14 July 2008

Animal Rights

I've been reading the literature of animal rights for nearly three decades, and contributing to it for the past decade or so. This New York Times column has to rank as the worst thing I've read. The author fails to distinguish legal rights from moral rights, fails to distinguish the question whether animals do have legal rights from the question whether they should have legal rights, fails to analyze the concept of a right (i.e., fails to tell his readers what it is to have a right), fails to distinguish between positive rights and negative rights, and in general glosses over all the important questions, philosophical and otherwise. To make things worse, the column is badly written. In parts, it's incomprehensible. Yuck.

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