiction over their children. There are some limits on what we say parents have a right to do. What are those limits and why do they exist? How do they apply in this case? (This is all assuming that you're going to compare the court's rights to determine the sexual behaviour of the man as on the same philosophical footing as a parent's rights to determine what games their children play.)

    watersoul wrote:
    If you don't understand the workings of this court, please feel free to PM me, it's important to know the framework of the whole situation before its possible to make reasoned philosophical observations about the moral issues - especially when your initial statement (regarding his sexual orientiation being an issue) is, well, simply wrong.

    Well, to quote you, "wrong again". ^_^;

    watersoul wrote:
    If you don't understand the workings of this court, please feel free to PM me, it's important to know the framework of the whole situation before its possible to make reasoned philosophical observations about the moral issues - especially when your initial statement (regarding his sexual orientiation being an issue) is, well, simply wrong.

    1. i don't care about the workings of the court. They are irrelevant to the philosophy. How many times does this have to be repeated?

    2. Regardless of the normal workings of the court, i am apparently better aware of the facts of this case than you are... because you're wrong: The man was before the court for bad behaviour in public, not because the staff in the home he was in had issues... just as i said. If you don't understand the facts of this case, perhaps you should PM me; it's important to know the facts of the specific case you are talking about before telling other people they have the facts wrong.

      But, for the record, don't bother to PM me, because a) i don't answer PMs from strangers and b) all i'll tell you is "Google is your friend" anyway.


    watersoul wrote:
    In that circumstance I would be inclined to feel the decision was probably morally right, because the guardian holding the position of responsibility made the choice taking all factors into account - details we are unfortunately not privy to.

    -_-;

    This is a philosophical discussion forum. If you don't know the details, speculate. In particular, figure out what details would be relevant. Does it matter what colour the man's skin is? No? Then that detail is not relevant. Does it matter what the man's particular understanding of sex is? Yes? Then that detail is relevant. And if that detail is relevant, how is it relevant? Why does the man's understanding of sex matter? Etc. etc.

    This is not a legal forum. The way the court works: irrelevant. We're not trying to determine whether the court acted correctly in legal terms, we're trying to determine whether they acted correctly in philosophical terms. The facts of this particular case: irrelevant. We are not trying to judge "Alan", we're trying to figure out whether it is ethical IN GENERAL to ban someone from sex, and if so, under what conditions? Who can do the banning? How should it be done? Etc. etc.

    Obviously if this were a legal forum, or a discussion about the particular case of "Alan", simply speculating details would be counterproductive. BUT IT'S NOT. It's a philosophical forum. The questions posed in the opening post were all about general points... not specifically "Alan" or the UK Court that passed the ban. Look at the freaking questions! They're not about "Alan" or the UK legal system, they are all general questions about the philosophy of the issue! The first one asks just about "a mentally-deficient person". The second one is about a comparison between humans and cockroaches!!! The third one is about children. NONE of those questions have to do with the case: the case was just a framing device.

    You are like a stubborn pitbull with a bone with this legal crap, and it's getting disruptive and tiring, so i'll just say this to put an end to it:
    • This is not a legal forum. If it's really that important to you to clear up how the UK Court of Protection works, this is the forum to do it in. Not P&R. Period. That's not even my rules, those are the rules of Frihost. If you have an issue with them... this also isn't the place to be discussing that.

      If you want to go create a thread there to discuss how it works, go for it. i can promise i won't be there, but if it's really that big an issue for you that is the place to deal with it... not here. Here, you're just being disruptive and off-topic.

    • This is not a forum to discuss the specifics of any particular case. You are ignorant of the facts of this case, so you have two choices: if you want to learn more about the details of the case, either Google it or create a thread here to ask others about it; if you don't want to learn more and just want to rant about the way you think it should be... well, i don't know where there's a forum for that, and i don't care, but it's certainly not here.

      If, for some reason, you are interested in details about this particular case for a philosophical reason, then it would behove you to actually list what details you're interested in, and state why they're philosophically relevant for the discussion - rather than simply going on about how you think things happened in this particular case. Or, better yet, simply state what details would be relevant, and show why they're relevant, and how they affect the philosophy. Otherwise, you're just being disruptive and off-topic.

    • i am conducting a philosophical discussion about philosophical questions of rights and freedoms, and i've happened to use a random news story to frame the issue because many people have a hard time thinking in the abstract. i am trying very hard to keep the discussion, if not necessarily on-topic, at least within the domain of philosophy and religion (more so the former, in this particular case). You are disrupting that by stubbornly trying to derail the discussion with legal and current-events issues, despite having being asked repeatedly to stop and stay on topic.

      i would strongly recommend that you stop immediately, and cool off for a bit, because i don't believe that you really want to be a disruptive tool. If the topic is really that important to you (which i doubt it really is), i have given you not one, but two more appropriate places to discuss it. If it's me you have a problem with, then, by all means, report me. i don't care what you do so long as you stop disrupting and derailing this discussion.


    deanhills wrote:
    Agreed. Looks as though Prof. Kershnar's paper would have supported this point as well. The court made an empirical investigation of the matter, the end result of which was that there was harm involved for the "minor". The act itself however to me was not morally wrong. Since the "minor" did consent to sex. On the face of it I can't see any harm in the relationship, but then as you said perhaps there are details that are unknown to us and that had been empirically investigated.

    Forget what the court did, forget the specific case of "Alan" and focus on the philosophy.

    It's good that you are turning to real philosophical thought for guidance, but merely regurgitating papers is not philosophy. i can write a Python script in about 10 minutes to trawl JSTOR or The Philosophical Index for more-or-less relevant philosophical papers and post them. A philosopher has to do more.

    So presumably you've read Dr. Kershnar's paper. What's your opinion on the philosophy in it? Here's a couple of interesting quotes, from the conclusion: "If adult-child sex is harmless and the child’s parents consent to it, then it is probably morally permissible." and then from the second paragraph of part 2: "So, for example, intercourse between an adult and a comatose child is adult-child sex for the purposes of this essay." What do you think? If a child is comatose, can the parents allow people to come and have sex with the child?

    ocalhoun wrote:
    Indi wrote:
    And what harm would be caused by sex?

    I dunno... Ask a rape victim.

    If that was a joke, it was a shockingly loathsome and offensive one. i seriously hope no victims of rape are reading this.

    If that was not a joke, then am i to seriously believe that you think rape is "harmful sex"? Seriously?

    ocalhoun wrote:
    Quote:

    So what if the court-assigned guardian decided they wanted to have sex with the man? Hell, what if the guardian decided they wanted to "pimp" the man out, offering him as a sex toy to anyone who asks, without accepting money (so it's legal!)?

    What if the court-assigned guardian wanted to have sex with the man... but the man didn't want to have sex with the guardian? After all, it's up to the guardian to decide what's best for the man, not the man, right?

    A: This hypothetical guardian is being a VERY bad guardian, and should be replaced.
    B: Why is he/she being a bad guardian? Again - conflict of interest, with the high likelihood of putting his/her own priorities above those of his/her ward.
    Quote:

    ocalhoun wrote:
    The idea of assigning his lover as such would be convenient - but I think it is fraught with too much conflict of interest.

    i think we have a different definition of "conflict". The man wants to have sex with the (potential) guardian. The (potential) guardian wants to have sex with the man. Whenceforth the "conflict"?

    Whenceforth the conflict?
    The conflict is not between two people - the conflict is within the guardian.
    Protagonist: The man* wants to be a faithful guardian and do what's best for his ward.
    Antagonist: The man wants pleasure at the (possible) expense of his ward.

    But you are manufacturing the "conflict". There is no reason that the guardian wanting to have sex with the ward is necessarily putting their priorities over those of the ward. There is no reason to believe that he has to have pleasure at the expense of the ward. You're just saying that's so, without explanation, when it doesn't have to be true.

    There are many ways that wanting sex with the ward can be not only not in conflict with what the ward wants... but can in fact be in agreement with it. In fact, that could be what happened in this particular case: if "Keiron" was "Alan"'s guardian... "Alan" wanted to have sex with "Kieron". So how would "Kieron" then be a "VERY bad guardian" guardian for "Alan" who "should be replaced"?

    In fact, let's take this to the next level. Regardless of what the ward wants, the guardian gets to make the decisions, correct? If the ward doesn't want to eat healthy the guardian has the right to simply force them to if they think it is best for the ward, correct? If the ward doesn't want to go to school the guardian has the right to simply force them to if they think it is best for the ward, correct? If the ward doesn't want to go to church the guardian has the right to simply force them to if they think it is best for the ward, correct?

    So if the ward doesn't want to have sex, why can't the guardian simply force them to if they think it is best for the ward? Yeah, that's right, that's what i'm asking. If you say that the guardian makes all decisions for the ward solely based on what they think is best for the ward... why can't they just rape the ward if they think that would be best for the ward?

    Now i know what you're probably going to try to do. You're going to try and argue that rape can't be good for the ward? Oh really? i bet i can come up with at least a half-dozen plausible cases for where rape can be judged "good" for the ward. Here's just a couple off the top of my head:
    • As a form of punishment. Let's face it, spanking itself does no good for a person. Neither does confinement to a corner or their room. In fact, they arguably harm the person, physically (in the case of spanking) and psychologically (in the case of confinement - the UN (almost) considers solitary confinement a form of torture). But SEX properly done, does no real damage to a person (assuming they are physically able to have the sex in question). Therefore, sex is, in theory, a better form of punishment than spanking or time-outs. It is equivalent to punishment by sending someone off to work on homework, or to practice a piano piece, etc.; it is punishment in that it is something that the person does not want to do, yet it ultimately does them good (aside from merely correcting the bad behaviour) because in the long term, the skills they practice while being punished are useful skills, be they studying skills/knowledge, musical skills or... sexual skills (which could make their sex lives better, and help any future relationships they have by providing more sexual pleasure to their partner(s)).

    • As a form of instruction. Let's face it, assuming the ward is being trained, sex is a skill that could be trained just as much as hand-eye coordination, healthy food choices, or good study habits.

    • As a form of conditioning. Parents take their kids places they don't want to go all the time - to plays, to sports events, to social functions, to play dates - in order to condition those kids into being more comfortable in those situations. A child who is forced to go to the occasional social function will, possibly against their will, learn to better cope with such functions than a child who is indulged in their desire not to go. Therefore, by extension, forcing sex on a ward will "acclimatize" them to sex, so that when they have to face it later in life, it's a more familiar experience that they will be more comfortable in.

    So? What do you think? Can a guardian rape their ward?

    And i'm going to go even further to really spark the philosophical fires here. i'm going to say that it's even moral for a guardian to rape their ward... and to take pleasure in it! Yup, you read that right. i'm going to say that a guardian can rape their ward for entertainment. Why? Because assuming the sex itself (or the forcing part) does not harm the child, the plain fact is that the mere act of sex does help the ward - for example, look at the last two cases above; you can argue the sex both trains the ward as a sexual actor, and helps them become more comfortable with sexual activity. And if that's the case, then even if you're just bored and want a romp, you can argue that raping the ward is doing them good... even though your immediate motive for doing it is just for your own entertainment. And yes, i can provide an analogy to back that up. It would be like a parent sending their child off to study or play just so the parent can get a break to pursue some fun for themselves. Or, perhaps even more correctly, it would be like demanding the child practice their piano right now just because the parent is in the mood to hear the music. So? How does that sit, philosophically, with everyone?

    ocalhoun wrote:
    Quote:

    According to you, a guardian is responsible for making all decisions for the ward, correct?

    With the proviso that the ward can make decisions that should be approved or disapproved by the guardian.

    ? But that's always true. All you're saying there is "sometimes the guardian can let the ward choose stuff... but ultimately retains final right to overrule if they please".

    ocalhoun wrote:
    Assuming a 'consenting'** child, the conflict of interest is the main problem.

    **Perhaps 'willing' would be a better word

    (i assume you mean that the ward is not only okay with it, but that they actively want it? As in, i consent to my dad using the car or my tools - i really don't mind - but i'm not pushing him to do so, and i'm not exactly ecstatic when he does?

    Well, i've suggested above that that doesn't matter in the least.)
    watersoul
    I'll leave you to this topic fella, I personally think that sex with kids is always wrong, for a million reasons that don't even need to be mentioned or discussed in the 'correct' forum, but if you really want to use this case as an example to support any type of argument that having sex with kids is ever ok. well, go for it - I assume you will already realise the loneliness of that position anyway.
    Afaceinthematrix
    Quote:
    So there's the situation. Obviously the only reason this was even in the court was because it was a gay relationship, but that's really irrelevant for our purposes. Needless to say, this opens up many philosophical questions. Here's just a sampling.


    Not quite. The fact that it was a gay relationship is not irrelevant. That might, in fact, be the most important philosophical part of this entire situation.

    Quote:
    However, he didn't understand where babies come from (he thought storks delivered them or that they were found under a bush), and thought that sex could give you "spots or measles". The court ruled that because the man didn't understand the "mechanics" of sex, he should be banned from having sex.


    See, this is where it gets interesting. The court had a specific argument, and that argument was actually irrelevant to the situation. He doesn't understand where babies come from. Okay? He's nailing a dude. I'm pretty sure that there will be no babies coming from that relationship. So then why is it necessary that he understand where babies come from?

    The other argument they could have used is that he doesn't understand how STDs spread and how to protect himself. But it seems like he was in a somewhat monogamous relationship and so that doesn't really matter.

    So what this article really shows is that, as I have argued, courts do not mind restricting our freedom on the basis that they feel something (like homosexual relationships, prostitution, gambling, marijuana, etc.) is immoral. They don't mind throwing their beliefs on the rest of us. I have long known that the U.S. is truly a Christian nation and now I'm wondering about the supposedly secular U.K.

    The fact of the matter is that they would have had, in my eyes, two reasonable arguments. He could bring children into this world *(see my next section of this argument) and that he could have contributed to the spread of STDs. But neither of these arguments applied here.

    But what if he had been in a relationship where children could have been created? Would he be capable of handing children in a way that doesn't screw them up when he, himself, doesn't even know how they got there? This reminds me of something that happened to me a few weeks ago. To protect the privacy of this women, I will omit many details.

    I work with some woman who is 21 with two kids. She calls in sick at least half her shifts (and how she hasn't been fired amazes me). But, of course, she's not sick. She calls in because she parties seven days a week - Sunday through Saturday. She drinks like crazy, smokes marijuana, and other typical party activities. She's calling in sick and wasting money on liquor when she really could use that money for her children. She mostly relies on the occasional child support payments from the dead beat that knocked her up twice. She mostly leaves her children with her mother.

    Not surprisingly (because look at their only example), her children are starting to act up a very young age. Her 3-year-old told her to "Shut up, B****." Instead of disciplining the child, she found it funny. I did not. When I heard about it, I yelled at this woman. I told her that she was the worst mother I've ever seen. She shouldn't be allowed to keep her kids. She's a selfish mother f***er. Etc. I simply tore her a new one. People then asked me, "How come you care about her so much?" My response was basically, "Care about her? Hell no. I don't care about her at all." People then wanted to know why I was then getting into her business. I told them the reason was that if she keeps screwing up her kids then they'll probably end up robbing me in ten years and then it will be my business. And of course my tax dollars will support them in prison. The fact of the matter is that if you bring children into this society, then I, sometimes unfortunately, have to live with them. So I do take a personal interest in people screwing up their children. And fortunately, this girl took it hard. People said that the next day her Facebook status said, "I don't care what people say; I'm a great mother!" If I had seen that, I would have commented and said, "Prove it!"

    With that said, just what if this guy was having heterosexual sex? I'm not one that believes in the government getting to arbitrarily take away breeding rights, but I could at least understand the argument for it. Some people just shouldn't have children. I don't think it's up to us to tell them that, but I am also not sure how to handle that situation. But what if this had been the case and the main point was that he wouldn't be able to handle being a parent? Well okay, there's a simple operation that can fix that. Then what would the courts be able to do?

    At the end of the day, I think that the courts are just wrong. They're only doing this based on bigotry and supposed moral values...

    Edit:

    I forgot to add one important section to this post - practicality and enforcement. How?
    ocalhoun
    Indi wrote:

    ocalhoun wrote:
    Indi wrote:
    And what harm would be caused by sex?

    I dunno... Ask a rape victim.

    If that was a joke, it was a shockingly loathsome and offensive one. i seriously hope no victims of rape are reading this.

    If that was not a joke, then am i to seriously believe that you think rape is "harmful sex"? Seriously?

    Yes, I do think a rape victim is harmed by the rape.
    There may or may not be physical harm, but there would surely be psychological harm.
    I have no idea how you can think rape is not harmful at all. ???
    Quote:

    But you are manufacturing the "conflict". There is no reason that the guardian wanting to have sex with the ward is necessarily putting their priorities over those of the ward. There is no reason to believe that he has to have pleasure at the expense of the ward. You're just saying that's so, without explanation, when it doesn't have to be true.

    The official interest and the personal interest do not necessarily conflict - the point is that they could.
    If at all feasible, the potential for conflict of interest should be removed.

    Seriously, have you never heard of 'conflict of interest' before?
    It's the reason (for my employer) that supervisors cannot supervise relatives, spouses, or lovers.
    It's the reason state contracts cannot be given to companies that employ relatives of the person deciding the contractor.
    It's the reasoning behind one article of the UCMJ, preventing officers and enlisted from fraternizing.

    It isn't difficult to understand that the possibility of someone in power having conflicting personal and official interests should be avoided.
    Quote:

    There are many ways that wanting sex with the ward can be not only not in conflict with what the ward wants... but can in fact be in agreement with it. In fact, that could be what happened in this particular case: if "Keiron" was "Alan"'s guardian... "Alan" wanted to have sex with "Kieron". So how would "Kieron" then be a "VERY bad guardian" guardian for "Alan" who "should be replaced"?

    Yes, because of the potential conflict of interest.
    The guardian's job is to decide what's best for the ward, and this decision should not be influenced at all by sexual desire.
    If the guardian could look at the situation from a disinterested, objective viewpoint and decide if having sex is best for the ward or not, then there would be no problem. However, humans being the non-objective creatures they are, there's no way we could trust the guardian to be objective about it.
    Quote:

    In fact, let's take this to the next level. Regardless of what the ward wants, the guardian gets to make the decisions, correct? If the ward doesn't want to eat healthy the guardian has the right to simply force them to if they think it is best for the ward, correct? If the ward doesn't want to go to school the guardian has the right to simply force them to if they think it is best for the ward, correct? If the ward doesn't want to go to church the guardian has the right to simply force them to if they think it is best for the ward, correct?

    As long as they're most concerned about what's best for the ward, NOT what's best for themselves.
    Quote:

    So if the ward doesn't want to have sex, why can't the guardian simply force them to if they think it is best for the ward? Yeah, that's right, that's what i'm asking. If you say that the guardian makes all decisions for the ward solely based on what they think is best for the ward... why can't they just rape the ward if they think that would be best for the ward?
    [...]
    • As a form of punishment. [...]
    • As a form of instruction. [...]
    • As a form of conditioning. [...]

    So? What do you think? Can a guardian rape their ward?

