Equality & Argument From Marginal Cases: inconsistencies

Gaspard

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The assertion “humans and non-human-animals are not equal” is inconsistent with the Argument From Marginal Cases.


Reductio ad absurdum:

What ever justification asserts that humans and animals are not equal could be applied to humans only. So this would imply that humans are not all equals. This contradicts human rights.


So either you use the Argument From Marginal cases or you assert that humans and animals are not equal but you cannot have both.

As a conclusion, given that I think the Argument From Marginal Cases is valuable, then humans and animals are equal.


For example
you if you say to me that there is a sentience hierarchy and humans are more sentient than animals (whatever that means), then I’ll point out that there are human that have different degree of sentience. People suffering with cognitive decline for example are “less sentient”. So as a result humans are not all equal; which contradicts that all humans are equal in dignity and rights.


Please notice that, here the word “equality” means “equality in dignity and rights” as in the Universal Declaration of Human Right (1st article). There is no point discussing whether animals and humans are literally the same. If “equal” means “being literally the same”, then one can only be equal to oneself; and so being equal is tautological, and meaningless.

When I refer to “animals” I mean “non-human-animals”.


I’m starting this new thread because, what I wrote in my previous thread wasn’t clear:
https://www.veganforum.org/threads/...-arguments-concerning-the-word-equality.4569/

So what do you think ? Is there any criteria that could imply that humans and animals are not equal ?
 
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Andy_T

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I would say that humans and animals are not equal.

If I was a firefighter and faced with the decision that I could only save one, the two persons trapped in a blaze being an 80-year-old, terminally ill quadriplegic and my own young, healthy puppy, I would always try to rescue the human.

HOWEVER ... I think nobody should have the right to kill and/or torture an animal because they like the taste of a "real" burger more than the taste of a veggie burger. The right of any animal to live and be happy clearly trumps the mere convenience, taste, tradition, religion or other motivation of a human to hurt and kill the animal.

larson lifeboat.gif
"Fair is fair, Larry! We are out of food, we drew straws, and you lost!"

(Luckily all of them don't look as if they would starve soon)
 
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Gaspard

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If I was a firefighter and faced with the decision that I could only save one, the two persons trapped in a blaze being an 80-year-old, terminally ill quadriplegic and my own young, healthy puppy, I would always try to rescue the human.
You're refering to a survival situation. So it is very limited. It cannot be applied to gnerally define the status of animals.
And I still could apply the argument From Marginal Cases: if you can save one, a child or an elderly disable persone, who are you going to save? Obviously the child. Does this imply that not all humans are equal?
 
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Gaspard

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So what do you think guys : if you were a firefighter and you ca only save one, the two persons being an 80-year-old, terminally ill quadriplegic and a healthy child. Who would you try to save?
 

Sylvain M

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All that questions are the socratic method. And this marginal cases are not the problem of animals and human equality. They are cases where you can't do the best choice. Consequences of bad situations may be consequences of hurts. Pointing those cases will never find a good answer. So when there is not any good solution, it's something to make you think about something else than the real problem. The real problem is that people are hurting animals and humans and plants. And we can change that. This is the problem we have to solve.
 

Gaspard

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The real problem is that people are hurting animals and humans and plants. And we can change that. This is the problem we have to solve.

Yea sure. But we won't convince rational people if our ethical philosophy is inconsistent.

I'm pointing out an inconsistency emerging from philosophical approaches to animal rights. Most philosophers who defend anti-speciesism praise themselves on their rationality; but their discourse isn’t consistent. So I’d like them to take into consideration this inconsistency I pointed out. (Well I must say I studied mathematics at university.)

If you read what Andy_t wrote, you'll realise that I asked the previous question because of his answer. So what do you think of this?

Please, I'd like you to consider that it might be very sad that vegans are OK to answer the question "who will you save, a 80-year-old, terminally ill quadriplegic or a puppy?" but they refuse to answer this question "who will you save, a 80-year-old, terminally ill quadriplegic or a healthy child?". Do you realise that there is an ethical problem here?
 
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Sylvain M

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Who start the fire?

