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@ dream_weaver,

This could also be looked at as a kind of biological justification for behaving altruistically.

Altruism was proven to be evil in VOS. If your conscience weighs heavily on you when you fail to act altruistically, please read VOS to remedy your thinking error.

Dream Weaver has provided two profound scientific discoveries: pinpointing Man's conscience, and recognizing animals' lack of it.

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Kangaroo court.

Concepts such as 'rational' or 'conceptual' condense facts of reality about humans.  You could spend the rest of your life enumerating concrete specific instances for those concepts.  Look at the endl

Free will is self awareness. You have one fundamental choice. Most objectivity would call it the choice to think or not, but i think it's better described as the choice of what to think about.

@ dream_weaver,

 

We can agree that ethics presupposes choice.

 

The findings of the Oxford scientists presents a double edged sword to the degree that this guilt node influences social behavior, i.e., to what degree is ones choice the result of biological firmware.  If you believe animal choice is volitionally narrow, this finding narrows human volition too.

 

This could also be looked at as a kind of biological justification for behaving altruistically.

 

I believe it's better to proceed with the conviction of one who is capable of choice, rather than that of a puppet with delusions of grandeur.

I hadn't looked at it as a puppet on the strings of causal determinacy.

 

I wouldn't even consider it a "guilt node". The brain appear to have areas that deal with language that interconnect one area with another depending on the mode: listening, reading, speaking or writing. To discover that there may be a unique zone within the brain to which evaluations are made relative to guilt, what might that suggest to evaluations relative to happiness?

 

Yes, the social engineers, the behaviorists and materialists often selectively use the data to substantiate their claims. Why would this, if it is a valid discovery, fall outside of their purview?

Edited by dream_weaver
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... I don't know that I can agree that there is an inherent "right" to do anything.

I'm not sure where we differ. So, in order to get that straight, I think you're agreeing to something like this:

Statement 1: "The act of torturing one's own dog is one -- of many acts -- that a person may do and nobody else may stop him."

 

or, am I wrong and are you saying this: 

 

Statement 2: "The act of torturing one's own dog is something that other men -- via government as their agent -- may stop a person from doing."

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Rights are freedoms from interference not positive rights.  It is a small point but must not be forgotten especially in the context of rights according to Objectivism. 

 

There is no right to have cake as in someone or the government has to provide me with one..in the same manner a right to life obligates no one to save my life if I am in danger, drowning, freezing in the street, bleeding  to death etc.  the right to life is the right not to be interfered with specifically killed or subjected to risk of death.  That is my moral right to not be interfered with ... not a right for me to impose positive unchosen obligations on others to provide me with the substance of a positive right.

 

 

Right to life and right to property are not positive rights, they are principally exclusionary rights... i.e. every one else is excluded from interfering with or alienating me etc. from my property and life.

 

 

DA I'm still patiently waiting

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There are laws against cruelty to animals, and nobody I know of is lobbying for their repeal.

Don't confuse the issue.

I'm responding to softwareNerd's statement that one has a right to harm an animal.    I don't believe that because someone is free to do something that it is necessarily a right.  (but maybe it is)  

 

This shouldn't confuse the fact that animals do not have rights.

 

I'm not sure where we differ. So, in order to get that straight, I think you're agreeing to something like this:

Statement 1: "The act of torturing one's own dog is one -- of many acts -- that a person may do and nobody else may stop him."

 

or, am I wrong and are you saying this: 

 

Statement 2: "The act of torturing one's own dog is something that other men -- via government as their agent -- may stop a person from doing."

I would agree that statement 1 is correct.  However, I'm not convinced that it is unconditionally correct.  

 

Meaning, I am considering that there is a possible rational argument to prove that:

A.  Sadistic animal torture is not a corollary to the right to life and therefore is not a right (as Objectivism defines rights)

and then

B. A private community (I'd keep government out of it) would not be infringing on any individual's rights if it had a rule that restricts animal torture by anyone, even on their owned property within the bounds of the community. (whereas, they would be infringing on someone's rights if they enforced a rule banning the reading of romance novels on their owned property)

 

You could assume a government too -- and say that banning dog torture does not infringe on anyone's rights.  HOWEVER, the proper standard for what should be a law is NOT whether or not it infringes on one's rights, it is whether or not it protects individual rights.  (And no, banning dog torture does not protect any individual's right to life)

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I don't believe that because someone is free to do something that it is necessarily a right.  (but maybe it is) ...

