Mental health experts say a new tougher New York state gun control law might interfere with treatment of potentially dangerous people and even discourage them from seeking help.

The law would require therapists, doctors, nurses and social workers to tell government authorities if they believe a patient is likely to harm himself or others. That could lead to revoking the patient's gun permit and seizing any guns. (source)

New laws tend to have unintended consequences worse than the conditions or situations they are intended to remedy. The hysteria over the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre has such strange bedfellows as the NRA and some of the most liberal Democrats calling for psychological or psychiatric evaluations of potential gun owners. 

Question: Does the state have enough of an interest to require a breach of the privacy normally holding between a patient and his clinician making the state an invisible presence in the conference room?

Question: Might more mayhem be prevented by letting clinicians do their job rather than imposing requirements on them.?

Question: Might imposing a reporting requirement on clinicians expose them to homicidal danger once the client realizes that his counselor has breached the shell of confidentiality holding between them?

Question: Given the ambiguities holding between what clients talk about and what they might actually do might a reporting requirement expose clinicians to needless criminal and civil sanctions if their best guess turns out to be wrong and a client they thought safe did something horrendous? The point is, it's a lot easier to judge how dangerous a patient was in retrospect and hold a clinician responsible.

Tags: control, gun, psychiatry, psycology

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As JS Mill pointed out:

"Your liberty to swing your fists ends just where my nose begins."

In ethics, absolutes have clearly been shown by argument to be completely false.  If one person had the absolute right to liberty and freedom, we would not be able to lock them up if they committed a crime --that is if their rights to liberty and freedom were absolute.

In this case, their right to liberty and freedom have been overridden because someone else's right have been violated and is weightier.

Let me illustrate another way.  Just because one person has the right to bear arms and has the right to freedom and liberty it does not permit them to violate another persons right to freedom and liberty. If the first person's right were absolute, he could do whatever they want.

There are only two kinds of rights: legislated and imaginary. Human rights? Only if they are codified and there is an agency ready to enforce the code.

The ethical realm and the legal realm are two distinct realms.  Sometimes they coincide and sometime they do not--and that also applies to rights.  Slavery in the U.S. would be a case where rights did not coincide with legislation.  Surely, UNSEEN, you do not think that slavery was RIGHT just because it was the law in the U.S.--how absurd.

There are many Normative Ethical Theories (NETS) and RIGHTS is just another NET.  Some NETs work better than others at explaining ethical phenomena. One question with RIGHTS is the question of where do RIGHTS come from. Some say they are God given. Some say by contract. A Utilitarian might argue that they  are generated via utility, that is as obligations and direct moral rules (DMR) that increase the overall good.

The ethical realm and the legal realm are two distinct realms.  Sometimes they coincide and sometime they do not--and that also applies to rights.  Slavery in the U.S. would be a case where rights did not coincide with legislation.  Surely, UNSEEN, you do not think that slavery was RIGHT just because it was the law in the U.S.--how absurd.

Slave owners had a right to own slaves under the law, until the law was changed. I don't like slavery. Slaves had whatever rights were given them by their owners. I think slavery (the industrial slavery of the old south) was wrong, but that's an opinion, not a fact.

There are many Normative Ethical Theories (NETS) and RIGHTS is just another NET.  Some NETs work better than others at explaining ethical phenomena. One question with RIGHTS is the question of where do RIGHTS come from. Some say they are God given. Some say by contract. A Utilitarian might argue that they  are generated via utility, that is as obligations and direct moral rules (DMR) that increase the overall good.

Disputes over ethics are clashes over attitudes, not disputes as to facts.

I think slavery (the industrial slavery of the old south) was wrong, but that's an opinion, not a fact.

'Wrong' refers to the unfair, injurious, unjust, incongruous, inaccurate or dishonest.

Slavery in the old south was demonstrably unfair, injurious, and unjust, and was defended using incongruous, inaccurate and dishonest arguments. 