My previous answer :
I do accept equal, and for example, at the end, what have you done to our world ? The Egyptians thought that our heart will be measured on a balance to test what we really have done in our life. So we can't say if intelligence is more important than kindness or swimming in the oceans, or flying like a fly. Everything is connected. When you kill, you hurt everyone. And many people know that, and they kill humans, plants, animals on purpose to access easy money and to impose their lies to others. Animals seem to have pure souls, they don't have to pass the balance test. But we can't say they are less important than us for our world. Animals must be equal or better. That's why people believed there were god, or gods.
Animals must be free.
 
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Gaspard

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Yes I understood your answer and I thought it makes sens in many situations.

But the point of this thread is to discuss why many vegans think that humans are superior to animals. I want to point out some inconsistencies.

Who start the fire?

Let's imagine a thunderstruck started the fire. Who are you going to save "a terminally ill quadriplegic or a healthy child"?
 

Sylvain M

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People may think they are superior or feel superior it doesn't make them superior, in whatever situation. It's not because they prefer to save a human than an animal that humans are superior.

If I ask you to prove me pi as an end, could you? No because it has been proved the contrary. As the marginals questions, they are no good answer. If I answer you're question in whatever case I'm making me an enemi. That's not vegan!

Thinking how to solve consequences of things that could happen is not our job and there will be too many cases to study. We have to work on the causes. Stop the causes there will be less consequences. In a natural disaster, they must stop hurting nature.

So now, in which situations "the balance of hearts" doesn't work?
 
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Gaspard

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People may think they are superior or feel superior it doesn't make them superior, in whatever situation. It's not because they prefer to save a human than an animal that humans are superior.
I agree.
If I ask you to prove me pi as an end, could you?
If you ask me to prove something which is not true, I just have to respond that it is false and explain why.
As the marginals questions, they are no good answer.
You don't know what the Argument From Marginal Cases is.
there are good answers to the marginal cases and it always prove that we shouldn't discriminate against animals.
If I answer you're question in whatever case I'm making me an enemi. That's not vegan!
You have the right not to answer the question. And I must say, I wouldn't answer it either. I think this question is irrelevant. I've just asked it to prove that this question doesn't prove anything whatsoever.
So now, in which situations "the balance of hearts" doesn't work?
What do you mean by "the balance of hearts"? Compassion? Empathy? Well, the point in this thread is to argue from a cold rational point of view. Veganism could be demonstrated from a purely intellectual position. And that's good. We need as many arguments as possible: emotional, political, intellectual... etc. If you are not interested in purely intellectual arguments, then all right: you can advocate for veganism the way you prefer to. But there are people who will be convinced by rational arguments. Some of us are interested in ethical, rational animalism. And it's fine too.
 

Sylvain M

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If I ask you to prove me pi as an end, could you?
If you ask me to prove something which is not true, I just have to respond that it is false and explain why.

I said:
"If I ask you to prove me pi as an end, could you? No because it has been proved the contrary."
You said :
"You have the right not to answer the question. And I must say, I wouldn't answer it either. I think this question is irrelevant. I've just asked it to prove that this question doesn't prove anything whatsoever."

If you arg someone to answer a question that you don't want to answer yourself, it means you want to manipulate someone else. That's not fair.

"Balance of hearts" is truly rational, not cold. And you can add whatever you want of emotion, creations, intellectual, everything that exists and calculate as you wish and compare. That's a simple and easy way to understand complexity.
 
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Gaspard

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If you arg someone to answer a question that you don't want to answer yourself, it means you want to manipulate someone else. That's not fair.

No. On the contrary. My aim is to study the possible answers to this question because it is an argument which is used to demonstrate that humans and animals are not equal. So I want to show how to respond to this idea. (By the way this question was asked by Andy_T to himself, at first, and I applied to it the Argument From Marginal Cases. But he didn't answer me.)

It is important to show people that they should always be critical and analytical. You may be unfamiliar with some exercises of logic which aims at questionning what one is asked to do. For example: I'm 35 years old, my sister is 32. How old is our mother? Many students make calculations... But the good answer is "it's impossible to know". Sometimes the good answer is "there is no good answer" or “this question is illegitimate".

