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fubarobfusco comments on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance - Less Wrong

58 Post author: daenerys 25 November 2012 11:33PM

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Comment author: Eugine_Nier 26 November 2012 11:50:02PM 7 points [-]

I am still philosophically confused about this issue, although I have been thinking about it for a while. You are probably objecting to the fact that ex hypothesi, less revealing clothing leads to fewer sexual assaults, so why wouldn't we follow that advice - yes? As I say, I don't have a full account of that. All I wanted to draw attention to is the ethical questionable-ness of making such a statement without any acknowledgement that one is asking potential victims to change their (blameless) behaviour in order to avoid (blameworthy) assault from others.

Would you have similar objections if I advised you to lock your house to reduce theft?

Comment author: fubarobfusco 27 November 2012 01:47:36AM 4 points [-]

Doesn't that depend on the context of the advice?

If the context is that you (or others) are telling me that it wasn't the thief's fault that they stole my TV, or that the fact that my house was unlocked is evidence that I consented to the taking of my TV, that context may make the advice seem part and parcel of the blame-shifting.

For that matter, the reason to lock your house may well be to avoid being low-hanging fruit — IOW, someone else's TV gets stolen, not yours; theft is not actually reduced, just shifted around. There's no guarantee that everyone locking their house would reduce theft. The thieves learn to pick locks and everyone's costs are higher — but now a person who doesn't pay that cost is stigmatized as too foolish to protect themselves.

As an old boss of mine used to say, "locks are to keep your friends out." They work against casual intruders, not committed ones.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 27 November 2012 02:38:17AM 5 points [-]

If the context is that you (or others) are telling me that it wasn't the thief's fault that they stole my TV, or that the fact that my house was unlocked is evidence that I consented to the taking of my TV

That also depends. An insurance company would be well within its rights to charge you a higher premium if you refused to lock your house.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 27 November 2012 09:28:50AM 0 points [-]

Right — but an insurance company would do that even if it didn't reduce theft overall, but merely shifted theft away from their insured customers onto others. It could even be negative-sum thanks to the cost of locks. If we actually want to reduce theft overall, shifting it around doesn't suffice.

Comment author: MugaSofer 27 November 2012 01:58:07AM 1 point [-]

If the context is that you (or others) are telling me that it wasn't the thief's fault that they stole my TV

The whole point is that this is a strawman.

(Not sure what the point of the rest is - clarification please?)

Comment author: TorqueDrifter 27 November 2012 02:03:11AM 0 points [-]

The whole point is that this is a strawman.

It's not. Maybe you're lucky enough to have never encountered it.

Comment author: MugaSofer 27 November 2012 02:09:31AM 2 points [-]

That is, no-one here is arguing for that position. I am well aware that there are people out there who hold all sorts of unjustifiable beliefs, but conflating then with my reasonable claims is logically rude.