Killing Insentient Humans?

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Frank Quasar
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Killing Insentient Humans?

Post by Frank Quasar » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:32 am

I was rather curious to get opinions/arguments from other people on the forum about a very peculiar hypothetical situation that is often brought up. The hypothetical in question is about whether or not it is "moral/immoral" to kill insentient humans, or people in comas (no potential to wake up).

Let me present the following: Would it be justified to mutilate and desecrate an insentient human being that has no potential to wake up from his/her coma? (part 1)

And to really push on this, although far-detached from reality, let's also add in the fact that this is in a vacuum, so this excludes any question of other individuals, or extrinsic value to others. This is primarily just about two individuals, the coma and the killer. (part 2).

I'd like to hear your thoughts on these two parts, you can address individually if you'd prefer. The vacuum one is really extreme, but nonetheless it'd be interesting to get some thoughts.

Usually, I often hear people express that it would be immoral to do kill the insentient human being that is in the coma because of the potentiality of waking up, but if not, then it would not be intrinsically immoral, rather, amoral because that being no longer possesses any interests that sentient beings possess, and they're equivalent to a vegetable. There are no interests being violated here, no harm done to the patient. They'd consider it wrong for extrinsic reasons, such as the harm/violation of interest that it would do to the individuals that are closely related to the coma patient, or a decrease in well-being towards a society etc. It'd be an argument for secondary harm to others.

Kinda like how destroying an extremely expensive car would have detriment consequences to the owner because it violates what his interests are, if that makes any sense.

(Another weird point that people bring up is the fact that the being was once "sentient", and that it belonged to a society, therefore it had rights of some sort -- This doesn't seem like a compelling argument at all, it seems like a desperate ad-hoc to me)

In terms of the vacuum scenario, I've heard most vegans consider it amoral. I don't see how carnists can make a compelling argument at all for why it's immoral beyond "it's human". This is probably just used as some sort of "gotcha" little trick in order to laugh at vegans, I think.

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Jebus
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Post by Jebus » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:45 am

Frank Quasar wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:32 am
Would it be justified to mutilate and desecrate an insentient human being that has no potential to wake up from his/her coma? (part 1)

Yes, why not?
How to become vegan in 4.5 hours:
1.Watch Forks over Knives (Health)
2.Watch Cowspiracy (Environment)
3. Watch Earthlings (Ethics)
Congratulations, unless you are a complete idiot you are now a vegan.

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cornivore
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Post by cornivore » Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:50 pm

Why don't you look up the medical code of ethics on these matters? It isn't a peculiar hypothetical situation in that context (and there really isn't another context). We don't kill people for being in comas, first of all (or look for an excuse to mutilate them).

carnap
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Post by carnap » Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:58 pm

If the method of determining whether the "person" lacked key cognitive function was had perfect reliability then, yes, I think it would be entirely justified. But current that isn't the case, other than extreme cases (e.g., being brain dead) we have no way to determine whether this is the case or not.

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:10 am

It would depend in part on what the person wanted before losing sentience.
Frank Quasar wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:32 am
Kinda like how destroying an extremely expensive car would have detriment consequences to the owner because it violates what his interests are, if that makes any sense.
There's more than that in terms of interests. What about the person who made the car? It was intended to be appreciated and seen as a thing of beauty and utility, not to be scrap.

Frank Quasar
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Post by Frank Quasar » Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:05 am

cornivore wrote: Why don't you look up the medical code of ethics on these matters? It isn't a peculiar hypothetical situation in that context (and there really isn't another context). We don't kill people for being in comas, first of all (or look for an excuse to mutilate them).
Yeah, I'll look into it. It's not a matter of killing them because they're in comas, to be clear. It's just a what-if in regards to a psycho who got his hands to mutilate the body, or something.
brimstoneSalad wrote: There's more than that in terms of interests. What about the person who made the car? It was intended to be appreciated and seen as a thing of beauty and utility, not to be scrap.
Yeah, that's a good point. You can just keep piling up a lot of the consequences in regards to the interests of others, so I suppose if one had to confront these kinds of issues in debate they could talk about secondary harm to others.

Anyways, thanks guys, that's all that I was curious about. People tend to usually appeal to this type of hypothetical in order to test whether or not sentience is even a morally relevant trait for consideration.

BTW, get a load of this, Ask Yourself is going to drop a video responding to @Lay Vegan which is an hour long.

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