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Natural Rights

quarterexchange
Posts: 1,549
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2/6/2013 12:24:40 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I have a couple questions for people who believe in "Natural Rights", since I just want to clarify things.

From what I understand, it says that mankind has rights because we have the capacity for conscious choice, to discover new things, to pursue goals, etc.

Therefore, mankind has these rights, and by extension, animals and plants, despite being living beings, don't have these rights.

If this isn't true, correct me, but if it is, what does this mean with regards to mentally handicapped people who don't have the capacity for consciousness, and what does it entail if we encounter an intelligent species far more conscious than our own, do they have less/more rights than the rest of us?
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darkkermit
Posts: 11,204
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2/6/2013 12:34:46 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
if it were to remain consistent, then natural rights would not apply to the mental handicapped and would apply to higher forms of intelligence.
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quarterexchange
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2/6/2013 12:36:45 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/6/2013 12:34:46 AM, darkkermit wrote:
if it were to remain consistent, then natural rights would not apply to the mental handicapped and would apply to higher forms of intelligence.

Why not the mentally handicapped?
I don't discriminate....I hate everybody.
darkkermit
Posts: 11,204
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2/6/2013 12:39:30 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/6/2013 12:36:45 AM, quarterexchange wrote:
At 2/6/2013 12:34:46 AM, darkkermit wrote:
if it were to remain consistent, then natural rights would not apply to the mental handicapped and would apply to higher forms of intelligence.

Why not the mentally handicapped?

you just answered it, due to lack of conscious choice. There are plenty of mentally handicapped people who are less intelligent then other mammals, but other mammals are legal to kill (although there are animal cruelty laws and whatnot)
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quarterexchange
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2/6/2013 12:41:00 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/6/2013 12:39:30 AM, darkkermit wrote:
At 2/6/2013 12:36:45 AM, quarterexchange wrote:
At 2/6/2013 12:34:46 AM, darkkermit wrote:
if it were to remain consistent, then natural rights would not apply to the mental handicapped and would apply to higher forms of intelligence.

Why not the mentally handicapped?

you just answered it, due to lack of conscious choice. There are plenty of mentally handicapped people who are less intelligent then other mammals, but other mammals are legal to kill (although there are animal cruelty laws and whatnot)

So does that mean that it'd be okay to treat the mentally handicapped the same way we treat animals?
I don't discriminate....I hate everybody.
darkkermit
Posts: 11,204
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2/6/2013 1:03:41 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/6/2013 12:41:00 AM, quarterexchange wrote:
At 2/6/2013 12:39:30 AM, darkkermit wrote:
At 2/6/2013 12:36:45 AM, quarterexchange wrote:
At 2/6/2013 12:34:46 AM, darkkermit wrote:
if it were to remain consistent, then natural rights would not apply to the mental handicapped and would apply to higher forms of intelligence.

Why not the mentally handicapped?

you just answered it, due to lack of conscious choice. There are plenty of mentally handicapped people who are less intelligent then other mammals, but other mammals are legal to kill (although there are animal cruelty laws and whatnot)

So does that mean that it'd be okay to treat the mentally handicapped the same way we treat animals?

moral nihilist bro. Don't accept natural rights premise, just stating for it to remain consistent is all.
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Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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2/6/2013 3:37:01 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Locke less-than-famously argued that atheists did not have natural rights as they could not be rational for not believing in God.
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Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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2/6/2013 8:32:27 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/6/2013 12:24:40 AM, quarterexchange wrote:
I have a couple questions for people who believe in "Natural Rights", since I just want to clarify things.

From what I understand, it says that mankind has rights because we have the capacity for conscious choice, to discover new things, to pursue goals, etc.

It says we have natural rights that are basic and fundamental to human nature and which can be derived by human reason from the nature of man and the world, especially demonstrated in the interaction between man and world. Natural rights are inalienable rights that supersede all other authority and legal rights. Generally speaking, it tends to be the rights to life, liberty, and property, or if you want to have a revolution, the "pursuit of happiness".

Therefore, mankind has these rights, and by extension, animals and plants, despite being living beings, don't have these rights.

It is usually based on those unique qualities that are presumed to make man distinct from other animals, generally the fact that we are rational moral agents with the ability to discern right from wrong. Different animals have different natures and therefore different natural rights.

