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Minors: Rights And Children

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The parents are the only relevent "other men" involved in the decision to create the child. They, and they alone, created the infant. It makes no sense to hold anyone other than them responsible for the child's care.

Could one say that it would be criminally negligent to bring a child into the world and not take care of it? This is the only way I am aware of to legislate responsibility for one's actions.

If the function of government is limited to the protection of individual rights, then a crucial question is whether or not children have a right to material support from their parents. Obviously, I am arguing that they do have such a right, and so government intervention is appropriate if this right is violated. On that basis, one can make a case that bringing a child into the world and then failing to support it is criminally negligent.

However, if the child does not have a right to material support from the parents, I don't see a basis for criminalizing the behavior of parents that fail to provide that support. Absent rights, I don't see how it can be any of the government's business.

QUOTE(AisA @ Nov 15 2005, 11:46 AM)

There is no conflict of rights. The right to be free of the initiation of force does not include the right to ignore the material needs of one's child. Why would it?

I might be wrong, but wouldn't being required, by law, to provide value for another individual, against your will, constitute a violation of your rights?

Not if the other party has a right to that value. Suppose through your negligence you hit a pedestrian with your car, leaving him paralyzed and unable to work. He would then have a right to expect material support from you. Hopefully, you will have insurance to cover this -- but this is your problem, not his.

Now I am sure someone will rush to point out that bringing a child into the world is not the same thing as crippling a man with one's car. Granted, the specifics differ. But in both cases, the existence of this helpless being is a direct result of your action. In that regard, they are the same.

QUOTE(AisA @ Nov 15 2005, 11:46 AM)

I am still waiting to hear on what basis a child's survival requirements -- which are a function of his nature as a rational being, just like an adult's requirements -- are to be ignored while an adult's are to be protected by law.

I think the difficulty arises from the idea that one can take non-rights-bearing inputs and create a rights-bearing product.

I am not sure what you mean by this. If by "non-rights-bearing inputs" you mean the egg and the sperm, then every human comes from "non-rights-bearing inputs". Does this mean humans have no rights?

What right do the creators have to do as they please with their creation, which by all means should be their private property? Once a piece of private property begins to have rights, it screws everything up, because rights-bearing entities can not be owned, because that's slavery. Also, the new rights-bearing product is not quite finished becoming the final form of its being, and requires further input from its creators. Is it fair to force someone to continue a project they began privately?
Is it fair to recognize, and protect by law, the survival requirements of adults, but ignore the survival requirements of infants -- when both sets of survival requirements are a function of man's identity as a rational being?

I think this conversation would be best continued in terms of negligence. If my irresponsibility causes harm to another, in some cases they can claim that I've initiated a force upon them. But isn't applying this to children doing the same thing to people's rights that prohibiting abortion does?
Abortion terminates a parasitic entity that is not a rational being and has no rights. Prohibiting abortion grants a right to a non-human that trumps the rights of the actual human involved in the situation -- the woman carrying the child. Thus, prohibiting abortion is a negation of the very concept of rights -- which are conditions of existence required for the survival of actual human beings, not masses of tissue that merely have the potential to be human beings.

It forces someone to provide for someone else just because they need it.
Not "just because they need it", but because that period of need is inherent in the identity of man as a rational being, and because they chose to create such a being knowing full well that it must have material support to live.

One could say, with equal validity, that people are forced to recognize man's right to be free "just because man needs it". Indeed man does need it. But it is not the fact of need alone that gives rise to the right to be free. It is the fact that this need is dictated by man's nature as a rational being -- he must be free to think and produce, otherwise he will perish. And if this need is recognized and enforced, man may provide for all his other needs and remain alive.

A child is a special case, in the sense that he is, temporarily, a rational being that cannot survive merely by being left free. His nature as a rational being dictates that he come into existence with a blank consciousness and endure a period of helplessness while he learns and grows. He needs material support, otherwise he will perish. And this need, just like his need for freedom, is dictated by man's nature as a rational being. And if this need is recognized and enforced, infants can reach adulthood, then provide for all their other needs and remain alive.

Now observe that one cannot make this argument for just any need. A bum who destroys his mind with drugs and can no longer get a job, certainly "needs" material support or he will perish. But this need is not a function of his identity as a rational being -- it is a function of the choices he made in life, and thus cannot be invoked as a source of any right.