    Okay, now you're just getting a little weird.
    If the guardian really objectively thinks rape would be good for their ward (as you do, apparently), then go for it.
    Two problems though:
    1: Despite your reasons, I doubt rape could ever be objectively good for the ward.
    2: I doubt that the guardian could ever be truly objective about it - as long as he/she stands to gain any kind of pleasure from it.
    Clear up those two objections, and I'd have no real problem with it. I'd still think it very strange, but not immoral.
    (Don't take that out of context, anybody. The key is that the guardian must be objective and the rape must actually (be intended to) benefit the ward.)
    Quote:

    And i'm going to go even further to really spark the philosophical fires here. i'm going to say that it's even moral for a guardian to rape their ward... and to take pleasure in it! Yup, you read that right. i'm going to say that a guardian can rape their ward for entertainment. Why? Because assuming the sex itself (or the forcing part) does not harm the child, the plain fact is that the mere act of sex does help the ward - for example, look at the last two cases above; you can argue the sex both trains the ward as a sexual actor, and helps them become more comfortable with sexual activity. And if that's the case, then even if you're just bored and want a romp, you can argue that raping the ward is doing them good... even though your immediate motive for doing it is just for your own entertainment. And yes, i can provide an analogy to back that up. It would be like a parent sending their child off to study or play just so the parent can get a break to pursue some fun for themselves. Or, perhaps even more correctly, it would be like demanding the child practice their piano right now just because the parent is in the mood to hear the music. So? How does that sit, philosophically, with everyone?

    I'd say that's a pretty bad assumption, and since the argument is based on it, the argument falls apart.
    This is the whole conflict of interest thing again. If you're putting your own interests above those of your ward, you are a bad guardian.
    In both of these examples, they're still being bad guardians by putting personal interests above 'official' interests. A less grievous offense because being forced to play outside is less harmful than being raped, but the same principle applies.
    How does that sit, philosophically? Very, very badly. Being given the power of a guardian over a ward comes with responsibility. When you disregard that responsibility, you're abusing that power.
    Quote:

    ocalhoun wrote:
    Quote:

    According to you, a guardian is responsible for making all decisions for the ward, correct?

    With the proviso that the ward can make decisions that should be approved or disapproved by the guardian.

    ? But that's always true. All you're saying there is "sometimes the guardian can let the ward choose stuff... but ultimately retains final right to overrule if they please".

    Yes, that's true.
    I'm just trying to make sure nobody mistakes me for saying that the ward should never have any say in the matter.
    The guardian should let the ward have as much freedom as is possible without causing harm.
    (ie. the guardians should mostly act as a filter for their ward's decisions, rather than making most decisions themselves.)
    Quote:

    ocalhoun wrote:
    Assuming a 'consenting'** child, the conflict of interest is the main problem.

    **Perhaps 'willing' would be a better word

    (i assume you mean that the ward is not only okay with it, but that they actively want it? As in, i consent to my dad using the car or my tools - i really don't mind - but i'm not pushing him to do so, and i'm not exactly ecstatic when he does?

    Well, i've suggested above that that doesn't matter in the least.)

    And that's the problem. A good guardian will have these priorities for making decisions:
    1- What's objectively best for the ward.
    2- What the ward wants.
    3- What the guardian wants.
    Putting these priorities in a different order makes for a bad guardian, so #2 does matter.
    deanhills
    Indi wrote:
    So presumably you've read Dr. Kershnar's paper. What's your opinion on the philosophy in it? Here's a couple of interesting quotes, from the conclusion: "If adult-child sex is harmless and the child’s parents consent to it, then it is probably morally permissible."
    I don't agree. The child should be able to consent to it as well. If the child consents, and the parents consent, and there is no harm to the child, then the sex is morally permissible. Would be interesting to prove the "no harm" part however. As of course the parents and child live in a society where sooner or later they may wake up to serious guilt feelings and that could be severely harmful to a child to the point that the child may be unable to have healthy sexual relationships with members of society outside the family.
    Indi wrote:
    and then from the second paragraph of part 2: "So, for example, intercourse between an adult and a comatose child is adult-child sex for the purposes of this essay." What do you think? If a child is comatose, can the parents allow people to come and have sex with the child?
    The parents can obviously do that as they have power to do that, but in my opinion it would be morally wrong as it would be harmful to the child. The child's right to say "no" has been completely violated.
    Bikerman
    Indi,
    with impeccable timing, the UK system has thrown up another case which is relevant - involving exactly the same 'court of protection'.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/lawreports/8321601/Woman-with-learning-difficulties-could-be-forcibly-sterilised.html

    This case speaks to some of the same issues, though the action proposed here is more radical.
    Bikerman
    ocalhoun wrote:

    And that's the problem. A good guardian will have these priorities for making decisions:
    1- What's objectively best for the ward.
    2- What the ward wants.
    3- What the guardian wants.
    Putting these priorities in a different order makes for a bad guardian, so #2 does matter.

    Really? So if the Guardian thinks that it is objectively best that the child plays a musical instrument, learns 3 foreign languages, has several operations to make them better looking and taller.......It is difficult to argue that, objectively, any of those things would NOT be 'better'.....
    (you see where this is going, I hope....)
    deanhills
    Bikerman wrote:
    Indi,
    with impeccable timing, the UK system has thrown up another case which is relevant - involving exactly the same 'court of protection'.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/lawreports/8321601/Woman-with-learning-difficulties-could-be-forcibly-sterilised.html

    This case speaks to some of the same issues, though the action proposed here is more radical.
    Interesting article. I can't help but wonder about the millions of women in developed and underdeveloped countries who are not receptive to contraception nor can grasp how to take it, should they be sterilized as well? I'd rather sue the medical profession for not having simplified contraception so that women like the one in the article doesn't have to go through invasive surgery to satisfy the NHS.

    By the way, is all the secrecy surrounding the identities of the "victims" of the "Court of Protection" really in their interest? Isn't it hypocritical to have the pretense of an open public court, however, all of the materials are mostly confidential.
    Bikerman
    deanhills wrote:
    Bikerman wrote:
    Indi,
    with impeccable timing, the UK system has thrown up another case which is relevant - involving exactly the same 'court of protection'.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/lawreports/8321601/Woman-with-learning-difficulties-could-be-forcibly-sterilised.html

    This case speaks to some of the same issues, though the action proposed here is more radical.
    Interesting article. I can't help but wonder about the millions of women in developed and underdeveloped countries who are not receptive to contraception nor can grasp how to take it, should they be sterilized as well? I'd rather sue the medical profession for not having simplified contraception so that women like the one in the article doesn't have to go through invasive surgery to satisfy the NHS.
    It has nothing to do with 'satisfying the NHS' and we have had 'simplified contraception' since the 1960s - its called 'the pill'.
    Quote:
    By the way, is all the secrecy surrounding the identities of the "victims" of the "Court of Protection" really in their interest? Isn't it hypocritical to have the pretense of an open public court, however, all of the materials are mostly confidential.
    Would you like your name disclosed to the press as someone 'not of sound judgement'? Why, then, not assume that other people might feel the same? There is no pretence of an 'open public court' since it is clearly understood that the Court of Protection is neither open nor public. This particular decision was seen to be so important that it has, almost uniquely, been partially opened up.
    Indi
    watersoul wrote:
    I'll leave you to this topic fella, I personally think that sex with kids is always wrong, for a million reasons that don't even need to be mentioned or discussed in the 'correct' forum, but if you really want to use this case as an example to support any type of argument that having sex with kids is ever ok. well, go for it - I assume you will already realise the loneliness of that position anyway.

    Ho hum, another day, another douchebag accusing me of being a racist/homophobe/religion-hater/warmonger/animal-abuser/paedophile/whatever because i had the shocking audacity to challenge them to think.

    For the record, i don't really have any interest in kids; i don't even like them. i much prefer the company of adults, which is why i work so hard to educate people to make them a little less infantile and a little more like interesting adults. Doesn't always take of course; some people just prefer to stay infants, and i prefer not to waste time with those people. Sometimes they eventually mature on their own, sometimes they don't.

    ocalhoun wrote:
    If the guardian really objectively thinks rape would be good for their ward (as you do, apparently), then go for it.

    Oh, look, another one. And this one a mod! Great job you're doing there. -_-

    Philosophy is not a coward's game. If you want to talk seriously about philosophy, you have to be willing to entertain ideas that you find disturbing or even repellent in order to find real knowledge. No one learns anything if they just stick to their original beliefs without ever even considering alternative possibilities.

    But what is really unethical about your reply is that not only have you wasted time explaining the mechanics of conflict of interest (which, by the way, you misunderstand anyway), but that a) you did that while completely ignoring the point that you couldn't answer - that if potential conflict of interest prevents someone from being a guardian, then anyone who enjoys raising children would be excluded - and b) instead of even trying to answer you took the time to make an ad homimen fallacy (implying that i think rape is good for kids merely because i asked you to prove it wasn't) to distract from your inability to deal with the challenges to your beliefs.

    This is a very serious and adult discussion topic, and if you are too immature to handle it, perhaps you should excuse yourself from taking part in it. At the very least, try to take part in it like an adult, without making completely unnecessary personal attacks.

    (As for the rest of your post, i'll deal with it when i think you're mature enough to discuss it further. Thus far, the evidence i'm seeing gives me strong reason to believe that if i try to press the issue, your behaviour will probably continue to degenerate until you start going beyond the odd snide swipe at my character, and make this discussion really unpleasant.

    But, for anyone else who is interested in any of the discussion points, here's a very brief synopsis: The sex does not cause the harm in rape, the fact that it's an assault does. That potential conflict of interest could exist means that something should be banned is as philosophically stupid as saying that since potential harm can result in going outside that should be banned. Besides, any guardian who takes pleasure in teaching a ward something they are not keen on learning - like math - is involved in a "potential" conflict of interest.)

    deanhills wrote:
    Indi wrote:
    So presumably you've read Dr. Kershnar's paper. What's your opinion on the philosophy in it? Here's a couple of interesting quotes, from the conclusion: "If adult-child sex is harmless and the child’s parents consent to it, then it is probably morally permissible."
    I don't agree. The child should be able to consent to it as well. If the child consents, and the parents consent, and there is no harm to the child, then the sex is morally permissible.

    But the child can't consent. That's the point. If the child could consent, they wouldn't need guardians at all.

    The whole point of guardians is that children are not developed enough to give consent, therefore the guardian must make those decisions for the child.

    deanhills wrote:
    The parents can obviously do that as they have power to do that, but in my opinion it would be morally wrong as it would be harmful to the child. The child's right to say "no" has been completely violated.

    But that's the point. The child has no right to say no (even when they're not in a coma). If a parent says a child must go to school the child cannot say "no, i don't want to". If a parent says a child must eat their veggies the child cannot say "no, i don't want to". Therefore, by extension: If a parent says a child must have sex with someone the child cannot say "no, i don't want to".

    Bikerman wrote:
    Indi,
    with impeccable timing, the UK system has thrown up another case which is relevant - involving exactly the same 'court of protection'.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/lawreports/8321601/Woman-with-learning-difficulties-could-be-forcibly-sterilised.html

    This case speaks to some of the same issues, though the action proposed here is more radical.

    Holy crap. i mean, i'm not surprised it happened (it's the whole reason i've been pushing the discussion topic, despite the snide insinuations of certain other posters and moderators - i suppose now i no longer need to justify why i brought the topic up), i'm just amazed at the timing.

    Well? What do you think? If the woman isn't capable of consent, doesn't the woman's guardian (the Court) have the right to make the decision for her? (Let's presume the woman can be reversibly sterilized, just in case she can be cured at some later date.) Take it to the next level - could a parent have their underage child sterilized until they reach the age of consent?

    deanhills wrote:
    I can't help but wonder about the millions of women in developed and underdeveloped countries who are not receptive to contraception nor can grasp how to take it, should they be sterilized as well?

    (i think you're seriously short-changing the intelligence of people raised in underdeveloped countries. i'm pretty sure the women there are aware that babies come from sex. So a woman who is told, "if you don't want another mouth to feed, just take this pill every day (or just use this diaphragm like so, or whatever)" is hardly going to have a hard time understanding the issues.)
    watersoul
    Indi wrote:
    watersoul wrote:
    I'll leave you to this topic fella, I personally think that sex with kids is always wrong, for a million reasons that don't even need to be mentioned or discussed in the 'correct' forum, but if you really want to use this case as an example to support any type of argument that having sex with kids is ever ok. well, go for it - I assume you will already realise the loneliness of that position anyway.

    Ho hum, another day, another douchebag accusing me of being a racist/homophobe/religion-hater/warmonger/animal-abuser/paedophile/whatever because i had the shocking audacity to challenge them to think.


    I don't recall any accusations from me in relation to the above quoted text, in fact I made no accusations at all - as anyone reading this topic can see for themselves.
    I shall also ignore your 'douchebag' line, it is painfully childish, and you really make me chuckle sometimes when you (often) ignore your own mastery of the English language in preference to silly insults such as my own 13 year old son would use! Lol @ mildly funny and childishly insulting Indi!
    Rolling Eyes

    *Edit* Yes, of course, your philosophical arguments are usually impressively strong, but lame insults (as above) do not in any way support a position of credibility or maturity...lol
    Bikerman
    Well, I think an honest reading of your reply would be that Indi is trying to make an argument that sex with children is OK and that such is his 'position' - which he will find lonely....
    The point is that he wasn't - he was simply stating the case and inviting comment.

    The objection to child sex, from my philosophical perspective, is that any such relationship can be coercive where there is an inequality in 'power' between the two people.
    The same argument (no harm therefore OK) could be used to say that teachers should be free to have sex with pupils over 16, doctors should be free to have sex with patients etc. The reason that we consider it immoral (or at least unethical) to do so is that the relationship is uneven - the teacher, doctor (or adult, in the case of a child) has more 'power' in the relationship than the pupil, patient or child. It is therefore an abuse of that power to use it by engaging in any sexual relationship, and means that the question of 'freely given' consent is always, therefore, open to challenge in any such case.

    In the cases under consideration, the court is tasked with acting in the best interest of the individual in both cases (that being the primary consideration for the court of protection). The interests of the individual must come before even the interests of any child conceived (in the second case). The interesting question would be - do they (the interests of the individual) also come above 'the law'? And if so could the judge advocate breaking the law? Smile
    Leaving that little poser to one side, however, it seems to me that in the first case (the homosexual sex) I think the court acted correctly. The decision was that until the man had some notion of what the risks of sex are, he is committing an act with no true understanding of the consequences and should therefore be restrained from such. I see that as tacitly saying that there is the chance that he is being taken advantage of, and without a working knowledge of the possible consequences of his actions, it is in his best interests to avoid sex.

    In the case I cited, where the decision is what to do with a woman of presumably similar cognitive limitations, I think that sterilisation is unthinkable. I do not think that it is possible to make a case that this would be in the woman's best interest. The only reason I can see for any such judgement would be the belief that the woman could not be trusted to take contraception to avoid pregnancy. That is a utilitarian argument that does not speak to the interests of the woman, but to the interests of wider society and to the interests of her carers. That is NOT the role of this particular court.
    ocalhoun
    Bikerman wrote:
    ocalhoun wrote:

    And that's the problem. A good guardian will have these priorities for making decisions:
    1- What's objectively best for the ward.
    2- What the ward wants.
    3- What the guardian wants.
    Putting these priorities in a different order makes for a bad guardian, so #2 does matter.

    Really? So if the Guardian thinks that it is objectively best that the child plays a musical instrument, learns 3 foreign languages, has several operations to make them better looking and taller.......It is difficult to argue that, objectively, any of those things would NOT be 'better'.....
    (you see where this is going, I hope....)

    Yes, I see where this is going; it is being drawn out to extremes.
    If you really think these things will be an overall benefit to your ward, then go ahead.
    But, don't try to entrap me with saying things would be beneficial, then turning around and pointing out the disadvantages of them, and how they could be abused.

    Indi wrote:

    Philosophy is not a coward's game. If you want to talk seriously about philosophy, you have to be willing to entertain ideas that you find disturbing or even repellent in order to find real knowledge. No one learns anything if they just stick to their original beliefs without ever even considering alternative possibilities.

    Rape not being harmful?
    Rape being a legitimate way to punish/educate/train children/wards?

    I've considered them, and found them to be lacking.
    Perhaps my proof that they are lacking is not up to your standards, but it's up to my standards.
    Quote:

    But what is really unethical about your reply is that not only have you wasted time explaining the mechanics of conflict of interest (which, by the way, you misunderstand anyway)

    If you understand it better than I do, please explain it yourself, rather than playing dumb.
    (Playing dumb how? Such as pretending to interpret my words as meaning a conflict between two people, when you really know better.)
    Quote:
    , but that a) you did that while completely ignoring the point that you couldn't answer - that if potential conflict of interest prevents someone from being a guardian, then anyone who enjoys raising children would be excluded

    Enjoying raising children doesn't cause a conflict of interest because raising the children is never in conflict with the childrens' best interests.
    Since the two interests don't conflict, there is no (possible) conflict of interest in that case.
    Quote:
    - and b) instead of even trying to answer you took the time to make an ad homimen fallacy

    A little perhaps, though I was meaning more to mock your pseudo-assertions than you personally.
    Quote:
    (implying that i think rape is good for kids merely because i asked you to prove it wasn't) to distract from your inability to deal with the challenges to your beliefs.

    So, since we both know that rape is not good for kids, what's the point you're trying to make by arguing that it is?
    Quote:

    This is a very serious and adult discussion topic, and if you are too immature to handle it, perhaps you should excuse yourself from taking part in it. At the very least, try to take part in it like an adult, without making completely unnecessary personal attacks.

    Unnecessary?
    It broke through the facade didn't it?
    Otherwise, would you still be trying to point out ways in which rape can be beneficial?
    Is it that much to ask that you post what you really think about it, rather than posting assertions you don't really believe in, just to prove a point?
    Really, it's like you're building a huge wall of fakeness between me and what you really think about the subject, and forcing me to break it down brick by brick if I want to see what's on the other side.
    Quote:

    (As for the rest of your post, i'll deal with it when i think you're mature enough to discuss it further. Thus far, the evidence i'm seeing gives me strong reason to believe that if i try to press the issue, your behaviour will probably continue to degenerate until you start going beyond the odd snide swipe at my character, and make this discussion really unpleasant.

    You really think I would go full-flamewar?
    Over an obviously fake stance on an issue I don't overly care about?
    Great. Now I'm depressed. Really. That hurts.
    Quote:

    But, for anyone else who is interested in any of the discussion points, here's a very brief synopsis: The sex does not cause the harm in rape, the fact that it's an assault does.

    More or less, yes. Have I said otherwise?
    Quote:
    That potential conflict of interest could exist means that something should be banned is as philosophically stupid as saying that since potential harm can result in going outside that should be banned.

    The good (and potential good) of going outside outweighs the potential harm.
    The potential good of having a combination guardian/lover does not outweigh the potential harm; not when somebody else could easily be assigned as the guardian.
    That's the difference.
    Quote:
    Besides, any guardian who takes pleasure in teaching a ward something they are not keen on learning - like math - is involved in a "potential" conflict of interest.)

    Yes, that is also a potential conflict of interest... but a much less harmful one:
    A- learning math is less harmful than being raped, generally.
    B- the desire to teach math is less likely to overwhelm the guardian's judgment than the desire for sex is.
    Bikerman
    ocalhoun wrote:
    Bikerman wrote:
    ocalhoun wrote:

    And that's the problem. A good guardian will have these priorities for making decisions:
    1- What's objectively best for the ward.
    2- What the ward wants.
    3- What the guardian wants.
    Putting these priorities in a different order makes for a bad guardian, so #2 does matter.

    Really? So if the Guardian thinks that it is objectively best that the child plays a musical instrument, learns 3 foreign languages, has several operations to make them better looking and taller.......It is difficult to argue that, objectively, any of those things would NOT be 'better'.....
    (you see where this is going, I hope....)

