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Wizards v. Muggles Megathread

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Xiph0, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Some observations:

    1. The relationship between different species is not the same relationship as between different races/ethnic groups of the same species. You cannot rely on argument by analogy alone. The reason why racism is wrong is because it is factually incorrect - there are no important differences between humans of different races. But with different species, there are differences - biological, magical, social/cultural, and likely cognitive. It is not enough to note that a given species is intelligent. That attributes far too much to intelligence. The ability to think and speak and solve problems does not determine moral character.

    For that you have to pay attention to a species' other characteristics as well. For example, Dementors appear to be at least somewhat intelligent (they can communicate with humans, through unknown means) but it is also in their nature to be aggressive, ruthless, amoral, and completely lacking in any form of compassion. They will always use their intelligence in that manner. It is completely justified to be "racist" against Dementors. They are a plague upon all life, non-beings quite literally born out of despair and decay (Dementors grow "like a fungus" in places of despair and decay), and the ideal state of affairs is their eradication, not their acceptance. But their eradication is no more possible than the eradication of unhappiness itself - where despair exists, there you will find a Dementor. Similar considerations may apply to other species - each species must be evaluated on its own merits.

    2. Ultimately, all societies have the right to exclude outsiders from full enjoyment of rights. Joining a society is a privilege, not an entitlement. Wizards denying full political participation to other species is no more immoral than a country denying political participation to non-nationals.

    3. Wands are an incredibly powerful innovation with potential to be used as a weapon. Denying them to other groups is no more immoral than Muggle nuclear powers denying nuclear weapons to other nations. And denying them to your enemies - which goblins are - is no more immoral, and just as sensible, as denying nuclear weapons to ISIS.

    3. The Harry Potter world is dualist. The possession of consciousness (i.e. a sense of self, an inner mental life, free will) is determined by the possession of a soul, not by intelligence, which magic is able to gift to things with relative ease. Enchanted mirrors, portraits, the Sorting Hat etc. have intelligence of varying levels, but they do not have souls. They are like philosophical zombies, displaying all the outward features of sentience but not actually possessing it, and often serving some particular function. They do not have free will but rather their intelligence can only be used according to their function/nature. Sir Cadogan is a good example - he has full intelligence, in that he can converse in a way that passes the Turing Test, and can learn new things, and solve problems, but at the same time, that intelligence is as if it is fixed on rails, always heading in the same direction, constrained by the limited nature of magical portraits - he will never develop as a "person", but rather replicate the same behaviour for eternity, like he's stuck on loop.

    And whatever you might think of philosophical zombies in real life (physicalists argue that the concept is nonsensical, because you could only have all the outward signs of sentience if you actually had it; the physical structures necessary to produce that complex behaviour by necessity are also sufficient to produce self-awareness), in the HP world, where souls definitely exist, they are absolutely possible.

    I'm not exactly sure what all this has to do with wizard vs. Muggles, but there you go.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018
  2. Agent Zero

    Agent Zero Groundskeeper DLP Supporter

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    For some reason, it appears that @Lord Twain was trying to reply to me in this thread but somehow did it in this one.
     
  3. Lord Twain

    Lord Twain First Year

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    My reference base in this case, if I must have one, was not real life but rather Doctor Who or Wandering Inn — other works of fiction which do have a number of coexisting sentient species, some of them quite different from mankind, but still make the argument that any intelligent being is deserving of respect and an attempt by both sides to make peace and cooperate.

    How can you say for sure that Dementors are lacking in any form of compassion? What would be different if they were not, but simply reserved it for intra-Dementor social interactions, having the same sort of deeply ingrained cultural hatred of other species as Goblins? Because I totally could imagine certain Goblins going around sucking out people's souls during a Goblin Rebellion if they had the means, and that doesn't mean Goblins are incapable of complex feelings and emotions.

    If it seems to you "the perfect state of affairs" to eradicate them, then I really don't know what to tell you. You're advocating for the obliteration of an entire people of intelligent beings because it'd take a little effort to work out a peace treaty. If this were a modern vampire fiction you'd be the crazy Van Helsing figure saying all Vampires must be exterminated, even the innocent child vampires who could very well be reared to feed on animal blood.

