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Is it OK to eat people if they have the intellectual capabilities of a cow?

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CrazyCoot Posted: Sun, Jan 10 2010 2:26 AM

If a human being has the intellectual level of a cow, either due to perhaps severe mental retardation or being in a permanent vegetative state,  is there a difference between consuming him and consuming a cow?  Does a lack of awareness, or a level of awareness equivalent to animals that are deemed to be acceptable to eat, mean a lack of rights?   Does an individual with the intellectual capabilities of animals we raise for food have the same rights as those animals?  Should a mother be allowed to sell her sufficiently developmentally disabled child, or a child in a PVS, off the the butcher to be turned into sausages?

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Marko replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 2:34 AM

All human beings have the same rights.

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CrazyCoot replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 2:35 AM

why?

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People Burgers!

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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Marko replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 2:48 AM

Because any line that would separate worthy human beings and unworthy human beings would have to be arbitrary. Each such line would be as good as every other such line.

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Humorous.

If you take the Rothbardian view it depends on the potential of that person to eventually reach the point of social maturity.  Although I doubt that he imagined the taste of human sausages.

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CrazyCoot replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 3:01 AM

But are people who have the same understanding of their environment as a lower life form or perhaps no comprehension/awareness whatsoever human beings?   Is being human simply down to genes and DNA? 

 

 Let's assume for that we agree that the line for people who are aware is too tricky, but then what about people in a PVS?    How does somebody in a PVS have an rights?  And if they don't have any rights should people be able to eat them?

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Marko replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 3:11 AM

I don`t know much about PVS and what it entails. Is it like your brain is irrevokably dead, but like the cells in your hands are still alive? But if you are intent on eating human flesh I can say that corpses are property of their kin, so they could eat them if they wanted to.

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Marko replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 3:12 AM

Caley McKibbin:

If you take the Rothbardian view it depends on the potential of that person to eventually reach the point of social maturity.  Although I doubt that he imagined the taste of human sausages.

Yeah Rothbard was a bit of a fundamentalist on these sort of issues.

 

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CrazyCoot replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 3:18 AM

Not a doctor, but it's not the same as brain death.   The patient is awake, but unaware; think Terri Schiavo. 

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Leviathan replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 3:30 AM

There's an instance of question begging in the implicit assumption that it's morally acceptable to eat cows, but let's ignore that for the moment and focus on the more relevant question of whether there's a difference between mentally disabled humans and nonhuman animals with the same levels of awareness, sensory capacities, etc.

I would argue that there is, and that the only distinction made between them is an arbitrary speciesist one. There are some who claim that there is no moral fault in subjective preferences for our own species, but this simply mirrors the claims of those who assert that there is no moral fault in subjective preferences for our own race or countrymen. Both have identified an arbitrary division between sentient creatures, but don't argue in favor of its preservation with very persuasive analysis. At any rate, moral reasoning is by its very nature intended to be objective.

The claim that legitimate distinctions between groups of humans cannot be drawn is not convincing. We already draw distinctions between the mentally able and the mentally disabled in our treatment of them, so examining those differences in determination of moral value does not cross any new frontiers in that vein; it merely applies ethical analysis to areas that some are squeamish about approaching.

In addition to all this, it's worth noting that even if there's no legitimate difference between the moral value of mentally disabled humans and the moral value of nonhuman animals with similar levels of awareness et al., the perception that there is will cause complications nonetheless. Since people tend to value mentally disabled humans more than livestock, killing the mentally disabled as one would kill an animal would cause significantly more suffering because it would emotionally harm those who cared for the mentally disabled human killed more than they ever would a cow.

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Marko replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 3:39 AM

Leviathan:

In addition to all this, it's worth noting that even if there's no legitimate difference between the moral value of mentally disabled humans and the moral value of nonhuman animals with similar levels of awareness et al., the perception that there is will cause complications nonetheless. Since people tend to value mentally disabled humans more than livestock, killing the mentally disabled as one would kill an animal would cause significantly more suffering because it would emotionally harm those who cared for the mentally disabled human killed more than they ever would a cow.

So what? F**k them! Who cares about their "emotional harm"?

Who is really being squeamish here?

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Marko:

So what? F**k them! Who cares about their "emotional harm"?

Who is really being squeamish here?

Turn it down a notch, ok?

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nhaag replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 3:48 AM

Well, there is a difference, as can be seen by looking at the canibals in the south pacific, eating human beings might give you kuru, something I wouldn't like to have as a disease.

Now more serious.

The question what a human being is or is not, does not depend on some arbitrary definition of intelligence by some, proclaimed Expert. A human being is simply a human being because it is the offspring of two other human beings. Full stop.

If we agree that the best way to avoid conflict is the NAP (None aggression principle), than it follows, that you commit a criminal act if you initiate aggression against an human being. I would strongl consider slaughtering a human being for gourmet reasons as a breach of the NAP.

All the rest is an argument about faulty premises. Should group A outlaw yaddyyaddy.

Next, because animals are not human, hence a cow is not the offspring of 2 other human beings but of a bull and a cow, they are outside of the concept of the NAP, as the NAP is a concept that is invited by "humans" to help solve conflicts between "humans". So, no rights for animals at all.

Does that mean you can slaughter, torture and keep animals under brutal conditions? Well, that is up to you, as it is an ethical question. I wouldn't, because I belive that life is something to respect -not sure I would use this ethic in the jungle while all kinds of bugs try to enter my body through each possible orifice to make me their dinner, though.

Animals may have some way to solve conflicts between them, which in fact they have, but that is not our business but theirs.

It is sheer arrogance to claim animal rights. Has any urban do-gooder ever asked an animal if it wants to agree to it? Nature is not a nice Disney style environment for urban and sub urban humans to relax in. It is a brutal, unforgiving environment in which humans have been able to extend the borders where the real natur sets in, to a place too far away for most western humans to ever encounter. 

In the begining there was nothing, and it exploded.

Terry Pratchett (on the big bang theory)

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Leviathan replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 3:49 AM

Marko:
So what? F**k them! Who cares about their "emotional harm"?

Who is really being squeamish here?

Still you.

