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DA

 

Overall, looking at the advantages versus disadvantages I think it is clear that a human SELFISHLY gains more by forming a society excluding animals.

 

Disadvantages: loss of  meat, fur, leather, glue, other products, biological research, medicine, pharma, the list goes on and on.

 

Please list the advantages which would outweigh and thus persuade me to SELFISHLY grant rights to animals. 

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Here I can only suggest that an "intellectual" argument against animal rights, forwarded on the presumption that animals aren't "intellectual", appears more biased than factual.  How do we know animals don't understand a right to life depends on correct and proper behavior, when their actual behavior suggests otherwise?  It seems to argue an understanding of vocabulary over observable practice.

 

Edit: Please refer back to my post #20, for what I consider to be an adequate rebuttal of the, "animals aren't smart enough" argument.

The domestication of animals, for example, only works to the degree that animals cooperate.  There has to be some level of trust involved, or what you refer to as, quid pro quo, i.e., milk for food, security for shelter, or companionship.

 

It's worth the bother to respect an animal's right to life, because whether or not you do, the animal certainly does and will respond to aggression in kind.

All the animal understands is "get food." It's nothing close to human relations with each other.

This behavior posits a rudimentary undestanding of language in terms of the association of a word to an object.

 

You have correctly identified aggression as a key element in the discussion of rights.  However humans form governments for essentially the same reason various kinds of animals cluster together; security.  To argue that humans have a better (or unique) reason to secure rights for their own kind is simply an assertion of bias, and again not a unique one in terms of demonstrating a preference for the security of ones own kind.

 

The following provides some unique examples of human cognition upon which one might build a case for having an exclusive source of rights:

It's not "bias," unless basic observation of animal behavior, over a long period if time, counts as "bias."

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The practice of domestication already provides many object lessons in swapping goods for services, where having a mutual respect for animal life actually enhances the benefit to both parties.  And I've already included this in a prior comment to you... post #26

 

 

Having a right to life doesn't entitle a murder to murder... we already agree to this.  Your comments have to do with how to deal with transgressions against a right to life; which we can't even begin to approach until some common frame of reference is established.

--

Edit:  I'll return later to respond to any serious discussion of why animals don't have a similar right to life, according to their particular abilities and behavior, that humans entitle themselves to.  For now I'm going to bypass the bench and head straight to the showers...  I feel a need to get clean...

If you live on deserted island alone, the question of rights doesn't even exist. This is a need of protection of your life and property from initiation of force against you brings up the whole concept of rights. But animals live by force. Therefore the whole concept is inapplicable to them. In regard to the treatment of animals one should talk not about rights but  compassion.

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DA

 

Overall, looking at the advantages versus disadvantages I think it is clear that a human SELFISHLY gains more by forming a society excluding animals.

 

Disadvantages: loss of  meat, fur, leather, glue, other products, biological research, medicine, pharma, the list goes on and on.

 

Please list the advantages which would outweigh and thus persuade me to SELFISHLY grant rights to animals. 

 

Very well StrictlyLogical, you've persuaded me that only humans have an ethical right to life.  As there's no advantage to interacting with non-humans, I choose to exterminate all other life forms on this planet, reducing your food supply to water and dirt.  No fair adding humans to the menu; their lives remain exclusively secure.  Are we good??

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All the animal understands is "get food." It's nothing close to human relations with each other.

...

 

Seriously?  Even that is one step ahead of marginal humans.  Does a human right to life then exclude health care for dependants because they either don't understand "intelligent" realtions with each other, or cannot sustain themselves by their own efforts?  Or are they simply reduced to the property of others??

 

...

It's not "bias," unless basic observation of animal behavior, over a long period if time, counts as "bias."

 

Accurate basic observation of animal behavior, over a long period if time, counts as "knowledge".  To discount similar behavior between animals and humans in order to assert an exclusive human right to life is bias.

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Accurate basic observation of animal behavior, over a long period if time, counts as "knowledge". To discount similar behavior between animals and humans in order to assert an exclusive human right to life is bias.

As has been pointed out repeatedly, including my reply you just read, animals can't recognize themselves in any conceptual way, can't recognize property much less *my* property, can't live and interact with humans like we do with each other. You say, "Animals run from you" as a retort. But of course, that isn't a retort because it doesn't explain how animals understand what that means as well as humans do, enough to contract and respect each other's property. Every time someone points out how an animal can't live by rights, you respond with some nonessential fact about animals that doesn't explain how they're able to understand and respect rights.

