In my entry “Problems With the Argument From Marginal Cases and Using Sentience as a Basis for Rights,” I attempted to debunk the argument from marginal cases, the keystone argument that holds up obligatory veganism and the notion that sentience is the basis for rights.
I’m getting tired of summarizing the argument from marginal cases, so in case you’re unfamiliar with it, here is Jack Norris and Ginny Messina’s take on it from Vegan For Life:
A human rights ethic suggest that no human—not just intelligent humans, but also babies, infants, and those who are mentally challenged—should be abused and used by others for whatever purpose they like. This raises the question about whether rights should be extended to animals. The idea that if we grant rights to humans of lesser intelligence or ability, we should also grant rights to animals is sometimes referred to as the argument from marginal cases. If intelligence and capability are not criteria for the possession of rights, why would animals—who have the capacity to feel fear and pain—be excluded from moral consideration? Some philosophers may reject the argument from marginal cases, but we have never known any of them to provide a compelling reason for doing so. (234 - 235)
Jeez, okay, I’ll try to do better this time.
First, for nostalgia’s sake, let’s look at the points I made in that earlier entry: