Rights of Non-Human Persons
The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) is committed to the idea that some non-human animals meet the criteria of legal personhood and thus are deserving of specific rights and protections.

Mission Statement
Owing to advances in several fields, including the neurosciences, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the human species no longer can ignore the rights of non-human persons. A number of non-human animals, including the great apes, cetaceans (i.e. dolphins and whales), elephants, and parrots, exhibit characteristics and tendencies consistent with that of a person's traits like self-awareness, intentionality, creativity, symbolic communication, and many others. It is a moral and legal imperative that we now extend the protection of 'human rights' from our species to all beings with those characteristics.


The IEET, as a promoter of non-anthropocentric personhood ethics, defends the rights of non-human persons to live in liberty, free from undue confinement, slavery, torture, experimentation, and the threat of unnatural death. Further, the IEET defends the right of non-human persons to live freely in their natural habitats, and when that's not possible, to be given the best quality of life and welfare possible in captivity (such as sanctuaries).



Specifically, through the Rights of Non-Human Persons program, the IEET works to:
  • Investigate and refine definitions of personhood and those criteria sufficient for the recognition of non-human persons.
  • Facilitate and support further research in the neurosciences for the improved understanding and identification of those cognitive processes, functions and behaviors that give rise to personhood.
  • Educate and persuade the public on the matter, spread the word, and increase awareness of the idea that some animals are persons.
  • Produce evidence and fact-based argumentation in favor of non-human animal personhood to support the cause and other like-minded groups and individuals.

Program Director: Rights of Non-Human Persons

George Dvorsky
, who serves on the Board of Directors for the IEET and heads our Rights of Non-Human Persons program, is Canada's leading agenda-driven futurist/activist.

The suggestion that we confer human-level rights to non-human persons is an idea whose time has come.



IEET Rights of Non-Human Persons News

Non-Human PersonsRights of Non-Human Persons List - Discussion of issues relevant to the protection of rights for certain non-human beings.


Resources Below is a beginning set of resources for gaining background and learning more about issues of concern to the IEET's Rights of Non-Human Persons program.

Key Rights Links

Nonhuman Rights Project (Steven M. Wise)

The Great Ape Project

Animal Legal Defense Fund

International Marine Mammal Project for the Earth Island Institute

WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals)

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)

Greenpeace

Animal Defenders International

Declaration for Rights of Cetaceans: Whales and Dolphins



Books (non-fiction)

Animal Liberation, Peter Singer (1975)

Primate Visions, Donna Haraway (1990)

Simians, Cyborgs and Women, Donna Haraway (1990)

The Great Ape Project, Paola Cavalieri and Peter Singer (1993)

Kanzi: The Ape at the Brink of the Human Mind, Sue Savage-Rumbaugh and Roger Lewin (1996)

The Origins of Language: What Nonhuman Primates Can Tell Us, Robbins Burling, Iain Davidson, Kathleen Gibson, and Stephen Jessee (1999)

Rattling the Cage, Steven M. Wise (2000)

Apes, Language, and the Human Mind, Sue Savage-Rumbaugh (2001)

Drawing the Line, Steven M. Wise (2002)

Minding Animals, Marc Bekoff (2002)

When Species Meet, Donna Haraway (2007)

Animals as Persons: Essays on the Abolition of Animal Exploitation, Gary L. Francione (2008)

Animal Bodies, Human Minds: Ape, Dolphin, and Parrot Language Skills, W.A. Hillix and Duane Rumbaugh (2010)

Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprint, Marc Bekoff (2010)

In Defense of Dolphins, Thomas I. White (2007)



Books (fiction)

The World of Ptavvs, Larry Niven (1966)

Uplift Saga, David Brin (1985-1997)

I, Rowboat, Cory Doctorow (2006)

Next, Michael Crichton (2007)



Personhood Media What will humans look like in 100 years?
Dec 2- 2016

Robots Must Pay For Their Crimes!
Nov 18- 2016

Being Human In 100 Years
Oct 10- 2016

Neo - Official Teaser Trailer
Sep 26- 2016

Born Poor, Stay Poor: The Silent Caste System of America
Sep 26- 2016

Born Poor, Stay Poor: The Silent Caste System of America
Sep 15- 2016

The Ways That Technology Has Changed the Definition of Death
Sep 13- 2016

Robots Must Pay For Their Crimes!
Aug 16- 2016

Increase Your Productivity by Mastering Singular Focus and Mindful Meditation
Aug 12- 2016

Karen Levy on the Rise of Intimate Surveillance
Aug 10- 2016

The Future of Human-Machine Relationships, HER Movie Review
Aug 6- 2016

Algorithms and Online Dating Won’t Change Your Ancient Brain
Aug 4- 2016

How To Make A Living When Robots Take Our Jobs
Aug 3- 2016

Self-Awareness Is Essential in Comedy and in Life
Jul 25- 2016

Transhumanism for the Mind: Enlightenment for the Future of Humanity
Jul 20- 2016

Could the Solution to the World’s Biggest Problems Be…a Park?
Jul 16- 2016

Why Haven’t US Schools Changed in 150 years? Media and Political Neglect
Jul 14- 2016

The Internet Is Still Brand New. Maybe That’s Why We’re All Fighting
Jul 10- 2016

5 Steps to Achieve Enlightenment — All Supported by Science
Jul 9- 2016

Bionic Ear Cuffs Could Stop Soldier Hearing Loss, Save VA Hospitals $1 Billion
Jul 7- 2016



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Avis d’un juriste sur la question.

Hadrien Pourbahman est étudiant en droit et membre de l’Association Française Transhumaniste. En début d’année, il avait effectué un stage avec Didier Coeurnelle sur le thème « Vers une reconnaissance d’un droit à la longévité », dont vous pouvez lire le résumé ici.

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A conception of evil that carries over from the Abrahamic religions into secular modernity is that of the ‘disorganization of the soul’. The idea here is that evil isn’t something separate from good but something that arises from the malformation or malfunctioning of good parts. Thus, Satan in Milton’s Paradise Lost is God’s best angel gone rogue, the template for the villains faced by comic book superheroes. Many if not most mental illnesses, from neurosis to autism, are defined as some sort of ‘disorder’. In a similar but gra...

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B. J. Murphy
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If you ever had the opportunity, would you have sex with a robot? Keep in mind, when I reference robots, I’m not thinking about completely mechanized machines, with sharp ridges and gears. Rather, these robots would be the culmination of years of research in the fields of soft robotics, synthetic skin and organ printing, and artificial intelligence (AI). In other words, unless you were to cut them open, you wouldn’t be able to differentiate them from actual human beings

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IEET Fellows Kevin LaGrandeur and John Danaher interviewed on Future of Work

Fellows Kevin LaGrandeur and John Danaher were interviewed by Future Left about the potential impact of automation and computerization on the future of the American workforce.  Their comments are included in an initiative to get theAmerican presidential to address this issue in their platforms, and their comments are also included in an article here.

John Danaher
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Robust moral realism is the view that moral facts exist, but that they are not reducible to non-moral or natural facts. According to the robust realist, when I say something like ‘It is morally wrong to torture an innocent child for fun’, I am saying something that is true, but whose truth is not reducible to the non-moral properties of torture or children. Robust moral realism has become surprisingly popular in recent years, with philosophers like Derek Parfit, David Enoch, Erik Wielenberg and Russell Shafer-Landau all defending version...

Valerie Tarico
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Secular and reformist Muslims plead that we learn to tell the difference between analyzing ideas and attacking people.

When Islam is at question, members of the American Left and Right race into opposite corners. After the Orlando nightclub massacre, to cite one recent example, conservatives spewed anti-Muslim invective to the point that ordinary American Muslims were afraid to leave home.

Rick Searle
Our emerging culture of shame by Rick Searle

remember a speech that the novelist Tom Wolfe gave on CSPAN or some such back in the 1990s in which he said something like “Nietzsche predicted that the 20th century would be the age of ideology, and that the century after the age of morality, and I believe him” I’ve never been able to find the source of the quote, but the more the 21st century rolls on, the more I’m finding it to increasingly, frighteningly true.

