Hi, i'm new here, but i was listening to one of the shows where the squad talked breifly about animal rights, and i was interested in what the general opinion here was on these sort of issues, whether they be vegetarianism, hunting or animal testing. I personally have been a vegetarian for many years, and am very pro-animal rights in general (though i suppose it's pretty debatable what the term 'animal rights' means). The reason i'd like to bring up this subject here, is that i think the notion of animal rights is very linked in with having a good understanding of evolution.
Anyway, please discuss.
I think I'll need such an explanation. I don't see how humans have intrinsic rights. I think properties humans posess allow us to grant one another rights in the form of contract and mutual understanding.
Right. These properties, intrinsic to the nature of humans, are the properties that give people intrinsic natural rights. Do people have a right to grant one another rights? If not, then no rights exist. If they do, then people have intrinsic rights. I don't see how you can avoid rights being intrinsic.
I don't think that humans possess rights by the mere fact that they are human - which is what intrinsic implies.
Not by the fact that they are human alone, but by a certain combination of the properties of humans which I provided and you didn't like.
A PERSON has rights, a human does not - at least not necessarily, and a PERSON only has rights based upon contracts and mutual understandings with those around him or her.
If we have established that a person has rights, and that a person is a different thing from a human, how can it be said that all people are necessarily humans?
And again, your "social contract" source of rights presupposes intrinsic rights.
To say a human has such intrinsic rights implies that they come from somewhere. Considering where we are talking, I think it safe to assume you don't things such riights come from divinity. So where, exactly, do they come from?
The nature of people and the world. If for no other reason, then because everything else is demonstrably contradictory.
No. I'm not sure you understand the term "intinsic". This implies that something by its very nature has some sort of property. IOW - humans, by the mere fact of being human, have rights - NOT SO. Look around you.
It should be clear to you, first and foremost, that there is a distinct difference between merely being human and being an actual person. A human is simply a member of the species homo sapien.
Humans do not, by the mere fact of being human, have rights, I agree with you here. I gave you the two critical factors - self-awareness and understanding and respect of ownership - as the things that distinguish a person from a nonperson.
While the default position of a human is having rights and being a person, they can very well act in ways that negate their personhood. Such a person, however, must necessarily be disreguarding the property rights of others to their lives, liberties, and property, and as such fail to fulfill the second condition I offered.
A PERSON is a human above such simple genetic or taxonomic classification. A PERSON is a human individual capable of understanding, possessing and reciprocating rights and duties.
Terry Schiavo before they pulled the plug was a human. You and I are PERSONS.
She was little more than meat. You and I are capable of possessing, understanding and reciprocating rights, contracts and privelidges.
I only disagree with your defining a person as necessarily a human in this definition. It seems arbitrary.
Terry Schaivo was not a person because she failed at least one of the tests I gave. She was not self-aware. And she could not have respected property rights if she had violated anyone's rights, for instance if the hospital she resided in no longer wanted her there, she could not have honored that wish and left. Although it's questionable whether or not the second factor played a part, the fact that she failed one disqualifies her as a person.
I am willing to hear you out, simply tell me why humans have intrinsic rights and tell me what they are. You'd probably best define what a human or person is as well.
I agree with your definitions of human and person, save your defining all persons as necessarily human. You seem to be defending the position that only humans are people by defining all people as humans, it seems like a circular argument to me, and if I have to use those definitions and those words, I couldn't possibly prove you wrong. But if you don't at least open up to the possibility of nonhumans being persons, I'll just use different words. So for convenience, please accept the definitions whereby human is not a necessary condition of a person.
Firstly I do recommend you read some material by Murray Rothbard, perhaps his "For A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto"?
Rothbard's proof of natural rights sets out from the axiom that people act, and they act because they want to act, that by acting they employ scarce means to fulfill desired ends, wants. The fulfillment of wants, or happiness, is good.
This is axiomatic because attempting to refute it involves acting, because you want to, utilizing scarce time, energy, and effort, to fulfill the end of communicating with me, as a means to happiness for yourself. And attepting to refute it while doing it is kinda contradictory.
Because finding good (happiness) requires action, it follows that actions which serve these wants are good.
Since some actions are good and some are not, there's got to be a way to tell the good ones from the bad ones. Beggining with Crusoe Ethics, where there's only one person in the world and they can't possibly harm the lives of anybody else, we can basically assume that anything they do will be done because they want to do it. All action will support the life and happiness of that one person. Everything is good. Bad actions are impossible.
If there are more people than that, one person can interfere with the happiness of others, by depriving others of the means to those ends that they value. In order to avoid conflicts between these competing values, ends, which people seek to fulfill, it is necessary to decide, between people, how these scarce means will be allocated, or more accurately, how it will be decided how these will be allocated. Ownership is rightful decisionmaking power.
There are three possible ethics that will allow for this necessary decisionmaking, avoiding conflicts of interest.
1. Private ownership. A owns A, B owns B. An individual has absolute irresponsible dominion over certain objects. Nobody else can tell him what to do with it (this would be a conflict between competing interests).
2. Feudalism/Slavery. A owns A, A owns B. This ethic fails the test of universality. Rules which apply to A do not also apply to B. The criteria by which it is determined that A owns B but B does not own A are inherently arbitrary. This ethic is contradictory and therfore invalid.
3. Collective ownership. A+B own A+B. Everybody owns an equal quotal share of everything else (including each other. To not include each other is to assume private property in individuals while holding that private property is illegitemate, which is a contradictory blend). This passes the universality test which (2) fails miserably. However it brings up a different problem. If everybody has rightful control of everybody, and anybody attempts to communicate to anybody else, they are making use of a scarce resource, their vocal cords, without the consent of everybody. This creates a circular dependancy. Getting consent requires action. Action requires getting consent. Since neither can be presupposed without assuming private ownership, you can't end up with either.
Thus, private ownership is the only logical ethic of ownership.
Private ownership assumes the private right of individuals to decide how to act, thus liberty is a right. Liberty requires that one have a right to one's own body in order for one to be able to act. Thus, one has a property right to the object of one's own body. As owner of one's own body, it follows that the works and products of that body belong to the owner of the body which created it. It belonging to anybody else would be baseless, and it must either belong to one person according to the private property ethic demonstrated above, or belong to no person, in which case nobody has any rightful decisionmaking power over such an object. Because acquisition of rightful decisionmaking power over other objects (scarce means) is necessary for the fulfillment of needs (ends served by those scarce means), the aquisition of rightful decisionmaking power aka ownership of an object is right.
This establishes the rights of life, liberty, and property as intrinsic.
I think it would be great if we had intrinsic rights or ordained rights, but I simply do not see how this is the case. Would not such a thing be absolute? Would it not be universally understood?
It would be absolute pursuant to it's own implications. Universally understood, unfortunately not, however luckily it is easily intuited by most people.
OK, now I'm not sure where the disagreement lies. I'm hoping it is a semantic misunderstanding. Let me know.
Whether rights are intrinsic or not, and what determines whether or not a certain being has rights, and whether or not nonhumans can be persons.
OK, no, we were getting along so well there and now we're back at square one. Rights require the ability to reciprocate, you said so yourself and agreed on that point above. I know of NO animal capable of such, except in insignificant capacities. And again, whatever rights would be involved would be limited to the degree of understanding and reciprocation.
The question isn't yet "which nonhumans have rights" or even "whether nonhumans can have rights", but "what determines rights?" Once we answer the other questions I'll see how strong a case I can make for any species having rights, but we have to know what exactly we're looking for first.
So far as I can tell the ability to reciporicate requires (among other things, but to list specifically those which most animals do not posess) recognition of self and recognition of others. Self awareness and ability to respect the rights of others. The same two conditions I keep giving.
I understand why you do it. I simply think it misquided. Say a police dog sacrifices itself for her handler. We must understand that "sacrifice" is the WRONG word here.
