[ExI] Rights without selves (was: Nolopsism)

Spencer Campbell lacertilian at gmail.com
Wed Feb 10 21:07:39 UTC 2010

JOSHUA JOB <nanite1018 at gmail.com>:
> A fetus is not yet a person, nor has ever been a person (as it is not nor
> ever has been a rational conceptual entity). So it cannot have any rights.
> At least until 34 weeks, they cannot possibly be regarded as people, at
> least from what I've read of neural development in the brain (the neocortex
> doesn't connect up until around then). After that it gets a little more
> fuzzy. As for comatose patients, if they have the capacity for brain
> function (i.e., they are not totally brain damaged), then they count as
> people, though others have to make decisions for them as that is a state
> which it is very difficult to recover from. If they are brain dead, then
> that entity no longer exists nor can it exist again (or at least, if it
> could, the body itself is likely irrelevant), and so no longer has rights.

You speak as though these issues have long since been resolved! In
reality, all you're giving me are opinions: facts which are currently
in contention. Not to say I don't agree with you, but we can't brush
the problem of potential consciousness under the table just because
neither of us happens to consider it a major problem. It simply
wouldn't be prudent.

> I am saying that it cannot be wrong if it does not violate the nature of
> other conscious entities. The ocean cannot be wronged, only rational
> conceptual "self"-aware entities can be, because they are the things that
> can conceivably understand right and wrong. So it can't be wrong (as in, a
> violation of rights) to do something unless it infringes on the rights of
> other such entities.

Well, I think we've taken this argument as far as it can go then.
Clearly you refuse to even entertain the idea that rights could be
anything other than personal rights. I suppose it's an issue of
semantics. What if I say cars could have an explicitly-defined correct
way to be treated, that is, could be covered by a system of

Surely you would agree that, looking at a galaxy-spanning machine
devoid of anything remotely resembling rational self-aware thought, we
could arbitrarily suppose that it is "meant" to further some purpose
and from that assumption determine how well it is operating -- that
is, how correctly, or how rightly.

I'll start a new thread for the Napoleon argument later on, if I have the time.

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