The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
7 Points

Animal rights

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/6/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 685 times Debate No: 67927
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)




They shouldn't have rights


Thank you Con (TheRaceTo9K) for bringing an important subject to the debating floor.

Since “The Instigator” (Con) did not define “Animal rights,” I Pro will take the position that all animals, including humans, have Unalienable Rights. I will demonstrate these Rights are part of the Laws of Nature, not man-made.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks to Pro for accepting. Since he hasn't posted his argument I'll go ahead and just post mine.

== Case ==

Morality isn’t truth functional with independently competing truth claims but is instead based in rules of interaction that guide our decisions. Our decisions come from self-interest and intending to recognize desired ends. Mercer [1]:

And, this lays the basis of normative egoism. Mercer 2:

  • “weak … egoism is the doctrine that all actions are performed in expectation of realizing self-regarding ends. … egoism is the doctrine that behind any action whatever that an agent performs intentionally, ultimately there lies the agent’s expectation of realizing one or more of her self-regarding ends, an expectation without which the agent would not have performed the action. … if an agent does not expect to forestall his own unhappiness or to promote his self-image, …, in … performing an action … then that agent will not intentionally perform an action of that type. … often we take … some other self-regarding end, not as a consequence … but directly as part of engaging in that activity, …. To enjoy tennis is to take pleasure in playing tennis, and not, … to attain experiences of pleasure through playing tennis.”

So, we are moral in intending to further our own self-interest. I don’t deny that there are decisions that are to benefit those external to the self but we are motivated to take those acts in trying to recognize self-benefiting ends.

Contention 1: We aren’t required to respect animal rights under egoism. There are two reasons:

First: People aren’t required to respect the rights of animals because we can choose if we want to respect rights but we aren’t required or obligated. Kalin [2]:

  • “If I' can be established, then so can I since a person's self-interest consists in those wants and desires most important to him as deter-mined by his own informed preferential valuation. There is no restric-tion on what a person can want or have an interest in. His wants may be selfish, confined to his own pleasure and advancement, or they may be nonselfish, directed toward the pleasure and well-being of another, …The ethical egoist may have an interest in the welfare of others, but if he does, it is only because that other has some special connection with his wants and desires, such as being loved. Only in virtue of this connec-tion can another's wants and desires provide reasons for acting …”

Winning we respect animals for net-utility gains isn’t requiring us to respect their rights because that recognizes animals only instrumentally.

Second: Animals don’t pose a threat that would compel us to respect their rights. I.e my dog doesn’t threaten me if I don’t respect it and thus doesn’t harm my self-interest. Navreson [3]:

  • “Consider the non-[human] … beings. Their behavior will, … affect the interests of many rational beings they might be threats, or sources of food, for instance. … one cannot usefully predict their behavior on the basis of one's results in such deliberations. But consider rational beings. Figuring out what it would be rational for them to do is useful, … there is a pretty significant probability that they will do what it is rational for them to do. … this, … drives … a set of restrictions on our behavior which are not just reactions to immediate threat or prospect of short-term obvious gain, …These commitments are, … the product of self-interest and are very like … agreements. … To talk of "rights" … is to talk of the basis of claims which we have self-interested reason to make and do make, in varying ways; and the reason for others to concede these rights to us is that they have an interest in our respecting them in their case, … No … basis … is, … available for beings which cannot make this kind of claims and commitments, … beings which, whatever interest they may have in coming in for these benefits, simply do not have the sort of rational equipment which would enable them to pose the right kind of threat if we don't, …”

== Conclusion ==

I've shown that animal rights aren't something that animals have as we have no egoistic reason to respect them. We may act in favor of animals occasionally, but that's not out of a respect of rights, but rather out of a desire to fulfill our own egoistic intentions. As such, the resolution is negated.

== Sources ==


[2] Jesse Kalin. Two Kinds of Moral Reasoning: Ethical Egoism as a Moral Theory. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 5, No. 3 (Nov., 1975), pp. 323-356

[3] Jan Narveson [University of Waterloo ]. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Mar., 1977), pp. 161-178



Thank you Con for your argument based on philosophy from Mercer, Kalin and Naryeson. My argument is based, not on philosophy, but from a scientific vantage point. In addition to Rights, the title of this debate, Con made reference to “Moral Reasoning.”

From a scientific vantage point, Morality is an outgrowth of Unalienable Rights, which is an outgrowth of the Constructal Law, which is an outgrowth of the Laws of Thermodynamics. Therefore, morality is a derivative of the physical Laws of Nature, a departure from classical philosophical concepts.