It is not mere need that gives rise to rights; rights are derived from the fundamental survival requirements dictated by man's identity as a rational being. The question here is why an adult's requirements should be protected by law, while a child's are to be ignored.

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Why are you willing to let the unreal be a basis for denying the rights of the real.

I see one way to disprove your idea: show that a being that would admittedly possess rights would not possess them on the basis of his survival requirements. Is there any other way?

No, that is not correct. The purpose of defining rights is to determine man's survival requirements vis-à-vis other men, not "any rational and independent being", including arbitrarily dreamed up hypothetical beings. Man, and man only.

But even if such a vampire could exist, it would not be a man. Rights would not apply to such a creature.

I don't understand how you are defining "man" apparently. I assumed by man you meant "rational animal." But if that's what you'd meant, then any rational animal would undeniably possess rights in our society, and, if I take you correctly, defining those rights would be based on the particular entity's survival requirements.

If by man you don't mean "rational animal," then how are you using the term "man?"

But why? Why does the mere fact that one is rational -- without resorting to any other facts -- give one the right to be free of the initiation of force? That notion is not a self-evident, axiomatic primary.

Who said it was :lol:

I, a being who chooses to use my rationality, observe that allowing the free actions (rationality)of other rational beings is in my best interests. The only thing necessary for others to act freely is for me to forsake the initiation of force against them. These others, being rational, come to the same conclusion, and we all decide to form one nice, usually happy society.

In the above, it is not necessary to know or care about the survival requirements of the other rational beings. If I can thus derive rights without regard to the requirements of others, then how do you make the claim that rights are based on survival requirements?

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Within the contexts in which we are discussing, I do not have to know whether at-birth abandonment is immoral; I only need to know whether it is an initiation of force to come to a legal stance.

This contradicts your previous position, here:

And just to reiterate for anyone new to the topic, I think the government should prevent immoral abandonment by guardians.

More to the point, something that is moral can NEVER be illegal. Again you must ALWAYS determine the morality of a situation before you can determine its legal status.

You seem to be treating the principle of the non initiation of force as some sort of floating abstraction. How have you derived this principle and does it hold in all cases? What if a person or country threatens another, is that an initiation of force?

I’m glad you recognized my last post as a “lesson” because my goal here is to educate. I and others are attempting to teach you the Objectivist position, if your purpose is other than to learn Objectivism, kindly inform us of your purpose now so that we may decide for ourselves if it is worth our time. Because frankly it sometimes seems as if your purpose is to bash and evade the Objectivist position while never stating what your position is. Seriously, the only examples you can come up with to support your position are supernatural beings that DON’T EXIST !!!(redundant). This is an irrational approach.

The reason AisA keeps pointing out that metaphysically “Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival.” And why I keep pointing out the ethics of the situation is because this is the only logical way, the Objectivist way, to derive the concept of Rights. Objectivism has a structure which you should learn and understand: Given a metaphysics and epistemology, a certain ethics is necessary. Given the ethics, a certain politics is necessary. Let me inform you of how Objectivists derive Rights logically: We look at reality and use reason to determine how we each should act in order to best survive and then apply that code of ethics to society.

Children have rights not because they need them but because their nature is that they are rational beings. You, and no one else, are responsible to accept the consequences of your freely chosen actions. Do you understand the responsibilities entailed by your rights as I explained in my last post?

2) I don't think anyone's said why a creator should be obligated for the sake of creating another being into a benevolent world.

Yes I have. When you choose to be the guardian of another rational being’s rights, you cannot then violate the same rights you chose to guard.

This quote also illuminates your view of the world. This world is not benevolent because most people choose to shirk their responsibilities, it is benevolent because most people choose to honor their promises and live up to their responsibilities. This quote indicates that you don’t feel you should be responsible for your choices but instead that the benevolent world should be responsible for your choices. What is the phrase used by anarcho-libertarian types: “prudent predator”?

And now it is time for you to explain your position by answering a few questions:

How are rights derived?

Do children have rights?

Is anything required of you to realize your rights?

Do animals have rights?

If no, what is it about humans that necessitates we have rights?

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If it's a part of man's survival requirements to exist as a child, then children must have rights to live as children. I think we're moving towards that idea here, but I might be wrong.