    I knew you'd say that and I covered that part above. I did say that for political/strategic reason, giving wands to the Goblins or the Dementors right then in 1998 would be incredibly ill-advised because the current generation would be all for going to war with the Wizards. Hence again preparing for a few decades.

    Honestly, my answer to that is very simple: a philosopher's zombie is a logical oxymoron, therefore the Portraits, Mirrors, etc. do have souls. Magical intelligence is created by making an artificial soul. Simple as that.

    But though it is a fair argument when it concerns the potential rights of Sorting Hats and Portraits and stuff, though I don't think it's a correct argument… that has no bearing on my feelings about all the organic sentient nonhumans regardless. Unless, perhaps, you suggest that only humans have souls in the HP universe? Because I'm finding that very hard to believe. Per your own definition above Dobby clearly must have one if he is capable of growth of character, hm?

    I didn't. I posted in that thread, and someone moved my post to this one for some reason.
     
  4. BTT

    BTT Third Year ~ Prestige ~

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    Because they're inherently inimical to hope, peace, and happiness, to the point they're repulsed by a physical incarnation of happy memories. The very idea of being compassionate to others would repulse them.

    The destruction of Dementors can only be done by destroying that which they symbolically represent, depression. You saying that we should just give them a try and make peace with depression is, frankly, enormously repulsive. You're essentially saying that attempting to recover from illness is evil.
     
  5. Lord Twain

    Lord Twain First Year

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    Of wizards' happiness, condensed in a spell specifically meant to be aggressive to Dementors. Doesn't mean they can't be peaceful among themselves.

    Oh for God's sake. A), Dementors are not literally depression; they symbolically represent depression. Hedwig represents Harry's childhood innocence and that doesn't make her a literal incarnation of innocence. B) Again, the difference is that you can't sit down and have a chat with real-life depression. When the illness is as sentient as the patient, it's a moral conundrum, not a clear-cut situation. (Recommended reading: Awful Hospital.)
     
  6. Sataniel

    Sataniel High Inquisitor

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    Dementors are born from the depression and human suffering they represent it, and their population depends on it. They are actual in-universe manifestationof depression, suffering and hopelessness.
     
  7. Kevizoid

    Kevizoid Third Year

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    If unhappiness was a literal race of aliens who feeds on happiness and human souls I'd genocide the shit out of them. No conundrum required.
     
  8. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Because it's canon.

    This is not how intelligence works in the HP universe. From Fantastic Beasts:

    A Dementor's intelligence is irrelevant to its nature, which is fundamentally evil. They are not a people, they are an anthropomorphic force of nature, soulless and cruel and anathema to any concept of peace. That is simply what they are.

    Other intelligent species are similarly constrained by their natures. Some of them, like House-Elves may have natures which are compatible with wizarding society. Others use their intelligence only in brutal ways.

    Try a few thousand years in the case of goblins (but likely never), and in the case of Dementors, definitely never.

    1. A philosophical zombie is not a logical contradiction, though physicalists try to present it as such. It is only a logical contradiction if you start from physicalist axioms regarding the nature of the world/intelligence, which is of course not a logical contradiction at all, but rather a claim about what is physically possible. The correctness of this argument is irrelevant because what is possible is different in the HP universe.

    2. Even if it were a logical contradiction, that would not prevent it from being magically possible.

    3. You've literally just made this up with zero canon support. Indeed, it is directly contradicted by canon, because we know that the mind and the soul are very much different things - Dementor victims have no soul, but they still have a mind; Voldemort's loosing bits of his soul had no impact on his mind.

    As for House-Elves and Goblins, it seems likely that they have a soul. But that doesn't say anything about whether enchantments have souls. The ability to create a soul goes against everything we know about souls in HP canon. You can't magic up replacement souls for Dementor victims; Voldemort could not replace his lost parts of soul by conjuring replacement soul; you can't create human beings with Transfiguration.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018
  9. Lord Twain

    Lord Twain First Year

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    I still think you're being too literal. They feed on happiness, which they can drain more easily from people who are already unhappy. Thus, Dementors breed when they notice large quantities of despair in the local human population. And if that amount of possible targets starts to dwindle then some of the Dementors starve, so their numbers are reduced. Simple as that.