    Yes, I see where this is going; it is being drawn out to extremes.
    If you really think these things will be an overall benefit to your ward, then go ahead.
    But, don't try to entrap me with saying things would be beneficial, then turning around and pointing out the disadvantages of them, and how they could be abused.
    If I was trying to entrap you I would hardly have added the last sentence would I ?
    The point is that you seem happy for the guardian to take actions that would, to a 'normal' person seen detrimental, or at least questionable.
    There are real examples. There was, not too long ago, a case of a mother 'agreeing' to breast enlargement for her 13 yr old daughter - as an example....
    The mother would argue (and did) that it was beneficial to the girl's self-esteem since she was depressed with the current size of her breasts. Are you really saying that society has no input if that is what the mother decides?
    ocalhoun
    Bikerman wrote:
    Are you really saying that society has no input if that is what the mother decides?

    Society has (should have) input when (and only when):
    A- it can be shown that the decision is definitely not in the daughter's best interests.
    B- it can be shown that the decision was not influenced by the daughter's interests, but actually based on the mother's interests (and that it might be harmful to the daughter's interests).

    These are naturally difficult judgments to make sometimes, but that's what society has judges and jurors for.
    -- And I'd go further, to say that if the judges and jurors are not sure about it, they should err on the side of less societal involvement.
    Bikerman
    Well, I think that is largely a cop-out. 'Best interest' is as subjective as one wishes to make it - based on one's view of what the child *could* do.
    To stay with concrete examples, the mother could easily argue that big breasts were in her daughter's best interest. The daughter agrees.
    The medical profession are unanimous that it isn't in her interests and is a very unwise procedure because:
    a) Her breasts are still growing
    b) There is always a risk of mortality with any such operation
    c) The operation could only be, at best, very temporary since she is still growing physically. Future operations would therefore be required simply to maintain the implants.

    So, do you over-rule the daughter and mother or not?
    deanhills
    Bikerman wrote:
    deanhills wrote:
    Bikerman wrote:
    Indi,
    with impeccable timing, the UK system has thrown up another case which is relevant - involving exactly the same 'court of protection'.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/lawreports/8321601/Woman-with-learning-difficulties-could-be-forcibly-sterilised.html

    This case speaks to some of the same issues, though the action proposed here is more radical.
    Interesting article. I can't help but wonder about the millions of women in developed and underdeveloped countries who are not receptive to contraception nor can grasp how to take it, should they be sterilized as well? I'd rather sue the medical profession for not having simplified contraception so that women like the one in the article doesn't have to go through invasive surgery to satisfy the NHS.
    It has nothing to do with 'satisfying the NHS' and we have had 'simplified contraception' since the 1960s - its called 'the pill'.
    I can't imagine that it would be easy for a mentally deficient women to remember to take her pill every day. If the pill is not doing the job, I'm almost certain there are much better ways of contraception than tying her tubes. For example monthly injections or skin implants.
    Bikerman wrote:
    Would you like your name disclosed to the press as someone 'not of sound judgement'? Why, then, not assume that other people might feel the same? There is no pretence of an 'open public court' since it is clearly understood that the Court of Protection is neither open nor public. This particular decision was seen to be so important that it has, almost uniquely, been partially opened up.
    The person who is "not of sound judgment" would not be able to understand what the news reporting is about. And if their case should be discussed in public, this could be to their advantage, as at least the media could help to garner support and sympathy for their case. In an anonymous capacity, there is no one really who can act as a devil's advocate in their favour.
    Bikerman
    Quote:
    I can't imagine that it would be easy for a mentally deficient women to remember to take her pill every day. If the pill is not doing the job, I'm almost certain there are much better ways of contraception than tying her tubes. For example monthly injections or skin implants.
    Why? Do you also think she would be unable to remember to dress, brush her teeth, wash? Establishing a routine does not require high-level cognitive skills. Many of the Special Needs students I worked with were perfectly capable of handling their own medications, and did so.
    Are you in favour of forcing contraceptive injections or implants on the woman? Or would you simply offer it as an option?

    deanhills wrote:
    The person who is "not of sound judgment" would not be able to understand what the news reporting is about. And if their case should be discussed in public, this could be to their advantage, as at least the media could help to garner support and sympathy for their case. In an anonymous capacity, there is no one really who can act as a devil's advocate in their favour.
    That is both ridiculous and patronising. The media are not interested in garnering support or sympathy for anyone. Certainly a news report could temporarily cast such a person in the role of oppressed minority and get some public support - and after a short time turn on them and knock them right down. Nobody with any sense would trust the media to report fairly and supportively on their personal details, unless it were in the media interests to do so (ie it would sell copy). As soon as it became more profitable to trash them, then they would do so.

    You didn't answer my question. Would YOU like details of your personal life discussed in the press?
    Saying that the person concerned would not be 'able to understand' is the patronising bit. They would know that their name was in the press and they would know that people were treating them differently.
    I'm presuming that you DO have the ability to judge - so would you want it for yourself?
    If not then why do you think it is OK for someone else?

    Do you really think it is OK to treat people differently because they might not understand the results of that treatment as well as you do? Using that logic, the woman would probably not understand sarcasm, so it would be OK to make sarcastic comments about her to get a laugh would it? After all it wouldn't harm her, and she might enjoy being the centre of attention...
    Indi
    Bikerman wrote:
    Well, I think an honest reading of your reply would be that Indi is trying to make an argument that sex with children is OK and that such is his 'position' - which he will find lonely....
    The point is that he wasn't - he was simply stating the case and inviting comment.

    Please don't feed the trolls. All that's going to lead to is defensiveness and more accusations about how much it seemed like i was advocating child sex or whatever merely because i dared to ask "what if it's not really harmful". This discussion is obviously too adult for some people to handle, and they seem entirely unable to understand even that, so perhaps the best way to deal with it is to carry on like adults, and show them how it's done.

    Bikerman wrote:
    The objection to child sex, from my philosophical perspective, is that any such relationship can be coercive where there is an inequality in 'power' between the two people.
    The same argument (no harm therefore OK) could be used to say that teachers should be free to have sex with pupils over 16, doctors should be free to have sex with patients etc. The reason that we consider it immoral (or at least unethical) to do so is that the relationship is uneven - the teacher, doctor (or adult, in the case of a child) has more 'power' in the relationship than the pupil, patient or child. It is therefore an abuse of that power to use it by engaging in any sexual relationship, and means that the question of 'freely given' consent is always, therefore, open to challenge in any such case.

    How would you frame that from a utilitarian perspective?

    Remember, i'm coming from a neo-Kantian perspective - for me all this is a non-issue, because i don't have to account for harm. All i have to do is figure out what the rational thing to do is taking into account the categorical imperative (which is technically automatic, because the categorical imperative is itself rational and pops up automagically in any purely rational moral consideration). By contrast, the way i see it the utilitarian defence here is a minefield at best, because all i have to do to break it is point out that you can do some really nasty things to the child without ever causing any harm (and, in fact, doing some good), and the only response i've gotten by doing that so far has been "oh yeah? must be that you want to rape kids".

    To put it another way, i can frame the "power" problem quite easily in neo-Kantian terms. How do you frame the "power" problem in utilitarian terms?

    Bikerman wrote:
    In the cases under consideration, the court is tasked with acting in the best interest of the individual in both cases (that being the primary consideration for the court of protection). The interests of the individual must come before even the interests of any child conceived (in the second case). The interesting question would be - do they (the interests of the individual) also come above 'the law'? And if so could the judge advocate breaking the law? Smile

    i think that's pretty standard fare, though, because forced incarceration of any person - capable or not - is certainly not in the interest of the individual (usually), yet it's often done. Which means that, by and large, the interests of the person are subordinate to the interests of the society... which i would say is part of any rational social contract.

    Bikerman wrote:
    Leaving that little poser to one side, however, it seems to me that in the first case (the homosexual sex) I think the court acted correctly. The decision was that until the man had some notion of what the risks of sex are, he is committing an act with no true understanding of the consequences and should therefore be restrained from such. I see that as tacitly saying that there is the chance that he is being taken advantage of, and without a working knowledge of the possible consequences of his actions, it is in his best interests to avoid sex.

    But what about this: the man probably also has no notions about the risks of eating (i mean, if he thinks babies actually come from storks...), and every time he eats a meal he's engaging in an act with no understanding of the potentially harmful consequences. And there are harmful consequences from poor food choices, from the short-term (puking in a public places or getting woozy from malnutrition at the wrong time) to the long-term (decreased health due to malnutrition or generally poor eating increases one's risk of getting sick... effectively making you a dangerous vector through which illness can then infect the rest of the herd). i think it's also fair to say that there is a substantial risk of being taken advantage of by numerous groups who a) want to sell him junk food with pretty packaging or b) want to pass off bad food they can't get away with giving to more capable adults.

    So is it in his best interest to lock him up and feed him a fixed menu?

    See, what i can't get here is why sex (homosexual or otherwise, although the judge makes a point of saying the man only seems to ever have gay sex) was singled out. There are thousands of things that man does that have a MUCH better chance of getting him and/or others hurt. (Hell, what about riding the bus! That's where he molested those girls that started the whole thing to begin with!) Meanwhile, i keep hearing arguments about how sex can maybe-possibly-somehow-perhaps-eventually harm him, kinda... yet all indications we have are that he was screwing in a way that a) won't lead to kids and b) is probably safer than what a lot of so-called mentally-competent adults do. Now if "Alan" had been doing something dangerous like sleeping around, i can see legitimate cause for concern, but even then the problem is not the sex, it is the sleeping around... which would imply the solution is not banning sex outright, but making sure that "Alan"'s sexual drive is satisfied safely.

