A Van Gogh!

A Van Gogh!
From the artists at ArtWorks945

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Power Thesis

It’s amazing the lack of clarity that a lack of sleep brings on. But at least some of this seems to make sense to me at the moment.

I want to name another thesis. So I will. I will name it the Power Thesis, or PT for short.

The Power Thesis: Power trumps beauty.

What does PT mean? I’m not sure exactly. But I think a lot of people would accept it.

Conceptually, PT is a close cousin to another thesis that I will call the Time Thesis, or TT for short.

Time Thesis: Time conquers all.

TT, like PT, is appealing. Indeed, I’d likely declare TT to be even more appealing than PT, though I would of course understand completely why someone might disagree.

Yes, PT and TT are both appealing. But the fun doesn’t stop there, since PT and TT together entail what I have before called the Money Thesis, (though I must admit that I don’t think I could demonstrate the entailment – I blame it on the lack of sleep.)

Money Thesis: Economic value tracks aesthetic value.

And still the fun doesn’t end, since the Money Thesis and the following plausible thesis about the nature of value entail a radical claim about moral value.

Value Invariance Thesis: The fundamental status of value is invariant across domains.

If the Value Invariance Thesis is true, then what is true of aesthetic value, at least in terms of its fundamental properties, is also true of moral value.

The Money Thesis and the Value Invariance Thesis together entail what I shall call the Brick in the Wall Thesis, or BitWat for short.

BitWat: Economic value tracks moral value.

BitWat can be considered the core thesis in Economy Ethics, a relatively obscure but nonetheless influential ethical position.

If BitWat is true, a person’s moral worth is commensurate with his or her economic worth.

To my ears, BitWat sounds as if it must be false.

But it’s not that easy, at least from a conceptual point of view – you can’t just go proclaiming things to be false.

Why? Because BitWat follows (more or less) from PT and TT.

Yes, believe it or not PT and TT together get you BitWat. So rejecting BitWat requires rejecting either PT or TT.

Now, it seems to me that, TT has to be true – after all, time does conquer all. So I don’t think I would be willing to give up TT.

So it all comes down to PT. Should I give up PT?

Or does power trump beauty after all?

That, as they say, is the question.

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