If that's true though, wouldn't it be part of a child's survival requirements to be a fetus? That's what I meant by non-rights-bearing inputs becoming a rights-bearing product. We all acknowledge that man has rights. In order to create a man, you need a child, material support, and time. If we acknowledge that one of these inputs, the child, has rights of its own, and part of its survival requirements are material support, then shouldn't it have the right to obtain material support? Otherwise it can not survive.

But the question is, when do the inputs stop having rights? To create a child, you need a fetus, biological inputs, and time. We've acknowledged that fetuses don't have rights, but is this the correct position?

Even if you do think fetuses have rights, you need sperm and an egg to create fetuses, and certainly those things don't have rights. But sex is a purposeful action, and one could argue that it's irresponsible to have sex if you aren't willing to accept all of the possible consequences. So could an abortion be considered the result negligent activity?

What I'm trying to say is, man doesn't come into the world as man. In order to become man, it is required that he be provided with all of the inputs that will result in his manhood. I think it simply needs to be defined how far someone can go in the man-making process without it being considered criminally negligent to stop. Logically then, it will be at this point that the proto-man possesses the right to the requirements of his survival and no longer must be considered as a charity object.

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I see one way to disprove your idea: show that a being that would admittedly possess rights would not possess them on the basis of his survival requirements. Is there any other way?

I don't understand how you are defining "man" apparently. I assumed by man you meant "rational animal." But if that's what you'd meant, then any rational animal would undeniably possess rights in our society, and, if I take you correctly, defining those rights would be based on the particular entity's survival requirements.

If by man you don't mean "rational animal," then how are you using the term "man?"

The definition of the concept man is "rational animal". But this does not mean, to use Peikoff's expression, that the concept "man" means "anything whatever that has rationality and animality". The meaning of a concept is all of the characteristics of all of the units it subsumes. The purpose of a definition is to identify the most essential characteristics, the ones that most fundamentally distinguish one group of existents from all others.

To say that the definition of the concept "man" is "a rational animal", means the following:

"A certain type of entity, including all its characteristics, is, in the present context of knowledge, most fundamentally distinguished from all other entities by the fact it is a rational animal. All the presently available knowledge of man's other characteristics is required to validate this definition, and is implied by it. All of these other characteristics remain part of the content of the concept of 'man'." (Lexicon, pg 120-121)

If a new entity is discovered that is both animal and rational, it may or may not qualify as a man. If tomorrow we discover entities that are otherwise identical with man, that possess the same physiology and anatomy, that possess the faculty of reason, that differ only in skin color, we would conclude that this is not a fundamental difference; a different skin color has no impact on anything else we know about man.

But a creature that survives by drinking the blood of man is a fundamentally different kind of entity. Survival by drinking blood, unlike a different skin color, is not a trivial difference. Man's rationality is what distinguishes him from all other animals. A vampire's rationality, by contrast, is a mere incidental that does not distinguish it from other animals. In all the important respects, it lives and survives like all non-human animals: by using brute force to kill and/or take what it needs. Such a creature is not a man and cannot be said to possess rights.

I, a being who chooses to use my rationality, observe that allowing the free actions (rationality)of other rational beings is in my best interests. The only thing necessary for others to act freely is for me to forsake the initiation of force against them. These others, being rational, come to the same conclusion, and we all decide to form one nice, usually happy society.

In the above, it is not necessary to know or care about the survival requirements of the other rational beings. If I can thus derive rights without regard to the requirements of others, then how do you make the claim that rights are based on survival requirements?

In the first place, what you have "in the above" is a description of a utopian paradise in which all members of society can be counted on to come to the same conclusion as you. This is not a derivation of rights. It is a dream, one that will be shattered by the first criminal that comes along and thinks that it is in "his best interests" to take your wallet.

Second, and more important, the fact that something is in "one's best interests" does not give one a right to it. It is in "one's best interest" to see a doctor when you are sick; this does not give you a right to a doctor. It is in "one's best interest" to be employed; this does not give you a right to a job.

In the third place, even if "what is in one's own best interests" were sufficient to derive rights, what is in a child's "own best interests"? To die of neglect?

In the fourth place, are you now denying that freedom is a survival requirement for man?

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DonnyWithAnA, I think you're asking this....

