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Animals, Children and the Retarded

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SFreeman89Vision
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Scholars in recent years have tended to conclude that there is no clear line that can be drawn between all humans and all animals because the various delineating characteristics that might be considered are either present in many animals, or are lacking in all animals but also lacking in children and severely mentally disabled human beings. If this is correct then it appears to leave two possible conclusions: either animals have a moral standing comparable to humans and we must seriously rethink our treatment of them, or animals have no moral standing but neither do children or the severely retarded and we can consider using them as we do animals e.g. killing them for food, clothing, sport etc.

Now I understand that objectivist rights come from man's nature as a reasoning being who needs to live as such. And we can exclude animals from this consideration because they live by means other than reason (though not necessarily of course, if a chimpanzee suddenly started thinking and acting similarly to a human we would have to accept it as 'man' though not human, but this is currently counterfactual). But then what of young children and the severely retarded? They are not capable of reason. Perhaps children can be accounted for through a potentiality argument i.e. they cannot or do not depend on reason right now but they will in the future if left to develop normally. Equally perhaps those who become severely retarded through disease or brain damage having previously lived normal lives can be accounted for through their previous capacity for reason. But what about children born severely retarded? They fundamentally lack the capacity for reason that other humans have, had, or will have. Do they have no moral standing (at least beyond a kind of ownership that their parents might hold over them, which would presumably disappear if their parents died and would allow for parents to kill their disabled child if they so wished, as one may kill a farm animal or pet).

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

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  • 2 years later...

There ARE parallel lines between animals and humans. Humans have an intangible consciousness and animals have a tangible consciousness. The HUGE difference is that animals don't have the ability whatsoever to conceptualize and all humans do. The whole marginal humans argument is getting pretty old to be honest... Babies ARE human beings and will one day have the ability to reason just like the rest of us. Animal babies, even when they do mature, still won't have the ability to reason. When it comes to the mentally retarded it's pretty simple actually, they are unhealthy, simple as that. They are still 100% conceptual beings but lack the faculty that may give them the abilities other humans have, it is NOT their fault they are unhealthy, they didn't choose to be this way. Hope I answered your question to some extent. :)

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Scholars in recent years have tended to conclude that there is no clear line that can be drawn between all humans and all animals because the various delineating characteristics that might be considered are either present in many animals, or are lacking in all animals but also lacking in children and severely mentally disabled human beings. If this is correct then it appears to leave two possible conclusions: either animals have a moral standing comparable to humans and we must seriously rethink our treatment of them, or animals have no moral standing but neither do children or the severely retarded and we can consider using them as we do animals e.g. killing them for food, clothing, sport etc.

 

What specifically would you like to do to retarded children?

 

[edit] never mind, I just saw the date

Edited by Nicky
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  • 3 weeks later...

Leonid:

When the most rancorous of animal lovers proclaim that "they have feelings, just like we do!" They're simply telling the truth.

Psycho-epistemological fraternity, on display for the whole world to see, just so that people like us still have some laughter in our lives.

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