    This makes them a good 'marker' of the levels of happiness and despair in mankind, and makes it a shoe-in for them to represent depression in Rowling's canon book, but they don't have to be godlike incarnations of despair any more than mushrooms 'embody' the 'concept' of dimly-lit moisture.

    So from a wizard, then. Stating the reasoning of the I.C.W. for not giving those nonhumans rights, no less.

    My reasoning is this: we know (from our magicless world) a physical human brain is enough to produce sentient intelligence. HP claims that the quality of sentient intelligence is inherent in something called a soul, which suggests that brains in the HP universe work differently and require a soul to work — or else you'd be arguing that HP people are somehow more sentient than we are. Either the soul is a condition of a sentient mind or it is not.

    Er, Dementor victims don't have a mind. They're vegetables. Lupin describes them as having "no sense of self, no memories".

    Voldemort kept logical thinking even with a damaged soul, but he also presents a case for souls being minds: when he was stripped of flesh and nothing but his mangled soul hanging about in Albania he was still able to form plans, and his various Horcruxes demonstrate the ability to think, at least rudimentarily (Locketmort) and in one occasion as fully as a living human being (Diarymort);.

    The Dementor victims or Voldemort couldn't conjure up replacement souls because A), I never said you could make flawless copies of human souls, just that you could make working souls; the sort of souls you put in Portraits, which wizards can create, likely aren't "compatible" with fleshy vessels, and B), adding a new soul into the body of the Dementor-victim would create a new person who happened to be puppeteering the old body about, not restore the destroyed person, and Voldemort trying to add more soul to himself from an outside source would land him in much the same situation as Harry, with a bit of soul that isn't his inside his skull.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018
  10. kira and light

    kira and light Seventh Year

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    Why are you even still arguing with this guy from all his previous posts he is either a troll or a retard
     
  11. BTT

    BTT Third Year ~ Prestige ~

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    First, "of wizards' happiness". Of happiness of all of humanity: consider Dudley. Considering they apparently "suck the happiness out of the air", probably anything that feels happiness at all.
    Second, meant to be "aggressive"? Again, no. It's a guardian, as proved by this quote from PoA:
    They condense out of the air wherever depression is. They might as well be literal.

    Also, it's not a moral conundrum if you've got no moral imperative to allow the illness to exist.
     
  12. Lord Twain

    Lord Twain First Year

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    The Patronus can only be the coalescion of a wizard's happiness, and it's the Patronus I was talking about above.

    By its nature of being against a guardian against Dementors, Patronuses are aggressive towards Dementors. In practice they don't just stand there in-between the caster and the Dementor, they attack the Dementor. Note how Harry's Stag charges into the Dementors.

    They don't condense out of the air, they grow like fungi. From spores the previous generation of Dementors release, presumably.

    But I consider that it is a moral imperative to do what you can to keep other sentient beings alive.
     
  13. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    No, it doesn't. Intelligence is still a result of the brain:

    It's just that in the HP universe, intelligence and sentience are not the same things. A being can possess human-like intelligence but have no soul/inner mental life.

    EDIT:

    No, they are literally depression:

    http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2000/1000-canadianpress-moore.htm

    The use of the word "breed" in HBP is figurative, not literal. They are not biological beings, but rather "non-beings" which come into existence via magical phenomena. Furthermore:

    This confirms it - the possession of intelligence is not the same thing as having a soul.

    http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2007/0730-bloomsbury-chat.html

    See also Pottermore:

    https://www.pottermore.com/writing-by-jk-rowling/boggart
     
  14. Rhaegar I

    Rhaegar I Death Eater

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    You know, this is quite possibly the first time I ever heard someone attempt to defend dementors outside of a Crack fic. But @Lord Twain , mazel tov on this particularly unique belief.