So, what is the aspect that you are questioning? I guess it is this: odd contexts excepted, it is always irrational to torture the dog. It is an example of an act that does not and cannot support one's life.

But, if so, what about some ritual -- say lighting a candle to the virgin Mary? Do you draw a link between that and life? Or, to take a more blatant example, what about suicide: does an educated, healthy person who can go out an earn a living have the right to suicide?

Or, are these questions missing the point you're trying to make? Do you think people do have the right to do a whole range of activities that do not support their lives (by a rational, objective evaluation), but things like torturing animals are a different category?

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I'm responding to softwareNerd's statement that one has a right to harm an animal. I don't believe that because someone is free to do something that it is necessarily a right. (but maybe it is)

This shouldn't confuse the fact that animals do not have rights.

Cool.

I understand your point. I think that just because I have a right to do something, doesn't automatically make my action right. Example: I have the right of free speech, but if I lie to a friend, my action is wrong.

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So, what is the aspect that you are questioning? I guess it is this: odd contexts excepted, it is always irrational to torture the dog. It is an example of an act that does not and cannot support one's life.

But, if so, what about some ritual -- say lighting a candle to the virgin Mary? Do you draw a link between that and life? Or, to take a more blatant example, what about suicide: does an educated, healthy person who can go out an earn a living have the right to suicide?

Or, are these questions missing the point you're trying to make? Do you think people do have the right to do a whole range of activities that do not support their lives (by a rational, objective evaluation), but things like torturing animals are a different category?

I am questioning whether or not it is correct to call certain things "rights" as Objectivism defines rights.   Rand states that there is only one fundamental right (the right to life) and that other "rights" are corollaries.    How do we delineate which corollaries to that fundamental right are valid?

 

Given that, it seems that you could say:  The only right you have is your right to life.  It is the "source" of all rights.

Then you could follow:  You have a right to your property because it is an implementation of your right to life.  (easily shown)

 

But I cannot see how I could make this one work:  "You have a "right" (as defined in Objectivism) to torture animals as an implementation of your right to life."

 

softwareNerd:  Given Rand's theory of rights, and what you posted, aren't you bound to agree with the statement in bold?

 

Cool.

I understand your point. I think that just because I have a right to do something, doesn't automatically make my action right. Example: I have the right of free speech, but if I lie to a friend, my action is wrong.

 

But you don't have a right to free speech (outside of the constitutional right). And even that is limited.

 

That one is famously batted down by the example of yelling "fire" in a crowded theater.   Your right to free speech is not absolute.  In the famous example, you can use your free speech to cause direct physical harm to people.

 

Your right to your own life is absolute.  

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A simple disclaimer on the back of the movie ticket could subvert this aversion, i.e.: tying your right to yell "fire" in a crowded theater to the consequences of yelling "fire" in the absence thereof.

 

Wouldn't that be like saying you have a right to swing a baseball bat?  But since you swung it at random person's head, you'll be held responsible?

 

The essence of my question is whether or not it waters down the Objectivist definition of rights to include "anything" outside of infringing on other's rights.   Perhaps some of these things are simply free actions one can take, but not "rights".

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My government should protect my right to torture animals.

My rational mind should prevent me from doing so.

Again, just because I have a right--a.k.a a freedom of action protected by law--to an action, that doesn't automatically make the action right.

Just because the US government fails to properly protect my rights, the concept of rights remains valid, with absolutes that should extend beyond my right to live.

When I buy or capture an animal, I should have the (property) right to do whatever I want to it. If I torture it, that would be an evil action that government has no business preventing. I cite that tired old, yet true, cliche: With rights come responsibilities.

Personal responsibility.

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Wouldn't that be like saying you have a right to swing a baseball bat?  But since you swung it at random person's head, you'll be held responsible?

 

The essence of my question is whether or not it waters down the Objectivist definition of rights to include "anything" outside of infringing on other's rights.   Perhaps some of these things are simply free actions one can take, but not "rights".

If a person were trampled to death from a false cry of "Fire!", charge them with negligent homicide.