Emotional pain is quite a valid form of suffering. Is there a difference between physical and emotional pain? Both are caused by various chemical reactions in the brain.

The workmen desire to get as much, the master to give as little as possible...It is not difficult to foresee which of the two parties must force the other into a compliance with their terms. -Adam Smith

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Marko replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 3:53 AM

liberty student:

Turn it down a notch, ok?

Confused I used the censor stars.

 

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Marko replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 4:02 AM

Leviathan:

Marko:
So what? F**k them! Who cares about their "emotional harm"?

Who is really being squeamish here?

Still you.

Emotional pain is quite a valid form of suffering. Is there a difference between physical and emotional pain? Both are caused by various chemical reactions in the brain.

So? It is a valid form of suffering, thats great. Why should I care?

 

But let me try to guess. You need suffering to be the morality yardstick in order to justify depredations. Not having a car "causes" great suffering to a touchy-feely guy who doesn't have a car. So he has license to steal one from a guy who has ten cars and will barely notice one is missing. Am I right?

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Leviathan replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 4:04 AM

nhaag:
Well, there is a difference, as can be seen by looking at the canibals in the south pacific, eating human beings might give you kuru, something I wouldn't like to have as a disease.

Now more serious.

Glad you weren't serious, but in case there's anyone who wanted to pick up on that, consumption of various animals can cause illness or allergic reactions of various sorts, but that doesn't render consumption of them unethical.

nhaag:
The question what a human being is or is not, does not depend on some arbitrary definition of intelligence by some, proclaimed Expert. A human being is simply a human being because it is the offspring of two other human beings. Full stop.

This is still mere assertion. That humans are members of the species homo sapiens has been acknowledged; what has not been addressed is the relevance that their DNA has to their ability to suffer. Also problematic would be the "intelligent Martians" scenario. If there were aliens that possessed the same sapience capacities as humans (watch Avatar again and again and again), would that not be relevant, or would they simply be excluded from moral consideration by virtue of being non-human?

nhaag:
It is sheer arrogance to claim animal rights. Has any urban do-gooder ever asked an animal if it wants to agree to it? Nature is not a nice Disney style environment for urban and sub urban humans to relax in. It is a brutal, unforgiving environment in which humans have been able to extend the borders where the real natur sets in, to a place too far away for most western humans to ever encounter.
 

I hope you're not trying to make an ethical claim on that basis, as it would be a fairly straightforward naturalistic fallacy. The nature of the "animal rights" that most advocates seem to focus on are intended to increase "welfarist" rights that minimize animals' suffering rather than anything comparable to civil rights and liberties. This means that the ability to make informed and rational decisions and conceptualize any theory of "rights" is irrelevant to the manner of rights in question anyway. It is enough that they possess sufficient levels of sentience to suffer from certain actions. As I've tried to emphasize, human infants and the severely mentally disabled are acknowledged to possess "rights" in regard to their intuitive interests in the avoidance of suffering (primarily in the realm of physical pain), and since various nonhuman animals possess awareness and sentience levels that rival or exceed those of those groups, it is only arbitrary speciesism that excludes them from having rights.

 

The workmen desire to get as much, the master to give as little as possible...It is not difficult to foresee which of the two parties must force the other into a compliance with their terms. -Adam Smith

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Leviathan replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 4:06 AM

Marko:
So? It is a valid form of suffering, thats great. Why should I care?

As the prevention of suffering is an intuitive moral interest of all sentient beings, you see. Just sayin'.

Marko:
But let me try to guess. You need suffering to be the morality yardstick in order to justify depredations. Not having a car "causes" great suffering to a touchy-feely guy who doesn't have a car. So he has license to steal one from a guy who has ten cars and will barely notice one is missing. Am I right?

Is that touchy-feeliness? Or is that straightforward application of economic rationality? Not come across diminishing marginal utility before?

The workmen desire to get as much, the master to give as little as possible...It is not difficult to foresee which of the two parties must force the other into a compliance with their terms. -Adam Smith

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Marko replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 4:12 AM

Leviathan:

As I've tried to emphasize, human infants and the severely mentally disabled are acknowledged to possess "rights" in regard to their intuitive interests in the avoidance of suffering (primarily in the realm of physical pain), and since various nonhuman animals possess awareness and sentience levels that rival or exceed those of those groups, it is only arbitrary speciesism that excludes them from having rights.

The third time that you should mention this, without ever having replied to my post addressing this in the other topic.

Leviathan:

Marko:
But let me try to guess. You need suffering to be the morality yardstick in order to justify depredations. Not having a car "causes" great suffering to a touchy-feely guy who doesn't have a car. So he has license to steal one from a guy who has ten cars and will barely notice one is missing. Am I right?

Is that touchy-feeliness? Or is that straightforward application of economic rationality? Not come across diminishing marginal utility before?

Sure it is. Self-inflicted emotional suffering over nothing. No sympathy from me.

And in any case sympathy can not be ground for moral considerations.

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Leviathan replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 4:20 AM

Marko:
The third time that you should mention this, without ever having replied to my post addressing this in the other topic.

As far as I can tell, I replied to every single one of your posts on the topic once we were engaged in conversation. If this is not true, please point out the post that I did not respond to.

 

Marko:
Sure it is. Self-inflicted emotional suffering over nothing. No sympathy from me.

And in any case sympathy can not be ground for moral considerations.

This seems almost a reply to another post or a poorly translated comment from another language? Did you even read my response?

The workmen desire to get as much, the master to give as little as possible...It is not difficult to foresee which of the two parties must force the other into a compliance with their terms. -Adam Smith

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Leviathan replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 4:34 AM

Marko:
It is only speciesism and double standard it we were to claim that only those individual animals which have capacity to reason have rights. Instead I would say that if of a certain specie only a single individual animal would demonstrate the ability to reason that then we would concede that this specie is not an animal specie and that therefore all the members of this specie have certain rights not just this single creature.

Assignment of rights based on reasoning capacities regardless of species membership is the opposite of speciesism, not an example of it. Conversely, discrimination against a sentient creature that has the same capacities as a mentally disabled human merely because of its DNA is a straightforward example of speciesism.