    See what i'm getting at? If "Alan" had been eating out of dumpsters, the solution is not to ban "Alan" from eating, it is to ban him from dumpster-diving. By extension, if "Alan" had been whoring himself out on Jane and Finch, the solution is not to ban "Alan" from sex, but to ban him from whoring. What could be a justification for specifically banning sex?

    Bikerman wrote:
    In the case I cited, where the decision is what to do with a woman of presumably similar cognitive limitations, I think that sterilisation is unthinkable. I do not think that it is possible to make a case that this would be in the woman's best interest. The only reason I can see for any such judgement would be the belief that the woman could not be trusted to take contraception to avoid pregnancy. That is a utilitarian argument that does not speak to the interests of the woman, but to the interests of wider society and to the interests of her carers.

    Well, the thing is that you could say that sterilization is not in the interest of the woman, but that only applies because she's not going to be responsible for the kids. Imagine a woman that is perfectly mentally-competent except for some bizarre "tic" that has her uncontrollably going out and getting knocked up three times every two years. Thus, even though she can't stop herself from getting pregnant... she's still responsible for the kids. It would certainly not be in the interest of the woman to stay fertile - not after she starts having more kids than she can handle raising. Unless she's an idiot, the rational thing to do is to get her tubes tied (and, ensure that there's no way she can demand it to be undone while she's having one of her "spells"). In fact, unless she's an idiot, she should put her fertility in the hands of a third party, so that when she wants more kids and can make a legitimate, sound argument that she can handle them, that third party will allow it - otherwise the third party will refuse it even if she asks.

    So basically, a fully-competent woman who can't control when she gets pregnant, and won't be able to handle raising any more kids, would (and probably should) make the rational decision to sterilize herself.

    Now compare her to the woman in the case, who also can't control when she gets pregnant, who also won't be able to handle raising any more kids (technically, she can't raise more than zero, and if the court is considering sterilizing her, i'd say she probably has a few beyond that)... but who cannot make the decision to sterilize herself. Why is it unthinkable that the agent who has been assigned to think rationally for her would make the same decision she would make if she (like the theoretical woman with the baby boomer tic) were rational?

    You're right in that the woman isn't going to suffer if she gets pregnant, so from that point of view it's not in her interest to get sterilized. After all, if she gets pregnant, it's the carers that are going to suffer. And the system. And the society that has to pay for and clean up the mess she creates. And the kids. Basically, it's not in her interest to sterilize her... but it is in the interest of everyone else. Isn't that the same case as with incarceration (it's not in their interest to be incarcerated... it's in the interests of everyone else)? And if we can justify incarcerating a dangerous person who causes harm by being out of control in public, even if they don't want to be, why can't we justify sterilizing a person who causes harm by being out of control in how she gets pregnant?

    After all, if the woman in sterilized, how does she suffer? She can still have sex. The only thing she can't do is have babies and, even if she wants that, isn't it both rational and just to assert the right of guardian and say no? How is it different from telling her she can't pour cyanide in a stranger's soup, even if she wants to? In both cases she wants to cause harm (either to the person she poisons or to the child) for irrational reasons, and cannot understand why that is wrong. (i'm assuming she doesn't understand what cyanide will do.)

    (Incidentally, i cut off your last sentence because i've been trying to hammer home the point that the role of that particular court - or any particular court - is not relevant.)
    watersoul
    Indi wrote:
    Bikerman wrote:
    Well, I think an honest reading of your reply would be that Indi is trying to make an argument that sex with children is OK and that such is his 'position' - which he will find lonely....
    The point is that he wasn't - he was simply stating the case and inviting comment.

    Please don't feed the trolls. All that's going to lead to is defensiveness and more accusations about how much it seemed like i was advocating child sex or whatever merely because i dared to ask "what if it's not really harmful". This discussion is obviously too adult for some people to handle, and they seem entirely unable to understand even that, so perhaps the best way to deal with it is to carry on like adults, and show them how it's done.

    Lol, again, another perhaps childlike response which risks undermining the attempt to portray a superior philosophical position from an 'adult' perspective!
    Absolutely no accusations have originated from me in this topic, and if anyone thinks otherwise I remain open and interested in seeing any direct quotes of my contributions here to confirm the previous statements...whilst obviously keeping in mind the truly correct definition of an accusation Laughing
    ocalhoun
    Bikerman wrote:
    Well, I think that is largely a cop-out. 'Best interest' is as subjective as one wishes to make it - based on one's view of what the child *could* do.

    It is subjective, which is why each case needs careful investigation and individual application of judgment. - There's no rule that can be applied that says the guardian should always be overruled or that the guardian should never be overruled, because each case is different, and there's often a lot of grey area.
    Quote:

    To stay with concrete examples, the mother could easily argue that big breasts were in her daughter's best interest. The daughter agrees.
    The medical profession are unanimous that it isn't in her interests and is a very unwise procedure because:
    a) Her breasts are still growing
    b) There is always a risk of mortality with any such operation
    c) The operation could only be, at best, very temporary since she is still growing physically. Future operations would therefore be required simply to maintain the implants.

    So, do you over-rule the daughter and mother or not?

    Given that the medical profession warns against it, they generally know what they're talking about, there is no evidence/reasoning to point out that this girl's case is exceptional, and that the doctors probably don't have an ulterior motive*, I would probably side with overruling the mother in this case.
    It would be reasonable to decide that the mother was not acting in the daughter's best interests.

    *In fact, they have an ulterior motive to not warn against it, since they would get paid for performing the procedure.
    Bikerman
    Indi wrote:
    How would you frame that from a utilitarian perspective?

    Remember, i'm coming from a neo-Kantian perspective - for me all this is a non-issue, because i don't have to account for harm. All i have to do is figure out what the rational thing to do is taking into account the categorical imperative (which is technically automatic, because the categorical imperative is itself rational and pops up automagically in any purely rational moral consideration). By contrast, the way i see it the utilitarian defence here is a minefield at best, because all i have to do to break it is point out that you can do some really nasty things to the child without ever causing any harm (and, in fact, doing some good), and the only response i've gotten by doing that so far has been "oh yeah? must be that you want to rape kids".

    To put it another way, i can frame the "power" problem quite easily in neo-Kantian terms. How do you frame the "power" problem in utilitarian terms?
    |Hmmm...I would have to appeal to 'rule utilitarianism' here. As you know this is a tricky issue for utilitarian philosophy - as is any consideration of consent vs pleasure. The only viable attack on this problem seems to me to accept a broader form of utilitarianism - rule utilitarianism - by which support is given to rules which are generally aimed at the greatest good for the greatest number.

    Kantian philosophy also has some problems in this area though. Surely a Kantian would regard all sex as objectifying the partner, and homosexuality as completely out of the question? Kant himself was pretty clear on that matter.
    Quote:
    But what about this: the man probably also has no notions about the risks of eating (i mean, if he thinks babies actually come from storks...), and every time he eats a meal he's engaging in an act with no understanding of the potentially harmful consequences. And there are harmful consequences from poor food choices, from the short-term (puking in a public places or getting woozy from malnutrition at the wrong time) to the long-term (decreased health due to malnutrition or generally poor eating increases one's risk of getting sick... effectively making you a dangerous vector through which illness can then infect the rest of the herd). i think it's also fair to say that there is a substantial risk of being taken advantage of by numerous groups who a) want to sell him junk food with pretty packaging or b) want to pass off bad food they can't get away with giving to more capable adults.

    So is it in his best interest to lock him up and feed him a fixed menu?
    Is this a fair analogy I wonder? Sex is not necessary for life (individually speaking) whereas eating is. Given that we must eat, and given that there are uncertainties about the exact consequences of diet then I would argue that unless the person were 'beyond reasonable doubt' harming themselves with their diet then they should be left alone. If they WERE harming themselves then, yes, I believe the court would have to act.
    Quote:
    See, what i can't get here is why sex (homosexual or otherwise, although the judge makes a point of saying the man only seems to ever have gay sex) was singled out. There are thousands of things that man does that have a MUCH better chance of getting him and/or others hurt. (Hell, what about riding the bus! That's where he molested those girls that started the whole thing to begin with!) Meanwhile, i keep hearing arguments about how sex can maybe-possibly-somehow-perhaps-eventually harm him, kinda... yet all indications we have are that he was screwing in a way that a) won't lead to kids and b) is probably safer than what a lot of so-called mentally-competent adults do. Now if "Alan" had been doing something dangerous like sleeping around, i can see legitimate cause for concern, but even then the problem is not the sex, it is the sleeping around... which would imply the solution is not banning sex outright, but making sure that "Alan"'s sexual drive is satisfied safely.
    My primary concern would be harm, but not the only concern. We don't have enough info, so I can only speculate - but it might be that the relationship was abusive, in that the partner was using him. A wider argument would be that by validating the sexual relationship the court may make it impossible for the man to understand why other sexual acts (such as the molestation) are wrong (though that last requires some more thought to develop more fully)...
    Quote:
    See what i'm getting at? If "Alan" had been eating out of dumpsters, the solution is not to ban "Alan" from eating, it is to ban him from dumpster-diving. By extension, if "Alan" had been whoring himself out on Jane and Finch, the solution is not to ban "Alan" from sex, but to ban him from whoring. What could be a justification for specifically banning sex?
    Yes, I see the point. I go back to the previous arguments. Firstly the 'risk' from manipulation is surely very significant. The court would have to get involved in 'vetting' sexual partners to avoid this happening (and I know that I am making assumptions about the man's cognitive abilities, but I don't see how that can be avoided).
    Quote:
    Well, the thing is that you could say that sterilization is not in the interest of the woman, but that only applies because she's not going to be responsible for the kids. Imagine a woman that is perfectly mentally-competent except for some bizarre "tic" that has her uncontrollably going out and getting knocked up three times every two years. Thus, even though she can't stop herself from getting pregnant... she's still responsible for the kids. It would certainly not be in the interest of the woman to stay fertile - not after she starts having more kids than she can handle raising. Unless she's an idiot, the rational thing to do is to get her tubes tied (and, ensure that there's no way she can demand it to be undone while she's having one of her "spells"). In fact, unless she's an idiot, she should put her fertility in the hands of a third party, so that when she wants more kids and can make a legitimate, sound argument that she can handle them, that third party will allow it - otherwise the third party will refuse it even if she asks.
    But we must deal here with things as they are, not as they could be. If she did fall pregnant then she would not be allowed to keep the children (or it is very unlikely). Her best interests, therefore, are not sterilisation.
    Quote:
    You're right in that the woman isn't going to suffer if she gets pregnant, so from that point of view it's not in her interest to get sterilized. After all, if she gets pregnant, it's the carers that are going to suffer. And the system. And the society that has to pay for and clean up the mess she creates. And the kids. Basically, it's not in her interest to sterilize her... but it is in the interest of everyone else. Isn't that the same case as with incarceration (it's not in their interest to be incarcerated... it's in the interests of everyone else)? And if we can justify incarcerating a dangerous person who causes harm by being out of control in public, even if they don't want to be, why can't we justify sterilizing a person who causes harm by being out of control in how she gets pregnant?
    may well be
    But that is why the function of the court IS important in this case Smile One might well be able to justify sterilisation on many grounds, but NOT on the grounds of the woman's best interests.
    deanhills
    watersoul wrote:
    Indi wrote:
    Bikerman wrote:
    Well, I think an honest reading of your reply would be that Indi is trying to make an argument that sex with children is OK and that such is his 'position' - which he will find lonely....
    The point is that he wasn't - he was simply stating the case and inviting comment.