    To be blunt, there is no defending dememtors. They can cause terrible depression in their very presence, drive you insane with long-term exposure, and can turn you into a vegetable if they have the chance. They definitely have some measure of intelligence, but their instincts made them repeatedly break orders to feast on happiness. They were implied to be created by an especially evil dark wizard centuries ago. The simple fact otherwise-accepting people like Hagrid, Dumbledore, Remus, and Arthur all referred to them in explicitly negative ways should say enough about them.

    Your larger point about being more accepting of magical beings isn't a bad one. But dementors aren't like goblins and house elves; they are legitimately monsters that are fundamentally dangerous to most living beings. The only reason I'm not advocating their extinction is because they seemingly can't be killed. The best you can do is contain them, and hope they don't get released into the general population. Trusting them to be join the Magical society and not suck out happiness is about as safe as trusting a shark to not go bezerk over a bleeding human.
     
  15. Lord Twain

    Lord Twain First Year

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    Just going to stop you right there: that's a misconception. Ekrizdis didn't create the Dementors, he just bred or invited a large population of them on his island. Ekrizdis was a Renaissance wizard, and we have records of Dementor activity in Ancient Times.

    Regardless… this is something of a "if this is wrong I don't wanna be right" situation for me. I find the idea of an entire species of inherently evil sapient beings to be thoroughly disgusting and totally out of place in the Harry Potter universe, and perhaps this is how Rowling thinks of them but if so then this is one case where she made a blunder in her worldbuilding, in my opinion. So, much like certain people ignore some parts of Pottermore or Cursed Child for being daft and ill-thought-out, sorry but I'm still going with redeemable-Dementors, and I'm all the more confident in that choice because unlike those bits of fanon-discontinuity my vision doesn't require me to ignore any narrative material, just the occasional loaded remark in interviews and such.

    Incidentally, I am not the first to write (or argue about) Dementor-redemption: check out this 2004 fic (which, of course, can't gel with more recently-introduced information, and has a bit of a quick beginning, but is really quite good as to the actual MC-in-Azkaban part). It's not perfect but it's one possible look at a treatment of Dementors in the spirit that I argue towards.
     
  16. ThePinkTomato

    ThePinkTomato Prestigious Tomato ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    You can't judge another species by the same morals we judge ourselves by. The happy existence of Dementors is inimical to the happy existence of humanity, therefore we should burn them out of our territories root and branch.
     
  17. Stealthy

    Stealthy Seventh Year

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    Cool. You're wrong. Glad we're all on the same page here.
     
  18. Lord Twain

    Lord Twain First Year

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    As it concerns Dementors. To be clear, I concede that Rowling may have meant for the Dementors to be utterly irredeemable and impossible to make peace with (though if so, I think this is one of the greatest missteps in her worldbuilding). But my points about the Statute, less eldritch species like Goblins and Centaurs and Acromantulas, and magical artifical intelligences still stand.
     
  19. Tsar

    Tsar Fourth Year DLP Supporter

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    And why is it a misstep in world building for a creature that sustains itself on happiness and souls of sentient beings to be anathema to those very beings?
     
  20. guestreader

    guestreader First Year

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    No they don't. Not because you're wrong about dementors though, because you're wrong about them too, or at least the Statue. There is a thing called Duty of Care. Now, I'd have to check with Taure or one of the other lawyers we have here but I'm pretty sure I don't have a duty of care to you or anyone else unless I choose to take one on. I am not legally obliged, perhaps not even morally obliged to jump into a burning building to save your sorry arse. In the same vein, wizards are not morally obliged to help out muggles just because they could. A doctor might be able to treat more patients if they didn't take holidays but I suspect that they'd resist if you tried to take away their holidays. Equally magicals are not obliged to give up their 'advanced healing' that you claimed they possessed in the other thread. Advanced healing that as far as I am aware we have zero evidence that suggests it works muggles. They don't have to and more importantly they don't want to.

    I want you to go away and sit in a corner and think about the moral implications of forcing people to do things that you think would be for the betterment of society. You'll soon realise that you're in the same corner as Mao, Stalin and a bunch of other mass murders.
     
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