The workmen desire to get as much, the master to give as little as possible...It is not difficult to foresee which of the two parties must force the other into a compliance with their terms. -Adam Smith

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Marko replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 4:52 AM

 

Leviathan:

Assignment of rights based on reasoning capacities regardless of species membership is the opposite of speciesism, not an example of it.

Didn't claim it was.

Leviathan:

Conversely, discrimination against a sentient creature that has the same capacities as a mentally disabled human merely because of its DNA is a straightforward example of speciesism.

It can be, but it does not have to be. I had provided an example where it is not. There is no speciesm where all species are treated under the same set of rules. In the case I offered; recognizing rights of all members of all species which produce at least one specimen that demonstrates the ability to reason. You have once more failed to address this.

 

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Guys, please stay on topic or start a new thread.  Since we have dozens of threads on animal rights, it might be wise to resuscitate one of the existing ones.

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Leviathan replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 5:09 AM

This thread addresses the issue of whether there are morally relevant differences between animals and mentally disabled humans. Reference to speciesism is entirely appropriate.

Marko:
It can be, but it does not have to be. I had provided an example where it is not. There is no speciesm where all species are treated under the same set of rules. In the case I offered; recognizing rights of all members of all species which produce at least one specimen that demonstrates the ability to reason. You have once more failed to address this.

Primarily because it has no application to the issues discussed at all. Animal rights in the context that they are advocated are primarily welfarist rights not dependent on the ability to reason, not that the production of a single species member with certain abilities would provide very insightful information as to the general nature of that species anyway.

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nhaag replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 5:13 AM

Leviathan:

nhaag:
The question what a human being is or is not, does not depend on some arbitrary definition of intelligence by some, proclaimed Expert. A human being is simply a human being because it is the offspring of two other human beings. Full stop.

This is still mere assertion. That humans are members of the species homo sapiens has been acknowledged; what has not been addressed is the relevance that their DNA has to their ability to suffer. Also problematic would be the "intelligent Martians" scenario. If there were aliens that possessed the same sapience capacities as humans (watch Avatar again and again and again), would that not be relevant, or would they simply be excluded from moral consideration by virtue of being non-human?

Well, sometimes mere assertions are the mere building blocks of rational reasoning,no?

The ability to suffer and the proclaimed relevance of DNA to that ability is a complete strawman. The Non-Aggression-Principle does not want to prevent suffering -though this might be an additional outcome of following it-, it is made to "prevent intrusion into property rights. That's all.

Seems you do not see the difference between moral and rights. Property rights, which means natural rights, have nothing to do with moral. If I "believe" it to be immoral to kill aliens, I won't kill them. If I "believe" that it is ok to do so, I will do it, if it serves my interest. This has nothing at all to do with the NAP.

Leviathan:
As I've tried to emphasize, human infants and the severely mentally disabled are acknowledged to possess "rights" in regard to their intuitive interests in the avoidance of suffering (primarily in the realm of physical pain), and since various nonhuman animals possess awareness and sentience levels that rival or exceed those of those groups, it is only arbitrary speciesism that excludes them from having rights.

Acknowledged by whom? Human infants and mentall disabled have exactly the same "rights" as any other human being. Rights are not granted but inherent. Who grants rights? The society? The state? The do-gooders united?

Infants, unborn, disabled are all a subset of human beings e.g. offspring of human beings. What follows is that they posses the right to not be aggressed against, as they are owners of their own property. Another question is to what extend those human beings are able to survive without external help. Yet, this question is outside of the frame of rights and inside the frame of ethics. If you do not help an infant by feeding, sheltering and clothing it, it might not be able to survive. Does it therefor have a right to be fed, sheltered and clothed by you? Or, more abstract, if the property of A is insufficient to have A survive, does that fact give A a right to get those properties A needs from B? Sure not. B has no obligation to give A anything. B might have a moral code which tells him to do so. Fine, I really appreciate such a moral code. But I deny any group to make such a moral code a punishable law.

The least common denominator in social life is to respect the property of a human being. Invasion into this realm gives the invaded a right to retribution. It doesn't give any freaking group any right at all, wich includes the right to punish. If A initiates aggression against B, C ...Z have no claim whatsoever into the matter at all. Only A has a claim against B, no one else, unless A makes someone else an agent to claim his justified rights. A is free to do whatever A wants to do in the matter. A can just ignore it or claim and enforce the retribution A thinks to be approriate. There is no need for any group to be involved.

 

In the begining there was nothing, and it exploded.

Terry Pratchett (on the big bang theory)

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Marko replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 5:26 AM

Leviathan:

Primarily because it has no application to the issues discussed at all. Animal rights in the context that they are advocated are primarily welfarist rights not dependent on the ability to reason, ...

Rights of retarded people are advocated as natural rights of human beings. If rights of retarded animals are not advocated as the same sort of rights that is concession enough that animals do not in fact have the same claim to rights the humans do, so any shouting about double standards is outrageous when the lesser value of animal life has been conceded already by the very people making the complaint.

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Leviathan replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 5:39 AM

nhaag:
Well, sometimes mere assertions are the mere building blocks of rational reasoning,no?

Rarely, thankfully enough.

nhaag:
The ability to suffer and the proclaimed relevance of DNA to that ability is a complete strawman. The Non-Aggression-Principle does not want to prevent suffering -though this might be an additional outcome of following it-, it is made to "prevent intrusion into property rights. That's all.

Then the NAP is not a sound ethical code if there's no consideration of suffering, as suffering as the sensation that all sentient creatures have a universal aversion to, and will intuitively seek to avoid. That said, it's the case that even the most rigid deontologists make an attempt to court utilitarianism. Ever read Walter Block's Radical Privatization and other Libertarian Conundrums? His flagpole sitter scenario acknowledges that it would impose more suffering on a flagpole sitter if he were forced to honor his neighbor's property rights and fall to his death than it would for the neighbor's property rights to be violated by his residence being entered by the sitter for the purpose of saving himself. He then wildly speculates that the flagpole sitter might be a dangerous robber and the apartment owner an elderly man, so protection of private property rights is generally sound according to utilitarian principles. That this is one of the most grotesquely fallacious assertions imaginable is beside the point; the point is that utilitarianism is an important ethical theory worthy of consideration due to intuitive universal aversion to suffering.

nhaag:
Seems you do not see the difference between moral and rights. Property rights, which means natural rights, have nothing to do with moral. If I "believe" it to be immoral to kill aliens, I won't kill them. If I "believe" that it is ok to do so, I will do it, if it serves my interest. This has nothing at all to do with the NAP.