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But I cannot see how I could make this one work:  "You have a "right" (as defined in Objectivism) to torture animals as an implementation of your right to life."

Yes, you're right about my argument: i.e. I do agree with that statement, because my rights stop other people from imposing their morality and their will upon me. They are the shield that allow me to decide things for myself and act accordingly: morally, immorally, and with complete stupidity if I so choose. Obama complains about "negative rights". While Rand didn't use the term, the idea is correct in the sense that rights are the shield that keep other people's force out, and leave me a sphere to do what I please. I need this sphere to be able to live my life as a rational, moral human being, but the shield is useless if other people can tell me what to do and not to do in contexts where I am not using force against them. The freedom to make mistakes and the freedom to purposely do immoral things is not incidental to the right to life, it is an essential part of it.

 

But you don't have a right to free speech (outside of the constitutional right). And even that is limited.

You do have right to free-speech, but again this right is a shield that lets you say anything you wish and even impact people in ways that hurt them -- e.g. publishing blasphemy about their religion -- but is only limited when it starts to encroach on their "shield". That is why fraud and shouting "fire" become illegal: because you judge them relative to the shield around everyone else... and you judge such acts as violating that shield. Consider this: if the theater was only you, you could shout "fire" all you wished. If it was full of a crowd who all wanted to shout "fire" as a joke... again, no problem. If it was filled with people who were in on the joke, and would not run for the exits, but still wanted you to be quiet so they could watch the movie... you are still violating their rights. A good legal code would also typically judge this latter to be a lesser offence, because the encroachment on their rights is less compared to the danger you put them in if they really think there is a fire, and start a stampede. Edited by softwareNerd
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... And four, it's a leap beyond current scientific knowledge into realms that can only be described as spooky.

 

 

If animals do not have this region, and if it is relevant to moral choice, the implications seem clear.

 

... 

 

I admit it's an interesting finding, but question the reliability of two ifs that lead to a seem, particularily when applied to a spooky leap beyond what we know.  Also I think the more relavent issue is whatever impact this finding has on volition, be it man and/or beast, given the clear implications to ethics.

 

Thanks for sharing, even though it's not particularly helpful to my argument :blush:

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...

The quote you have referred to is exactly correct.  Beware its interpretation.  Rand is pointing out there is an alternative kind of "ought", an objective one, i.e. if you wish to live, what you need to do to achieve it depends upon your nature (and in fact the nature of all of reality) ..so what you are, determines (leaves only a subset of all possible actions as successful in your choice to live) what you ought to do (to achieve life).  This principle is applied individually to each beneficiary of his own morality.

 

So the argument you need to present is why "ought" I (or any other Objectivist) form a society with animals and grant them rights?

 

Yes, I agree and accept the terms necessary to present a persuasive argument for an animal right to life, with the following clarification:  the word grant means (or should be replaced with) recognize, i.e., objectively apparent, true; the word grant doesn't mean create in this context.  If an Objectivist can recognize an animal's right to life, then he ought to respect it.

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Ok DA

 

I know you are thinker so I will indulge you, but I will have to get inside your head to take this conversation forward...

 

First two questions:

1. Are rights according to a politics of a philosophy a consequence of ethics of that philosophy?

2. Do you agree ethics in a philosophy is essentially the study of morality in the context of that philosophy?

 

If you answer "yes" to these we can start at morality.

 

To begin I have these open ended general questions about morality:

 

I)  Are moral statements, e.g. "Person X, doing Y, in context Z, is wrong", "Person J, doing K, in context L, is right", in general capable of being evaluated as true or not? i.e. are there such things as moral truths?

II) Are all statements which are true or not true, necessarily, statements of fact?  Are there truths which are not facts, what kinds of truths are those?

III) Are all statements of fact, necessarily, statements of facts of reality? Are there facts not of reality, what kind of facts are those?

IV) What is the status of a statement which can be true, but which is either not a statement of fact, or if it is , is not a statement of a fact of reality? i.e. in what way or in what sense can that kind of statement be said to be true; and if the statement is presumably making a claim about something what exactly is that "something"?

 

These are to get at what your thoughts are as to the status of moral truths, and their nature.  It will define for me whether you are arguing for the existence of animal rights within the Objectivist framework or are arguing outside of the framework of Objectivist philosophy.

