Vegetarian Discussion: Rebuttal Of The Argument From Marginal Cases

Rebuttal Of The Argument From Marginal Cases
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Dutch
2007-07-21 06:40:02 EST
irate vegan wrote:
> On Sat, 21 Jul 2007 09:18:13 GMT, Dutch <no@email.com> wrote:
>> irate vegan wrote:
>>> On Fri, 20 Jul 2007 22:03:35 GMT, Dutch <no@email.com> wrote:
>>>> irate vegan wrote:
>>>>> On Fri, 20 Jul 2007 19:34:24 GMT, Dutch <no@email.com> wrote:
>>>>>> irate vegan wrote:
>>>>>>> On Fri, 20 Jul 2007 18:56:58 GMT, Dutch <no@email.com> wrote:
>>>>>> [..]
>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> Wetlesen has built his entire case by totally misrepresenting
>>>>>>>>> Regan.
>>>>>>>> You misread what Wetlesen says. The term used is "moral person", not
>>>>>>>> "moral patient".
>>>>>>> Then it's certain that Wetlesen has misrepresented Regan
>>>>>>> again, because, like you say, Regan uses the term "moral
>>>>>>> patient", not "moral person."
>>>>>> The concept of a "moral patient" is something else entirely.
>>>>> It's the term which Regan uses to describe them; "moral
>>>>> patients",
>>>> "Moral patient" status is not the issue.
>>> It is while Regan uses that term rather than the term Wetlesen
>>> claims that he uses and conflates with the term "moral agent".
>> Moral person and moral patient are not the same thing.
>
> Then, while Wetlesen claims that Regan uses the term
> "moral person" and conflates it with the term "moral agent"
> to make them equivalent, it's certain that he's wrongly
> misrepresenting Regan to get his point accepted.

No, he doesn't misrepresent Regan. He accurately describes Regan's argument.

>>> Below, you concede this by writing, "Regan assumes in ALL
>>> his writings that there are ONLY moral agents and moral
>>> patients. Like you say, he doesn't use the term "moral person."
>>> Wetlesen has built a straw man by misrepresenting Regan's
>>> use of a term and claiming that he conflates it with another
>>> term to make them equivalent.
>> Since Regan does not use the term 'Moral Person'
>
> ... we can be sure that Wetlesen has misrepresented Regan
> by claiming he does, and that he conflates that term with
> "moral agent".

When Regan uses the terms moral agent and moral patient he is assuming
he is talking about "moral persons". He makes no differentiation. That's
what Wetlesen is saying.


>>>>> and it doesn't exist anywhere in Wetlesen's attempt
>>>>> to misrepresent Regan to get his point accepted. From the off
>>>>> Wetlesen claims that Regan and two others base their argument
>>>>> on the assumption that the concepts of a moral person and a
>>>>> moral agent are synonymous or equivalent. He lied, and Regan
>>>>> rejects this straw man by writing,
>>>> Neither Singer nor Regan differentiate between a moral agent and moral
>>>> person.
>>> False. The passage below shows exactly where and how.
>>>
>>>>> [Human infants, young children, and the (seriously) deranged
>>>>> or enfeebled of all ages are paradigm cases of human moral
>>>>> patients. (153)
>>>>>
>>>>> To the extent that the case can be made for describing and
>>>>> explaining the behaviour of a human being (by reference to
>>>>> their beliefs and desires), to that extent, assuming that we
>>>>> have further reasons for denying that the human in question
>>>>> has the abilities necessary for moral agency, we have no
>>>>> reason to regard that human as a moral patient. (154)
>>>>>
>>>>> [A]ny position that denies that we have direct duties to those
>>>>> moral patients with whom we have been and will continue to
>>>>> be concerned (normal mammalian animals, age 1 or more,
>>>>> and those human moral patients like these animals in the
>>>>> relevant respects) is rationally defective. (239)
>>>>>
>>>>> Nothing could be clearer, even to those who read my work in
>>>>> the most superficial manner, than that in my hands "moral patient"
>>>>> is not equivalent to "animal" and "moral agent" is not equivalent
>>>>> to "human being." Indeed, one of the main objectives of my
>>>>> argument, both in the case for animal rights and throughout my
>>>>> other writings, is to show that these pairs of concepts are not
>>>>> equivalent. Why not? Because (1) many human beings (e.g., the
>>>>> newly born and soon to be born) are not moral agents, meaning
>>>>> in their present condition, they are not capable of acting in ways
>>>>> for which they are morally responsible; and (2) these human
>>>>> beings are moral patients, meaning they are directly owed such
>>>>> basic duties as the duty of respect.]
>>>>> Tom Regan page 288, The Animal Rights Debate
>> Nothing in that passage differentiates between moral agents and moral
>> persons.
>
> Regan uses the term "moral patient" instead, but Wetlesen
> bases his argument on making the claim that Regan uses the
> term "moral person" and conflates it with the term "moral
> agent" to make them equivalent. In short, Wetlesen has
> misrepresented Regan and built a straw man.

