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Ragnar
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Animals behave in social contexts, demonstrate preferences (free will), and distinguish between objects of reality (conceptualize to some degree).  Advocates of animal rights do in fact see a difference between animals and people; animals behave more consistently towards each other in terms of respect than humans do.  That is not an assault on the mind; it is an invitation to check your premises.

No. Animals have no self awareness. Dog doesn't know that he is a dog. Animals don't act on conceptual level. An ability of preferential behavior is not a Free Will, otherwise you have to grant Free Will to plants who follow sun. And to use concept of "respect" in regards to animals is to empty it from any meaning. 

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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.

So, Jim Corbett could have signed a memorandum of non-aggression with the Tigers of Kumaon, instead of killing them? If he had made a deal to respect certain pre-defined territorial rights would the tigers have agreed to stay out of the jungle villages? Where man and beast were close, if villagers had agreed not to act on their fears and kill tigers, would the tigers have agreed to not attack stray village kids and village cattle?

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So, Jim Corbett could have signed a memorandum of non-aggression with the Tigers of Kumaon, instead of killing them? If he had made a deal to respect certain pre-defined territorial rights would the tigers have agreed to stay out of the jungle villages? Where man and beast were close, if villagers had agreed not to act on their fears and kill tigers, would the tigers have agreed to not attack stray village kids and village cattle?

 

Humans having a right to life doesn't ethically prevent them from being executed when they become murders.

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No. Animals have no self awareness. Dog doesn't know that he is a dog. Animals don't act on conceptual level. An ability of preferential behavior is not a Free Will, otherwise you have to grant Free Will to plants who follow sun. And to use concept of "respect" in regards to animals is to empty it from any meaning. 

 

We may disagree as to what free will is, if you consider a plant's involuntary tracking of the sun as an exercise of choice.  And you haven't challenged the fact that animals form social groups for security as do humans. So we can agree, if you somewhat reluctantly, that a right to life derived from nature is present in at least two of three of the examples you gave in your initial post.  As to whether or not animals are the intellectual peers of humans, is this really the bar we want to raise in order to exclude other creatures from a right to live; one that can be used to exclude human infants and the mentally infirmed as well?  We know animals do if fact have a narrow cognative ability, but more importantly, we know by observation that animals rely on their own abilities for self-preservation according to their own nature, and that is as valid a standard as any to share some respect for their lives.

 

Having an ethical right to life is not so much the issue as dealing with transgression of the same.

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Let me take a step back, and let me play "devil's advocate" myself:

 

 

You speak of "rights" as if they themselves exist.  Please show me that these things, these "rights" exist, and are not simply mystical wishes or intrinsicist dogmas.  Please try to define what a right actually IS, not merely describe where it derives from or why it has the particular content/form/application it has.

Please, show me THAT rights ARE and WHAT they ARE.

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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Let me take a step back, and let me play "devil's advocate" myself:

 

 

You speak of "rights" as if they themselves exist.  Please show me that these things, these "rights" exist, and are not simply mystical wishes or intrinsicist dogmas.  Please try to define what a right actually IS, not merely describe where it derives from or why it has the particular content/form/application it has.

Please, show me THAT rights ARE and WHAT they ARE.

 

I was preparing to post the following when I saw your response pop up.  I believe this post responds to your request, so I'll only add here that I consider my advocacy of a right to life agrees with that presented by Objectivism, i.e., rights as derived from the observation of nature to posit that which is necessary to promote life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness/property...

--

If a right to life is posited by the observation of individuals whose actions are self-generated and self-sustaining, then most (if not all) animals qualify according to this objective standard.  Further specifying that the individuals in question are necessarily human calls to question the relevance of the primary standard being used.  Are actions that are self-sustaining and self-generated indicative of ethical consideration or not?  It seems to me that precluding animals from consideration of a right to live only serves one purpose;  promotion of the impunity of human interaction with the natural world.  This kind of short sighted, self-fulfilling advocacy of a unilateral right over nature is unlikely to sway the 'final arbiter' just because we said so.

--

Rights as ethical principles recognize behavior that is correct and proper to the survival of a particular subject, be it man or beast, taking into consideration interaction with others.  My point is, if rights are freedoms of action in a social context, meaning the immediate physical and social setting in which people live and this physical setting includes animal interactions with humans, does not the social context extend over them as well??

 

Edit: Most of the last is intended to further respond to StrictlyLogical.  If I have fallen short, I'll need some contrast to determine where we are in specific disagreement.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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DA: It's only in the context of today's prevailing "human rights" that animal rights can even be considered for a second. When "special interest groups" of men have been codified and forced into law, it may simply be the (il)logical next step to embrace another group, animals. As with special interest groups, so will happen here: others lose their "rights" - and long-term, it is always to the detriment of those receiving the 'special treatment'.

Be careful what you wish for...

 

You might appreciate or respect animals in general, and so might I - but this is a personal value. It's not a patently evident value to very many others, and can't ever be. Considering it so, is intrinsicism.

 

There can't be any connection between "respect" and rights, unless by force.   I sure don't see any "mutual respect" returned by animals, except at times from my own (when they feel like it!) 