Contrary to popular misconception, morality is not a matter of personal opinion. It's an integral code of conduct based on the determination of right and wrong, for which we have ethics.

nhaag:
Acknowledged by whom? Human infants and mentall disabled have exactly the same "rights" as any other human being. Rights are not granted but inherent. Who grants rights? The society? The state? The do-gooders united?

Who has "granted" the rights that you assert to be inherent? There's simply a terminology conflict; when I use the terms "granted" and "extended," I take it to mean that we have acknowledged the subject of our discussion to have rights.

nhaag:
Infants, unborn, disabled are all a subset of human beings e.g. offspring of human beings. What follows is that they posses the right to not be aggressed against, as they are owners of their own property.

No, since you've again begged the question in assuming that membership in the human species is a morally relevant distinction without presenting argument as to why that is.

nhaag:
Another question is to what extend those human beings are able to survive without external help. Yet, this question is outside of the frame of rights and inside the frame of ethics.

The frame of rights is itself within the frame of ethics, since deontology and consequentialism are the main philosophies concerned with rights, and they are within the realm of ethics. Every single comment you make about private property rights falls into the realm of applied ethics, in fact.

nhaag:
If you do not help an infant by feeding, sheltering and clothing it, it might not be able to survive. Does it therefor have a right to be fed, sheltered and clothed by you

I should say that the Rothbardian argument on this issue is flawed, as it first seemed to me not to acknowledge the fact that parents had a moral obligation to ensure the survival of an infant due to the fact that they caused its involuntarily chosen state of dependence. I believe I then realized that Rothbard himself was aware of this, but simply didn't come to a sound ethical conclusion because he had implicitly assumed (without argument) that rights were outside of the realm of ethical analysis, as his followers have.

nhaag:
Or, more abstract, if the property of A is insufficient to have A survive, does that fact give A a right to get those properties A needs from B? Sure not. B has no obligation to give A anything. B might have a moral code which tells him to do so. Fine, I really appreciate such a moral code. But I deny any group to make such a moral code a punishable law.

I should say that B has a moral obligation to give A something even aside from the issue of whether it should be a matter of law, particularly if the provision of necessary sustenance to A would not require the sacrifice of anything of comparable moral significance by B. Peter Singer uses an analogy involving a small child drowning in a shallow pond that would ruin one's pants if one were to step in to save her. The value of the pants is not of comparable moral significance compared to the value of a child's life, and it would therefore be immoral to not save the child. The issue of whether legal policy perceived as coercive should be employed if it were to fulfill utilitarian aims is a complex issue, though. For example, it seems that the benefits provided through mandatory blood donation would outweigh the suffering imposed on mandated donors, and would therefore not be immoral. A Rothbardian would certainly shriek about rights violations, but would not provide a sound argument for the purpose of rights that don't tend to produce outcomes that maximize happiness and minimize suffering.

nhaag:
The least common denominator in social life is to respect the property of a human being. Invasion into this realm gives the invaded a right to retribution.

Is that right? I was under the impression the right was one of defense. Consider the violent proletarian expropriation of productive resources that is to come a matter of retribution, then, since all property was at one time gained by force, coercion, or fraud, or purchased with assets gained through force, coercion, or fraud.

 

 

 

 

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Leviathan replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 5:44 AM

Marko:
Rights of retarded people are advocated as natural rights of human beings.

You've made that quite apparent. You've not, however, provided any arguments for why rights should be restricted or automatically granted to humans by virtue of their species membership, despite my repeated requests that you do so.

Marko:
If rights of retarded animals are not advocated as the same sort of rights that is concession enough that animals do not in fact have the same claim to rights the humans do, so any shouting about double standards is outrageous when the lesser value of animal life has been conceded already by the very people making the complaint.

"Retarded animals"? Animal rights are advocated on welfarist grounds, so as to reduce the amount of animal suffering that occurs. If "retarded animals" have the same capacity to suffer as normal animals, they're entitled to the same rights and protections.

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nhaag replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 7:15 AM

Leviathan:
Then the NAP is not a sound ethical code if there's no consideration of suffering, as suffering as the sensation that all sentient creatures have a universal aversion to, and will intuitively seek to avoid.

Well, at least one thing you got. The NAP is not an ethical code at all.

Leviathan:
Contrary to popular misconception, morality is not a matter of personal opinion. It's an integral code of conduct based on the determination of right and wrong, for which we have ethics.

I appreciate that the group you belong to and you call "We", has an "integral code of conduct based on ..."-whatever. I as an individual deny your "we" group the right to aggress against my property -which includes ownership of myself- .

Leviathan:

nhaag:
Infants, unborn, disabled are all a subset of human beings e.g. offspring of human beings. What follows is that they posses the right to not be aggressed against, as they are owners of their own property.

No, since you've again begged the question in assuming that membership in the human species is a morally relevant distinction without presenting argument as to why that is.

Once again, the NAP is based on natural rights, that is, the fact that humans are. No moral is involved her. Membership in the human species is like the membership of a gold atom in the population of gold atoms. What kind of morally distinction are ou talking about. A human being is a human being because it is the offspring of a human being. What part of that sentence don'T you understand?

 

Leviathan:
The frame of rights is itself within the frame of ethics, since deontology and consequentialism are the main philosophies concerned with rights, and they are within the realm of ethics. Every single comment you make about private property rights falls into the realm of applied ethics, in fact.

See, this is exactl what distinguishes collectivists from individualists. your Argument goes like that: "Since  A and B are main philosophies (I suppose the have been made "main" by some sort of group, like philosophers) and A and B, according to the groupthink are a subset of C therefore C is under the rule of A and B.

Well, we do not come to an agreement here. I do not bow my head before any group, so we just have to disagree. I can not see any argument for a group having a right that is not based on the natural right of an Individual. You certainly have a different opinion here, but, that does not change my view.

