The Instigator
8803
Pro (for)
Winning
4 Points
The Contender
Fluer
Con (against)
Losing
1 Points

animal rights

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
8803
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/26/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,711 times Debate No: 20646
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)

 

8803

Pro

Affirmative Cases: a philosophical approach to defining animal rights.
One of the single biggest issues in rounds so far for the Sept/Oct topic has been the definition of what animal rights would look like "in the real world". Defining precisely what animal rights we're talking about has been a source of great confusion and a number of rounds have been greatly muddled by squabbling over definitions.

Specifically for the affirmative, defining animal rights has been a particularly troublesome problem when the negative pressures for an admission that affirming means an end to eating meat or important medical testing. However, there are a number of ways to frame the resolution in a more fair and convincing way.

In the majority of our affirmative cases, we defined animal rights in a very abstract and broad sense. Rather than saying animals have a right to life or to roam free, we adopted a philosophical definition of rights as the manifestation of intrinsic worth. For the "animals have intrinsic worth" case, the framework went something like this:

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy explains that a being can only have rights if:

"…there is a moral claim that this being has on those who can recognize such claims. A morally considerable being is a being who can be wronged in a morally relevant sense."

Thus, rather than debating about a list of arbitrary rights that animals should possess, the affirmative's task is more fundamental: to prove that animals possess intrinsic worth and deserve to be treated a certain way…Insofar as this intrinsic worth is the source of all rights, if I can prove that animals deserve to be treated a certain way, it logically follows that they must have some rights and I win the debate.

This definition takes the phrase "recognition of animal rights" and defines it as a single term from an abstract point of view. Under this premise, the debate is no longer about the consequences of a world where everyone is a vegetarian and medical testing on animals is banned, but instead focuses on whether or not animals are worthy of moral consideration. Do animals have intrinsic worth that merits recognition of their rights? Or are they mindless automatons at our disposal to use however we wish? If the affirmative proves that animals possess intrinsic worth, then it must follow that they have some form of rights. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, having rights means you can lay moral claim on the actions of moral agents (beings who can make moral choices: humans). Thus, in our framework, all the affirmative needs to do is prove that animals can be wronged, and they have shown that justice requires the recognition of animal rights.

So what does this approach look like in an actual debate round? The benefit of this framework is clear: the affirmative is able to sidestep any nasty definition war in which both sides start listing arbitrary animal rights. Instead, the affirmative immediately establishes a clear question: do animals possess intrinsic worth (if they do, affirm), or do they not deserve any sort of moral consideration (if so negate)? As soon as the negative begins to argue in the context of this question, then he/she is debating on affirmative ground and the chances of an aff ballot are much greater.

What about negatives that don't take the bait and keep pushing for concrete impacts? In this case, it's not detrimental to concede that affirming would mean an end to factory farming (there's plenty of examples of hideous practices in the meat industry that could be used to counter any negative arguments against vegetarianism). The other major potential negative argument is animal testing. This is a much trickier issue since it's a fact that animal testing has saved countless human lives. But it's still a relatively simple matter to maintain the position that animals have intrinsic worth, without conceding that they have a categorical right to life. Going along with our framework, one potential counter might be that the recognition that animals have inherent value (and therefore have rights in some shape or form), doesn't mean we can't harm them in any way (we take rights away from humans on a regular basis). Instead, the recognition of animal rights simply means that we only harm them when absolutely necessary (in order to save human lives). Even still, animal testing does not always have to end in the termination of an animal's life. Testing could be adapted to better respect the rights of animals, for instance, reducing pain felt by animals during testing.

Ultimately, the abstract "inherent worth" approach to defining recognition of animal rights is a highly nuanced framework. But used properly, it can allow affirmatives to control the ground of the debate and sidestep a primitive but significant negative argument.
Fluer

Con

What proposition brings you is the two routes this debate can take, do animals intrinsically have rights and if so what rights can those be.
Taking the opposition case I will prove that animals can never have rights.
This is actually a very simple idea. Humans have rights because we can give our consent to respect the rights of others, ie the social contract. Animals can never form this type of contract with us as they have no ways of fully understanding that they must respect our rights in order for us to respect theirs. If they can never fully respect our rights we can never respect theirs. No contract in this level can ever be formed. Rights are a human invention to maintain a society and animals do not partake in this society and cannot give consent therefore they cannot have rights.
Debate Round No. 1
8803

Pro

Affirmative Cases: a philosophical approach to defining animal rights.
One of the single biggest issues in rounds so far for the Sept/Oct topic has been the definition of what animal rights would look like "in the real world". Defining precisely what animal rights we're talking about has been a source of great confusion and a number of rounds have been greatly muddled by squabbling over definitions.

