Sunday, 9 September 2012

Could and Should Rivers have Rights? Yes, of Course!

This little news item, spurred some slightly uneasy reactions when I forwarded it on Twitter today. It's about New Zealand granting a particular river "legal personhood", implying it to have legitimate interests and rights, just like other legal persons.

Must be crazy, right? Or at least appalling and misguided, given all the instances globally where actual people are not being granted such standing? Or, at least, I – in light of philosophical views I hold in other areas – should be against anything in this direction. I mean, if I'm hesitant to award human embryos or fetuses moral status of the sort claimed by pro-life ethics advocates, why should I be prepared to grant rights to a river??

Well, it may surprise you all to know that I actually find the New Zealand move perfectly defensible. Be back to explain why in a later post, unless someone presents the right answer here in the comments before ;-)