 

I am very curious please be thorough!

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I admit it's an interesting finding, but question the reliability of two ifs that lead to a seem, particularily when applied to a spooky leap beyond what we know.  Also I think the more relavent issue is whatever impact this finding has on volition, be it man and/or beast, given the clear implications to ethics.

 

Thanks for sharing, even though it's not particularly helpful to my argument :blush:

I did mention it was an interesting aside.

 

Try this instead:

Since moneys do not have this region, and if it is relevant to moral choice, then the implications seem clear.

 

In looking at a few articles from searching Google with "lateral frontal pole", rather than a 'guilt node', 'remorse' or 'regret' is a more adept description thus far. Many of these studies can be poorly worded, and discovering what the specific observations are that led to it obscure.

 

Again, your considerations regarding animals from the ethical perspective made this worth an 'honorable mention'.

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Ok DA

 

I know you are thinker so I will indulge you, but I will have to get inside your head to take this conversation forward...

...

 

Thankee-sai, I shall endeavor not to disappoint you  :thumbsup:

 

...

First two questions:

1. Are rights according to a politics of a philosophy a consequence of ethics of that philosophy?

2. Do you agree ethics in a philosophy is essentially the study of morality in the context of that philosophy?

 

If you answer "yes" to these we can start at morality.

...

 

1) Yes

2) Yes

 

...

To begin I have these open ended general questions about morality:

 

I)  Are moral statements, e.g. "Person X, doing Y, in context Z, is wrong", "Person J, doing K, in context L, is right", in general capable of being evaluated as true or not? i.e. are there such things as moral truths?

II) Are all statements which are true or not true, necessarily, statements of fact?  Are there truths which are not facts, what kinds of truths are those?

III) Are all statements of fact, necessarily, statements of facts of reality? Are there facts not of reality, what kind of facts are those?

IV) What is the status of a statement which can be true, but which is either not a statement of fact, or if it is , is not a statement of a fact of reality? i.e. in what way or in what sense can that kind of statement be said to be true; and if the statement is presumably making a claim about something what exactly is that "something"?

 

These are to get at what your thoughts are as to the status of moral truths, and their nature.  It will define for me whether you are arguing for the existence of animal rights within the Objectivist framework or are arguing outside of the framework of Objectivist philosophy.

 

I am very curious please be thorough!

 

I) Yes, presuming the actions of persons X and J are both possible and intentional, then moral statements about them can be evaluated as being true or not.

II) What is factually true is necessarily supported by proof.  The second part of your question suggests truths of fiction, e.g., Santa lives at the North Pole. 

III) Yes, however it's clearer to say all statements of fact about reality are necessarily true.  "Facts" about something other than reality are conjecture.

IV) What is possible, given that there are factual elements in the statement that suggest a credible outcome, e.g., that life exists elsewhere in the universe.  The possible existence of something yet to be discovered, based on what is currently known.

 

How'd I do?

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...

In looking at a few articles from searching Google with "lateral frontal pole", rather than a 'guilt node', 'remorse' or 'regret' is a more adept description thus far. Many of these studies can be poorly worded, and discovering what the specific observations are that led to it obscure.

...

 

Googling "animal remorse" the following popped up, and is typical of the kind of studies I find when looking into the subject.  Node or not, there appears ample evidence of ethical animal behavior, but lacking a Mr. Ed or Dr. Dolittle, it's fairly difficult to assess without making behavioral comparisons...

 

"Elephants have some of the most elaborate group rituals of any animals. When a beloved member of an elephant troop dies, those left behind will mourn the lost individual by 'burying' the body with leaves and grass, and keeping vigil over the body for a week. And just as humans visit the gravesites of their lost loved ones, elephants visit the bones of dead elephants for years to come."

http://www.livescience.com/24800-animals-emotions-morality.html

 

Edit: I recall reading on account some time ago of an elephant killing and burying a villager, suggesting a kind of remorse, or guilty conscience...

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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Thankee-sai, I shall endeavor not to disappoint you  :thumbsup:

 

 

1) Yes

2) Yes

 

 

I) Yes, presuming the actions of persons X and J are both possible and intentional, then moral statements about them can be evaluated as being true or not.