If this isn't true, correct me, but if it is, what does this mean with regards to mentally handicapped people who don't have the capacity for consciousness,

Egads no, first of all, people with mental handicaps do have the capacity for consciousness, and natural rights are not based on consciousness as a quality, nor are they a matter of degree based on intelligence, they are basic rights derived from the nature of mankind, they don"t entail different degrees of rights. They are not derived from the nature of our differences or individuality; they derive from the general nature of mankind.

and what does it entail if we encounter an intelligent species far more conscious than our own, do they have less/more rights than the rest of us?

I"ve already addressed that consciousness is not the basis of natural rights and they don"t entail degrees. It also isn"t really about intelligence; it"s more a matter of being free moral agents with the capacity to reason, so if in fact we encounter a more intelligent species their capacity as free moral agents would entail their natural rights, not their degree of intelligence. Since natural rights are basic, minimum rights, then a more intelligent species that is also a free moral agent would have the same basic natural rights.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
KeytarHero
Posts: 612
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2/6/2013 9:40:26 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/6/2013 12:24:40 AM, quarterexchange wrote:
I have a couple questions for people who believe in "Natural Rights", since I just want to clarify things.

From what I understand, it says that mankind has rights because we have the capacity for conscious choice, to discover new things, to pursue goals, etc.

Therefore, mankind has these rights, and by extension, animals and plants, despite being living beings, don't have these rights.

If this isn't true, correct me, but if it is, what does this mean with regards to mentally handicapped people who don't have the capacity for consciousness, and what does it entail if we encounter an intelligent species far more conscious than our own, do they have less/more rights than the rest of us?

Natural rights are bestowed on us by God. We were created in His image, so He gives us natural rights.

But if you want to look at it from a secular perspective, then we have natural rights because of our inherent nature as rational, moral agents. The handicapped also have these rights because they have the same inherent nature we do, but something went awry and they weren't able to exercise those capacities. Our rights are not given to us based on the functions we can perform because as you suggest, that means that we can take advantage of those who display less of that ability, and we could be taken advantage of by those with more of that capacity.

Incidentally, I would say that even though animals are not intrinsically valuable as we are, it may still be wrong to kill them for other reasons. I believe that hunting for sport is wrong, and it's wrong to torture animals for fun. Besides, the very fact that we operate at a far higher level than animals means that we need to take responsibility for our actions, and we should not mistreat those who do not measure up to our standard. So in a way, our inherent nature as rational, moral agents should compel us to protect animals, rather than mistreating them.
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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2/6/2013 11:02:11 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/6/2013 9:40:26 AM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 2/6/2013 12:24:40 AM, quarterexchange wrote:
I have a couple questions for people who believe in "Natural Rights", since I just want to clarify things.

From what I understand, it says that mankind has rights because we have the capacity for conscious choice, to discover new things, to pursue goals, etc.

Therefore, mankind has these rights, and by extension, animals and plants, despite being living beings, don't have these rights.

If this isn't true, correct me, but if it is, what does this mean with regards to mentally handicapped people who don't have the capacity for consciousness, and what does it entail if we encounter an intelligent species far more conscious than our own, do they have less/more rights than the rest of us?

Natural rights are bestowed on us by God. We were created in His image, so He gives us natural rights.

But if you want to look at it from a secular perspective, then we have natural rights because of our inherent nature as rational, moral agents. The handicapped also have these rights because they have the same inherent nature we do,

Well said.

but something went awry and they weren't able to exercise those capacities.

The vast majority of people with handicaps are moral agents that do have the capacity for rational thought, in fact, most mentally handicapped people are more moral than the average neurotypical, probably because they are less inclined to try to rationalize immoral acts.

Our rights are not given to us based on the functions we can perform because as you suggest, that means that we can take advantage of those who display less of that ability, and we could be taken advantage of by those with more of that capacity.

Incidentally, I would say that even though animals are not intrinsically valuable as we are, it may still be wrong to kill them for other reasons. I believe that hunting for sport is wrong, and it's wrong to torture animals for fun. Besides, the very fact that we operate at a far higher level than animals means that we need to take responsibility for our actions, and we should not mistreat those who do not measure up to our standard. So in a way, our inherent nature as rational, moral agents should compel us to protect animals, rather than mistreating them.

Other than the handicapped faux pas, good post.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater