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Veganism under Objectivism

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15 hours ago, human_murda said:

And need is a sanction to violate others' rights?

Need, as in a requirement of their nature. Those kind of needs are a foundation to rights. That is, we need to use our minds to exist, that's part of our nature. But this is why VO's position doesn't make much sense. If we only base rights on the requirements of survival (rather than also particular kinds of abilities or capacities), we'd end up with contradictions. There would be rights that humans have, rights that lions have, rights that bees have, rights that lizards have, etc. When rights are defined in this way, rights of lions and rights of humans come into direct conflict.

If all these animals did have rights, you would need to demonstrate something they all have in common. VO claimed sentience. Except, it doesn't help to explain why lions should be allowed to eat meat (to even eat humans), but humans shouldn't. If a radioactive lion bit you and you became Lionman, your need to eat meat to survive at all seem to suggest that it would be fine to murder people once in a while. Or if as Lionman you should only eat antelopes, I would just wonder why humans have a superior moral status compared to antelopes. 

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8 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Need, as in a requirement of their nature. Those kind of needs are a foundation to rights.

 

How are these kinds of needs a "foundation to rights"? A thief needs to steal. That is what his nature (as a thief) requires. Otherwise, he wouldn't be a thief. Do you think a thief violates the law of identity?

 

The reason a thief is different is because he/she has a choice. The concept of (violation of) rights applies explicitly because he has a choice.

 

Also, saying that humans have rights because we possess the capacity to reason skips a lot of steps in logic. Rights are a moral sanction (not governmental sanction) to dispose of your own life as you please. Only actions that are based on abstract moral principles can be sanctioned be morality (abstract principles) and be a basis for rights. You need to have the capacity of reason to follow abstract principles. Animals cannot base their actions on an abstract moral code, their actions cannot be given moral sanction/validation and have no rights.

 

( A government only enforces rights. Neither a government nor a physical human faculty, by itself, can sanction rights. Rights are a moral sanction. Humans have rights because of moral reasons, not because "that's our nature". The former depends on the latter, but the latter does not fully justify the former)

 

A right in general means moral sanction: suppose you say "I have a right to make my voice heard". It means that morality sanctions your actions/ attempts to make your voice heard.

 

Even VO proved my point in the first post itself:

On 3/11/2018 at 1:57 AM, ⓋObjectivist said:

But for example lions do. I have been pondering this issue for a long time and have come to the conclusion that it is neither moral nor immoral. See when we are attacking this question we can't apply a lot of the same reasoning we use on humans because humans unlike some animals have no need to kill.

Actions of animals are amoral and they don't have rights.

 

Some humans need to kill: murderers need to kill. Otherwise, they wouldn't be murderers. Non-vegetarians need to kill animals. This is fully consistent with the "requirements of their nature" (and does not contradict the law of identity). However, human beings have a choice: we can change our natures (or at least: we have a lot of potential natures). We needn't be a murderer (unlike what some science reporters might say).

 

(Also: even thieves/murderers must use reason. You won't be a serial killer for long if you're stupid)

Edited by human_murda

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You cannot defend rights purely on the basis of a physical capacity. You need a moral principle (that moral principle is egoism, but it's not really relevant here).

Edited by human_murda

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18 minutes ago, human_murda said:

 

How are these kinds of needs a "foundation to rights"? A thief needs to steal. That is what his nature (as a thief) requires. Otherwise, he wouldn't be a thief. Do you think a thief violates the law of identity?

He doesn't. He won't die if he doesn't; he might think he will.  

I understand what a right is, you don't need to explain it to me, although I agree with you on how you explained it. My point is that the requirements of survival are a necessary but not sufficient basis to rights. It's a foundation in that without it, there would be no justification for rights. But if that's all you have, you'd have a very flimsy and shallow understanding of rights. 
 

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41 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

He doesn't.

My point is that he won't be a thief if he doesn't. I don't think he would die if he doesn't, just that his "nature" is no longer that of a thief. You're talking in terms of purpose, not natures. You're talking about requirements of survival based on your nature, not requirements of nature. Living beings need not survive (it is not a requirement of their nature. A deer can be killed by a lion and that is fully consistent with its nature). And based on his nature, a thief needs to steal.

 

A thief only needs to steal in order to be consistent with his nature. A thief doesn't need to be an industrialist to be consistent with his nature, for example. Stealing is the only thing they imperatively need to do as far as the law of identity is concerned (everything else is a choice). If you're talking in terms of purpose, of course the answer would be different, but based on nature alone, no. If you say somebody shouldn't be a thief, you can't justify it based on the law of identity ("requirements of nature") alone. Law of identity does not say you shouldn't be a thief.