Specifically for the affirmative, defining animal rights has been a particularly troublesome problem when the negative pressures for an admission that affirming means an end to eating meat or important medical testing. However, there are a number of ways to frame the resolution in a more fair and convincing way.

In the majority of our affirmative cases, we defined animal rights in a very abstract and broad sense. Rather than saying animals have a right to life or to roam free, we adopted a philosophical definition of rights as the manifestation of intrinsic worth. For the "animals have intrinsic worth" case, the framework went something like this:

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy explains that a being can only have rights if:

"…there is a moral claim that this being has on those who can recognize such claims. A morally considerable being is a being who can be wronged in a morally relevant sense."

Thus, rather than debating about a list of arbitrary rights that animals should possess, the affirmative's task is more fundamental: to prove that animals possess intrinsic worth and deserve to be treated a certain way…Insofar as this intrinsic worth is the source of all rights, if I can prove that animals deserve to be treated a certain way, it logically follows that they must have some rights and I win the debate.

This definition takes the phrase "recognition of animal rights" and defines it as a single term from an abstract point of view. Under this premise, the debate is no longer about the consequences of a world where everyone is a vegetarian and medical testing on animals is banned, but instead focuses on whether or not animals are worthy of moral consideration. Do animals have intrinsic worth that merits recognition of their rights? Or are they mindless automatons at our disposal to use however we wish? If the affirmative proves that animals possess intrinsic worth, then it must follow that they have some form of rights. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, having rights means you can lay moral claim on the actions of moral agents (beings who can make moral choices: humans). Thus, in our framework, all the affirmative needs to do is prove that animals can be wronged, and they have shown that justice requires the recognition of animal rights.

So what does this approach look like in an actual debate round? The benefit of this framework is clear: the affirmative is able to sidestep any nasty definition war in which both sides start listing arbitrary animal rights. Instead, the affirmative immediately establishes a clear question: do animals possess intrinsic worth (if they do, affirm), or do they not deserve any sort of moral consideration (if so negate)? As soon as the negative begins to argue in the context of this question, then he/she is debating on affirmative ground and the chances of an aff ballot are much greater.

What about negatives that don't take the bait and keep pushing for concrete impacts? In this case, it's not detrimental to concede that affirming would mean an end to factory farming (there's plenty of examples of hideous practices in the meat industry that could be used to counter any negative arguments against vegetarianism). The other major potential negative argument is animal testing. This is a much trickier issue since it's a fact that animal testing has saved countless human lives. But it's still a relatively simple matter to maintain the position that animals have intrinsic worth, without conceding that they have a categorical right to life. Going along with our framework, one potential counter might be that the recognition that animals have inherent value (and therefore have rights in some shape or form), doesn't mean we can't harm them in any way (we take rights away from humans on a regular basis). Instead, the recognition of animal rights simply means that we only harm them when absolutely necessary (in order to save human lives). Even still, animal testing does not always have to end in the termination of an animal's life. Testing could be adapted to better respect the rights of animals, for instance, reducing pain felt by animals during testing.

Ultimately, the abstract "inherent worth" approach to defining recognition of animal rights is a highly nuanced framework. But used properly, it can allow affirmatives to control the ground of the debate and sidestep a primitive but significant negative argument.
Fluer

Con

Well this is rather strange my opponent has posted the same arguement twice. Not entirely sure what this means so I would ask voters just to extend my argument for this round.
Debate Round No. 2
8803

Pro

u know what animals r uhumans so they get rights
Fluer

Con

The thing that separates us though is our superior communication skills. We have the ability to make a contract with each other and agree on punishments for breaking that contract. We understand the consequences and we understand why we want to have these rights. Animals cannot do that enter into that type of contract with us therefore we can ever give them rights.
To conclude, I have rebutted all my opponents points and my opponent failed to engage with any of my points.
Vote Con
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Ravenpaw 2 months ago
Ravenpaw
Though I love animals, I rather sacrifice a rat or a rabbit for a test for cancer than my own species thank you. They can reproduce faster than humans can. Would you rather have another human die of cancer than a rat or rabbit? Animal testing isn't taking away rights, it's giving humans the right to live. It's how I see it.
Posted by royalpaladin 2 years ago
royalpaladin
Sorry, but I already did this debate, and I do not want to write another case . . . I graduated from LD and high school last year.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by DevonNetzley 2 years ago
DevonNetzley
8803FluerTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: My reasons lie within my vote.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
8803FluerTied
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Poor arguments and no sources from both. But based of of S/G con had superior S/G.