He never claims that Regan uses the term moral person, it is the absence
of the term in Regan's writing that shows that he conflates it into the
terms he uses.

>>>> You just illustrated Wetlesen's point, Regan assumes in all his writings
>>>> that there are only moral agents and moral patients.
>>> If that is true, then it's clear that Wetlesen has certainly misrepresented
>>> Regan by claiming he uses the term "moral person" and makes it
>>> equivalent to "moral agent".
>> That's not what Wetlesen says.
>
> Wrong; he says exactly that by writing,
>
> "Nevertheless, it appears that all three of them [including
> Regan] have based their arguments on the assumption
> that the concepts of a moral person and a moral agent
> are synonymous or equivalent."
>
> He's lying, of course, and you've helped show that by
> writing, "Regan assumes in ALL his writings that there
> are ONLY moral agents and moral patients." Regan
> doesn't use the term "moral person" and he certainly
> doesn't go on to "base his argument on the assumption
> that the concepts of a moral person and a moral agent
> are synonymous or equivalent."

If he doesn't differentiate between them, and he doesn't, then he is
assuming they are one and the same, as Wetlesen says.

>
>>>>>>>>> Wetlesen has built his entire case by totally misrepresenting
>>>>>>>>> Regan and denying the antecedent to get his point accepted.
>>>>>>>> You misread Wetlesen
>>>>>>> No, and I certainly didn't misread him when he elevated
>>>>>>> apes to moral persons after failing to debunk the argument
>>>>>>> from marginal cases.
>>>>>>> He wrote,
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> "Theoretically, there might be other moral persons also,
>>>>>>> but there seem to be none, excepting perhaps some of
>>>>>>> our closest relatives among the primates."
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> I then wrote,
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> "It follows, then, that apes hold rights due to his fact that
>>>>>>> they "are moral persons.""
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> and you replied,
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> "Possibly. I would hold in fact that this is so plausible that
>>>>>>> apes should be granted basic rights."
>>>>>>> Dutch 7 July 2007 http://tinyurl.com/328k8h
>>>>>> You're not making a useful point
>>>>> The point I've made is made, and whether you can
>>>>> see that or not is nether here nor there.
>>>> It just makes no sense
>>> The whole point in trying to debunk the argument from
>>> marginal cases is to show that animals cannot hold rights
>>> against us, but instead of doing what he set out to achieve
>>> he elevates animals to moral persons and ascribes rights
>>> to them, and you agree.
>> Right
>
> Thank you. You're done.

Wetlesen's rebuttal is irrefutable, demonstrated by the squirming that
both you and Rupert are doing. As if AR wasn't dead enough, this pretty
much puts the last nail in it's coffin. So yes, my work is pretty much
done here.



Irate Vegan
2007-07-21 07:02:19 EST
On Sat, 21 Jul 2007 10:40:02 GMT, Dutch <no@email.com> wrote:
>irate vegan wrote:
>> On Sat, 21 Jul 2007 09:18:13 GMT, Dutch <no@email.com> wrote:
>>> irate vegan wrote:
>>>> On Fri, 20 Jul 2007 22:03:35 GMT, Dutch <no@email.com> wrote:
>>>>> irate vegan wrote:
>>>>>> On Fri, 20 Jul 2007 19:34:24 GMT, Dutch <no@email.com> wrote:
>>>>>>> irate vegan wrote:
>>>>>>>> On Fri, 20 Jul 2007 18:56:58 GMT, Dutch <no@email.com> wrote:
>>>>>>> [..]
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>> Wetlesen has built his entire case by totally misrepresenting
>>>>>>>>>> Regan.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> You misread what Wetlesen says. The term used is "moral person", not
>>>>>>>>> "moral patient".
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Then it's certain that Wetlesen has misrepresented Regan
>>>>>>>> again, because, like you say, Regan uses the term "moral
>>>>>>>> patient", not "moral person."
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> The concept of a "moral patient" is something else entirely.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> It's the term which Regan uses to describe them; "moral
>>>>>> patients",
>>>>>
>>>>> "Moral patient" status is not the issue.
>>>>
>>>> It is while Regan uses that term rather than the term Wetlesen
>>>> claims that he uses and conflates with the term "moral agent".
>>>
>>> Moral person and moral patient are not the same thing.
>>
>> Then, while Wetlesen claims that Regan uses the term
>> "moral person" and conflates it with the term "moral agent"
>> to make them equivalent, it's certain that he's wrongly
>> misrepresenting Regan to get his point accepted.
>
>No

Yes, and there's nothing you can do to alter that fact.

