Entitlement ontology

April 3, 2014 § 11 Comments

… or, choosing an apple vs choosing what it is to be an apple.


Just because we’ve been permitted by the sovereign to do something it doesn’t follow that we are entitled to do it.

For example, immigration/emigration are in general matters of prudence falling under the authority of the sovereign, rightly understood. We may be permitted by our particular sovereign to emigrate and thereby subject ourselves to a different sovereign in some circumstances.  It does not follow that we are capable of arbitrarily choosing whether we should (note the word “should”) obey this sovereign or that. Our moral obligations are, generally speaking, not a matter of personal choice.

We are free to choose good or evil, but we are not free to choose what is good or what is evil.

In general the fact that we can choose X does not imply that we may morally choose X, and even when we are expressly permitted to choose X it does not follow that we are entitled to choose X.

Even more generally, we don’t get to choose the essences of things.

§ 11 Responses to Entitlement ontology

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