Please bear with me as we take a journey following the traceability path from Thermodynamics (moments after the Big Bang) to Morality. The Laws of Thermodynamics deals with the direction of energy flow. Constructal Law deals with patterns and systems generated by this energy flow as a function of optimization relative to resistance, in the evolution of biology, physics, technology and social organization. At the biological level, there is a bio-program common to all life, once inanimate matter becomes alive, “Life,” must have the freedom (“Liberty” in the optimization relative to resistance), in “the pursuit (energy flow) of” survival; otherwise, there is no life. Since we have life, survival is a form of positive-feedback and a prerequisite for human “Happiness.” Hence, Thomas Jefferson's discovery, which he declared “self-evident” and used the label “Unalienable Rights” representing a polished version of this bio-program in his following celebrated statement, “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” (

The following is a video overview of the Constructal Law:

Continuing with our journey, morality is an outgrowth of life's Unalienable Rights in group formation. The binary values of morality is Right (moral) or Wrong (immoral). The objective of morality is doing Right keeping a group alive. That is, when two or more humans form a group, the group becomes alive. The life of the group is sustained through goodwill and kindness leads to a mutual moral respect for embracing the Unalienable Rights of the members within the group. Goodwill promotes order, stability, and harmony through the pursuit of group-wide positive feedback. Over time, group-wide positive feedback is the genesis of traditions, social values, beliefs, language, etc, the norms of society. These norms are tried and tested, and conservatively pass down from one generation to the next establishing its culture. A moral order guides an individual in the prudent exercise of judgment relative to those norms, going with the social flow minimizing civil resistance (Constructal Law). A moral individual in a civil society strives, albeit imperfectly, to be virtuous; that is, restrained, ethical, and honorable, respecting and embracing the Unalienable Rights of others relative to those tested norms.

The empirical evidence of the diversity of language, beliefs, and social norms throughout history and today demonstrates morality is the thread that runs through the tapestry in group formation.

Con made reference to Kalin. Since philosophers are trap within the matrix of the Laws of Nature, it should be no surprise to finds symmetry within their philosophy relative to morality and the “nature of happiness” (Unalienable Rights) in group formation. Jesse Kalin stated the following (

The first kind of appeal argues that moral relations are more valuable than the special interests that separate people. To think otherwise is to be seriously mistaken as to the nature of happiness and personal welfare, and thus as to where one's true interests lie. A life without moral relations is an impoverished life, one which no wise man would choose if he could safely avoid it. It is, for instance, a life without friends or family in the important sense of these terms.”

Again, morality simply refers to the binary state of Right or Wrong. These states generate mutual positive- or negative-feedback, relative to the Unalienable Rights of another. Mutual positive-feedback, in group creation, is found throughout the symphony of life, to name a few, in the beneficial formation in schools of fish, flocks of birds, packs of wolves, tribes of humans, and in addition, inter-specie relationships, such as those between humans and their pets.

The opening paragraph on the definition of morality from Stanford University's Encyclopedia of Philosophy, supports the symmetry of morality found in “non-humans.” Therefore, morality was around before philosophy (

What “morality” is taken to refer to plays a crucial, although often unacknowledged, role in formulating ethical theories. To take “morality” to refer to an actually existing code of conduct put forward by a society results in a denial that there is a universal morality, one that applies to all human beings. This descriptive use of “morality”is the one used by anthropologists when they report on the morality of the societies that they study. Recently, some comparative and evolutionary psychologists (Haidt, Hauser, De Waal) have taken morality, or a close anticipation of it, to be present among groups of non-human animals, primarily other primates but not limited to them. “Morality” has also been taken to refer to any code of conduct that a person or group takes as most important.”

Morality, an outgrowth of Unalienable Rights, transcends human nature; therefore, all animals have Rights.
Debate Round No. 2


TheRaceTo9K forfeited this round.


Standing by.

Debate Round No. 3


TheRaceTo9K forfeited this round.


In closing, all life has Unalienable Rights, otherwise, there will be no life.

Unalienable Rights is a bio-program having higher resolution describing Herbert Spencer's celebrated paradigm, “survival of the fittest.” A paradigm used throughout the esteem Charles Darwin's work.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by really12 3 years ago
@Mike_10-4, that is exactly my view when I stated "undoubtedly should have rights".
Posted by Mike_10-4 3 years ago

It is not a question of agreement. Unalienable Rights are part of the Laws of Nature, not metaphysical.
Posted by really12 3 years ago

I agree that animals should undoubtedly have rights.
Posted by Mike_10-4 3 years ago
All life has Unalienable Rights. Please see the following presentation on "The Science of Rights:"
Posted by really12 3 years ago
Animals shouldn't have rights? The contender of this debate sounds like a conservative or maybe even a communist.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by RedDebater 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Con started off with his first argument well supported, but the two consequent forfeits have lent this victory to Mike.