Tom Palven wrote:
#3 How does the Golden Rule relate to #1 Rights, and to #2 Self-Ownership (Individualism, Individual Sovereignty). To address the following statement by Peregrinus is to address this question:
Peregrinus said "Apparently you do consider John's income to be his property, and I am asking, why is it his property? Is this derived from the Golden Rule, or is it something which you assert independently of the Golden Rule? It seems to me that the latter is the case, but I don't want to put words in your mouth."
I assert, independently of the Golden Rule, that Jack's income, unless it is garnished by a bank or other entity with which he has made a voluntary agreement, is in fact his income. Because, as shown in #2, Jack owns himself and is not partially owned by anyone else, his income is legitimately his to do with as he pleases. And as shown in #1, no one possesses a right to take any portion of it from him. And #3 if Jack did not want his money, or part of his corn crop, or anything else that John obtained in a voluntary transaction with anyone else (In the here and now We are not going to go back to $26 worth of beads for Manhattan, but keep this in the context of reasonable, voluntary, mutually agreed-on arbitration.) taken from him, to take it from John and thus do unto him that which he does not want done to himself (stealing), is a violation of the GR (Technically the Platinum Version, and generally understood to include all versions)
All other ethical codes that I am aware of, other than the Golden Rule, maintain that it is ethical for certain groups calling themselves governments to extract income from John though force or threat of force. Only the Golden Rule maintains that it is unethical to take property from John in order to "benefit society as a whole" because the ends justify the means.
So, the bottom line, IMHO, is that until logical discrepancies are shown to exist in what has been presented here, the only ethics code compatible with #1 and #2 is the Golden Rule, and by the same token, none of the versions of utilitarian, Judeo-Christi-Islamic, or situational ethics are compatible with the Golden Rule.
Tom, the force of this argument seems to depend crucially on the scope of your concept of individual autonomy or self-ownership (‘ ... as shown in #2, Jack owns himself ...’), and on how it can be successfully argued for
(1) in the context of any discourse in which it could be held to have a relationship of entailment with the Golden Rule
and I’m not (yet) convinced that the case you made in your #2 quite does the trick. Now, evidently, you might want to reject my criterion (1), but I would just say that it’s a coherentist
criterion, by which I mean that if your self-ownership concept (I’ll call it SO) holds in a discourse of aspirational politics but not in other relevant discourses about ‘self’ or ‘ownership’, then for an epistemological coherentist there are reasons not to accept it without further argument.
I’ll just offer a view here about the crucial self-concept. It seems to me that SO has an uncertain status. It shares some aspects of, on the one hand, a metaphysically
-driven notion of the fully autonomous self which is the basis for a very substantial (Western) myth and, on the other, the kind of mutable and socially contextual self which emerges from empirical work in cognitive psychology, sociology and neuroscience. Within the scope of a web forum I simply offer some examples of arguments I have found cogent: from ethical philosophy, reasons for denying this concept of autonomy because self cannot be other than dependent on situation , environment or framework if it is to be an ethical concept at all ; from neurobiology, similarly, the contention that a (neurobiological) individual simply has no use for a self-concept if alone in the world ; from sociocultural studies, views questioning conventional notions of identity and integrity on empirical grounds which give evidence of plurality and diversity in individual self-concepts ; from neuroscience, an influential view about the uncertain interrelationship between a ‘core’ self and an ‘autobiographical’ self .
The upshot is that the empirical
self is much more episodic, fragmented and less synchronically and diachronically stable than SO suggests. Thus, while under no apparent physical or psychological constraints on actions within her perceived capabilities, your ‘free’ and ‘sovereign’ self-owning individual runs the risk being a metaphysically idealised
individual who, in reality, cannot take on the metaphysical load your theorisation imposes. She might well ask, for example, ‘Which self
do I actually own?’.
My argument, in short, is that you may be able to demonstrate compatibility with the Golden Rule for an idealised SO, but such compatibility is relatively empty if the self-owning construct does not meet a coherentist criterion and this, I believe, is likely to be the case.
(PS Out of respect for your carefully and closely argued posts, I’m responding to them in turn.)
 Mensch, James Richard. Ethics and Selfhood
. State University of New York Press, 2003: 15, 32.
 Gjedde, Albert. Subjectivity and the Self
: The Neurobiology of Consciousness
. In Anjum P. Saleemi, Ocke-Schwen Bohn, and Albert Gjedde (Eds). In Search of a Language for the Mind-Brain: Can the Multiple Perspectives be Unified
? Denmark: Aerhus University Press, 2005: 176.
 Oyserman, Daphna and Hazel Rose Markus. The Sociocultural Self
. In Jerry Suls, (Ed.), Psychological Perspectives on the Self,
Vol. 4, The Self in Social Perspective
Lawrence Erlbaum, 1993: 190.
 Damasio, Antonio. The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness
. London: William Heinemann. (2000).