    Please don't feed the trolls. All that's going to lead to is defensiveness and more accusations about how much it seemed like i was advocating child sex or whatever merely because i dared to ask "what if it's not really harmful". This discussion is obviously too adult for some people to handle, and they seem entirely unable to understand even that, so perhaps the best way to deal with it is to carry on like adults, and show them how it's done.

    Lol, again, another perhaps childlike response which risks undermining the attempt to portray a superior philosophical position from an 'adult' perspective!
    Absolutely no accusations have originated from me in this topic, and if anyone thinks otherwise I remain open and interested in seeing any direct quotes of my contributions here to confirm the previous statements...whilst obviously keeping in mind the truly correct definition of an accusation Laughing
    Agreed Watersoul. There has been no accusations from you or anyone else. Indi thinks he knows how we are thinking and that presumption is a form of blindness and ignorance in its own right.
    Bikerman wrote:
    Why? Do you also think she would be unable to remember to dress, brush her teeth, wash? Establishing a routine does not require high-level cognitive skills. Many of the Special Needs students I worked with were perfectly capable of handling their own medications, and did so.
    Well if she can handle her own medication, why would she need an operation? I'm trying to point out that there are alternatives than forcing her to have an operation.

    Bikerman wrote:
    That is both ridiculous and patronising. The media are not interested in garnering support or sympathy for anyone. Certainly a news report could temporarily cast such a person in the role of oppressed minority and get some public support - and after a short time turn on them and knock them right down. Nobody with any sense would trust the media to report fairly and supportively on their personal details, unless it were in the media interests to do so (ie it would sell copy). As soon as it became more profitable to trash them, then they would do so.
    Bikerman, I find it strange that you should defend freedom of speech passionately, and then when it gets to this point, say it is OK that there should be a shush order around a court case. Exactly who will come to any harm if the media should report on someone who is mentally disadvantaged? To that person? How come? Do you think it is better to strip that individual completely of their identity as far as the court case is concerned and let someone act on their behalf as though they didn't exist? Whereas, if they had been presented to the world as an individual, there would have been a much greater chance for acknowledging them as a person with basic human rights and treat them as such during court proceedings.
    Bikerman
    deanhills wrote:
    Bikerman wrote:
    Why? Do you also think she would be unable to remember to dress, brush her teeth, wash? Establishing a routine does not require high-level cognitive skills. Many of the Special Needs students I worked with were perfectly capable of handling their own medications, and did so.
    Well if she can handle her own medication, why would she need an operation? I'm trying to point out that there are alternatives than forcing her to have an operation.
    That is understood. The point is that the court has been asked to decide whether
    Quote:
    she lacks the capacity to make decisions about contraception for herself
    so assuming that she does is simply begging the question.
    Quote:
    Bikerman, I find it strange that you should defend freedom of speech passionately, and then when it gets to this point, say it is OK that there should be a shush order around a court case.

    I don't see why you find that strange. Freedom of speech is a long way from 'freedom to know whatever you like about anyone, whether they wish it known or not'.
    Quote:
    Exactly who will come to any harm if the media should report on someone who is mentally disadvantaged?
    I repeat my previous question - would YOU like the papers to report on your private affairs? If not then why are you happy for them to do so here?
    Quote:
    To that person? How come? Do you think it is better to strip that individual completely of their identity as far as the court case is concerned and let someone act on their behalf as though they didn't exist?
    That is plainly ridiculous. The people acting on behalf of the women clearly know she exists and know her as a person. The court will be made aware of the woman's situation and wishes in great detail. The issue is whether YOU have the right to know that situation and those wishes. I contend that you do not have any such right and that you would not wish that if YOU were in HER position.
    Quote:
    Whereas, if they had been presented to the world as an individual, there would have been a much greater chance for acknowledging them as a person with basic human rights and treat them as such during court proceedings.
    So you are saying that the court does NOT achnowledge them as a person and does NOT acknowledge their basic human rights? What evidence have you for that?
    deanhills
    Bikerman wrote:
    I repeat my previous question - would YOU like the papers to report on your private affairs? If not then why are you happy for them to do so here?

    This discussion is not about me. It is about a mentally disadvantaged human being that is being treated as an "it". Personalize it with a given name and give "its" background details and you have a human being. The courts will treat a human being differently when it is regarded as a person with a name and a background, than when it is presented as someone who does not exist. If the media should come out in full force in sympathy for the human being, instead of an "it", that person would stand a much greater chance of a fair and just outcome than being treated as though it has no existence, which basically it does not have. "It" has someone who is acting on "its" behalf, and the media reports on "it" without open information.
    Bikerman wrote:
    So you are saying that the court does NOT achnowledge them as a person and does NOT acknowledge their basic human rights? What evidence have you for that?
    Do you have evidence to the contrary?
    Bikerman
    deanhills wrote:
    Bikerman wrote:
    I repeat my previous question - would YOU like the papers to report on your private affairs? If not then why are you happy for them to do so here?

    This discussion is not about me.
    LOL...the question was and I note your refusal to answer it.
    Quote:
    It is about a mentally disadvantaged human being that is being treated as an "it".
    By whom? You have no knowledge of the court or its judgement other than a newspaper headline and I'm pretty sure you won't have bothered to do any research.
    Quote:
    Personalize it with a given name and give "its" background details and you have a human being.
    As there always was.
    Quote:
    The courts will treat a human being differently when it is regarded as a person with a name and a background, than when it is presented as someone who does not exist.
    This is just complete invention. The court, as stated, will not only know the name, they will have a detailed history of the person concerned with medical, social, psychological and, if relevant, criminal reports, evaluations and interactions. The notion that the newspapers could tell the court something useful about the case is a nonsense, it would have a couple of paragraphs twisted to whatever angle the newspaper was pushing (I suspect it would also be illegal under both UK and US laws, since they would be potentially prejudicial the outcome of the court).
    Quote:
    If the media should come out in full force in sympathy for the human being, instead of an "it", that person would stand a much greater chance of a fair and just outcome than being treated as though it has no existence, which basically it does not have. "It" has someone who is acting on "its" behalf, and the media reports on "it" without open information.
    The only person talking about 'it' is YOU. Everyone else, including the actual story, is quite clear about the name of the woman. The court will, in addition, have a wealth of personal detail - WAY more than any newspapers will ever print.
    Quote:
    Bikerman wrote:
    So you are saying that the court does NOT achnowledge them as a person and does NOT acknowledge their basic human rights? What evidence have you for that?
    Do you have evidence to the contrary?
    Yes, plenty.

    a) The UK is subject to the Charter of Human Rights. No judgement at a national level can breach that charter and remain standing.
    b) The court of protection is a special court convened with the sole purpose of acting in the best interests of the person concerned, usually with regard to one specific detail or decision that needs to be made. It is completely inconceivable that any such court would regards the subject as anything less than a full citizen entitlted to the full protection of human rights legislation.
    c) The court will be 'informed' by the social workers directly working with the woman and anyone else legitimately involved - be in family/relatives, friends, professionals involved or mental-health organisations such as MIND. The notion that the court would take a cavalier attitude when under such close and critical scrutiny is simply unrealistic.

    It all comes down to one simple fact.
    YOU think the court is acting imporperly (no evidence) and YOU think that allowing the Press to print private details of her situation will somehow 'protect' the woman's human rights. It seems, however, that YOU would NOT be happy for your own life to be paraded through the papers in that way/ Therefore what you are suggecting is, at best, discriminatory (since you are treating the woman differently in law to the way you would wish to be treated and solely because of her disability) - and, at worst, sheer hypocrisy.
    Indi
    deanhills wrote:
    watersoul wrote:
    Lol, again, another perhaps childlike response which risks undermining the attempt to portray a superior philosophical position from an 'adult' perspective!
    Absolutely no accusations have originated from me in this topic, and if anyone thinks otherwise I remain open and interested in seeing any direct quotes of my contributions here to confirm the previous statements...whilst obviously keeping in mind the truly correct definition of an accusation Laughing
    Agreed Watersoul. There has been no accusations from you or anyone else. Indi thinks he knows how we are thinking and that presumption is a form of blindness and ignorance in its own right.