Like Strictly Logical said, you *seem* to be starting with life as an absolute for all humans to respect, always, no matter what. But that doesn't make sense, neither in the context of the universe as a whole nor in human rational, self-interested ethics.

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As has been pointed out repeatedly, including my reply you just read, animals can't recognize themselves in any conceptual way, can't recognize property much less *my* property, can't live and interact with humans like we do with each other. You say, "Animals run from you" as a retort. But of course, that isn't a retort because it doesn't explain how animals understand what that means as well as humans do, enough to contract and respect each other's property. Every time someone points out how an animal can't live by rights, you respond with some nonessential fact about animals that doesn't explain how they're able to understand and respect rights.

Like Strictly Logical said, you *seem* to be starting with life as an absolute for all humans to respect, always, no matter what. But that doesn't make sense, neither in the context of the universe as a whole nor in human rational, self-interested ethics.

 

"The mirror test is an experiment developed in 1970 by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr. to determine whether an animal possesses the ability to recognize itself in a mirror. It is used as an indicator of self-awareness in non-human animals, marking entrance to the mirror stage by human children in development psychology."

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

 

I suppose you'll dismiss the mirror test as irrelavent as well, but to respond to your 2nd point, there's no such thing as absolute life, therefore no ethical penalty for choosing not to live.  Look, I'll take a break and review (again) everthing up to this point to see if there's something more fundamental I'm not seeing in this repeated assertion that animals aren't human enough to qualify for an ethical right to life....

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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In your review, note the explanation of rights, the link to human self-interest, and the point that animals can't respect rights.

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In your review, note the explanation of rights, the link to human self-interest, and the point that animals can't respect rights.

 

It may be useful at this point to clearly differentiate ethics from politics in terms of rights.  My understanding is that ethical rights observe actions that are correct and proper to being, whereas political rights secure interactions between beings.  For example one might say, "It is right (ethical) for humans to act with rational self-interest", or "Humans have the right (political) to participate in capitalism."  Justice is validated when politics secure ethics, and corrupted when it does not.  Objections?

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DA

 

You seem to be invoking something mystical or intrinsic when you invoke the idea of "ethical" rights, i.e. "correct and proper".  If so you would be speaking past Objectivists when speaking of rights.

 

If however the standard of "correct and proper" is based in reality and specifically the selfish interest of a self-sovereign individual (read Objectivist morality) in a social context then you would be correct.  An arbitrary set of rights set up by an immoral government are corrupt.

 

 

As for your comment above in response to my post, I seem to have touched a nerve (if I may be bold) when resorting to facts of reality and the selfish interest of the individual.  I would have assumed you had no misunderstanding as to what Objectivist morality, ethics, and politics is based on.  As such a repudiation of any form of altruism or mysticism and embracing selfishness should not have touched any nerve. I am somewhat at a loss. 

 

Specifically your comments regarding reducing animals to water and dirt makes no sense.  If wood is a resource we can use for building and heating, it does not follow that simply because trees have no rights Objectivism would prescribe destroying the resource so as to make it unusable.  this would not be in the selfish interest of the individuals who own or would used the resource.  With animals as well, because of their value as meat, clothing, research, large markets which deal with cultivation of animals to maximise their uses would be in the interests of individuals.

 

Fairness in this context is a stolen concept.  No one is distributing anything to a the masses as a parent does to children or God does to his people.  Individuals come together to form a society and they bring conditions, expectations, etc.  The society which benefits each individual maximally is of a certain form and when individuals comprehend what it is, and form it, it serves its purpose.  The concept of "Fairness" of that society to animals, plants, rocks, or any other non member of society is literally meaningless.

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@ StrictlyLogical,

 

By common definition, the word right means: 1) morally good, justified, or acceptable, and 2) true or correct as a fact.  Certainly Objectivism recognizes and accepts this definition?  By extension, a legal right means a claim recognized and delimited by law for the purpose of securing it.  This is my understanding of, and intent in using this word.  Am I at odds with Objectivism on this point?

 

And yes, my response to your earlier post was sarcastic; mea culpa.  I've been frustrated by what I see as repeated efforts to exclude non-humans from ethical consideration on the basis of being, well, not human.  The bur under my saddle is the notion that ethical consideration depends on Mr. Ed taking Wilbur to court.  After re-reading your comment, I think you were actually looking inside a door I had opened, and one I'd like to return to later on.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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@ StrictlyLogical,

 

By common definition, the word right means: 1) morally good, justified, or acceptable, and 2) true or correct as a fact.  Certainly Objectivism recognizes and accepts this definition?