II) What is factually true is necessarily supported by proof.  The second part of your question suggests truths of fiction, e.g., Santa lives at the North Pole. 

III) Yes, however it's clearer to say all statements of fact about reality are necessarily true.  "Facts" about something other than reality are conjecture.

IV) What is possible, given that there are factual elements in the statement that suggest a credible outcome, e.g., that life exists elsewhere in the universe.  The possible existence of something yet to be discovered, based on what is currently known.

 

How'd I do?

 

Not bad but you glossed over a number of specific questions... that's Ok though because the following should clear things up:

 

Statement 1: Person X, did Y, in context Z.

Statement 2: Person X, did Y, in context Z, and it was wrong. 

 

Assume statement 2 is a statement of a fact of reality which is true, and that statement 1 is also a statement of fact which is true. 

 

What are the factual differences between Statement 1 and Statement 2?  i.e. What kinds of facts of reality does statement 2 make beyond the facts of reality of statement 1.

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Re: Statements 1 & 2, the difference is in the recognition of a moral reality, or what you refer to as objective morality.  You pointed out earlier the questionable dichotomy between what is moral and what is correct in post #93:
--
"If I may observe: one must be careful in asserting too much of a dichotomy between 'morality' and 'correctness'.  Objective morality depends upon correctness and is based on reality and the consequences of actions to the proper beneficiary, the individual who uses morality to guide his action." ~ StrictlyLogical

 

"As such to answer DA, 1) morality is not additional to 2) correctness, it is a specific form of correctness."~ StrictlyLogical
--
I believe we are copacetic on this issue.

As to your follow up, that is the issue to be resolved in this particular thread; specifically, the necessity of a human qualifier.  As stated yes, all facts of reality are in principle capable of independent observation and validation by any rational human being.  But are all facts of reality dependent on independent observation and validation by a rational human being?  At this point I believe it is more correct to say, all facts of reality are in principle capable of independent observation and validation by any intelligent human being.  Consider the following:
--
"... For whatever we mean by calling our minds 'rational,' surely this must be compatible with a recognition that the human mind is a species of animal mind, which has arisen through the same sorts of evolutionary processes that also produced the minds we call 'nonrational.' And the more we learn about the cognitive, behavioral, and neurophysiological similarities between ourselves and other animals, and about the extent to which we 'rational' creatures frequently think and choose in ways that systematically deviate from what rational principles would dictate, the more we seem compelled to regard the specialness of our minds as merely a matter of degree, not a difference in kind..." ~ from Introduction to Essentially Rational Animals, 1.1: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/8641838/Essentially_rational_animals.pdf?sequence=1
--
 

Now, shall we begin? ~ Khan, Star Trek, Into Darkness

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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Nobody who doesn't believe in animal rights argues that there aren't similarities between humans and other animals, or that humans aren't animals, or that animal (including "human animal") brains don't have some similarities. They argue that humans can reason, an enormous, unique difference which alters everything about how we deal with animals who can't reason.

Why don't rocks have rights? Why shouldn't you leave a boulder be, to be altered only by the chance of the universe? Why use life as your fundamental to dictate what you can or can't do while existing in the universe? What about bugs who ruin crops? The standard isn't anything but you and your life. Animals don't have rights because they don't have the ability to recognize yours. You use animals for your life because it's advantageous for you to do so.

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Why use life as your fundamental to dictate what you can or can't do while existing in the universe?

What about bugs who ruin crops?

Good questions. I can't answer them because there is no rational answer.

I'd like to add to question one: Rights is a Man-Made concept, as opposed to the Metaphysical. Life shouldn't be the fundamental dictate; the Man-Made (conceptual--volitional--consciousness) should be. The actions of the rocks and boulders you mentioned are, in this context, equivalent to animals' actions.

Question two highlights the inapplicability of using life as the fundamental dictate. Plants are alive, so killing the bugs would be protecting a plant's "right" to live, but killing the bugs would be unfair to their "right" to live because the bugs can't understand the concept of the plants' "right" to live, so they wouldn't know they were violating plants' "rights". And if a bugs' "rights" activist got legislation to prevent the use of pesticides, it would violate the farmer's right to property; he would be unable to do what he wants with his crop.

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