    Er. ^_^; Who thinks they know what other people are thinking now? ^_^;

    For the record, i was not referring to watersoul, which makes his continued outbursts not only unwelcome and disruptive... but now also paranoid and incorrect. They are as unnecessary and disruptive in this thread now as they ever were, and are getting worse. i've already asked him to stop, but he is continuing to try to disrupt the thread. There is no need for you to make it worse by helping him.

    Now, as for you, this is a discussion about philosophy, not me, and not what you think i think or what you think i'm doing. Stay on topic, or at least within the bounds of relevant philosophy, or get out. i don't care that the mods aren't doing anything about your insinuations or disruptions, i'm saying they're wrong and you should stop.

    Bikerman wrote:
    Indi wrote:
    How would you frame that from a utilitarian perspective?

    Remember, i'm coming from a neo-Kantian perspective - for me all this is a non-issue, because i don't have to account for harm. All i have to do is figure out what the rational thing to do is taking into account the categorical imperative (which is technically automatic, because the categorical imperative is itself rational and pops up automagically in any purely rational moral consideration). By contrast, the way i see it the utilitarian defence here is a minefield at best, because all i have to do to break it is point out that you can do some really nasty things to the child without ever causing any harm (and, in fact, doing some good), and the only response i've gotten by doing that so far has been "oh yeah? must be that you want to rape kids".

    To put it another way, i can frame the "power" problem quite easily in neo-Kantian terms. How do you frame the "power" problem in utilitarian terms?
    |Hmmm...I would have to appeal to 'rule utilitarianism' here. As you know this is a tricky issue for utilitarian philosophy - as is any consideration of consent vs pleasure. The only viable attack on this problem seems to me to accept a broader form of utilitarianism - rule utilitarianism - by which support is given to rules which are generally aimed at the greatest good for the greatest number.

    Alright, but how you would limit that to just the specific cases in question (child/adult, student/teacher, ward/guardian, mentally-challenged-person/mentally-capable-person) without also swallowing up ALL cases of power imbalance in sex. Or to put it another way, how would you say "A guardian can't have sex with their ward because the guardian is in a position of power (and per the rule, the general happiness isn't served when people in power are allowed to have sex with those under their power, etc. etc.), but a rich person can have sex with a poor person."? i suppose you could say "they could so long as the power the rich person has isn't specifically over the poor person", sure, but that still leaves plenty of other cases: such as a husband/wife where only one is the breadwinner, or a couple in one of those "dominance-submission" relationships. And, if you try to say that in those cases the relation is okay if both parties agree, why is it not okay if both parties agree in a student/teacher (etc.) relationship?

    Bikerman wrote:
    Kantian philosophy also has some problems in this area though. Surely a Kantian would regard all sex as objectifying the partner, and homosexuality as completely out of the question? Kant himself was pretty clear on that matter.

    Ah, actually, not quite.

    First of all, there is the matter of Kant himself. Kant had (unsurprisingly) 18th century views on a lot of things, like homosexuality, democracy, religion and suicide and, naturally, tried to couch his opinions in his own moral framework. It didn't work. Even at the time, other philosophers like Hegel pointed out the flaws in his logic. See, it's not that the underlying theory vetoes gay sex... it was Kant's application of it that did, and Kant's application of his own theory at many times was flawed (which is why modern Kantians specifically refer to themselves as neo-Kantian).

    If you want an analogy from the physical sciences, consider Einstein and the cosmological constant. His theory predicted expansion, his prejudices didn't allow for that, so he "fudged" this to make it work. Later on, his theory was shown to be correct, and his prejudices and the "fudging" was a mistake. The same is true for Kant and his theory (although, of course, Kant didn't live long enough to see his "fudging" properly called out for the mistake it was); neo-Kantians say "sure, Kant screwed up trying to apply his theory to his 18th century morals, but the theory itself was not the problem, Kant's fudging around with it was, so just ditch Kant's fudging and go back to the original theory".

    Now, as for the second problem, about all sex objectifying the partner, true... BUT....

    The problem is not objectifying people. That's okay; you're allowed to objectify people, and we all do it all the time. The problem is SOLELY objectifying people. In other words, you're allowed to use someone as a means to your own pleasure or amusement... but not SOLELY as a means to your own pleasure or amusement. You must take into account THEIR willed desires. In other words, you can use someone as a means to your ends, but only if you take into account both your ends and their ends. This is why you can enjoy a musician playing: you're using them as a means to the ends of your own entertainment... but they are also getting their own ends met (either because they simply enjoy playing for an audience, or because they want to get paid to play).

    So in the case of sex, have all you want... provided the other people involved are not merely being used as means to your willed ends, but their willed ends are also part of the equation. (Which is why rape is wrong: you would be using someone solely as means, without consideration for the ends they will. In fact, one of the defining cases that led me to reject utilitarianism in favour of neo-Kantian theory was the case of a society that is suffering a severe population shortage, and needs badly to make babies, but has one woman who refuses to participate... if you're just looking at consequences, then it would seem moral to rape the woman and impregnate her for the good of society, but under neo-Kantian auspices, it's still immoral because you'd be using her solely as means.)

    Bikerman wrote:
    Is this a fair analogy I wonder? Sex is not necessary for life (individually speaking) whereas eating is. Given that we must eat, and given that there are uncertainties about the exact consequences of diet then I would argue that unless the person were 'beyond reasonable doubt' harming themselves with their diet then they should be left alone. If they WERE harming themselves then, yes, I believe the court would have to act.

    Sex is necessary for the lives of entire species. If an individual does not eat, they die. If the individuals of a species don't have sex, the entire species dies. If we can't dictate what a person eats, why would we be able to dictate how they can have sex?

    No one is certain about the exact consequences of sex, either. Some authorities say anal sex is dangerous because it destroys the tissue, others disagree. And as for the psychological consequences... you can find an expert for whatever opinion you want an expert for.

    If you want to ignore the wider context and just focus on what's good for the individual, you create a host of new problems (as i'll show below). But if you take the wider context into account, sex is far more important than eating, so one should have far less problem regulating eating than sex.

    Bikerman wrote:
    My primary concern would be harm, but not the only concern. We don't have enough info, so I can only speculate - but it might be that the relationship was abusive, in that the partner was using him.

    We don't know what the other party's motives were, and it is not fair to assume they were exploitative. What we do know was that the mentally-challenged man in question wanted to continue the relationship.

    Bikerman wrote:
    Yes, I see the point. I go back to the previous arguments. Firstly the 'risk' from manipulation is surely very significant. The court would have to get involved in 'vetting' sexual partners to avoid this happening (and I know that I am making assumptions about the man's cognitive abilities, but I don't see how that can be avoided).

    Yes, but the Court was already involved in vetting where the man lived, and presumably what he ate, what he wore and where he went and what he did on a given day. The man was under Court care, after all.

    Bikerman wrote:
    But that is why the function of the court IS important in this case Smile One might well be able to justify sterilisation on many grounds, but NOT on the grounds of the woman's best interests.

    Whoa, hang on. If it were really true that the only interests involved here are the woman's... then we have serious problem, because that would make the court a sociopath - and a menace to society which must be stopped.

    No person in a society is an island, and if you consider their interests only - in isolation from the rest of society - then it's okay for them to murder, steal, rape, whatever, so long as they don't get caught. And even when they do get caught, it's okay for them to syphon resources from other parts of the society that need them more, be disruptive, and more or less just do whatever the hell they want with no regards for the rest of humanity.

    Obviously that's not tolerable, so whenever a person's interests are considered, they cannot be considered without regard to the interests of society.

    In the case of the first woman, if she were allowed to continue breeding she would first get to the point where her resources are taxed to the limit - which is not in her best interests at all, and in fact is in conflict with her best interests - and then would be making babies that the rest of society is responsible for caring for - which is not in the interests of anyone else in society, and isn't even in the woman's interests (at best it's neutral with respect to the woman's interests). So both from her interests and from society's interests, she must be stopped. But, even if you wanted to say that she has no interests in stopping, you can't just ignore the interests of the society she's in - otherwise they might as well be justified in just tossing her out into the wilderness to fend for herself; if she (or her guardian, the Court) is not considering the interests of society, society shouldn't be considering her interests, hm?
    deanhills
    Indi wrote:
    For the record, i was not referring to watersoul,
    So who exactly were you referring to?

    Indi wrote:
    Now, as for you, this is a discussion about philosophy, not me, and not what you think i think or what you think i'm doing.
    I'm in perfect agreement with a discussion about philosophy. So can you enlighten us how the bolded statements below should be debated from a philosophical point of view?

    Indi wrote:
    watersoul wrote:
    I'll leave you to this topic fella, I personally think that sex with kids is always wrong, for a million reasons that don't even need to be mentioned or discussed in the 'correct' forum, but if you really want to use this case as an example to support any type of argument that having sex with kids is ever ok. well, go for it - I assume you will already realise the loneliness of that position anyway.

    Ho hum, another day, another douchebag accusing me of being a racist/homophobe/religion-hater/warmonger/animal-abuser/paedophile/whatever because i had the shocking audacity to challenge them to think.


    Indi wrote:
    Bikerman wrote:
    Well, I think an honest reading of your reply would be that Indi is trying to make an argument that sex with children is OK and that such is his 'position' - which he will find lonely....
    The point is that he wasn't - he was simply stating the case and inviting comment.

    Please don't feed the trolls. All that's going to lead to is defensiveness and more accusations about how much it seemed like i was advocating child sex or whatever merely because i dared to ask "what if it's not really harmful". This discussion is obviously too adult for some people to handle, and they seem entirely unable to understand even that, so perhaps the best way to deal with it is to carry on like adults, and show them how it's done.


    Since you are the author of the above statements, I think it is perfectly fair to ask exactly who was accusing you of advocating child sex and exactly who can't handle adult discussion.
    Bikerman
    Damn - I just spent an hour with a considered reply and lost the damn thing to a power-cut.
    I'll do another reply later - when I stop crying Sad
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