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Do Objectivists find value in pets? Personally, I value my pets above most humans. Is this moral?

asked Sep 22 '10 at 17:23

Sandi%20Trixx's gravatar image

Sandi Trixx
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edited Sep 22 '10 at 17:45

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦
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I thought this was kind of a pointless thread until I clicked on it, and find this controversial statement: "Personally, I value my pets above most humans. Is this moral?" Whoa. I'd like to get Socratic for a moment: What do you think, Sandi?

(Sep 22 '10 at 23:43) Chris Cathcart Chris%20Cathcart's gravatar image
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Why the whoa? Also, I don't think getting Socratic is an answer. This is ObjectivistAnswers, not ObjectivistDialogues. :-)

(Sep 23 '10 at 10:59) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

That's why I put it in the comment section rather than in an Answer section. :-) Also, a general statement like "I value my pet above most humans" is eyebrow-raising and calls for some explanation/clarification. I certainly value my pet but I also have a "humans first" policy, like nearly anyone else who isn't a PETA-type context-dropper.

(Sep 23 '10 at 16:35) Chris Cathcart Chris%20Cathcart's gravatar image
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I, for one, find great value in pets, especially my own. Good pets are affectionate and amusing, and just plain good to hug every now and then.

As for valuing your pets above most humans, I would consider it immoral if you were to treat people who are of actual and crucial value to you worse than you treat your pets. Think of your grocer, your doctor, your dentist, your lawyer, your employer, etc. Each of these people actually benefits your life in important ways. For you to treat them with disdain or contempt or indifference would be a form of injustice, and so it would be immoral.

But that doesn't mean you should hug them they way you hug your pets. The important moral principle here is justice -- or treatment of each person in your life the way he deserves. A good person should not be treated like a bad dog.

answered Sep 22 '10 at 23:44

John%20Paquette's gravatar image

John Paquette ♦
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I asked my cat, and he says that Objectivists can totally value pets.

answered Sep 23 '10 at 03:29

jasoncrawford's gravatar image

jasoncrawford ♦
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Although they are living organisms, pets are rightly considered as property. They are among the items a person works to acquire in furtherance of his life.

Whether a pet is owned for simple enjoyment, like a fish in a tank, or plays a functional role in your life, such as a cat that catches mice, or a guard dog, pets can be broadly categorized along with your house, your shoes, and your bank account, as being among the material possessions with which you equip your life. They are part of your individual pursuit of your happiness on earth.

In that sense, I think valuing your pets "above most humans" is perfectly moral, even though I find it a somewhat odd formulation.

Should I give up my beloved dogs, who guard and protect me, and instead donate the money I would spend on their care to a homeless shelter? Of course not - that would be a sacrifice. On the other hand, if I owned and loved a very valuable horse, and my spouse or child needed some expensive medical treatment, and selling the horse was the only option I could come up with for saving my family member, I would sell the horse.

answered Sep 24 '10 at 14:12

Earl3d's gravatar image

Earl3d ♦
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Asked: Sep 22 '10 at 17:23

Seen: 1,568 times

Last updated: Sep 24 '10 at 14:12