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DA: It's only in the context of today's prevailing "human rights" that animal rights can even be considered for a second. When "special interest groups" of men have been codified and forced into law, it may simply be the (il)logical next step to embrace another group, animals. As with special interest groups, so will happen here: others lose their "rights" - and long-term, it is always to the detriment of those receiving the 'special treatment'.

Be careful what you wish for...

 

You might appreciate or respect animals in general, and so might I - but this is a personal value. It's not a patently evident value to very many others, and can't ever be. Considering it so, is intrinsicism.

 

There can't be any connection between "respect" and rights, unless by force.   I sure don't see any "mutual respect" returned by animals, except at times from my own (when they feel like it!) 

 

My argument is primarily focused on the ethical side of this issue, questioning the logic of excluding the greater portion of that to which humans look to as the foundation of their right to life.  Might makes right is an ethical principle too, along with altruism, but neither recognizes what is a correct and proper consistent behavior if one chooses to interact in a social context.  An animal's right to life can be recognized as being derived from the same source that a human's is without stepping on a human's right to life, i.e., having a right to life doesn't transform animals into humans.  The recognition of an animal's right to life simply questions whether a human has the right to inflict pain and suffering on the premise that an animal (or anyone else he has power over) has no right to feel otherwise.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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I was preparing to post the following when I saw your response pop up.  I believe this post responds to your request, so I'll only add here that I consider my advocacy of a right to life agrees with that presented by Objectivism, i.e., rights as derived from the observation of nature to posit that which is necessary to promote life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness/property...

--

If a right to life is posited by the observation of individuals whose actions are self-generated and self-sustaining, then most (if not all) animals qualify according to this objective standard.  Further specifying that the individuals in question are necessarily human calls to question the relevance of the primary standard being used.  Are actions that are self-sustaining and self-generated indicative of ethical consideration or not?  It seems to me that precluding animals from consideration of a right to live only serves one purpose;  promotion of the impunity of human interaction with the natural world.  This kind of short sighted, self-fulfilling advocacy of a unilateral right over nature is unlikely to sway the 'final arbiter' just because we said so.

--

Rights as ethical principles recognize behavior that is correct and proper to the survival of a particular subject, be it man or beast, taking into consideration interaction with others.  My point is, if rights are freedoms of action in a social context, meaning the immediate physical and social setting in which people live and this physical setting includes animal interactions with humans, does not the social context extend over them as well??

 

Edit: Most of the last is intended to further respond to StrictlyLogical.  If I have fallen short, I'll need some contrast to determine where we are in specific disagreement.

 

By referring to "social context" are you proposing humans and animals "should" form a "society" together and, in that context, recognize the rights arising in that context?

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What is the legal procedure for addressing criminal animals who violate rights?

 

Human law ought only apply to human animals, i.e., it ought not prosecute the fox for entering the henhouse.  Beyond that, I can only offer that a legal framework already exists in the form of court appointed representation for those who cannot represent themselves.  In most cases the court could address legal issues as a matter of custodianship, where the fitness of the representation falls under scrutiny rather than the actions of the one being represented.  For example, humans are usually held accountable for whatever damages animals under their care inflict on others.

 

But again, my argument focuses on the ethical rather than the political.  It would be enough in most cases, to simply acknowledge no one has an ethical right to inflict pain and suffering on others, resorting to force only as a means of defense.

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My argument is primarily focused on the ethical side of this issue, questioning the logic of excluding the greater portion of that to which humans look to as the foundation of their right to life.  Might makes right is an ethical principle too, along with altruism, but neither recognizes what is a correct and proper consistent behavior if one chooses to interact in a social context.  An animal's right to life can be recognized as being derived from the same source that a human's is without stepping on a human's right to life, i.e., having a right to life doesn't transform animals into humans.  The recognition of an animal's right to life simply questions whether a human has the right to inflict pain and suffering on the premise that an animal (or anyone else he has power over) has no right to feel otherwise.

Hey, I'm of the opinion that anyone inflicting pain on a sentient being just for the hell of it is immoral. Anyone who derives his self-esteem from tormenting a weaker, captive creature is essentially a second-hander, not to say a tyrant and bully, and possibly psychopathic.

 

Now you've come back to ethics, I think you are on stronger ground.

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Hey, I'm of the opinion that anyone inflicting pain on a sentient being just for the hell of it is immoral. Anyone who derives his self-esteem from tormenting a weaker, captive creature is essentially a second-hander, not to say a tyrant and bully, and possibly psychopathic.

 

Now you've come back to ethics, I think you are on stronger ground.

 

Thankee-sai

 

Having had more than enough oppertunity to present my case, I'll now retire to the sidelines so that others can make theirs...

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We may disagree as to what free will is, if you consider a plant's involuntary tracking of the sun as an exercise of choice.  And you haven't challenged the fact that animals form social groups for security as do humans. So we can agree, if you somewhat reluctantly, that a right to life derived from nature is present in at least two of three of the examples you gave in your initial post.  As to whether or not animals are the intellectual peers of humans, is this really the bar we want to raise in order to exclude other creatures from a right to live; one that can be used to exclude human infants and the mentally infirmed as well?  We know animals do if fact have a narrow cognative ability, but more importantly, we know by observation that animals rely on their own abilities for self-preservation according to their own nature, and that is as valid a standard as any to share some respect for their lives.