The dog did not understand it would cease to exist upon the act. The dog did what it was trained to do. It sacrificed itself, because it got food rewards for exhibiting such behaviour in training. Not out of a sense of obligation. Not out of a sense of duty. It may as well have been a robot programed to do such in order to get charged up again.
And if the dog actually DID have rights, how could we ever justify putting it in harms way like that? The dog is an animal. Has no rights, as it is incapable of understanding the situation or the parameters involved.
Agreed. The dog is basically a bio-robot. It doesn't understand that people have rights, does not recognize itself as a person, and is probably not self-aware. The dog doesn't meet either of the conditions I have put forward.
I think I've been fairly clear. We're talking apples and oranges.
It seems to me that you define all non-macintoshes as oranges by defining all non-humans as animals without rights, but that's just how I see it. They way you are defining things seems constructed to make it difficult for me to make my point.
I agree. If Shamu has rights, Shamu IS a slave. As are all police dogs, guard dogs, helper monkies, most pets, etc. Do you honestly think such is the case?
But Shamu does NOT have rights. Shamu is a fishy mammal in a tank.
I answered the question later. Let's leave the question of whether or not Shamu has rights until after we can agree on where rights come from and what conditions need to be met to determine whether or not something has rights.
And I assume no such thing. Why should I?
Because your request (get me a spot on Shamu's schedule) assumes that Shamu has rights. If you assume in your question that Shamu has rights and then answer assuming Shamu does not have rights, I can't very well give a satisfactory answer can I?
There is a distinct difference here. Whales, while intelligent for animals, are not human and have NEVER demostrated the same sential capacities as humans. When they do, IF they do, I'm happy to reconsider my position.
They have never to your knowledge demonstrated those abilities. The question is, if I could show you contrary evidence, would you accept it? Since I believe you would you don't really have to respond to this paragraph.
1. Humans are animals.
2. Humans have rights.
3. Therefore some animals have rights.
You know this is garbage logic, especially when I contest the second premise as you've presented it.
This is a composition fallacy.
You may as well have said:
1)Humans are made of cells
2)Cells are invisible to the naked eye
3)Some humans are invisible.
Let me elaborate:
1. Humans have rights.
2. Humans = a subset of Animals
3. Therefore a subset of animals has rights.
4. (3) would be impossible if animals could not have rights.
5. Therefore animals can have rights.
I simply deny any animal other than a human has such an ability in anything other than a trivial capacity. Show me that I'm wrong on such an assessment and I'll gladly change my mind.
At the moment I'm just trying to get you to admit that it is possible that any animal other than a human can have such an ability. If this is such a statement, then I can move on to proving specifics.
No shit. But again you are equivovating.
You are making arbitrary exceptions.
Oh, no, I'm being anything but arbitrary. Like I said, there are certain humans that do not have the rights you and I may enjoy. This is a direct result of their inability to understand and reciprocate such rights as you and I may enjoy.
This does not answer the originally quoted text, I accused you of excepting humans from your definition of animal. If you are not doing that, please say so. If you are doing that and you do not believe you are being arbitrary in doing so, your subsequent statements don't support your first one.
Rights entail the ABILITY to UNDERSTAND them and the CAPACITY to RECIPROCATE them. If one cannot do that, they cannot have said right.
Thank you for merely restating one of my two necessary preconditions for having rights, that one is able to understand and respect rights. I take it I will not have to demonstrate in the future that the second requirement is indeed required?
Animals can have rights, after they've satisfied the necessary criteria - understanding and reciprocation. Let me know when they can do that. They would also have to be subject to the same reprecussions you and I have.
Understanding and reciporication? Well the second prerequisite I've given is a way of saying you need understanding. The first rerequisite taken with the second implies reciporication.
If a monkey in the park takes my lunch, that monkey is getting prosecuted for theft.
Any such organism, human or otherwise, would not have the rights you and I do. Likely they'd have no rights at all.
You quoted a rather large portion, so I'll assume you were referring to the later statements made in it about a creature which doesn't have rights. In which case you restated what I said and we're in agreement.