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Author Topic: Non-Autonomous Sentient Beings  (Read 7860 times)
maybesomeday
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Non-Autonomous Sentient Beings
« on: December 11, 2009, 11:08:20 pm »

"Libertarianism asserts that each autonomous agent initially fully owns herself and that agents have moral power to acquire property rights in natural resources and artifacts. What is the status of non-autonomous beings—such as children and many animals—that have moral standing (e.g., because sentient)? One possible reply is to deny that there are any non-autonomous beings wth moral standing (e.g., because only beings capable of having moral duties—agents—are owed any duties). Non-autonomous beings are simply things to be used. As such, they can be the full private property of agents. Few people, however, will accept that position. Children are not the full private property of their parents. Dogs may not be tortured for fun. Another possibility is to hold that non-autonomous sentient beings are also full self-owners, where the rights involved are understood as protecting their interests rather than their choices (see, for example, Vallentyne 2002). This, of course, would have the wild implication that rats are protected by rights of self-ownership. Perhaps there is some plausible intermediate position, but if so, it has not yet been developed adequately" -Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy

I realize that no individual speaks for the FSP and that the FSP has no stance on issues outside of the SOI, but I would like to know how some of its members view the rights of children and/or animals.


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B.D. Ross
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Re: Non-Autonomous Sentient Beings
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2009, 11:23:25 pm »

I think this encyclopedia entry is in dire need of attention Wink
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maybesomeday
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Re: Non-Autonomous Sentient Beings
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2009, 11:42:17 pm »

Unfortunately it is not Wikipedia so I do not think they will allow you to edit it. However, there is an email address listed at the end of the article.

Article URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/libertarianism/

email address: vallentynep@missouri.edu

How would you alter it?

 
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B.D. Ross
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Re: Non-Autonomous Sentient Beings
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2009, 11:53:50 pm »

Extensively. There's too much text to post here (over the character limit). It's difficult to read. Lots of conclusions where conclusions don't belong.
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John Edward Mercier
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Re: Non-Autonomous Sentient Beings
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2009, 10:42:21 am »

I think they do it on purpose.
Rats do have self-ownership... but don't have freedoms protected under a human social contract.
I'm quite sure the rats have worked out some pecking order and territorial status amongst themselves.
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MaineShark
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Re: Non-Autonomous Sentient Beings
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2009, 05:44:22 pm »

I realize that no individual speaks for the FSP and that the FSP has no stance on issues outside of the SOI, but I would like to know how some of its members view the rights of children and/or animals.

Children have self-ownership because they will eventually develop into reasoning beings, under normal circumstances.  Parents may exert control over children because they are not, at present, reasoning beings.  Parents may act in ways that do not hinder the child's development into a reasoning being and full enjoyment of self-ownership.  (eg, you can't sell your children into slavery)

Animals are not reasoning beings, and have no self-ownership.  Rights stem from self-ownership, and are binary: you have all of them or none of them.  Lacking self-ownership, animals have no rights whatsoever.  But if you torture them for fun, or such, I will remind you that I have every right to boycott you, publicly lambaste you, and encourage others to do the same, because I (personally) find that offensive.

Joe
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Re: Non-Autonomous Sentient Beings
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2009, 06:49:53 pm »

Animals are not reasoning beings...

Humans aren't animals? I'll keep this conclusion in mind next time I see a lab rat push a button.

Rights stem from self-ownership, and are binary: you have all of them or none of them.

"Well there's yer problem..."
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John Edward Mercier
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Re: Non-Autonomous Sentient Beings
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2009, 07:03:32 pm »

The arguement of reasoning being worked pretty well to maintain slavery in the US for so long. Wink

Animals and other living things have self-ownership because it is a natural state. They also have natural rights as far as those go... but they do not have human social contract rights.
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MaineShark
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Re: Non-Autonomous Sentient Beings
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2009, 07:34:04 pm »

Animals are not reasoning beings...
Humans aren't animals? I'll keep this conclusion in mind next time I see a lab rat push a button.