 

Having an ethical right to life is not so much the issue as dealing with transgression of the same.

Free Will is an ability to choose on the conceptual level of self-awareness. To paraphrase Ayn Rand in order to say " I want" one should be able first to say " I". Animals don't consciously form societies, this is an instinctive trait. Rights is a freedom of action in the social context which animals evidently don't have. Does lion respect right to live of his prey? The question of animal rights doesn't exist in the animal kingdom. It's only pertain to humans. As for infants, they are humans, in spite their rights are very limited. 

Edited by Leonid
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Leonid is correct.

 

A human cannot form a society with entities which cannot consent, agree, undertake, etc. to form the society, respect the rights of others of the society as agreed to, etc.

 

Non-conceptual self aware animals cannot form nor participate in a societies. 

 

In this sense freestyle is also correct, once an entity walks up to you and makes a case that it has rights, or that it can undertake to participate in a society, come to agreements, trade etc. well then, that entity may be able to participate in society, and if so it has rights.

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Does a human?

Yes. Human is a rational being and as such he developed concept of rights which no animal ever did. Of course man is a volitional being and may choose the path of violation of rights. He may maim, kill, rob or live as a parasite by fraud. Such a man who forfeits his conceptual mind in practice is not different from a wild animal. That why we cage them in prisons, or some time even exterminate them, exactly like animals.

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Yes...

 

Then a lion does too, and by the same source.  Bear in mind we aren't talking about government securing rights.  Positing a right to life is nothing more than the recognition of actions that are behaviorally correct and proper according to ones nature in order to claim ownership of ones life. That is the source of this fundamental right; ones nature, not ones legislature.  Does a lion claim ownership of it's life?  Try to wrestle it away from him and observe what happens.

Man can recognize a right to life, but doesn't create it by recognition or cognition.  Like reality, this fundamentally right behavior is the action necessary to live shared by all living creatures; it is reality in motion.  And it exists independently of man's recognition or denial of it.  You might argue that man has a more advanced recognition of a right to life than a lion, but you cannot dismiss the lion's right to life without undermining your own.  The right to life is inherent and inalienable by observation of reality, or it's simply a nice idea without foundation.

 

Ones life, as property, begins at birth and cannot be transferred or stolen.  Murders and theives cannot collect lives by taking them.  That is the meaning of inalienable; alienating one from ones life means death.  This is an observational fact of reality, and not at all unique to the human animal.  Jumping over this fact by equating conceptual recognition of life as a property, with the enactment of some right to it, will not persuade any member of the animal kingdom to relinquish their right to life.  They will defend their right to life with tooth and claw, and slime you if necessary.

 

If rights are social permissions, then man needs to learn to play nice with those animals he interacts with.

 

Edit: One final thought... Were it possible to behave with a unique right to live, would that entitle one to inflict pain, suffering and death on "rightless" others?  It would be a curious kind of right to life to promote that kind of anguish, would it not??

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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Then a lion does too, and by the same source.  Bear in mind we aren't talking about government securing rights.  Positing a right to life is nothing more than the recognition of actions that are behaviorally correct and proper according to ones nature in order to claim ownership of ones life. That is the source of this fundamental right; ones nature, not ones legislature.  Does a lion claim ownership of it's life?  Try to wrestle it away from him and observe what happens.

Man can recognize a right to life, but doesn't create it by recognition or cognition.  Like reality, this fundamentally right behavior is the action necessary to live shared by all living creatures; it is reality in motion.  And it exists independently of man's recognition or denial of it.  You might argue that man has a more advanced recognition of a right to life than a lion, but you cannot dismiss the lion's right to life without undermining your own.  The right to life is inherent and inalienable by observation of reality, or it's simply a nice idea without foundation.

 

Ones life, as property, begins at birth and cannot be transferred or stolen.  Murders and theives cannot collect lives by taking them.  That is the meaning of inalienable; alienating one from ones life means death.  This is an observational fact of reality, and not at all unique to the human animal.  Jumping over this fact by equating conceptual recognition of life as a property, with the enactment of some right to it, will not persuade any member of the animal kingdom to relinquish their right to life.  They will defend their right to life with tooth and claw, and slime you if necessary.

 

If rights are social permissions, then man needs to learn to play nice with those animals he interacts with.

 

Edit: One final thought... Were it possible to behave with a unique right to live, would that entitle one to inflict pain, suffering and death on "rightless" others?  It would be a curious kind of right to life to promote that kind of anguish, would it not??

What's the point of this argument? It's total semantics. Animals don't have the ability to conceptualize. Period. If they did, they would have attempted to communicate with us conceptually by now, that has not happened to this date. Only humans so far have shown that they have a conceptual consciousness. Since the concept of 'rights' is again a concept, only humans understand rights. Therefore only humans have rights. Any attempts at proving that animals have a conceptual consciousness is just a bunch of whack job scientists trying to anthropomorphize and degrade humans down to the level of animals.

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