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Ragnar
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DA

Isn't the logical end game of that reasoning basically janism? When to stop the designation until one only discriminates between animate and inanimate ?

 

My initial read of Jainism suggests a similarity, but the element of equality between all forms of life may not be compatible.  At any rate, I'm not promoting a religious view in this argument, so any appearance to one is merely coincidental at this point...

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The analogy between individual rights and self ownership is only valid for animals capable of ownership. I'll start another topic for this soon but in the meantime, you should clarify your own grasp of the concept.

What do we mean when we say that someone "owns" X and why do we allocate such mental space and energy to it?

What would life be like without any concept of personal property?

Why do we consider pets a form of property; how would we have to alter such relationships if they "owned" themselves?

What would the long term consequences be?

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Remember the discussion of children's rights?

What would parenting look like if parents claimed to "own" their children, the way they might legitimately own pets?

There is a reason for the concept of property and it's actually the same fact which makes slavery immoral.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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If liberty rights are valid and inherent to human animals, how do human animals secure these rights amongst wolves, proverbial or otherwise?

 

Rights only belong to a species whose nature makes them possible.

 

The short answer is, by force.  A liberty right asserts having tacit permission to act unless/until a claim limiting/dismissing ones actions is made explicit.

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The analogy between individual rights and self ownership is only valid for animals capable of ownership. I'll start another topic for this soon but in the meantime, you should clarify your own grasp of the concept.

What do we mean when we say that someone "owns" X and why do we allocate such mental space and energy to it?

What would life be like without any concept of personal property?

Why do we consider pets a form of property; how would we have to alter such relationships if they "owned" themselves?

What would the long term consequences be?

 

Follow the one who labors to preserve their possession, Harrison.  What does it mean as an Objectivist to assert, "I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."  Now recognize that man (no matter how rational) remains an animal and act consistently.

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Remember the discussion of children's rights?

What would parenting look like if parents claimed to "own" their children, the way they might legitimately own pets?

There is a reason for the concept of property and it's actually the same fact which makes slavery immoral.

 

I agree, and wonder why you believe this rebuts animals having essentially the same kind of liberty right to the object of their own labor?  Let's face it, many parents (including non-humans) already claim their own children as if they were pets, or pets as if they were their own children.  Neither claim prevents abuse, and we certainly recognize abuse when we see it.

 

Edit: Back latter...

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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"Animal rights" cannot even be classified as wrong; it's a contradiction in terms.  It's attributing a moral status to something which lacks volition.

 

 

@ softwareNerd, JASKN, StrictlyLogical, dream_weaver, Harrison Danneskjold, et al,

 

<snip>.

If liberty rights are valid and inherent to human animals, are they not in fact valid for all animals?

Harrison tersely summarized in his earlier post. Right action differentiated from wrong action is foundational to ethics or morality. Animals, apart from man, are not moral agents. We neither bring them into our court systems, nor have any other animals apart from man devised such a system.

 

Elephants returning to the boneyards, and other various behaviors observed among other non-human animals, are often interpreted to be something that has not, to this day, been demonstrated in an incontrovertible manner. Human beings visit gravesites to reminisce, retrospect, and perhaps other things. To project onto elephants this interpretation is anthropomorphic.

 

Rights, as a moral principle, require moral agents to discover and implement them. Attempts to apply them inappropriately relegate that usage of the term "rights" to a 'floating abstraction' or 'stolen concept' status.

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Okay, DA. Animals do not share our sort of freedom.

Why do you eat what you do, live where you do, work where you do, drive the car you do, et cetera? Isn't it because at some point you conceived of those possibilities and selected the best one for yourself?

Now why does a squirrel, a zebra or an intestinal parasite live where it does?

DA, man is an animal, but the point is that he's rational.

If it rains we build shelter; if there's a plague we invent vaccines. If we run out of space on Earth we'll invent our own wings.

"I swear by my life, and my love of it, that I will not live for the sake of another MAN" because other animals cannot forge chains, in the first place. They just have lots of pointy teeth.

---

Animals can learn. They can feel. They can run, jump, eat, climb, howl and die, too.

We're the only ones who can invent.

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...

DA, man is an animal, but the point is that he's rational.

If it rains we build shelter; if there's a plague we invent vaccines. If we run out of space on Earth we'll invent our own wings.

...

Animals can learn. They can feel. They can run, jump, eat, climb, howl and die, too.

We're the only ones who can invent.

 

Uh, no we aren't...

http://www.livescience.com/16856-animals-tools-octopus-primates.html

 

I don't accept variations on a dubious human distinction for making tools as a means of excluding non-humans from consideration of having liberty rights.

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Harrison tersely summarized in his earlier post. Right action differentiated from wrong action is foundational to ethics or morality. Animals, apart from man, are not moral agents. We neither bring them into our court systems, nor have any other animals apart from man devised such a system.

 

Elephants returning to the boneyards, and other various behaviors observed among other non-human animals, are often interpreted to be something that has not, to this day, been demonstrated in an incontrovertible manner. Human beings visit gravesites to reminisce, retrospect, and perhaps other things. To project onto elephants this interpretation is anthropomorphic.

 

Rights, as a moral principle, require moral agents to discover and implement them. Attempts to apply them inappropriately relegate that usage of the term "rights" to a 'floating abstraction' or 'stolen concept' status.

 

"In a famous 1958 experiment, hungry rats that were only fed if they pulled a lever to shock their littermates refused to do so, suggesting that the rodents have a sense of empathy and compassion for their fellows. Another study published in 2006 in the journal Science found that mice would grimace when their compatriots were in pain — but only if they knew the mouse personally." ~ from the same link you'r referring to that I provided earlier: http://www.livescience.com/24800-animals-emotions-morality.html

 

There's enough evidence to pass as being moral agents by behavioral observation,  and certainly enough to make the claim that humans are unique moral agents suspect of relying on bias, rather than proof.

 

See also: http://www.livescience.com/24802-animals-have-morals-book.html

 

"Instead, animal emotions may be rooted in instinct and hard-wiring, rather than conscious choice, Herzog said.  "They look to us like moral behaviors, but they're not rooted in the same mire of intellect and culture and language that human morality is," he said.

 

But Rowlands argues that such hair-splitting is overthinking things. In the case of the child-rescuing gorilla Binti Jua, for instance, "what sort of instinct is involved there? Do gorillas have an instinct to help unconscious boys in enclosures?" he said."

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DA

 

Absent a blantant contradiction or misunderstandong of Objectivist ethics... no one else will be easier targets for your pursuasion.

 

Plus I thought we had made some progress...

 

We continue to...

 

Care to respond more directly to steps 1 & 2 as posted in #278??

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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...because that's all we do. We just make some tools.

 

I am responding to claims of distinction which supposedly validate dismissing non-humans from consideration of liberty rights.  My rebuttal to a particular claim doesn't constitute a counter claim that, "that's all we do".

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The distinction I would make , would be between species with conceptual consciousnesses and those without. As far as I understand humans are the only members of the club, at least so far proven. That is the basis of my bias.

 

As far is 'rights' and 'rights-like-things(compassion, regard, empathy for living)' and applying them to other species I grant those per species or individual creature ad hoc , because I find them to fail to meet the criteria of having rights inherently.

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The distinction I would make , would be between species with conceptual consciousnesses and those without. As far as I understand humans are the only members of the club, at least so far proven. That is the basis of my bias.

 

As far is 'rights' and 'rights-like-things(compassion, regard, empathy for living)' and applying them to other species I grant those per species or individual creature ad hoc , because I find them to fail to meet the criteria of having rights inherently.

 

"While the study of animal cognition is largely an empirical endeavor, the practice of science in this area relies on theoretical arguments and assumptions — for example, on the nature of mind, communication, and rationality. If nonhuman animals don't have beliefs, and if all cognitive systems have beliefs, then animals wouldn't be the proper subjects of cognitive studies. If animals aren't agents because their behavior isn't caused by propositional attitudes, and if all cognitive systems are agents, we get the same conclusion. While there are arguments against animal minds, the cognitive scientists studying animals largely accept that animals are minded, cognitive systems. Animal consciousness, however, it is a topic that some scientists are less willing to engage with."

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/cognition-animal/

 

This combined with my personal experience over decades of interacting with animals, as pets and in more natural settings, gives me reason to disagree with you on this issue.  But I appreciate your POV and feedback.

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I would have to gather, from your continued pointing to articles that seem to fit the anthropomorphic tendancy I alluded to, that you do not identify one of the pillars of morality to be reason?

