Species Equality Does not Lead to Social or Political Equality


Question

I can’t help but think that although we are all different in so many ways, we are, at very least, all of the same species. In other words, we are all equally human. Isn’t this humanistic idea enough to base democracy or justice upon, without necessarily requiring a metaphysical explanation?

Answer

H.D. Goswami Profile Picture

We have clear evidence throughout the natural world that species equality does not lead to social or political equality. In virtually every non-human species, including advanced mammals, we find hierarchy, not equality, and this hierarchy is usually maintained with violence and coercion. And for most of human history, almost all societies have been based on hierarchy, not equality. The Declaration of Independence bases equality on the will of the Creator, hardly a material idea.

In fhe first known Western democracy, that of Athens, equality extended only to Athenian citizens. Many if not most of the residents of Athens were slaves. Not exactly ‘equality.’

I pointed out that ‘equality’ is metaphysical (I avoided the word ’spiritual’), and without a metaphysical principle, we are left with a meaningless argument as follows:

1. All humans belong to the same general species.

2. Creatures of the same species have equal rights.

3. Therefore all humans have equal rights.

The obvious problem here is #2. Without metaphysics, it is logically impossible to demonstrate that creatures of the same species have equal rights. This is true simply because ‘rights’ are completely metaphysical. In the materialistic worldview, a ‘right’ does not exist as a real object, since it has no empirical qualities and cannot be detected by any empirical experiment.

So the argument fails because #2 is unintelligible and meaningless within the context of philosophical materialism.