Certainly not.

 

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/individual_rights.html

A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)

The concept of a “right” pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men.

 

 

Rights pertain to "rational beings." (if you prefer that phrase to "humans")

Edited by freestyle

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By common definition, the word right means: 1) morally good, justified, or acceptable, and 2) true or correct as a fact.  Certainly Objectivism recognizes and accepts this definition?

Sure, it's just English after all. The same term is used for multiple concepts.

The road on the right is the right road to take and i have the right to take it.

 

i.e. The road on the "RHS" is the "correct" road to take and I have the "legal authority" to take it.

 

But, when one speaks on animal rights, one is speaking of the last. It is not right to beat this dog -- indeed it is evil -- but you have the right to do so.

Edited by softwareNerd

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If I may observe: one must be careful in asserting too much of a dichotomy between "morality" and "correctness".  Objective morality depends upon correctness and is based on reality and the consequences of actions to the proper beneficiary, the individual who uses morality to guide his action. 

 

Of course morality and correctness are not one in the same, not all statements which may be correct or not are also moral statements.

 

On the other hand, "right" and "wrong" in the mind of an intrinsicist, rationalist, or mystic (indeed almost all of us before we became Objectivist) are absolutes divorced completely from reality and are truly floating abstractions.  These are the kinds of things that are "just right", or "just wrong", ... why?  "Just because".  They are written in the mind of God, in the stars or in our consciences (and recall Kant says we make reality what it is), or are in a realm of perfect forms.  These rights and wrongs do not exist according to Objectivism, and are mere fancies and emotions.

 

As such to answer DA, 1) morality is not additional to 2) correctness, it is a specific form of correctness. 

 

What should I do in the context of all of reality which benefits myself selfishly over the long term?  There is definitely a correctness aspect to this and this is where principles of morality and all of Objectivist ethics originates.  the complicated part is discovering what principles to adopt based on reality and the nature of man etc. such that, the individual can choose them (and the actions they are equivalent with) with life as the standard.

 

Mystical or intrinsic "right" and "wrong" divorced from reality exist only as fictions of the mind.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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 It is not right to beat this dog -- indeed it is evil -- but you have the right to do so.

 

You are suggesting that one has a right to beat a dog?   I don't believe that is a corollary to one's right to life.   I cannot think of a rational argument which would support that as a right.

 

This is not the same as saying the animal has a right not to be beaten.  

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Sure, it's just English after all. The same term is used for multiple concepts.

The road on the right is the right road to take and i have the right to take it.

 

i.e. The road on the "RHS" is the "correct" road to take and I have the "legal authority" to take it.

 

But, when one speaks on animal rights, one is speaking of the last. It is not right to beat this dog -- indeed it is evil -- but you have the right to do so.

 

Thank you, that at least establishes a common language to further this discussion.  I'll be back later to present what I hope will be a clearer ethical argument for animal rights...

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You are suggesting that one has a right to beat a dog?  

Unless it is someone else's dog, yes. 

 

You don't need a rational argument to have a legal right; you need one in order for it to be right (i.e. correct/moral). For instance, you have a right to kill or maim yourself, to burn all your possessions, and to do all sorts of things that you will almost certainly regret. As long as you're not messing with other people and their rights, you can do whatever irrational thing you want.

 

Since rights are like borders, protecting us from other people, it is important to stress that we have the right to do all sorts of irrational things. Ask a priest if someone should have the right to pray or if an unmarried hetro couple who love each other deeply have the right to be married in his church if they are adherents of his religion.  He's sure to agree. But, if you want to test if he truly supports rights, ask him if people have the right to blaspheme, or if any adults may marry regardless of their sexual orientation and religion.

Edited by softwareNerd

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Unless it is someone else's dog, yes. 

 

You don't need a rational argument to have a legal right; you need one in order for it to be right (i.e. correct/moral). For instance, you have a right to kill or maim yourself, to burn all your possessions, and to do all sorts of things that you will almost certainly regret. As long as you're not messing with other people and their rights, you can do whatever irrational thing you want.

 

Would you say that one has a moral right to torture an animal?   Such as a moral right to your own life?

Edited by freestyle

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Would you say that one has a moral right to torture an animal?   Such as a moral right to your own life?

Depends what you mean by a "moral right"? I don't use the term. How would you describe it.