 

At worst, I think I'm more willing to accept evidence generated from behavioral observation than you, where more direct lines of communication are not available.  So far as reason being a pillar of morality, where does that place volition?  If reason is a pillar, it seems to me volition is the foundation.

 

Edit:  Is it correct for me to assume your dismissal of points 1 & 2 in post #278?

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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From DA, post number 278:
 

Step one involves the recognition that what is commonly referred to as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (property) is essentially a liberty right. . .

. . . Agents are (moral) full self-owners just in case they morally own themselves in just the same way that they can morally, fully own inanimate objects. . .

This view is fully consistent with Locke's assessment of a right to self-preservation and endorsed by the signatories of the Declaration of Independence. . .

 

Meaning that step one is the identification of "individual rights" as strikingly analogous to "ownership".  The analogy itself is completely accurate and insightful.  Step 1.5 is the extension of this analogy to treating "individual rights" as an extension of "self-ownership" which, while both of its constituent referents are valid and moral, is the absolutely backwards method of organizing them.

"Individual rights" do not refer to "self-ownership"; "ownership" refers to "individual rights".  Observe and retain this because we'll return to it.
 

. . . Step two involves the recognition that this view is also compatible with Objectivism.  Now here's the stretch. . .

If liberty rights are valid and inherent to human animals, are they not in fact valid for all animals?

 

Meaning that step two involves the inductive generalization of "self-ownership" from one type of animal to all others, in cognitive lockstep with:

 

I don't accept variations on a dubious human for making tools as a means of excluding non-humans from consideration of having liberty rights.

 

I will grant you, DA, that your position is self-consistent and logical in the absolutely strictest sense of the term.  Now let's continue in that vein. . .

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It is that human beings possess a volitional consciousness which lays the necessity for discovering the processes required to come to right conclusions.

 

DA, I've seen a video where a polar bear charging tied up sled dogs, stops at his arrival and engages in activity that we identify as frolicking with one of the dogs.

Another one shows a crow that brought food to an orphaned kitten and captured many moments between two animals where the maturing cat did not stalk the food providing crow.

 

These are interesting exceptions, and do not typify the behavior between these creatures.

 

Where I'm at currently with integrating rights conceptually, a cursory glance at the information you provided struck me as "Ok, where is the error hiding in here."

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Let's imagine you're right for a moment, DA, and 'rights' apply to all animals which can demonstrate some form of awareness; all mammals, some birds and perhaps a lizard or two.

The foundational principle there would be that "self-ownership" refers to perception, as opposed to brute stimuli-response (which I would contend applies to insects and fish, ergo we need not protect them).

 

So whatever is capable of perception, in the sense that we are, "owns" itself; does that sound accurate?  If so then we need to furnish some additional details, to say the least, about this particular method of perception.

What do you suppose a rat's experiences of the world are like?  Let's step out of our own shoes for a moment and project this.  Presumably they can distinguish between physical objects in three dimensions; they're aware of food and dangers and potential mates (and apparently morality!).

What else can we deduce about the world through a rat's eyes?

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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And the important thing here is not the specific details we can procure about a rat's-eye view of reality, but to notice the trait which differentiates the mind of a rat from the mind of an intestinal parasite; that form of perception which we must define.

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...

 

Where I'm at currently with integrating rights conceptually, a cursory glance at the information you provided struck me as "Ok, where is the error hiding in here."

 

If you find it, please thump me for not seeing it.

 

What I'm looking for is a narrow bridge back to a rudimentary foundational right, from which all others branch outwards.  In my mind I see a venn diagram showing various spheres of rights, at the center of which lies this one basic right.  A liberty right by definition, appears to fit the requirements in that it would simply recognize that free, intentional actions are necessary to the preservation of life, observationally apparent and non-binding.

 

Let me know what you find...

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And the important thing here is not the specific details we can procure about a rat's-eye view of reality, but to notice the trait which differentiates the mind of a rat from the mind of an intestinal parasite; that form of perception which we must define.

 

Of the top of my head, this sounds somewhat like differentiating between the mind of an individual, presumably capable of selfish action, and that of a hive mind.  I'll give it some thought on the way home to see what I can come up with.  Bear in mind the goal I'm pursuing as related to dream_weaver in post #303.

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