[ExI] Rights without selves (was: Nolopsism)

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Fri Feb 12 13:12:10 UTC 2010

2010/2/9 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.

Legally wrong. A fetus can inherit, for instance, in a number of
circumstances, at least in continental jurisdictions. Even though its
capacity is restricted, the same applies to legal entities, for
instance. Or even to adult humans (say, a life prisoner).

> 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.

Let say somebody cannot conceivably understand right and wrong (say,
out of certified "moral folly", or whatever the psychiatric terms may
be in English). Does it stop being a natural person under existing
laws? No. Do great apes with a greater ability to distinguish right
and wrong than, say, a human infant or a severely mentally handicapped
human being, have rights? Again no, at least for the time being.

In legal terms, a person is what you say it is. Thus, I would not
start from personhood to deduce rights, but rather from rights
provided for by a legal system, on the basis of value judgments, to
infer the personhood status they involve.

Stefano Vaj

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