Leviathan:
I should say that B has a moral obligation to give A something even aside from the issue of whether it should be a matter of law, particularly if the provision of necessary sustenance to A would not require the sacrifice of anything of comparable moral significance

That's what divides us both. You believe that someone else owns me and therefor can claim part of my property. I call this theft, you call it moral obligation. And who is to decide, what is significant? The expert in moral significance? The group? You are still running in circles.

 

Leviathan:

nhaag:
The least common denominator in social life is to respect the property of a human being. Invasion into this realm gives the invaded a right to retribution.

Is that right? I was under the impression the right was one of defense. Consider the violent proletarian expropriation of productive resources that is to come a matter of retribution, then, since all property was at one time gained by force, coercion, or fraud, or purchased with assets gained through force, coercion, or fraud.

Well, I am not really a marxist, so the claim that all property was once gained through force, coercion or fraud is something I clearl deny.

The idea of property is that, because a human being owns itself, it owns whatever it rightfully (that is without violating the NAP) aquieres.

This is not acceptable for a collectivist, I agree, because this would destroy the very foundation on which collectivism is build "You are owned by the collective".

I think at this point in time the discussion should end, we both are not going to achive a common ground because you deny the basic freedom, the freedom to own oneself, to humans.

Have a great day

In the begining there was nothing, and it exploded.

Terry Pratchett (on the big bang theory)

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Leviathan replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 7:42 AM

nhaag:
Well, at least one thing you got. The NAP is not an ethical code at all.
Actually, it is. As mentioned, it falls into the realm of applied ethics, defined as "the philosophical examination, from a moral standpoint, of particular issues in private and public life that are matters of moral judgment." You seem to use terminology in a nature not consistent with its practical definition, to be honest.
nhaag:
I appreciate that the group you belong to and you call "We", has an "integral code of conduct based on ..."-whatever. I as an individual deny your "we" group the right to aggress against my property -which includes ownership of myself- .
My group isn't quite as exclusive as you seem to believe; it refers to those with an accurate understanding of philosophical terminology. Asserting that rights are not an issue of ethics seems to be a way to ignore loss in ethical debate by simply asserting that rights exist without providing actual argument as to their function and purpose.
nhaag:
Infants, unborn, disabled are all a subset of human beings e.g. offspring of human beings. What follows is that they posses the right to not be aggressed against, as they are owners of their own property.
I appreciate that your group possesses such a moral code about infants. However, I will not accept imposition of that moral code upon me, a free and private individual free to conduct his own affairs. Not any more arbitrary than your own declarations, in actuality. But more to the point, your assertion that beings possess certain rights by virtue of belonging to the species homo sapiens is just that; an assertion. Do you have any arguments to provide in support of it? On what basis do human infants possess greater rights than various nonhuman animals with greater levels of awareness and sensory capacities? Why does your observation about the incapacity of animals to conceive of moral codes not apply to human infants or the human mentally disabled?
nhaag:
Once again, the NAP is based on natural rights, that is, the fact that humans are. No moral is involved her. Membership in the human species is like the membership of a gold atom in the population of gold atoms. What kind of morally distinction are ou talking about. A human being is a human being because it is the offspring of a human being. What part of that sentence don'T you understand?
No sound analysis is involved here, you mean to say. Your assertions are a long string of question begging, known more formally as petitio principii fallacies. On what basis are humans entitled to a speciesist reception of rights that no other animals can gain?
nhaag:
See, this is exactl what distinguishes collectivists from individualists. your Argument goes like that: "Since A and B are main philosophies (I suppose the have been made "main" by some sort of group, like philosophers) and A and B, according to the groupthink are a subset of C therefore C is under the rule of A and B. Well, we do not come to an agreement here. I do not bow my head before any group, so we just have to disagree. I can not see any argument for a group having a right that is not based on the natural right of an Individual. You certainly have a different opinion here, but, that does not change my view.
What you refuse to bow your head to is the process of reason itself, instead repeatedly asserting that exclusive human rights exist without attempting to provide any sort of argumentative justification for that claim.
nhaag:
That's what divides us both. You believe that someone else owns me and therefor can claim part of my property. I call this theft, you call it moral obligation. And who is to decide, what is significant? The expert in moral significance? The group? You are still running in circles.
You're not a consistent deontologist since you don't oppose capitalism, which involves the effective ownership of workers' labor and theft of surplus value from workers by the financial class. But regardless, you stated that rights were separate from morality and ethics. Why do you then object to me claiming that certain acts that fulfill utilitarian aims are morally obligatory?And by what means can you deny that?
nhaag:
Well, I am not really a marxist, so the claim that all property was once gained through force, coercion or fraud is something I clearl deny.
Come now. Even Robert Nozick acknowledges this major problem. Presently existing inequalities were largely bred through a phase of primitive accumulation of capital in which authoritarian and coercive practices were committed; capitalism is the child of feudalism. Or do you think that blacks' history of enslavement has no relation to their present economic inferiority, for example?
nhaag:
The idea of property is that, because a human being owns itself, it owns whatever it rightfully (that is without violating the NAP) aquieres.
Yes, and private ownership of productive resources is essentially dictatorial in that it grants certain individuals the ability to compel others to perform degrading hierarchical labor for them. Are you a statist? Why do you support factory fascism and office oligarchy?
nhaag:
This is not acceptable for a collectivist, I agree, because this would destroy the very foundation on which collectivism is build "You are owned by the collective"
The division between "collectivism" and "individualism" is an artificial one, since collective aid can provide an individual with opportunities at capabilities enhancement that he or she would not have possessed otherwise. Collectivism is in fact reliant on individualism, since a collective is merely an aggregate of individuals and requires consensual participation from all to legitimately constitute that.
nhaag:
I think at this point in time the discussion should end, we both are not going to achive a common ground because you deny the basic freedom, the freedom to own oneself, to humans. Have a great day
On the contrary, my anarchist ideology is at odds with any such belief. That's the basis for my opposition to capitalism.

The workmen desire to get as much, the master to give as little as possible...It is not difficult to foresee which of the two parties must force the other into a compliance with their terms. -Adam Smith

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Conza88 replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 8:07 AM

CrazyCoot:
If a human being has the intellectual level of a cow, either due to perhaps severe mental retardation or being in a permanent vegetative state,  is there a difference between consuming him and consuming a cow? 