Humans are animals.  Not all humans are people.  Unfortunately, there's no obvious way to tell persons from mere animals by merely looking.  Hence, the non-aggression principle: if something looks like a person, you assume it is and behave accordingly, unless it demonstrates conclusively that it is not a person, by initiating force against a person.

Incidentally, that's also why libertarian views of justice don't include revenge: hating an animal for behaving like an animal would not be rational.  It's also the moral basis for self-defense, as killing a person always represents a violation of his right to life, but animals have no such right.

The arguement of reasoning being worked pretty well to maintain slavery in the US for so long. Wink

Really?  Can you point to some examples?  Or are you just blindly attempting to associate unrelated subjects, to emotionally discredit something you can't attack on any intellectual level?

Animals and other living things have self-ownership because it is a natural state. They also have natural rights as far as those go... but they do not have human social contract rights.

Self-ownership is only a "natural state" of reasoning beings.  An animal can't comprehend the concept of self, let alone own itself.

And, as we've been over so many times, there's no such thing as a social contract.  Contracts, by definition, result from the mutual consent of the parties to the contract.  You can't be "born into" a contract, or any other such nonsense.

Nor are there any rights other than self-ownership.  That is the one actual right; the beginning and end of the list of rights.  All other actual rights are merely restatements of self-ownership for specific cases.  For example, I have the right to keep and bear arms, because I own me, and I can use me to purchase and carry weapons.

Joe
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Re: Non-Autonomous Sentient Beings
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2009, 09:04:15 pm »

Your first line distinguishing people from humans is a moral perception.
It denotes an underclass that following that perception could be constituted as property.

Slavery moved from indentured servitude to simple matters of property.
It moved from the restitution of debt to the human being an animal but not a person (reasoning being).

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Delphina
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Re: Non-Autonomous Sentient Beings
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2009, 06:53:16 am »

Animals and other living things have self-ownership because it is a natural state. They also have natural rights as far as those go... but they do not have human social contract rights.

Self-ownership is only a "natural state" of reasoning beings.  An animal can't comprehend the concept of self, let alone own itself.

This is debatable. Many animals do have a concept of self and their very survival instinct and ability to learn can be argument that they 'own self' and reason how to protect it. I don't believe that it puts them on the same moral agency level as humans, just that to moral agents there should be a distinction of treatment between animals of varying intelligence.

In other words, if I am going to say I am a moral agent, I had better not just assume that means I can do whatever I want to anyone who I don't think is a moral agent. Rather, being a moral agent requires of me to consider the sentience and sapience of my fellow creatures and treating them according to their emotional, psychological and sensory needs, so much as it is in my ability.

As soon as a moral agent dismisses another creatures suffering as unimportant because they are 'lesser' that person ceases to be a moral agent.
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Re: Non-Autonomous Sentient Beings
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2009, 12:45:26 pm »

Your first line distinguishing people from humans is a moral perception.
It denotes an underclass that following that perception could be constituted as property.

It doesn't "denote an underclass."  It denotes two separate things.

People are defined by their reason, not biology.  Little green men from Mars are people, but not humans.  Maybe there's a dolphin somewhere that has attained person-hood; if so, it's certainly non-human.

Think of a Venn diagram.  "Person" is a set that overlaps some of humanity.  It also may overlap many other creatures, if we consider the whole universe (and, given the size of the universe, the odds approach 100% that many other planets also developed reasoning life).

To say that only humans can be persons would deny the person-hood of uncounted and uncountable masses throughout the universe (and possibly here on this planet, if some apes or dolphins or computers develop enough).

Self-ownership is only a "natural state" of reasoning beings.  An animal can't comprehend the concept of self, let alone own itself.
This is debatable. Many animals do have a concept of self and their very survival instinct and ability to learn can be argument that they 'own self' and reason how to protect it.