Slavery in the old south embodied the very concept of wrong. Therefore slavery in the old south was wrong. That's a fact.

Disputes over ethics are clashes over attitudes, not disputes as to facts.

An acorn is not a tree. A blastocyst is not a person. But certain elements in Mississippi and Colorado want the latter reality put to a democratic vote; a dispute as to the facts. This arose over ethical concerns that destroying a blastocyst is murder.

 

Slavery in the old south was demonstrably unfair, injurious, and unjust, and was defended using incongruous, inaccurate and dishonest arguments.

The only thing demonstrable is that slavery in the old south is wrong by today's standards and in terms of the way we use language today. Slavery was quite okay in ancient Greece which shows how relative these things are.

It's easy enough to see that ethics is all relative to a historical period by simply examining attitudes from other times and noting that they held different attitudes.

So, everything that looks wrong in a certain historical period is ipso facto objectively wrong? Slavery looks wrong today so it's wrong seems to be your argument.

The only fact you've laid out is that slavery was wrong according to the definition of "wrong." But definitions are of just two kinds: a) descriptions of the way language is used or b) they are stipulations ("we will use 'wrong' so as to mean this:...").

Right and wrong are always subjective. Intelligent and and sincere people argue about them without one side or the other being able to lay out a proof of their case, and this is because they are expressing attitudes not proving facts. To say slavery is wrong is little different from saying shit brown is an ugly color, even if everyone agrees with you.

An acorn is not a tree.

An acorn may not be a tree but it is an oak. Any botanist will affirm that fact.

The ethical realm and the legal realm are two distinct realms.  Sometimes they coincide and sometime they do not--and that also applies to rights.  Slavery in the U.S. would be a case where rights did not coincide with legislation.  Surely, UNSEEN, you do not think that slavery was RIGHT just because it was the law in the U.S.--how absurd.

I don't think it was right because it was the law, but nevertheless it was legal. It didn't go away because someone proved slavery was wrong but because the North beat the South in the Civil War, which is not to say that attitudes had nothing to do with it. In fact, attitudes had much to do with it, I'm sure.

Nobody can prove any ethical theory by forming a series of syllogisms based on measurable and testable facts, but rather based on things people agree on, and agreements are based on coinciding attitudes. 

There are many Normative Ethical Theories (NETS) and RIGHTS is just another NET.  Some NETs work better than others at explaining ethical phenomena. One question with RIGHTS is the question of where do RIGHTS come from. Some say they are God given. Some say by contract. A Utilitarian might argue that they  are generated via utility, that is as obligations and direct moral rules (DMR) that increase the overall good.

I would think the fact that there are competing ethical theories rather than just one tends to support my position  that it's based on attitudes and not facts rather than yours that ethics is (or can be) objective.

I'm an atheist but a bit more hard-nosed than you. When we gave up God we gave up the possibility of an objective ethic. We may all agree on ethical matters (like that day will ever come), but agreement isn't proof and doesn't establish that anything is a fact.

UNSEEN what is a fact?  If we accept the argument from possibility, then every science is subjective. I am willing to grant you this, but then your bark has no bite!  If morality is subjective in the same way science is, then the argument from possibility or ultimate disagreement shows too little.  I am more than happy to accept the claim that morality is "only" as good as objective as science.

Some, if not most, moral disputes are dependent on the resolution of some factual issues.

The talk about facts is a "red herring." I present an argument from one of my professors: "Moral judgements are almost all relational:For example, John has an obligation to pay Nancy back the $5 he borrowed from her and promised to pay back on Monday." Any relational claim is on whose referent is not some object in the world, or any other world for that matter. The judgment that the word 'word' the letter 'r' is to the right of 'o' is true and can be confirmed by those who understand what the relation to the right of is.  But, the relation is not some additional object that we see in the same way that we see the individual letters.  We would not be justified in saying, though, that since there is no object that is the meaning or re[resents the relation, then relational judgments are personal, an expression of some affective state and thus not true or false in the same way other kinds of judgments are."