- from sperm/egg to 17-year old youth, at what stage would a moral person consider the entity to be a human being?

- secondly, at what stage should the law draw the line?

Yes, precisely. I would assume that the line would have to be drawn at some important event that would distinguish the entity from its previous form in a way that would allow it rights. I was thinking of these potential landmarks:

Conception: The first purposeful action has been undertaken in the man-forming process. Two individuals have had sex, and a zygote has resulted which will, if given proper care, become a man.

First brain activity: Until this point, the fetus' brain has been silent, and would be incapable of responding to stimulus. Killing it would not inconvenience it in any way, because it would simply be a cellular structure.

Birth: At this point, the child leaves the womb, and breathes its own air. The differences pretty much end here, and if the child had been born prematurely, it could possibly still survive qua man. I guess I just don't see birth as being as significant of a landmark as the first two, but it's certainly an easy place to draw a line.

Does anyone else have a better choice?

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Birth: At this point, the child leaves the womb, and breathes its own air. The differences pretty much end here, and if the child had been born prematurely, it could possibly still survive qua man. I guess I just don't see birth as being as significant of a landmark as the first two, but it's certainly an easy place to draw a line.

Does anyone else have a better choice?

Birth is the moment when the entity in question becomes a biologically independent being. It is also the moment when it first becomes conscious.

The fact that it might have survived had it been born the day before is irrelevant. Prior to birth, it is only a potential human being. At birth, it becomes an actual human being.

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The purpose of a definition is to identify the most essential characteristics, the ones that most fundamentally distinguish one group of existents from all others.

Yes, yes... but you are digressing? Should we ever encounter intelligent (i.e. rational) extraterrestrial life, these new beings would have rights, would they not? And yet

The purpose of defining rights is to determine man's survival requirements vis-à-vis other men, not "any rational and independent being", including arbitrarily dreamed up hypothetical beings. Man, and man only.

your statement is that rights apply only to men. Either I can interpret that rational aliens :alien: would have no rights among us (e.g. enslaving them would be morally and legally justified,) or I'm correct in saying that rights are not limited to man as you are using it.

all members of society can be counted on to come to the same conclusion as you.

the fact that something is in "one's best interests" does not give one a right to it.

Never said either of those.

Don't make it worse :P I'm already being misinterpreted...

This contradicts your previous position, here:

Only if you disregard this topic's differentiation between "parent" and "guardian."

Because frankly it sometimes seems as if your purpose is to bash and evade the Objectivist position while never stating what your position is.
I've stated my position and my argument multiple times. And how can I bash something that doesn't exist?

Seriously, the only examples you can come up with to support your position are supernatural beings that DON’T EXIST !!!(redundant). This is an irrational approach.
...so with this rationale you, my teacher, reject the approach when used by Rand and Peikoff?

Bah, no need to answer. It's hard enough keeping track with the topic as it is :glare:

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Either I can interpret that rational aliens :alien: would have no rights among us (e.g. enslaving them would be morally and legally justified,) or I'm correct in saying that rights are not limited to man as you are using it.

You can interpret anything you want if you choose to go outside of reality in this discussion. You can interpret Objectivism's concept of rights and it's impact on God, intelligent space goats, and hyper-intelligent shades of the color blue if you like, but they really serve no purpose in any argument discussing reality.

That is my nice way of saying, please keep your argument grounded in THIS reality, not any other "realities" stemming from your imagination.

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Birth is the moment when the entity in question becomes a biologically independent being. It is also the moment when it first becomes conscious.

The fact that it might have survived had it been born the day before is irrelevant. Prior to birth, it is only a potential human being. At birth, it becomes an actual human being.

That's dependant on your definition of "human being." You can't just say that something's not a human being because you've arbitrarily defined "human being" to not include it.

A human becomes conscious before it's born, and it is not independent upon birth. The only thing that happens at birth is that the infant has to actively take in external nutrition (rather than have it circulated through its blood stream), including breathing.

An infant is no more conscious when it leaves the womb than immediately before this event. If we derive rights from breathing air or physically eating food, then this makes sense as a landmark event. Brain activity, however, begins much earlier. Apparently, a 32 week old fetus is behaviorally almost identical to a newborn (http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/tul/psychtoday9809.html).

