group project final paper - Lam Duong, Cory Isabelle, Kevin...

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Lam Duong, Cory Isabelle, Kevin Menear, Roger L. Swingle III Minds and Machines Group Project Group C For thousands of years, man and beast have lived side-by-side on this planet. As man progressed into modern times, we have been able to conquer and govern the world that we know. With this power comes great responsibility. As the ruling species, we must decide what we must recognize as the rights of animals. In making this difficult decision, we must recognize that, unlike men, all animals are not created equal. There are certain animals which should be given certain rights, while others should not. There are a few ways we can go about determining which animals have specific rights, one way is to determine if the being in question has the right to persist. There are specific guidelines for the determination of which animals will be recognized as having the right to persist which will be described in detail. Another way to determine which animals have rights is whether or not the animal can be classified and described as a “person”. These “persons” have a specific group of rights which may not be applied to non-persons. We will call these rights the unique rights of persons. These may seem like immense ideas but, in order to make any sort of justification, we must start at the beginning. With this in mind, we must ask ourselves this: What kinds of creatures have rights? To start off we must know what the Interest Theory of Rights is and what it means. This theory states that rights are derived from interests and are the desires of an entity for something. The theory points out that it is only moral for us to respect every entity’s interests and therefore we must recognize these interests to be the rights of the entity in question. However, these rights are limited because they cannot violate another entity’s interests or rights. For example, one cannot simply go around murdering people just because one desires it. This action would contradict the Interest Theory of Rights since it would violate another entity’s interest to live. 1
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Lam Duong, Cory Isabelle, Kevin Menear, Roger L. Swingle III Minds and Machines Group Project Group C With that said, just about anything can be a candidate for rights, so long as the candidate possesses the interest that corresponds with the particular right. In other words an entity only possesses the rights that the entity is interested in. Furthermore, non- humans, especially animals, have rights since some animal’s brains work in a similar fashion to human brains. For instance, when elephant mothers and human mothers give birth, a chemical called oxytocin is released. This chemical provokes feelings of love and protection for the new born. Just like a human, the animal mother now has an interest in loving and protecting their young, and thus it is now a right for them to do so. Therefore we cannot take away or harm baby elephants just as we cannot do so with human babies. However, elephants wouldn’t be given the right to vote since elephants don’t display the
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This essay was uploaded on 04/16/2008 for the course IHSS IHSS 1051 taught by Professor Vanorman during the Spring '08 term at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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group project final paper - Lam Duong, Cory Isabelle, Kevin...

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