Specific moral judgments are generated and justified when we apply Normative Ethical Theories.

At the meta level, I propose that we use  the best explanation model.  In which case, meta-ethical positions are acceptable if they are the best hypotheses of a certain range of phenomena.

Of course we can agree to disagree.

UNSEEN what is a fact? If we accept the argument from possibility, then every science is subjective. I am willing to grant you this, but then your bark has no bite! If morality is subjective in the same way science is, then the argument from possibility or ultimate disagreement shows too little. I am more than happy to accept the claim that morality is "only" as good as objective as science.

A fact is a state of affairs in the world. A fact is what is the case.

If I don't accept the argument from possibility, what then?

Some, if not most, moral disputes are dependent on the resolution of some factual issues.

An example might help.

The talk about facts is a "red herring." I present an argument from one of my professors: "Moral judgements are almost all relational:For example, John has an obligation to pay Nancy back the $5 he borrowed from her and promised to pay back on Monday." Any relational claim is on whose referent is not some object in the world, or any other world for that matter. The judgment that the word 'word' the letter 'r' is to the right of 'o' is true and can be confirmed by those who understand what the relation to the right of is. But, the relation is not some additional object that we see in the same way that we see the individual letters. We would not be justified in saying, though, that since there is no object that is the meaning or re[resents the relation, then relational judgments are personal, an expression of some affective state and thus not true or false in the same way other kinds of judgments are."

When you can express that argument in terms any caveman can understand get back to us with it. I keep my arguments simple and easy to understand and so might you. Einstein once said "If you can't express your idea in simple terms you probably don't understand it yourself."

Specific moral judgments are generated and justified when we apply Normative Ethical Theories.

But first you need to prove the NET.

At the meta level, I propose that we use the best explanation model. In which case, meta-ethical positions are acceptable if they are the best hypotheses of a certain range of phenomena.

And they are not tied to attitudes held by people in local historical time? I doubt it.

Of course we can agree to disagree.

UNSEEN,  I am arguing against the possibility argument. That argument is used by those like you who claim that there are no facts in ethics because it is always possible that people will disagree. There are disagreements in science--so! Furthermore, as you said, agreement does not make it so, and the same thing applies to science. The layer cake theory of science is false. What was proved to be a fact one day turned out not to be a fact after all.

No God is needed for there to be objective morality. Nor is the fact that people disagree over ethical issues prove that there is no objective morality.  If that were the case, then there would be no objectivity in science, as there is disagreement in science.

UNSEEN you said: "I would think the fact that there are competing ethical theories rather than just one tends to support my position  that it's based on attitudes and not facts rather than yours that ethics is (or can be) objective."

Well let us use that logic.  There are many competing theories in science rather than just one. There is disagreement even over such theories as  germ theory of disease. If that is true, using your logic, then science is based on attitudes and not facts, and so can not be objective.

Lastly, it is interesting that on another thread that you, UNSEEN, claimed that your family was GOOD. Now, your claim supports my position, as I take it you were truly stating what you considered to be an ethical fact. Now perhaps you were stating the truth and perhaps not, perhaps others would agree with you, and others would disagree--nevertheless the best explanation is that we can explain your claim by examining Normative ethical theories and looking at the EVIDENCE that moved you to claim that your family was GOOD.

If not, then your claim about your family being GOOD, is nothing more than your attitude and feeling about your family and no more, than as you say, "To say my family is GOOD is little different from saying shit brown is an ugly color, even if everyone agrees with you."

In this case, consistency would be a virtue.

My response to Unseen on this topic is posted later in this thread

 Nowhere in our laws does it state that a person has a right to life or a right to freedom.

Sure it does. From the Fifth Amendment: "No person shall [...] be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law". 

We have the right to live and be free. But government has the legal right to take your life and freedom away under some circumstances.

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