Yes. One has human rights, the other does not. When a person goes from conscious to unconscious / coma etc. when they cannot purposefully act, they are still a human, but are stunted / unrealized, be in temporarily or permanently.

"In answer we may point out that their [natural law] view identifies value not with existence but rather with the fulfillment of tendencies determined by the structure of the existent entity. Furthermore, it identifies evil not with non-existence but rather with a mode of existence in which natural tendencies are thwarted and deprived of realization.... The young plant whose leaves are withering for lack of light is not nonexistent. It exists, but in an unhealthy or privative mode. The lame man is not nonexistent. He exists, but with a natural power partially unrealized. ... This metaphysical objection is based upon the common assumption that existence is fully finished or complete. ... [But] what is good is the fulfillment of being."[30]

When that person cannot act for themselves, the fall back into "guardianship rights" or "trusteeship", i.e the role of parents towards their children, and for eg. the Terry Chivao case.

"Much as I hate to reject accolades from eminent journalists, the correct libertarian position on Terry Schiavo was to support her life (Block, Walter. Forthcoming. "Terri Schiavo: A Libertarian Analysis," Journal of Libertarian Studies) not her death. (I wonder if Mr. Kinsley’s unconcern with the life of this unfortunate woman has anything to do with his unconcern for highway fatalities.) Her husband was ruled to be her guardian. Well and good, as long as he kept "guarding" her life. But when he wished to do away with her, something akin to child abuse given that she was in a helpless vegetative state, this guardianship should have passed on to someone, her parents for example, who wanted to protect her, as a good guardian should."

This is all part of the difference.

CrazyCoot:
Does a lack of awareness, or a level of awareness equivalent to animals that are deemed to be acceptable to eat, mean a lack of rights?

No.

CrazyCoot:
Should a mother be allowed to sell her sufficiently developmentally disabled child, or a child in a PVS, off the the butcher to be turned into sausages?

No. That would be murder. She has no positive obligations to the child. She can abandon it, but she cannot not kill it "violate the guardianship".

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nhaag replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 8:09 AM

Ok, I shouldn't have let you off the hook by stating I would stop here. Some remarks I still have to make and I have to make sure that others reading this are able to have a look at what I said, by pointing them to the "discussion as a whole.

 

Leviathan:
My group isn't quite as exclusive as you seem to believe; it refers to those with an accurate understanding of philosophical terminology. Asserting that rights are not an issue of ethics seems to be a way to ignore loss in ethical debate by simply asserting that rights exist without providing actual argument as to their function and purpose.

From what I know, I never made an assessment about the exclusivity of your group. I just pointed out it is one. Basically you say, that unless a group hasn't decided that they found an actual function and purpose things do not exist? Take gravity? Was it non existent before Newton found out about it? I doubt it.

To me it is obvious that I own myself. The proof I am happy to accept is, that I am the only person in the whole world, that can make me raise my arm. Anyone else but me would have to threaten me to do so in the event I didn't to. Well, to me that shows, without the need to provide actual argument for function and purpose, the fact of selfownership.

Quite frankly the rest of your claims is too much for me to go through today. And as long as we can not even find a common place to go from, we won't have any useful discussion anyway. This is just playing with words and nominalisations.

Appreciate your effort though

 

 

In the begining there was nothing, and it exploded.

Terry Pratchett (on the big bang theory)

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G8R HED replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 8:20 AM

CrazyCoot:

If a human being has the intellectual level of a cow, either due to perhaps severe mental retardation or being in a permanent vegetative state,  is there a difference between consuming him and consuming a cow?  Does a lack of awareness, or a level of awareness equivalent to animals that are deemed to be acceptable to eat, mean a lack of rights?   Does an individual with the intellectual capabilities of animals we raise for food have the same rights as those animals?  Should a mother be allowed to sell her sufficiently developmentally disabled child, or a child in a PVS, off the the butcher to be turned into sausages?

 

Is the individual under consideration actually incapable of human intellect or simply incapable of demonstrating human intellect?....or maybe incapable of manifesting his own desire to demonstrate human intellect?  Even moreso, does the individual under consideration lack the potential to desire to demonstrate human intellect?

 

Who is to judge 'intellectial level' or the potential to achieve an 'intellectual level'?

At what 'intellectual level' is the human mind differentiated from animal mind?

How can you tell?

 

Ought it not be true to say that the best we can determine of a mentally deficient person is that they appear to be incapable of demonstrating human intellect?

 

"Oh, I wish I could pray the way this dog looks at the meat" - Martin Luther

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Leviathan replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 8:27 AM

Conza88:
Yes. One has human rights, the other does not.

Another example of the exact pattern witnessed; assertion without argument. What is the basis for all members of the human species' exclusive possession of rights that nonhuman animals do not possess even when the capacities of nonhuman animals exceed those of certain human species members?

nhaag:
From what I know, I never made an assessment about the exclusivity of your group. I just pointed out it is one. Basically you say, that unless a group hasn't decided that they found an actual function and purpose things do not exist? Take gravity? Was it non existent before Newton found out about it? I doubt it.

To me it is obvious that I own myself. The proof I am happy to accept is, that I am the only person in the whole world, that can make me raise my arm. Anyone else but me would have to threaten me to do so in the event I didn't to. Well, to me that shows, without the need to provide actual argument for function and purpose, the fact of selfownership.

Quite frankly the rest of your claims is too much for me to go through today. And as long as we can not even find a common place to go from, we won't have any useful discussion anyway. This is just playing with words and nominalisations.

Appreciate your effort though

Not a single argument to the relevant issues contained in this post. I'm still demanding to know the ethical justification for speciesism, and have not yet received a satisfactory response, mainly because several people here seem to think that question begging rights into existence and refusing to defend them logically is acceptable.

The workmen desire to get as much, the master to give as little as possible...It is not difficult to foresee which of the two parties must force the other into a compliance with their terms. -Adam Smith

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Conza88 replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 8:41 AM

Leviathan:
What is the basis for all members of the human species' exclusive possession of rights that nonhuman animals do not possess

"The first lecture, I want to talk about the nature of man. Comparing men with animals and illuminating the major differences, and characterizing what one can call the human condition, the condition that mankind finds itself confronted with."

