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I did a quick google search before i wrote that i thought that was Rand's position, but she only seems to state that the purpose of life is the pursuit of happiness and not it's goal..well ok.
Google sucks, frankly. The way to understand Rand's position is to read Rand's writings. Maybe I should just point to Galt's speech -- "My morality, the morality of reason, is contained in a single axiom: existence exists—and in a single choice: to live. The rest proceeds from these." Therefore, the proper question to ask about other choices is not "does it result in a sensation of pleasure?", but "does it advance my goal, living?".
Do you define "life" in the common sense, meaning the opposite of death?
Yes; but there is no such thing as "pure life", so life entails life as something. For which reason, being a man, I chose life as a man, not as a dismembered supply of body parts being fed on by monsters.
How do you define "rights".
As Rand does in VOS 108:

"Rights" are a moral concept—the concept that provides a logical transition from the principles guiding an individual's actions to the principles guiding his relationship with others—the concept that preserves and protects individual morality in a social context—the link between the moral code of a man and the legal code of a society, between ethics and politics. Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.

and 110:

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.

Rights are thus not granted.

How do you define "reason"?
It is the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses (VOS 22). FYI, definitions serve the purpose of identifying in a linguistic form what things the concept refers to. Definitions don't serve a gate-keeping function. Thus "man's" in Rand's definition of "reason" does not serve to say that by definition only man has reason. The essential elements of reason -- which hypothetically any consciousness could have and perhaps some space-dwellers do have -- are volition and abstraction. Implicit in the faculty of abstraction are the ability to mentally extract specific aspects of existents and hold them separate from other abstracts of existents, and to grasp the two-way relationship between the abstraction and the existents that are the basis of the abstraction.
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No, there is no limitation on a child's rights. The child has the same right to live that all men have. The difference in that children need a custodian to supervise their actions, so that they do not seriously harm themselves by engaging in unreasoned actions.There has to be an objective legal standard for stating at what point a person has to be presumed to be sufficiently competent to grasp the concept of "right" and "wrong" that they can be responsible for their actions. I personally believe that the statutory age for contacts should be lowered (to 16) because I believe that people actually do get the relevant concepts, but that's a political matter of implementation. At least in principle, the problem can be resolved w.r.t. a prescient child via an emancipation or similar proceding. The converse is true of a legal adult who is in fact incapable of living by reason, who needs a guardian to be appointed for him. So the only assumption I'm haking about children and adults is that there is an objectively stated legal principle, and that given specific facts of extraordinary mental ability or disability, that default presumption can be overridden.

With your definition i hope i express myself clearer when i say that a child does not have full individual rights. If you disagree with that then please try to understand what i mean by that.

I think they key is "There has to be an objective legal standard for stating at what point a person has to be presumed to be sufficiently competent to grasp the concept of "right" and "wrong" that they can be responsible for their actions."

I agree, but i don't see why age matters in that context. It is a criteria that was chosen for practical reasons.. just like the prohibition of narcotics.

About animals and humans:

I don't think we are getting anywhere with this. I feel we are going to disagree on what qualifies as abstraction and what not.. but i learned a lot about objectivism :dough:

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No one can be expected to be an expert in everything; however, the government sure as hell isn't an expert (much less efficient or effective) at ANYTHING.

If I had a sick child, I would consult with the experts (you know, those things called doctors), explore and learn about the drugs that are out there (I can read, learn and use rational judgment), and between me, my spouse and the professionals involved, I'm sure we could come up with something.

Furthermore, drug companies have no incentive to kill their customers. They do have incentive to cure them. It's called profits.

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