Edited by human_murda

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@human_murda Thank you for your clarification on the source of human rights. You have helped me grasp the edge of  a deeper understanding of the principles involved.

I will note that you have shifted the frame of reference of the discussion and that has somewhat warped your answer. 

If you speak of thieves as having their own nature i.e., as a seperate class of creature requiring different actions for their survival, then it would follow that thieves would have their own set of rights. They are humans. As humans they must produce to consume. Any other form of survival is to exist at a sub-human level i.e ., as a parasite a scavenger and/or a predator. 

All humans have the same nature (nature as in-'the requirements necessary to sustain their existence, not --their self-made character) so the nature of a thing does give a pretty full basis for the rights it should posses. As Ayn Rand said-

"The fact that a living entity is, determines what it ought to do" ["The Objectivist Ethics", 17, The Virtue of Selfishness].

It is not skipping many steps in logic to say "this is what humans ought to do; these are the rights that let them do so."

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1 hour ago, Uummon Beeng said:

If you speak of thieves as having their own nature i.e., as a seperate class of creature requiring different actions for their survival... [ ]

Oh, no. If your goal is survival, you can't be a thief. Thieves require the same range of actions as anybody else, if their goal is survival. But their goal cannot be survival. If you are a thief, ending up in jail, destruction and death is the purpose that is consistent with your nature. I'm not saying that different people have different rights. Only that rights cannot be defined for purposes other than survival (and if your nature is only consistent with goals other than survival, then your nature cannot be used to justify rights).

 

I essentially agree with Ayn Rand:

Quote

Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational.

If life is your purpose, you have a right to live as a rational being. If death is your purpose, your nature as a thief is consistent with that. But it cannot be used to justify rights.

 

1 hour ago, Uummon Beeng said:

"The fact that a living entity is, determines what it ought to do" ["The Objectivist Ethics", 17, The Virtue of Selfishness].

Yes., but only with reference to a goal. If you're a human and your goal is suicide, what you ought to do will be different. But this idea is so tangential.

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8 hours ago, human_murda said:

And based on his nature, a thief needs to steal.

Based on what nature?  Does the thief have a different nature than a non thief?  What caused that different nature?   

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11 hours ago, human_murda said:

My point is that he won't be a thief if he doesn't. I don't think he would die if he doesn't, just that his "nature" is no longer that of a thief.

We can only define nature in terms of purpose. The thing about a thief is that being a thief is within human nature as far as anyone can choose to be a thief. But if you say "it's in the nature of a thief to steal", people would usually mean "people who are thieves always steal, that's just the kind of person they are". Assuming that people can't just be divided into "natural" classes, saying someone is a thief just identifies that they have chosen to steal often. 

Saying nature would mean something central to a person's identity. "Stealing" isn't central so much as an option. In other words, they don't imperatively it to exist. It's also a reason morality applies to a thief just as much to an entrepreneur. Thieves and entrepreneurs don't have different natures. 

Lions and humans have very different natures. They are "naturally" different. This is how it's possible to say that one has rights but the other doesn't.

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@human_murda In order to continue this discussion, you need to define and stand behind one definition of nature. I understand that you are replying to multiple points within different contexts but, you are shifting between 3 definitions of the word 'nature': (i)nature as one's set of chosen values-- synonymous with character, (ii) nature as the laws that govern all existence (ii) as human nature--the subset of all natural laws that apply specifically  to homo sapiens.

While these may be interconnected, they are distinct but, you use them interchangeabley and that makes it difficult to have a thorough focussed discussion on it.

So as a starting point, please clarify what you mean when you say 'nature'.

When I have used nature, I have been refering to 'human' nature i.e., the existential retirements of humans acting in accordance with their identies as the mammal homo sapien not the choices individuals make within that identity i.e., to be or not to be a thief. So murderers, rapists, heros, vegans, and hotdog vendors all have the same 'nature' because they are all the same species of animal.

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@human_murda No, I absolutely disagree. You have made the assumption that all human beings have a rational view of existence and think about actions and consequences with the same foundation in objectivist philosophy that you posses, that isn't true. 

A thief may believe that they needs to steal to survive (note: in some situations this may be true i.e, in a society where human rights are not protected). This thief may genuinely want to live to a ripe old age--that may be their goal but, through poor (or a complete lack) of reasoning, may decide on the wrong course of action. 

Their actions may not be consistent with the laws of reality but, it is unture to say 'their goal isn't to survive'. Having a goal doesn't automatically give you the objective guidelines on how to achieve them. That's why philosophers dedicate that their lives to that science and developing a consistent framework. 

