This article responds to Dr. Gallup's comments on animal rights. We are not yet ready to discuss whether animals have rights as long as we cannot give a better account of why human persons have rights than the account offered by Dr. Gallup. He thinks that persons have rights only if we say they do. I claim that we have rights for a very different and far more rational reason, namely because we are persons. We say we have rights not to create them but to register the existence of rights which we had before we said anything on the subject. Rights are social in the sense that they can be respected or violated only by another person. But they are not social in the sense that they are conferred by a social consensus. As soon as one person encounters another, the rights of each become actual, and this whether the rights are socially recognized and vindicated or not; for they emerge necessarily as a result of the fact that it is two persons who encounter each other. The only way Dr. Gallup can resist my position is to maintain that there are no persons in reality, but that a being is a person only if we say so. 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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DOI 10.1037/h0091416
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