Instinctive reactions are not the same as reason and self-ownership.  I can build a robot that will "defend itself."  That doesn't mean it actually understands selfhood, or is a moral actor.

I don't believe that it puts them on the same moral agency level as humans, just that to moral agents there should be a distinction of treatment between animals of varying intelligence.

Self-ownership is binary.  You can't "kind of" own yourself.  You either do, and you are a moral actor, or you don't, and you're a thing.

While I might have aesthetic opinions on the treatment of higher animals, those are not morality, and no one else is obligated to respect my personal aesthetic notions.

In other words, if I am going to say I am a moral agent, I had better not just assume that means I can do whatever I want to anyone who I don't think is a moral agent. Rather, being a moral agent requires of me to consider the sentience and sapience of my fellow creatures and treating them according to their emotional, psychological and sensory needs, so much as it is in my ability.

No, you shouldn't just assume.  But that doesn't mean you can assign "levels" to something that's an "all or nothing" proposition.  You can't be a little bit pregnant, and you can't be a little bit of a moral actor.  Any moral actor has all the rights of any other moral actor.  Any entity that is not a moral actor has no rights whatsoever (and, in the same vein, no obligation to respect rights - a bear can kill you, but it is not "wrong" for it to do so - morality doesn't enter into its life).

As soon as a moral agent dismisses another creatures suffering as unimportant because they are 'lesser' that person ceases to be a moral agent.

Prove it.  With logic, not just an attempt to impose your own biases on others.

Joe
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Re: Non-Autonomous Sentient Beings
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2009, 01:29:27 pm »

Prove it.  With logic, not just an attempt to impose your own biases on others.

In order to create a logical argument that is valid you have to start with agreed upon premise.  Since I do not agree with your statement/claim that self-ownership is binary I doubt I would create logic you would accept.

This is interesting:
Quote
Any entity that is not a moral actor has no rights whatsoever (and, in the same vein, no obligation to respect rights - a bear can kill you, but it is not "wrong" for it to do so - morality doesn't enter into its life).

So that I can more clearly understand you, can you clarify the above statement by telling me if this is what you are saying and why not if I'm wrong. Thanks!

Because a bear can kill without morality entering into it's reasoning, that gives moral actors the right to kill the bear (or torture it indefinitely for it's bile as do the Chinese to sell in medicine).  T/F

And such actions by the moral actor are not immoral because the bear has no rights.  T/F

And such actions by a moral actor on a bear do not in any way make the moral actor less of an agent of morality. T/F

« Last Edit: December 14, 2009, 01:32:20 pm by Delphina » Logged

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Re: Non-Autonomous Sentient Beings
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2009, 01:40:27 pm »

In order to create a logical argument that is valid you have to start with agreed upon premise.  Since I do not agree with your statement/claim that self-ownership is binary I doubt I would create logic you would accept.

You're welcome to introduce logic that supports your claim that self-ownership is not binary.

Because a bear can kill without morality entering into it's reasoning, that gives moral actors the right to kill the bear (or torture it indefinitely for it's bile as do the Chinese to sell in medicine).  T/F

Not "because."  Moral actors have the right to do anything that does not violate the rights of another.  The bear is not a moral actor, hence it has no rights, so moral actors are not limited in their behavior towards it.

The bear can kill without morality being a question because it is not a moral actor.

And such actions by the moral actor are not immoral because the bear has no rights.  T/F

Certainly.  Only actions which violate rights are evil.

And such actions by a moral actor on a bear do not in any way make the moral actor less of an agent of morality. T/F

You'd have to define what "agent of morality" means.

Joe
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Re: Non-Autonomous Sentient Beings
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2009, 04:07:53 pm »


And such actions by the moral actor are not immoral because the bear has no rights.  T/F

Certainly.  Only actions which violate rights are evil.

If you believe the torture of animals is not evil, I'm pretty much done.
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