“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Friday, December 26, 2014

Meanwhile, Tommy...

Poor chimp. The judge is being a bit circular, no, saying that he has no legal standing? Of course he doesn't, because you just determined that he's not legally a person.

I prefer the Argentinian lawyers. They left law and scientism out of it, and went straight to philosophy.


amanda vox said...

and their definition of ´person´ leaves many humans out.

Anonymous said...

I fully agree on both tautology and the need to dispense with dueling "scientists" and stated as much early on. The problem is that American jurisprudence is immune to philosophical arguments and was unable to understand them when stated. Carey Wolfe's critique in Before the Law is well-known and he states the inadequacy of courts to rethink the biopolitical frame which exists to protect the property of us, the "person" from the, the "non persons". The argument that the NHRP advanced for Tommy, which will now seek review by the highest NY State Court, is that other "nonpersons" such as slaves, marginal cases, Guantanamo detainees, have been able to sometimes gain standing via a recognition of their personhood. The gatekeepers in NY State decided not to expand the common law and allow this sort of organic change, feeling constrained by precedent and unable to understand the evidence. The NHRP appellate brief noted philosophical arguments only in passing and then only to say that many philosophers would not support their argument. While personhood may be an anthropocentric concept it does clear the way to seek redress. Interestingly, the court said it would not grant "human right" to Tommy under habeas corpus petition when the NHRP had sought only "chimpanzee rights" which include release to a more suitable environment. The struggle continues and changes the conceptualization of nature as it occurs. The name of the struggle seems to be ontological hyseteria over decentering the human.