"So with this, let me begin talk about the nature of man and the human condition. And speak in particular about three elements that are unique, so to speak, to mankind. One is language, the second one is property, and the third one is production or technology."

"Now, you realize then, when we begin all of this here, we are already talking. We are already using some of our capabilities, some of our skills and achievements, that are the result of human evolution. That is, the reconstruction that I will offer you of human history, makes already use of some of the tools that have only gradually evolved in the course of time. Actually, the origin of language is dated back roughly 200,000-250,000 years ago. All of these estimates are of course as you can imagine rather vague estimates. Nobody was around at that time and recorded exactly when they started talking. But these are the numbers that some geneticists and biologists and anthropologists give us for the beginning.

And you notice something else from the fact that we begin all this enterprise from talking to each other, that somehow humans are social animals. We are aware of the fact that there exists people who are interested in game theory, for instance, who seem to have problems sometimes explaining why do people cooperate at all and do not fight each other all the time. But the funny thing is, that this debate takes already place using language. Which in a way, from the outset explains that there must be something wrong with this idea that man was at some point deciding whether they should fight each other or whether they should not fight each other. Obviously, as soon as mankind began to talk with each other, they must have already recognized that there are certain advantages to doing this, and to be social in one's endeavor. And it is perfectly clear of course from the outset, what the great advantage of having a language available and communicating with other people is: we can convey knowledge to other people than would be possible if we simply had to just look what other people are doing and try to reconstruct so to speak the ideas that were behind what they were doing. Through language, we have the possibility of communicating directly what it was that led us to do this or led us to do something else.

Now, with language, two ideas so to speak emerge. I use here the ideas that were developed first by some Austrian psychologists, Carl Bruehler, who also had some influence on Karl Popper who uses some of his ideas. And Carl Bruehler makes the point that we can distinguish, when we look at language so to speak between four difference functions. Two of which we find already on the animal level, and two of which are unique to humans.

On the animal level we find use of symbols or sounds that express something. Like pain, for instance. That is an express function of language we can ascribe easily to animals and say in this sense they can express some internal feelings. They can do this.

On the other hand language has sometimes a signal function. That is we can produce sounds that indicate there is some danger coming, or warn people, warn other animals to run away. Both of these of course is also possible for humans to do. Language has an expressive function for us, and also has this signal function, to make other people aware of these.

What is not found in the animal kingdom is that language has a descriptive function. That is, language describes "this is such-and-such". And with a descriptive function of language, for the first time the idea of truth emerges. That is, for expressions and signals, whether it is true or not is not really an issue. But when we say "this is such-and-such", then it becomes possible to say "is that really the case?" So the idea of truth comes into being because language has a descriptive function.

And the most primitive descriptive propositions would be of the type "this is such-and-such". That is, having a proper name or an identifying expression, and then a general term characterizing a particular object as having general characteristics.

And the second unique human function of language is the argumentative function. That we have complex statements, connected by 'and' and 'or', several statements combined to each other, that we in Language has an expressive function for us, and also has this signal function, to make other people aware of these."

"And you realize that it is precisely this last function, this argumentative function, that we must also use as a tool if we now want to make a more precise distinction between the abilities of man on the one hand and the different abilities of animals. And I want to follow here a philosopher Brand Blanshard, who has pointed out some important differences between animals and humans.

And I want to begin with a little quote from Blanshard, in a book called Reason and Analysis, where he says this about animals, and then draws a conclusion that this is somehow still very different from what mankind can do. He says: What does it mean to have human reason or human rationality? And he answers: it cannot be consiousness. Of course because no one can sensibly doubt that animals feel fear and hunger and pleasure and pain. Animals can also make mistakes, which we recognize as when for instance a dog drops a bone for a more inviting bone that he sees in the water. And since only judgements can be mistaken, animals must be also in some way able to make judgements. That is, come to the conclusion that I made a wrong judgement. And since judgement is thought, we can also say that animals think. But they do obviously not think in the same way that humans do.

Now, what is the difference between our way of thinking and their way of thinking? Now let me emphasize four points in this connection, which partly overlap.

The first thing to be noted is that animal thought is always tied to perception. Whereas human thought can wander around, go back to eternity, wander to the future, can think about objects that are far away, can even think about objects that have never existed. Animals cannot think in this way. Whatever their thinking is it requires so to speak some present cue, some observation from which their thinking arises. We can imagine for instance that animals can also think to a certain extent about things that are absent. As if a dog sits in front of a house because the house knows that his master has gone into the house, and waits there patiently until the master comes back out. But even there you can see that it is tied to perception. If he had not seen his master go in there, he would not do what he does sitting there waiting, and in any case he cannot think of things far away, or impossible, or things in the far distant future. So that is the first thing: animal thought is tied to perception, and human thought is in this way freed up of perception.

[To Q:] Yeah.

[Q: Is it possible that my dog is not waiting for me when I come back?]

Yes, we would make distinctions of course also between more intelligent animals and less intelligent animals, right? So the cockroach that you might have brought with you while you were just going into the house, might well not be waiting. So here I am talking, so to speak, about the most developed of animals.

[Q: But how do you know this? Because they do not report back?]

What?

[Q: Because there's a language barrier, how do we know that they're not thinking about the stars or infinity. They don't report to us.]

That brings me exactly to the second point (laughter). You say, that's one other fundamental difference between humans and animals, that they cannot do this. So even if you think that they might think about this sort of stuff, they have no way of conveying this sort of information to us.

Or, you can say: animals can't abstract, in the way that humans can abstract. Certainly animals can see shapes, and colors, and they can perceive smells, and things like this. But it doesn't seem to be the case that they have a concept of shapes, or triangles or whatever, or a concept of green or blue or yellow. Or a concept of different types of smells. Again this is an aspect of what I just mentioned. It is just tied to specific events, but they cannot abstract from the specific event and build a general concept.

If they could, then we would expect them to, yeah, to form a word for these things. And it is not that animals are not capable of producing sounds. Many animals do have the equipment to produce sounds. So this does not explain why they don't have words. Obviously, despite the fact that they can form sounds, they cannot form what we refer to as words. Sounds to which we attach a certain abstract idea for which we find various instances in the real world.

