#namethetrait - being or having been human

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privkeav
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#namethetrait - being or having been human

Post by privkeav » Tue Oct 29, 2019 6:25 pm

In the wikipedia page for NTT 2.0+, the trait "being or having been human" is noted as a trait that cannot be taken away. This leads to the possibility that the trait equalization process is impossible. The criticism was answered by viewing the equalization process as a thought exercise in which this particular trait seems to be ignored. This is flawed. For example:

P1: An object has moral value if it exemplifies the trait "being or having been human".
P2: The human that has been completely transformed into a cow exemplifies the trait "being or having been human".
C: The human that has been completely transformed into a cow has moral value.

The trait "being or having been human" can be attacked by claiming that it is another form of speciesism. However, it cannot be ignored because it can be used to establish consistency. A speciesist using this trait will "pass" the consistency test because NTT plays no role in validating a trait. Since this is a trait that can be used to show consistency, trait equalization is not possible.

There is a way around this. Instead of transforming a human into a cow, a person can be asked to list the morally relevant traits that are present in a cow and a human. As long as "being or having been human" is not amongst the traits for the human, trait equalization now becomes possible. For example:

human's morally relevant traits: T1, T2, ...
cow's morally relevant traits: C1, C2, ...

Instead of applying a trait equalization process to a human and a cow, it is applied to the list of morally relevant traits. As long as it is logically possible to switch each human trait into a cow trait, trait equalization is possible.

One important thing to note: the transformation/trait switching process cannot be used as a method for definitively identifying a trait. In fact, it is necessary that the person naming the trait already knows what the trait is before they try to determine when moral value is lost. For example, suppose my trait is T1. When T1 is switched to C1, the human will lose moral value. But, the only way that I will know that the human loses moral value will be if I know that T1 is the reason for moral value to begin with. If I don't know that the human loses moral value at this point, it is possible for the human to retain moral value even after the traits have become equalized.

I'd like to also note that this does not relieve a person from the burden of naming a trait. I'm simply stating that the transformation process itself cannot be used to definitively identify the trait. This poses no problems for the NTT argument as written, because NTT only states that moral value will be lost during the transformation. It does not make any claims about how to definitively identify the trait.

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