>>>> Below, you concede this by writing, "Regan assumes in ALL
>>>> his writings that there are ONLY moral agents and moral
>>>> patients. Like you say, he doesn't use the term "moral person."
>>>> Wetlesen has built a straw man by misrepresenting Regan's
>>>> use of a term and claiming that he conflates it with another
>>>> term to make them equivalent.
>>>
>>> Since Regan does not use the term 'Moral Person'
>>
>> ... we can be sure that Wetlesen has misrepresented Regan
>> by claiming he does, and that he conflates that term with
>> "moral agent".
>
>When Regan uses the terms moral agent and moral patient he is assuming
>he is talking about "moral persons".

No, Regan is very clear on the term he uses and rejects
any attempt made by others who try make the claim that
he conflates the term "moral patients" with "moral agents"
to make them equivalent.

>>>>>> and it doesn't exist anywhere in Wetlesen's attempt
>>>>>> to misrepresent Regan to get his point accepted. From the off
>>>>>> Wetlesen claims that Regan and two others base their argument
>>>>>> on the assumption that the concepts of a moral person and a
>>>>>> moral agent are synonymous or equivalent. He lied, and Regan
>>>>>> rejects this straw man by writing,
>>>>>>
>>>>>> [Human infants, young children, and the (seriously) deranged
>>>>>> or enfeebled of all ages are paradigm cases of human moral
>>>>>> patients. (153)
>>>>>>
>>>>>> To the extent that the case can be made for describing and
>>>>>> explaining the behaviour of a human being (by reference to
>>>>>> their beliefs and desires), to that extent, assuming that we
>>>>>> have further reasons for denying that the human in question
>>>>>> has the abilities necessary for moral agency, we have no
>>>>>> reason to regard that human as a moral patient. (154)
>>>>>>
>>>>>> [A]ny position that denies that we have direct duties to those
>>>>>> moral patients with whom we have been and will continue to
>>>>>> be concerned (normal mammalian animals, age 1 or more,
>>>>>> and those human moral patients like these animals in the
>>>>>> relevant respects) is rationally defective. (239)
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Nothing could be clearer, even to those who read my work in
>>>>>> the most superficial manner, than that in my hands "moral patient"
>>>>>> is not equivalent to "animal" and "moral agent" is not equivalent
>>>>>> to "human being." Indeed, one of the main objectives of my
>>>>>> argument, both in the case for animal rights and throughout my
>>>>>> other writings, is to show that these pairs of concepts are not
>>>>>> equivalent. Why not? Because (1) many human beings (e.g., the
>>>>>> newly born and soon to be born) are not moral agents, meaning
>>>>>> in their present condition, they are not capable of acting in ways
>>>>>> for which they are morally responsible; and (2) these human
>>>>>> beings are moral patients, meaning they are directly owed such
>>>>>> basic duties as the duty of respect.]
>>>>>> Tom Regan page 288, The Animal Rights Debate
>>>
>>> Nothing in that passage differentiates between moral agents and moral
>>> persons.
>>
>> Regan uses the term "moral patient" instead, but Wetlesen
>> bases his argument on making the claim that Regan uses the
>> term "moral person" and conflates it with the term "moral
>> agent" to make them equivalent. In short, Wetlesen has
>> misrepresented Regan and built a straw man.
>
>He never claims that Regan uses the term moral person

Yes, he does, as in,

"Nevertheless, it appears that all three of them [including
Regan] have based their arguments on the assumption
that the concepts of a moral person and a moral agent
are synonymous or equivalent."

>>>>> You just illustrated Wetlesen's point, Regan assumes in all his writings
>>>>> that there are only moral agents and moral patients.
>>>>
>>>> If that is true, then it's clear that Wetlesen has certainly misrepresented
>>>> Regan by claiming he uses the term "moral person" and makes it
>>>> equivalent to "moral agent".
>>>
>>> That's not what Wetlesen says.
>>
>> Wrong; he says exactly that by writing,
>>
>> "Nevertheless, it appears that all three of them [including
>> Regan] have based their arguments on the assumption
>> that the concepts of a moral person and a moral agent
>> are synonymous or equivalent."
>>
>> He's lying, of course, and you've helped show that by
>> writing, "Regan assumes in ALL his writings that there
>> are ONLY moral agents and moral patients." Regan
>> doesn't use the term "moral person" and he certainly
>> doesn't go on to "base his argument on the assumption
>> that the concepts of a moral person and a moral agent
>> are synonymous or equivalent."
>
>If he doesn't differentiate between them

He does, very clearly, in that chapter above.