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Actually, I do not understand the relevance of that hypothetical anyway. If "rational aliens" were given or not given rights, why would that lead us to conclude that we should or should not give rights to children?

If "rational aliens" were "given" rights, we would have to admit that rights are based not merely on homo sapien man, but on some larger conception, and we could show that some rationals might have some survival requirements that wouldn't be protected by rights (e.g. an infant right to support.)

With no way to disprove that infancy is one of man's requirements, and no way to disprove that man's requirements are the basis for rights, there is no way to disprove that infants have the right to some maternal support.

That is my nice way of saying, please keep your argument grounded in THIS reality, not any other "realities" stemming from your imagination.

There is no grounded way to display that the implicit cause-effects might be counting inductions.

Well argued, AisA.

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If "rational aliens" were "given" rights, we would have to admit that rights are based not merely on homo sapien man, but on some larger conception, ...)
I understand this link, but I do not follow this one...

... and we could show that some rationals might have some survival requirements that wouldn't be protected by rights (e.g. an infant right to support.)

As I said in a different thread...

..., if these rational and volitional entities are rational and volitional like humans are, and if we can trade values with them and they have no volitionally-uncontrollable special disposition to criminality or anything like that, then -- in principle -- it would be rational to live in peace with them and trade value for value. If the entire context that makes rights rational was applicable to these new entities, then it would be rational to respect their rights even if they had metallic shells instead of skin, or if they had tails, or if they looked completely human except that they had dark blue skins!
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I and others are attempting to teach you the Objectivist position, if your purpose is other than to learn Objectivism

As I have pointed out many times in this thread, what most of the people in this thread are attempting to defend is absolutely NOT the Objectivist position. Instead it is simply there opinion. An opinion that starts from the wrong premise and ends with the the wrong conclusion. A conclusion that if put into practice would undercut the Objectivist Ethics at it's core.

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As I have pointed out many times in this thread, what most of the people in this thread are attempting to defend is absolutely NOT the Objectivist position. Instead it is simply there opinion. An opinion that starts from the wrong premise and ends with the the wrong conclusion. A conclusion that if put into practice would undercut the Objectivist Ethics at it's core.

Sir:

If you are speaking to me then kindly point out the premises in which I have erred and enumerate correct ones. I have only posted three times in this thread, it shouldn't be too difficult to quote me.

Thanks,

Marc

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Speaking for myself, I have lost track of who has what position in this thread any more. I have a sense that EC, HunterRose and JRS are on one "side" with most of the other son the other side. However, with so many voices the sides aren't that clear.

Even if both sides think that their view is compatible with Objectivism, the topic would benefit from a reduction in the number of voices. For that reason alone, I suggest that this is a good topic for the debate forum.

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hunterrose:

Seriously, the only examples you can come up with to support your position are supernatural beings that DON’T EXIST !!!(redundant). This is an irrational approach.

Either quote a passage in which Ayn Rand or Leonard Peikoff used only examples of supernatural beings to support their argument or retract this flagrant insult.

Because frankly it sometimes seems as if your purpose is to bash and evade the Objectivist position while never stating what your position is.

Are you saying that Objectivism doesn’t exist or that an Objectivist position on children’s rights doesn’t exist? Either way you are insulting Ayn Rand again, something I don’t take lightly. Moderators take note.

If you have a position it shouldn’t be too hard to state it again:

How are rights derived?

Do children have rights?

Is anything required of you to realize your rights?

Do animals have rights?

If no, what is it about humans that necessitates we have rights?

Bah, no need to answer.

Evasion is intellectually dishonest.

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Yes, precisely. I would assume that the line would have to be drawn at some important event that would distinguish the entity from its previous form in a way that would allow it rights. I was thinking of these potential landmarks:

To my knowledge, Objectivism does use a physiological event, or "landmark." However, a claim that a fetus has rights can be shown to be in conflict with Objectivism without reference to this event. I'll reply to a few examples, and then make an attempt to tailor my conclusion to fit the subject of this thread.

Conception: The first purposeful action has been undertaken in the man-forming process. Two individuals have had sex, and a zygote has resulted which will, if given proper care, become a man.

Obviously, this fails; a potential is not an actual.

First brain activity: Until this point, the fetus' brain has been silent, and would be incapable of responding to stimulus. Killing it would not inconvenience it in any way, because it would simply be a cellular structure.