 

Rights say that a man has freedom to do a whole range of unspecified actions... and that other men should not stop him. He has the right to do all immoral acts that do not infringe on someone else's rights. So, he has the right to torture an animal -- not owned by someone else -- even if doing so is depraved. The action may be immoral, but the right is just a right.

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I would like to point out that this topic was posted (intentionally?) under Ethics and not under Political Philosophy-Law.  The distinction I'm trying to make here is that an animal's ethical right has more to do with recognition than security.  For example, I interpret the following statement:

 

... It is not right to beat this dog -- indeed it is evil -- but you have the right to do so.

 

... to mean: It is not morally good, justified, or acceptable to beat a dog -- indeed it is evil -- even if you have a legal right (as property) to do so.  Again, this is my interpretation, and not intended to change the meaning of what softwareNerd said.  I can observe law, especially a bad one, and distinguish it from what is ethically correct.

 

It's the observation of this kind of disparity between an ethical right and a legal right that's essential to reversing a legal wrong, e.g., slavery.  Have I strayed too far from an Objectivist view at this point?

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When a cat or a dog does a correct/right action or an incorrect/wrong action - the code of values it is being evaluated by... is the human ethic.

 

It's not "bad dog", except that the action the dog took was the wrong action per the human point of view. Yes the dog can be trained to act in certain ways, and eventually may associate the sounds of good dog/bad dog - but the dog merely acts in accordance with it's nature (including its ability to be trained.) The ethical action you appear to be judging is that of the human. How does the human treat the animal. At this point, it is the human ethic in question, not the 'ethical rights' of another species.

Edited by dream_weaver

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DA

 

No response?

 

 

 

Others:

 

As for "rights" correct me if I am wrong but according to Objectivism, there would be no dichotomy between "ethical" and "legal" rights in an Objectivist society with Objectivist laws.  If, according to Objectivist ethics an individual is permitted a particular action it is both his ethical and legal right to do so and it is no one else's right to prevent him from that action or to interfere with that action... am I right?  This is the point of rights according to Objectivism... freedom from interference. 

 

As such the ethical and the legal are one and the same in a proper, moral (read ethically correct legally structured society) society.  In a tyrannical society (read, one which interferes with selfish rational free men) the laws themselves and hence the supposed "legal rights" are unethical. 

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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... there would be no dichotomy between "ethical" and "legal" rights in an Objectivist society with Objectivist laws.  If, according to Objectivist ethics an individual is permitted a particular action it is both his ethical and legal right to do so and it is no one else's right ...

Sure, but using "ethical" here is really saying that it is ethical for other people to let the person do whatever it is. Nevertheless, the person might be doing something un-ethical. So, the right itself is ethical (i.e. allowing him to have the right is moral), even if the act itself is not. In other words, it is morally correct to allow someone to do all sorts of immoral things.

Edited by softwareNerd

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But we must be careful when we use words like "moral"  and "immoral" , ethical and unethical when judging acts of other individuals.  these terms have been used by intrinsicists mystics and rationalists in a manner which does not take into account context, nor the fact that the proper beneficiary of morality is only ever the individual.  We don't want to confuse correct moral judgement which examines what WOULD be in the selfinterest of the actor in their context (i.e what would be moral for them to do) with the kind of morality which imposes some cosmic absolute against their self-interest.  But technically I agree with what you said... when interpreted correctly (according to the Objectivist perspective) 

 

Clearly it is only unethical or immoral  for a man to act against his own rational self-interest using his life as the standard (over the long term).  In the context of a proper society this necessitates his recognizing other individuals of that society have rights which he must not interfere with.  Is there anything else (basically) to say about the "ethical", the "moral", or what "rights" are according to Objectivism?

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But we must be careful when we use words like "moral"  and "immoral" , ethical and unethical when judging acts of other individuals.  these terms have been used by intrinsicists mystics and rationalists in a manner which does not take into account context, ...

Rights are what stops us from imposing our moral judgement -- Objectivist, Christian or any other -- upon another person. If we agree on rights, we are agreeing that the things that a man has a right to do are things he may do even if they are immoral by our reckoning. In that sense, rights act as a barrier to prevent me imposing my morality upon someone else.

So, to tie it back to the topic, someone has the right to torture his animal or to kiss his boyfriend, and he has an equal right to both those acts, regardless of my judgement or anyone else's judgement about either.

"I may be right, I may be wrong... but I got a right to sing this song. .... You've got a right to be wrong." - Pete Seeger, folk singer who died recently, singing his anti Vietnam-war ballad. Wrong on the whole, but right on this sentence, and with the right to be wrong.

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