Rick Searle
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Lately I’ve been experiencing quite a bit of deja vu, and not in the least of a good kind. The recent bout was inspired by Ben Smith’s piece for BuzzFeed in which he struggled to understand how an Ayn Rand loving libertarian like the technologist Peter Thiel could end up supporting a statist demagogue like Donald Trump. Smith’s reasoning was that Trump represented perhaps the biggest disruption of them all and could use the power of the state to pursue the singularity and flying-cars Theil believed were one at our fingertips.

IEET Affiliate Scholar John Danaher Publishes New Paper on Moral Enhancement Neuroethics

IEET Affiliate Scholar John Danaher has a new paper coming out in the journal Neuroethics. This one argues that directly augmenting the brain might be the most politically appropriate method of moral enhancement. This paper brings together his work on enhancement, the extended mind, and the political consequences of advanced algorithmic governance. Details below:

John G. Messerly
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Last night I watched “Spotlight,” one of the finest films I’ve seen in years.

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John Danaher
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I have worked hard to get where I am. I come from a modest middle class background. Neither of my parents attended university. They grew up in Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s, at a time when the economy was only slowly emerging from its agricultural roots. I and my siblings were born and raised in the 1970s and 1980s, in an era of high unemployment and emigration. Things started to get better in the 1990s as the Irish economy underwent its infamous ‘Celtic Tiger’ boom. I did well in school and received a (relatively) free higher education...

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My friend Michael Hauskeller recently recommended a paper on academia.edu. It was by Davide Sisto and it was entitled “Moral Evil or Sculptor of the Living? Death and the Identity of the Subject”. I was intrigued. Longtime readers will know that I have, for some time now, been half in love with the philosophy of death. I am always keen to read a new perspective or take on the topic.

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Societal disparity is a hot button topic sure to arouse emotions. Those who currently have or make comparatively more money as always follow heir self-interest and stick to decennia old post cold war talking points best summarized as “anyone who works hard will eventually be successful”. This is clearly a self-validating and wealth consolidating statement and it’s completely understandable from a zero sum perspective. For the lucky few at the top of the economic food chain any compelling statement that “if most people who work hard i...

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Yesterday a post in the Turing Church Facebook group (h/t Martin C.) mentioned a Skeptico interview with filmmaker Kent Forbes, the creator of “The Simulation Hypothesis,” a recent film about the reality-as-a-sim concept, consciousness and quantum physics. Review and related thoughts below.

John G. Messerly
Skepticism and the Meaning of Life by John G. Messerly

I received a correspondence from a reader who wonders about “the triumph of judgment over spontaneity as we emerge from childhood into adulthood and the consequent obstacle it poses for living in psychic comfort.” In other words she worries about how to reconcile “a naturally felt purposefulness and zest for life against an intellectual sense of life’s essential pointlessness and its indifference to human concerns that give rise to the recognition of absurdity.” The only consolation she experiences is with her grandchildren “as t...

IEET Fellow Stefan Sorgner’s Autobiographical Nietzschean Transhumanism in New Book Pourquoi Nous Somme Nietzschéens

In the book mentioned below IEET Fellow Stefan Lorenz Sorgnerwas invited to autobiographically present his Nietzschean transhumanism - together with such well known thinkers like Bernard Stiegler and Jean-Luc Nancy. It is forthcoming in French in October 2016:

 

Rick Searle
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Give events of late I thought it relevant to re-post this piece from the summer of 2014 on the militarization of policing. Sadly, almost nothing has changed, except that my prediction that police would start using robots to kill people has come true, though in a way I certainly did not anticipate. I haven’t changed anything from the original post besides cleaning up the some of the shitty grammar and adding the mind-blowing photo by Jonathan Bachman, a freelancer for Reuters. If they have history books in 20 years time that photo will be i...

John G. Messerly
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I received a correspondence from a reader who wonders about “the triumph of judgment over spontaneity as we emerge from childhood into adulthood and the consequent obstacle it poses for living in psychic comfort.” In other words she worries about how to reconcile “a naturally felt purposefulness and zest for life against an intellectual sense of life’s essential pointlessness and its indifference to human concerns that give rise to the recognition of absurdity.” The only consolation she experiences is with her grandchildren “as t...