Re: A Bioethical Foundation for Human Rights

From: Smigrodzki, Rafal (SmigrodzkiR@MSX.UPMC.EDU)
Date: Thu Nov 01 2001 - 19:02:04 MST

Anders Sandberg quoted:

> This background explains why terrorists need not be actively dehumanized
> because they have done that themselves. It is also why their
> extermination is no worse than killing a rabid dog in the streets of any
> city.

I disagree with this conclusion. As I have pointed out, dehumanization
can be partial, and may not stretch all the way to losing the right to

### As I remarked in aprevious post, I do agree with William John here. I
believe that the basis for a right to live is an innocent wish to live - no
more, no less.

Mere understanding of the concept of self is not enough, but a wish without
understanding is impossible. So animals (with perhaps the exception of some
primates, etc.) do not have a right to live (didn't we discuss this subject
about five months ago?). Sentient objects without a wish to live (as some
AI's of the future might be designed to be) can be terminated without worry.

The word "innocent" stands here for a large and unwieldy meme-complex. In
this context it means that those who do not recognize innocent individuals'
wish to live, are themselves not innocent - they are guilty of disrespecting
a life-wish, and for precisely that reason their wish to live need not be
respected. While on a cognitive level such persons might be quite higly
placed, from a moral standpoint their level of sentience is no longer
relevant. Whether they are dehumanized totally, losing their rational
faculties, or whether their only failing is a lack of concern for the
survival wishes of other entities, the conclusion is the same - they may be
terminated as needed to advance the life-wish of innocent humans.

Rafal Smigrodzki, MD-PhD

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:17 MDT