The third thing that distinguishes mankind from animals are: that animals cannot make inferences explicitly. Again this has something intimately to do with the two points that I already made. Animals can of course make inferences, but these inferences are implicit. That is to say if you have a chicken and you give some food to the chicken that is too big, doesn't fit into its mouth or so, and it is desperate that it can't eat it, and then you throw another one of roughly the same size in front of it, then the chicken might refuse to even try to do the same with the second piece of material, because it recognizes that it didn't work with the first it's not going to likely work with the second. But again due to the lack of concepts, they cannot make explicit inferences. That is, infer from one concept to another, and thereby be able to say: why such-and-such caused such-and-such a problem, and why it would be in vain to try the same thing twice, that did not already work in the first case.

And the most important difference between animals and humans is the difference that animals do not have what we call self-consciousness. They do have consciousness but not self-consciousness, and what I mean by self-consciousness is: they cannot stand back, so to speak, and reflect about their own behavior. They cannot pause and criticize their own behavior, think about why their behavior was successful or unsuccessful. They do not have anything like norms or principles, against which they can judge their own behavior and criticise their own behavior."

"Let me on this point again quote Blanshard, on this most important of differences, that is the human ability of self-conscious reflection. There he says: finally human reason has added an extra dimension to the animal consciousness in the form of self-consciousness. An animal lacks the power which is the source in ourselves of so much achievement and so much rue, of standing off from itself and contemplating what it is doing. It eats, sleeps, and cavorts, but never pauses in the midst of a meal to take note that it is eating greedily. Never asks if it is not unseemly to sleep the hours away, (laughter) you see in some respects of course humans have not developed that far beyond animals (laughter). Apparently never reflects, as it leaps and runs, that it is a little off-form today. It makes mistakes, but having made one, it cannot sit down and consider what principle of right thinking is violated. Because it cannot contemplate its own behavior, it cannot criticise itself. Being below the level of self-criticism, it has no norms. And having no norms, it lacks one great obvious essential to the light of reason: that is, the power to be guided by principle.

And Blanshard then summarizes all of what I tried to convey up to this point by saying the following: when we say that man is a rational animal, then we seem to imply that he can command ideas independently of sense. Independently of perception. That he can abstract, that he can infer explicitly, and that he can sit in judgement of himself. The highest of animals can do none of these things. The stupidest of man, if not a pathological case, can to the light of reason: that is, the power to be guided by principle."

...

Or you can listen to the audio: Nature of Man and the Human Condition: Language, Property, and Production (Hoppe)

Leviathan:
even when the capacities of nonhuman animals exceed those of certain human species members?

Doesn't make them human and as such, doesn't change anything.

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Leviathan replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 8:49 AM

"Reiterate the basics"? It's first a matter of learning the basics yourself. Aside from the dubious veracity of some of the comments in that little excerpt (the communication of some primates through sign language indicates an ability for cogent description), none of that is relevant to suffering, which is intuitively avoided by all sentient creatures, whether human or nonhuman. The fact that infants and the mentally disabled do not possess the capacities of humans described in that piece but still possess the capacity to suffer should illustrate that even more effectively.

The workmen desire to get as much, the master to give as little as possible...It is not difficult to foresee which of the two parties must force the other into a compliance with their terms. -Adam Smith

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if a rational sentience lacked the central nervous response of pain, he would have rights, as pain has nothing to do with rights.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congenital_insensitivity_to_pain

Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid

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Conza88 replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 9:02 AM

Leviathan:

"Reiterate the basics"? It's first a matter of learning the basics yourself. Aside from the dubious veracity of some of the comments in that little excerpt (the communication of some primates through sign language indicates an ability for cogent description), none of that is relevant to suffering, which is intuitively avoided by all sentient creatures, whether human or nonhuman. The fact that infants and the mentally disabled do not possess the capacities of humans described in that piece but still possess the capacity to suffer should illustrate that even more effectively.

"But the fundamental flaw in the theory of animal rights is more basic and far-reaching.1 For the assertion of human rights is not properly a simple emotive one; individuals possess rights not because we “feel” that they should, but because of a rational inquiry into the nature of man and the universe. In short, man has rights because they are natural rights. They are grounded in the nature of man: the individual man’s capacity for conscious choice, the necessity for him to use his mind and energy to adopt goals and values, to find out about the world, to pursue his ends in order to survive and prosper, his capacity and need to communicate and interact with other human beings and to participate in the division of labor. In short, man is a rational and social animal. No other animals or beings possess this ability to reason, to make conscious choices, to transform their environment in order to prosper, or to collaborate consciously in society and the division of labor.

     Thus, while natural rights, as we have been emphasizing, are absolute, there is one sense in which they are relative: they are relative to the species man. A rights-ethic for mankind is precisely that: for all men, regardless of race, creed, color or sex, but for the species man alone. The Biblical story was insightful to the effect that man was “given” or,—in natural law, we may say “has”—dominion over all the species of the earth. Natural law is necessarily species-bound.

     That the concept of a species ethic is part of the nature of the world may be seen, moreover, by contemplating the activities of other species in nature. It is more than a jest to point out that animals, after all, don’t respect the “rights” of other animals; it is the condition of the world, and of all natural species, that they live by eating other species. Inter-species survival is a matter of tooth and claw. It would surely be absurd to say that the wolf is “evil” because he exists by devouring and “aggressing against” lambs, chickens, etc. The wolf is not an evil being who “aggresses against” other species; he is simply following the natural law of his own survival. Similarly for man. It is just as absurd to say that men “aggress against” cows and wolves as to say that wolves “aggress against” sheep. If, furthermore, a wolf attacks a man and the man kills him, it would be absurd to say either that the wolf was an “evil aggressor” or that the wolf was being “punished” for his “crime.” And yet such would be the implications of extending a natural-rights ethic to animals. Any concept of rights, of criminality, of aggression, can only apply to actions of one man or group of men against other human beings."

nirgrahamUK:

if a rational sentience lacked the central nervous response of pain, he would have rights, as pain has nothing to do with rights.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congenital_insensitivity_to_pain

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