If having a goal was enough to know the correct course of action there would be no need of philosophy (or any school of any kind). Ayn Rand or any Greg off the street could've codified Objectivist philosophy in one weekend.

The goal of many people is to live happy and fulfilling lives but, lacking an objective philosophy to guide them they live as spiritualists or naturalists. They want to be happy--that is their goal but, they do not have the knowledge you have and so they take the wrong actions and yes, misery and death are the result.

Before you found Objectivist philosophy, did you not have some goals but, go about them in the wrong way? Was it true to say that at that point your goals where to suffer and rush to your death?

Your assertion would mean that everyone with a goal has some innate knowledge and cchooses to act against it.

It is possible (and likely commonplace) for a thiefs goal to be living a long and happy life but, to then decide that taking the material possessions of others is the way to go about it. 

I agree that thoseose actions will not lead to the desired goal but, your assertion that the goal of a thief cannot be happiness is false, at least in most cases. 

Edited by Uummon Beeng

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On 6/26/2018 at 1:08 PM, Uummon Beeng said:

(i)nature as one's set of chosen values-- synonymous with character, (ii) nature as the laws that govern all existence (ii) as human nature--the subset of all natural laws that apply specifically  to homo sapiens.

While these may be interconnected, they are distinct but, you use them interchangeabley and that makes it difficult to have a thorough focussed discussion on it.

I'm talking about thieves specifically, so I'm definitely not talking about (iii), so probably (i).

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On 6/26/2018 at 1:08 PM, Uummon Beeng said:

So murderers, rapists, heros, vegans, and hotdog vendors all have the same 'nature' because they are all the same species of animal.

They all have the same natures qua humans but as murderers, rapists specifically, no, they don't all have the same nature.

So, for example, 6 and 7 have the same nature as positive integers (they're both multiples of one). But as specific numbers, they don't have the same natures (6 is divisible by 3 but 7 isn't).

 

On 6/25/2018 at 10:29 PM, Eiuol said:

Saying nature would mean something central to a person's identity. "Stealing" isn't central so much as an option. In other words, they don't imperatively it to exist. It's also a reason morality applies to a thief just as much to an entrepreneur. Thieves and entrepreneurs don't have different natures.

All I'm saying is: a thief is a thief. A thief cannot - NOT - steal. A thief cannot be a non-thief. That is their nature. Why is this so controversial? I'm not saying that morality does not apply to a thief, only that they do not get moral sanction from morality (despite having the physical capacity of reason. Having the physical capacity of reason or being human does not give them a right to steal).

(Unless your claim is that a thief, as a human, not as a thief, doesn't "need" to steal and therefore has no right to steal and lion "needs" to kill and therefore can kill. You're replacing egoism with need and need as the basis of rights. Then we're back to the same question: is need a sanction to violate rights?)

Also, what are you even talking about? Humans and turtles are living beings. Qua living beings, they have the same natures. But humans aren't turtles and humans don't have the same natures as turtles. Same applies to thieves and entrepreneurs.

 

On 6/26/2018 at 1:33 PM, Uummon Beeng said:

Their actions may not be consistent with the laws of reality but, it is unture to say 'their goal isn't to survive'. Having a goal doesn't automatically give you the objective guidelines on how to achieve them.

I said that if you're a thief, the end/goal which you actually achieve cannot be survival because the two aren't consistent. Their conscious goal may be different and they don't have any automatic knowledge.

Edited by human_murda

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Again, you have failed to (and have avoided) defining what you mean by 'nature'. 

Turtles and humans are not the same species. A thief and a hero are. Creatures of the same species have the same natures, that is in part how species are defined. A rapist and a businessman are not two subspecies of human, they are the exact same species. Rather than comparing a 6 and 7 it's like comparing a 6 and a 6 but one is writen with blue ink and ine with black ink, the two have the same nature.

You seem not to understand the meaning of the terms you use. A 'goal' is, by it's  definition, a conscious and desired outcome. Without conscious intent no outcome can be a goal. Yes, subconscious character trains can and do lead to outcomes but, these are not goals.

So again, no, your initial assertion that the thief's goal is death and/or some form of suffering is false (at least for the vast majority of thieves).

That may be the outcome of their actions but, not their desired or intended outcome i.e., their goal.

You are warping what you said so as  to be "right" rather than true by avoiding concrete definitions and appending 'conscious' to your statements. You are avoiding taking a stance and defending it with an inconsistent argument (still don't get the turtle-human-thief thing). 

That trait will be harmful in your future pursuits.

 

Edited by Uummon Beeng

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