Rights and Who Owns Them


Danneskjold

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This is a sort of offshoot of the abortion thread, however it is far more elastic. Really I'm just curious what the ideas are on what defines a human (and therefore gives it the rights)

There is still a hierarchy of values. Putting beef, pork, and chicken on the dinner table is worth the slaughter of the cow, pig, or chicken in my mind. They do not have the right to live, but it would be low of me or my agent to kill them for no purpose but the gruesome act of killing a living animal.
I'll start off with this quote by (I might have the name wrong) John Anderson.

So, I was wondering, there are some kids at my school who literally do not have the mental capacity to operate the most basic of their muscles. Their neck cannot support their head, they cannot speak, and they are trapped and forced to be carted around the school in a wheel-chair. Of course, as far as I know they do not have the realization that they are like this. So if what would be normally called a human being lacks cognitive ability is he/she/it a human being?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Jeff:

~ Given that we're all speaking within the O'ist framework, Rand starts off defining the metaphysical source/meaning of 'rights' with "Rights are conditions of existence required by man's nature for his proper survival." Though her focus was on the necessities of man's life (qua man), ntl, considering many's concerns about intelligent apes, dolphins, meeting aliens, etc, this can be broadened from 'man' to 'a life form'. Hence, in this context, all life-forms have 'rights', or, necessary conditions required by their nature for their survival.

~ Thereafter, Rand talks about man's rights from an ethics/morals perspective re why should such be respected/recognized in some other humans. Your question applies more to "Under what conditions should 'rights' NOT be respected/recognized to some degree?" --- Note the italicized words in this paragraph.

LLAP

J:D

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Addendum:

~ Now, my take on this territory is: Those who show little or no recognition/respect for the 'rights' of others, are owed no more than they've, as a species or individual, shown. This is obvious re some humans: hit-men for hire by Murder Inc clearly have no 'rights' to be recognized or respected; thugs, thieves have little. They are imprisoned or worse. They 'have' metaphysical rights, but, not worth ethically respecting.

~ Yes, there are 'legal' rights, but, we must watch out for context-equivocation probs with this term 'rights.' Legal rights are a protection of suspects (ie: 'us' citizens) from being scapegoated by overzealous officials who use legalized-force. This is a different context-meaning of 'rights,' hence not really relevent here.

LLAP

J:D

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Addendum-2:

~ Then, there are those who show no ability for possessing even a conception of 'rights.' Herein, so far are children, most 'retarded', and crazies. We grant such 'leeway' re caretaking, and, in effect, 'imprisoned/monitored' until (if at all) their potential can become actualizable to being self-supportive and understanding of 'rights'-respect. Why? Unlike animals, the human species shows it can recognize the value of recognizing what 'rights' mean.

~ Then, there are animals. There are worthwhile considerations re Great Apes, dolphins (maybe someday Asimov's 'positronic' robots, a la Data, though 'robots' would not be a proper term then.) When such show a respect/recognition for property necessities of humans, I say treat such as a human...on an individual, case-by-case basis; until then, nope. Just like bona-fide aliens should be, should we ever meet THEM.

LLAP

J:D

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Jeff:

~ I may have gone off on a wrong tack, upon re-reading. Re your actual question "So if what would be normally called a human being lacks cognitive ability is he/she/it a human being?"

~ Well, this has been discussed on RoR quite a bit, but, I'd say that if there's a TOTAL lack of such an ability, of course not. However, in such a case, we're talking a nervous system with little more than a brain stem, I'd say. They're almost an h-b, but, not quite; there's nothing there that can develop, and it's developed as far as it physically (in this case, mentally therefore) can.

~ But, when you say 'lacks' you do mean 'no' (as in 'none-AT-ALL), correct? And when you say 'cognitive', you don't merely mean 6-7 yr old ability to ratiocinate (logic-argument making), right? Infants have 'cognitive ability'...even if they're physically 60 yrs old.

~ Given the aforesaid, you can see where I slid into discussing 'rights.'

LLAP

J:D

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