Hans-Hermann Hoppe vs Luiz Fabrette - on Argumentation Ethics and non-arguers

The following dialogue took place in an email exchange between me and Professor Hoppe in June 2017.

Fabrette: I've got a question about the apriori of argumentation and your claim that Only if the other entity can in principle pause in his activity, and say “yes” or “no” to something we owe that entity some moral respect, so to speak.

But the truth —that is, aggression is unjustifiable—, once found, (as it happened when we read your book, for example) doesn't need successive new argumentations in each new case to be rediscovered. Due to the apriori of argumentation, one already knows that aggression is unjustifiable, once and for all. Right? Therefore, if one wants it's actions to be justifiable, one must already behave according to the norm of non-aggression independently of engaging in new argumentations with the next victim.

So, being new argumentations unnecessary, then the victim does not need to argue anything — and so it does not make sense to require the victim being capable of argumentation to be, only them, respected and a "subject of rights".

Of course, the victim should be able to manifest in some way that what one is doing is against his will. Ok, but we can do that in non-argumentative ways like trying to scape the attack, screeaming or resisting physically, and so on, not necessarily by stating verbaly "excuse me sir, but I don't approve this" in a strictly argumentative manner.

Fabrette: It seems the major response to my question in this link is here:
"Whenever a person refuses to engage in argumentation, he is also owed no argument in return." 

Yes, that person may be owed no argument in return, but that doesn't mean whatever we do the this person would be justifiable. Let's say, the little child screaming “no” at everything said to him: maybe we don't owe him a argument, but could we just kill or slave this kid, i.e., would these actions be justifiable?

Hoppe: No, of course not.

Fabrette: (In this particular kid's case you may have another solution, probably based on kids being "potential arguers". I don't think this is a valid solution, but let's leave it aside, I think the real solution to the kid's case rests in the following:)

if it is a transcendetal truth that aggression is unjustifiable, then these actions against the kid would never be justifiable  not even for yourself, as a internal thought!

Hoppe: Right

Fabrette: Thinking that if a particular victim can't argue himself we could do anything with him would be the equivalent of thinking that the "true is true only for the parties actually involved in argumentation" — so if the victim part is not envolved in argumentation the truth "aggression is unjustifiable" would disappear, as if it has no relevance outside argumentations. Well, but it does have: It is because "truths has relevance outside the context of argumentation" we could not ignore them towards even non-arguing victims.

Hoppe: Right

Fabrette: "He simply doesn’t count as a rational person in regard to the question or problem at hand. He is treated as someone to be ignored in the matter. Indeed, someone always, on principle, refusing to argumentatively justify any of his beliefs or actions whatsoever against anyone, would no longer be considered and treated as a person at all."

This may be descriptively right, but not ethicaly justifiable: yes, people may consider and treat non-arguers as no subjects to ethical consideration, but everything about the apriori of argumentation and its transcendentality seems to point they are wrong in doing so...

Hoppe: Note that I say that a refuses to argumentatively defend anything, not even murder, rape, etc…..then he is indeed a wild thing and can be treated as such.

Fabrette: I noted a important distinction in the last part. I read it thinking about "non-arguing victims", but you were talking about something like a "non-arguing agressor", is that it?

So, only someone that refuses to argumentatively defend anything, such as a non-arguing agressor, would be a wild thing and can be treated as such. But not a peacefull non-arguer one, nor a non-arguer victim who is incapable of argumentation would be: our actions towards them would stil be subject to ethical/argumentative justifiability. Right?

Hoppe: yes

Fabrette: So, if our actions towards a non-arguer victim who is incapable of argumentation would still be subject to ethical/argumentative justifiability, why starting aggression against Friday, the gorilla, is any less unjustifiable than it is starting aggression against the little child screaming? Being both the kid and Friday, the gorilla, a non-arguer victim who is incapable of argumentation...

Hoppe: kids are potential arguers, gorillas are not (hence, they pose merely technical problems of control)

Fabrette: Yeah, "kids are potential arguers and gorillas are not", that's a true statement, but this would be a valid answer to the question only if truths, like the unjustifiability of aggression, were relevant only in the context of argumentation. If that were the case, then it would make sense requiring a victim to be an arguer, or at least a potential one, because only then could this victim be a participant inside the context where such truth has relevance.

If were, but it isn't! We just stablished why even our actions towards non-arguers at all would still be subject to ethical justifiability: because truths has relevance outside the context of argumentation! Non-arguers, in fact, could never be inside the context of argumentation, but that shouldn't matter at all, since the truth has relevance outside the context of argumentation too.


In his last message, Hoppe said he would be away for "extended travels." I left that last answer, anyway, and if he responds when returning, I'll add his answer here. However, I think that at this point there is nothing he can answer that will justify the initiation of aggression against some and not against others.

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