Non-human rights: An idealist perspective

Inquiry 27 (1-4):439 – 461 (1984)
Abstract
The question whether an entity has rights is identified with that as to whether an intrinsic value resides in it which imposes obligations to foster it on those who can appreciate this value. There should be no difficulty in granting that animals have rights in this sense, but what of other natural objects and artifacts? It seems that various inanimate things, such as fine buildings and forests, often possess such intrinsic value, yet since they can only be fully actual in an observing consciousness the most basic such right is that of being observed from time to time. That, at least, is true of them as phenomenal objects. There must, however, be a thing in itself behind the phenomenal object and sometimes this may possess an intrinsic value which gives rise to rights, not a matter of the need to be actualized in an observing consciousness, though it is extremely difficult to reach reliable conclusions here
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T. L. S. Sprigge (1987). Are There Intrinsic Values in Nature? Journal of Applied Philosophy 4 (1):21-28.
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