You probablly know l'âge du capitaine (have a look at this link):

Well, when mathematicians started to do things like that, people were very unhappy (because they are authoritarian and conservative, I suppose). They don't like us to take the **** out of knowledge and they want teachers to be authority figures. They think teachers have to ask real questions and are not supposed to awake people to criticism.

So no it is not manipulation, on the contrary.
 
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Gaspard

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Well, I don't know what you don't like about that.

If you don’t like it, then it’s fine. There are many different type of vegan advocacies. And when, for example, I do street epistemology, with Anonymous For the Voiceless, I explain thing in simple words and try to educate people to veganism. But if we want to convince people who are “hyper-rational” we have to be more abstract. If you don’t like that, it’s fine. Some of us will do this sort of advocacy while you will spread veganism the way you want to.

Some philosophers like to brag about their rational mind. They pretend to defend the animals but they say humans and animals are not equal. So I showed that their discourse is inconsistent.

You know, I don't like purely intellectual stuff. I think ethical problems are subjective; they are rooted in our hearts. So I like to show that, sometimes, people who pretend to be purely intellectual, actually, are not consistent.
 
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Gaspard

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I would say that humans and animals are not equal.

If I was a firefighter and faced with the decision that I could only save one, the two persons trapped in a blaze being an 80-year-old, terminally ill quadriplegic and my own young, healthy puppy, I would always try to rescue the human.
I started a thread about this argument. You can find it there:
 

Max Caulfield

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Not necessarily contradicts with human rights.

For an example let's use example of methods of generating money to demonstrate:

a) Method Generates 0,75 $ per week
b) Method Generates 550 $ per week
c) Method Generates 1500 $ per week

Let's for sake of an argument assume they both require more or less the same time and effort spent. None of those three methods are equal in terms of amount of money they generate. However, first one is simply almost worthless and not viable for task of survival and while latter two while not equally attractive still within range what would be sufficient for task of survival and generally accepted standard of living in first world countries.

Meaning there is some threshold of money that is acceptable and will be sufficient to accomplish certain task and that's what's is below that would be not acceptable and insufficient to accomplish such task.

Now how does it relate to animals, now apply such scaling to humans and animals in terms of Intelligence. Now, it's obvious that non-human animals don't even approach close to human average in terms of intelligence, or otherwise average potential in that area. So basically animals could be rendered in range of intellect/cognitive ability insufficient qualify for rights that human have. For an example I doubt that even most vegans would advocate for same responsibilities and rights for animals that human have, ie being hold responsible for their actions in court in equal manner to humans, right to a legal defender, right to own property etc. Now argument could be made due animals not meeting certain threshold of cognitive ability right and such they don't meet requirement to give them right to live.


Of course, now you're probably preparing with counterargument that certain outliers among humans also wouldn't meet such threshold ie human vegetables, people that are in coma, young babies and the most severe cases of mental retardation that would be comparable to at least some of animals. Depending on specific series of different arguments on different or same basis could be made to give such right for those. Human vegetables and people in coma could be temporary states that could be recovered from. In addition including mental retardation such states could affect even healthy people, meaning granting such rights gives healthy people insurance they will be okay and their rights protected (bringing up self-interests as a factor) should they happen find themselves in such state. While young baby in all likelihood develop further meeting such threshold. In addition all four are states that could happen to afflict person you care about and want to for it to live and if you have a child state of young baby is pretty much inevitable, you benefit from such rights given to humans.

Of course, this isn't really consistent with many countries that do have laws against harming animals for an example for sake of pleasure and yet allows consumption of meat (albeit in some cases with restrictions) and animal products (although perhaps it's due to lack of sufficient evidence lack of it's necessity to survive and function of all individuals on such diet). I'm simply making an argument independently that could be made for giving humans rights such as right to live and not animals without having resort to social Darwinism. Of course, from socially Darwinist perspective it could also justify killing animals be it on individualistic or collectivist grounds (ie this specimen isn't fit to survive vs this group isn't fit to survive) .