Brain activity is certainly required for a human to live, but many things have brain activity that are not human. And if something is human, you can't rightfully kill it even if it's death wouldn't invonvenience it. But again, if this refers to a fetus, a potential is not an actual. This has been addressed many times in the parent thread. I will not rehash this outside of the debate sub-forum.

Birth: At this point, the child leaves the womb, and breathes its own air. The differences pretty much end here, and if the child had been born prematurely, it could possibly still survive qua man. I guess I just don't see birth as being as significant of a landmark as the first two, but it's certainly an easy place to draw a line.

Does anyone else have a better choice?

In addition to leaving the womb and breathing it's own air, it also eats food through it's mouth and takes in the sensory stimulous outside of the womb -- thus starting the cognitive process of concept formation. Therefore, birth is the moment when the being becomes independent, thereby gaining rights. Again, my suggestion is to take it to the debate forum if you want to contest this assertion.

Aside from the above distinction, there is another, non-physiological distinction, one that I have brought up twice before: Giving birth presents pain and medical risk to the potential mother; denying her right to avoid that pain and risk presents a conflict of rights. Because there can be no conflicts between men, and rights only apply to man, this shows the assertion that a fetus has rights to be in conflict with Objectivism.

I think this post begs the question, "what is the difference between the burden of childbirth and the burden of childcare?"

1) A newborn has rights, a fetus does not.

2) There is risk at childbirth that is absent during childcare (this difference is not essential to the discussion).

3)Because of the above, childbirth is not an obligation at any stage of gestation. Childcare is an obligation, one generated by the willful creation of a new rights-bearing entity (the culmination of this act of creation being childbirth).

To my knowledge, some of the above ideas have not been presented in the body of Objectivism. I am interested if anyone believes they are consistent, or in conflict, with Objectivism.

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I understand this link, but I do not follow this one...
and we could show that some rationals might have some survival requirements that wouldn't be protected by rights (e.g. an infant right to support.)
If rights isn't something in regard to homo sapien man solely, then

1) If we show that some rights-bearing being's inability to obtain a survival requirement didn't confer a support right to that requirement, then we could say that being a survival requirement itself is not a reason for conferring support rights.

2) If rights aren't based on being homo sapien man per se, then the argument that being infant man confers the right to support wouldn't wash either.

As I said in a different thread...
Now you say it :P

For that reason alone, I suggest that this is a good topic for the debate forum.
Fine with me. Unless that suggestion is taken up, I am content to let others present their arguments here.
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QUOTE(AisA @ Nov 16 2005, 02:33 PM)

The purpose of a definition is to identify the most essential characteristics, the ones that most fundamentally distinguish one group of existents from all others.

Yes, yes... but you are digressing? Should we ever encounter intelligent (i.e. rational) extraterrestrial life, these new beings would have rights, would they not? And yet

QUOTE(AisA @ Nov 15 2005, 11:46 AM)

The purpose of defining rights is to determine man's survival requirements vis-à-vis other men, not "any rational and independent being", including arbitrarily dreamed up hypothetical beings. Man, and man only.

your statement is that rights apply only to men. Either I can interpret that rational aliens would have no rights among us (e.g. enslaving them would be morally and legally justified,) or I'm correct in saying that rights are not limited to man as you are using it.

I must say I am baffled by your response. Did you actually read what I wrote, or quit after the first sentence about the purpose of definitions? If you had read what I wrote, you would understand softwareNerd's point (well put, I thought) in post 188.

I explained why a vampire is not a man, an explanation that you have not addressed. This raises a more fundamental issue. Do you agree with Objectivist epistemology, specifically do you agree with Miss Rand's theory of concepts?

all members of society can be counted on to come to the same conclusion as you.

the fact that something is in "one's best interests" does not give one a right to it.

Never said either of those.

Here is what you said:

I, a being who chooses to use my rationality, observe that allowing the free actions (rationality)of other rational beings is in my best interests. The only thing necessary for others to act freely is for me to forsake the initiation of force against them. These others, being rational, come to the same conclusion, and we all decide to form one nice, usually happy society.

In the above, it is not necessary to know or care about the survival requirements of the other rational beings. If I can thus derive rights without regard to the requirements of others, then how do you make the claim that rights are based on survival requirements?

I have no desire to misrepresent your position. If the quote above does not project a scenario where "all members of society can be counted on to come to the same conclusion as you", then please explain what it does project. And if it does not say that one "can thus derive rights" from "observing what is in my best interests", please explain what it does say.
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In addition to leaving the womb and breathing it's own air, it also eats food through it's mouth and takes in the sensory stimulous outside of the womb -- thus starting the cognitive process of concept formation. Therefore, birth is the moment when the being becomes independent, thereby gaining rights. Again, my suggestion is to take it to the debate forum if you want to contest this assertion.

I wouldn't mind taking you up on the debate, but please read the article I linked in my last post. You're operating from the premise that conceptual thinking begins at birth, but this is false. Thought begins far before birth, the only difference is its environment.

Here's that link again: http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/tul/psychtoday9809.html

1) A newborn has rights, a fetus does not.

Why? I mean, I'm pro-choice, but it's getting to the point where I can't explain my position at all, and I'm wondering if it has grounds outside of convenience. Unfortunately, the small bit of research I've done confirms what I feared.

On birth, from the above cited article, "it is a trivial event in development. Nothing neurologically interesting happens." Uh oh.

3)Because of the above, childbirth is not an obligation at any stage of gestation. Childcare is an obligation, one generated by the willful creation of a new rights-bearing entity (the culmination of this act of creation being childbirth).

Hold on. Giving birth is not a willful act. If there is a child brewing in your body, you will give birth to it, whether you like it or not. To hold someone responsible for something they did not choose to do is directly against Objectivist ethics (I'm taking that from Rand's discussion of original sin). However, conception is the result of willful action, even if it was not intended to result in a child. Sperm and eggs don't turn into fetus' without anyone doing anything consciously, but fetus' certainly turn into children without conscious input.

It is only one's actions that should result in charges for negligence, not one's bodily processes. Once one consciously engages in an act that will eventually result in the creation of a human being, then they are responsible for the consequences. Abortion, then, would be the equivalent of a grace period in which to decide that those consequences are undesirable.

Now, if it's determined that fetus' don't have rights, then having such a grace period is perfectly understandable. However, there's no legitimate argument I've heard so far to prove why they should not have rights. Believe me, I want me to be wrong.

The way it seems to me, either a child gains rights when the man-creating process is purposefully begun, or when it crosses a threshhold after which it is fundamentally human, or when it becomes able to fend for itself.

The purposeful beginning is conception. The point where it becomes fundamentally human is when it begins to think. The point where it can fend for itself is currently established as 18.

But the real question is what rights it does in fact possess. The right to live qua man don't really help a fetus or a child, because neither are capable of such survival. They require the right to live qua fetus or child, and life qua either of these things requires some form of outside value, for which they must either rely on charity to obtain, or must be legally guaranteed to obtain.

Since the law must progress from rationality, we must decide how to protect the right of a child to live qua child and the right of a fetus to live qua fetus. If we say that a child has the right to live qua child, then we are saying that it is criminally negligent to bring a child into this world and not provide for it. But how does a child come into the world? Through the unwilling act of childbirth. That's not fair, because here I had this completely rights-less fetus, but on my way to the abortion clinic it popped out and now I can't kill it anymore.

If we say that the right to live qua fetus exists, then we're simply saying that creating a human is a legally binding action, and once that process has been purposefully undertaken, it would be negligent to cut it short. This certainly infringes upon the right of the parent to do as they please with the values generated by their own labor, but so does the right to live qua child.

Alternatively, we could say that no one has the RIGHT to anyone else's life, and if a child doesn't get what it needs from its parents, and no one wants to care for it, or the parent won't allow anyone to care for it, then that just sucks.

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Sperm and eggs don't turn into fetus' without anyone doing anything consciously, but fetus' certainly turn into children without conscious input.
Alright, this is tiring, and is off topic, but I can't let this fly. A fetus would certainly turn into a child without conscious input? This ranks as one of the most ingorant statements I've ever heard. So, it doesn't matter whether the mother carrying the fetus stops feeding herself, stops eating, stops breathing, kills herself--the fetus will still develop into a child?

I'm tired of this random pontification, what are the essentials of this discussion and can we please stick to them?

Edited by Felipe
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