Discussion Topic:

In this symposium I would like you to focus on utilitarianism and rights and what determines someone or something to have “rights” – Tom Regan argues from a Utilitarian view that we all have equal inherent value by virtue of being ‘experiencing subjects of a life’.

-What does it mean to be an ‘experiencing subject of a life’? When we “boil this down” it often turns out (from a Utilitarian perspective) that if one is not ‘experiencing a subject of life’ that someone or something does not have rights because they do not have “equal” inherent value. So, for example, someone in a permanent vegetative state or a fetus in the early stages of abortion, or someone with severe cases of dementia would not be experiencing subjects of life.

-Do you think that being the subject of a life means that one has equal inherent value?

-From this line of reasoning, does it then follow from that view that animals should be given rights to life and freedom as they are able to be experiencing subjects of life when certain “persons” would not be?

-Your posts should remain focused on the ethical considerations, and at some point in your contribution you must specifically address the way a utilitarian would approach this issue by explaining and evaluating that approach.

-If you have a position, you should strive to provide reasons in defense of that position.

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