Do humans have a greater right to live than other animals?

An interesting question was posted on

Do humans have a greater right to live than other animals? If so, would beings of much greater intelligence and perception hold that same right over humans?

Any thoughts?

About shaunmiller

I have just completed a visiting position as an assistant professor at Dalhousie University. My ideas are not associated with my employer; they are expressions of my own thoughts and ideas. Some of them are just musings while others could be serious discussions that could turn into a bigger project. Besides philosophy, I enjoy martial arts (Kuk Sool Won), playing my violin, enjoying coffee around town, and experimenting with new food.
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7 Responses to Do humans have a greater right to live than other animals?

  1. Killer J says:

    Survival of the fittest moreso than a specific ‘right’ I suppose.

  2. shaunmiller says:

    So based on this, if there was another species that was “more fit” than humans, they have the right to dispose of us?

  3. Killer J says:

    Well, it’s not necessarily a right as it is a potential reality.

  4. Considering humans are the only intelligent life form that we know of, and the only animals that understand what “rights” are, then it’s something that only applies to humans. That’s one way to put it.

    Another way to put it is that “rights” are created as a way to protect humans from unfair treatment. This goes back to our discussions about why ethics exist – they’re just a fancy way of saying “Don’t hurt me.” So I don’t think that rights exist outside of intelligence – they aren’t an “absolute”. Therefore the question is in my opinion invalid.

  5. Killer J says:

    Vic’s actually making sense to me here. I’ll go with his answer.

  6. shaunmiller says:

    I tend to agree with Vic that rights don’t come down to us from an absolutist or naturalistic sense. Rights are instrumental and part of that discussion is something that I posted earlier on the sacredness of life. In the end, rights only make sense from a human perspective. . . but is it exclusively an entity that applies to only humans?

    Suppose that animals had a higher intelligence. Would we extend our notion of “rights” to them, or is it just a human thing? If so, why? Or if you want, what quality or attribute would you need to extend the notion of rights to another species?

  7. Pingback: ANIMALS » Blog Archive » Do humans have a greater right to live than other animals?

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