"Nothing could be clearer, even to those who read my work in
the most superficial manner, than that in my hands "moral patient"
is not equivalent to "animal" and "moral agent" is not equivalent
to "human being."

>>>>>>>>>> Wetlesen has built his entire case by totally misrepresenting
>>>>>>>>>> Regan and denying the antecedent to get his point accepted.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> You misread Wetlesen
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> No, and I certainly didn't misread him when he elevated
>>>>>>>> apes to moral persons after failing to debunk the argument
>>>>>>>> from marginal cases.
>>>>>>>> He wrote,
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> "Theoretically, there might be other moral persons also,
>>>>>>>> but there seem to be none, excepting perhaps some of
>>>>>>>> our closest relatives among the primates."
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> I then wrote,
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> "It follows, then, that apes hold rights due to his fact that
>>>>>>>> they "are moral persons.""
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> and you replied,
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> "Possibly. I would hold in fact that this is so plausible that
>>>>>>>> apes should be granted basic rights."
>>>>>>>> Dutch 7 July 2007 http://tinyurl.com/328k8h
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> You're not making a useful point
>>>>>>
>>>>>> The point I've made is made, and whether you can
>>>>>> see that or not is nether here nor there.
>>>>>
>>>>> It just makes no sense
>>>>
>>>> The whole point in trying to debunk the argument from
>>>> marginal cases is to show that animals cannot hold rights
>>>> against us, but instead of doing what he set out to achieve
>>>> he elevates animals to moral persons and ascribes rights
>>>> to them, and you agree.
>>>
>>> Right
>>
>> Thank you. You're done.
>
>Wetlesen's rebuttal is

.. a straw man built on misrepresenting Regan, and the fallacy
of denying the antecedent.

Dutch
2007-07-21 15:40:27 EST
irate vegan wrote:
> On Sat, 21 Jul 2007 10:40:02 GMT, Dutch <no@email.com> wrote:

[..]
>>> Then, while Wetlesen claims that Regan uses the term
>>> "moral person" and conflates it with the term "moral agent"
>>> to make them equivalent, it's certain that he's wrongly
>>> misrepresenting Regan to get his point accepted.
>> No
>
> Yes

Absurd. Wetlesen's conclusions are based on a systematic and scholarly
analysis of moral status that stands on it's own. He does not claim that
Regan uses the term moral person.

>>>>> Below, you concede this by writing, "Regan assumes in ALL
>>>>> his writings that there are ONLY moral agents and moral
>>>>> patients. Like you say, he doesn't use the term "moral person."
>>>>> Wetlesen has built a straw man by misrepresenting Regan's
>>>>> use of a term and claiming that he conflates it with another
>>>>> term to make them equivalent.
>>>> Since Regan does not use the term 'Moral Person'
>>> ... we can be sure that Wetlesen has misrepresented Regan
>>> by claiming he does, and that he conflates that term with
>>> "moral agent".
>> When Regan uses the terms moral agent and moral patient he is assuming
>> he is talking about "moral persons".
>
> No, Regan is very clear on the term he uses and rejects
> any attempt made by others who try make the claim that
> he conflates the term "moral patients" with "moral agents"
> to make them equivalent.

That's a strawman. Wetlesen does not claim Regan conflates moral agent
and moral patient, Regan omits the concept of "moral person" entirely,
classifying all sentient beings into the classes moral agent and moral
patient. From this approach he argues the all moral patients, human and
animal, should be treated similarly. Wetlesen does not misrepresent
this, he observes it and offers a different approach which recognizes
the inherent capability of human moral patients which differentiates
them from animal moral patients.


[..]
> He does, very clearly, in that chapter above.
>
> "Nothing could be clearer, even to those who read my work in
> the most superficial manner, than that in my hands "moral patient"
> is not equivalent to "animal" and "moral agent" is not equivalent
> to "human being."

Wetlesen does not make this claim either. He acknowledges the
possibility that some animals may be moral persons, even though none
have clearly demonstrated the capability yet.

Regan classifies all sentient beings into the classes moral agent and
moral patient. From this incomplete point of view he argues that all
moral patients, human and animal, should be treated similarly.

Wetlesen concludes correctly that Regan commits a fundamental error of
omission by not recognizing that human moral patients differ from
non-human moral patients in that they possess the capability to be moral
agents.

Regan's approach is incomplete, that's why he reaches the flawed
position of being unable to differentiate between human infants and animals.

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