Remember the last chapter? Yeah… this is more of the same. In fact, for added fun, you should really read this before reading this article.

Now let me tangent a moment to clear up some misconceptions about myself. I love animals. When my family moved to the farm my parents still live at to this day, I was given a border collie by my grandparents and we’ve had one tending the territory ever since and we’ve loved them as much as any member of the family. Cats… horses… I’ve spent my life surrounded by animals and enjoyed every minute of it. Some might even call me a misanthrope, just because I have a “Team Gustave” 1 t-shirt (and after driving for 5 minutes, I am ready to kill all humans).

So why does this bug me? I don’t know, maybe because it seems that a lot of animal rights activists have rarely been around actual animals. Seriously, can anyone name an animal rights philosopher (or whatever) from among primitive societies? Or Australia?

So anyway, this chapter begins with…

Edward Cullen is a loving husband, a brilliant musician, a devoted son, and a remarkable baseball player.

Cream Count: 127
Wait – wrong article series.

What are the criteria for personhood?

Well I think first we’d have to establish what a person is.

A person is simply a bearer of rights, someone worthy of respect.

Ummm… Well I guess you could go by that.

Being a human does not automatically make you a person. Sadly, society has often not treated women and minorities as persons. So being human has not always been used as part of the criteria for personhood.

Women are persons? Since when? Is this new? Surely someone wouldn’t have pointed this out by now! (Yes, I am being sarcastic.)

For instance, intelligent extraterrestrials could potentially be persons, and some animal rights advocates argue that animals are persons as well.

But you just said that the definitions of society are what eliminate humanity as a criterion of personhood. Therefore, if society deems animals not people, doesn’t that mean that they are not people? Are we discussing what is legally recognized as a person or what SHOULD be recognized as a person? Geez, it’s only the 2nd paragraph and my head is killing me.

What follows is another two paragraph discussion over how superior meyerpires are to humans – physically and mentally. Seriously people, who, reading this book, NEEDS THIS MUCH REVIEW ON TWILIGHT? Those 2 paragraphs would have been much better spent better laying the groundwork on the definition of “person”.

What is a Person (other than vampire food)?

Wait, you just said being human alone wasn’t enough to be a person. But vampire’s feed on humans so… argh! Continuity book. Continuity!

The Philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) argued that being a human was not enough to make you a person.

See? A person may or may not be vampire food. You invalidated your own subheading.

[contemporary philosopher Mary Anne] Warren argues that there are five qualities that would indicate whom we should treat with respect: (1) consciousness, (2) reasoning, (3) self-motivated activity, (4) the capacity to communicate, and (5) the presence of self-concepts. 1

Hey look, there’s a foot note there. What’s in the footnotes for this chapter?

1. Mary Anne Warren, “On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion,” Monist 57:1, 43-61 (1973)

Look, I know abortion is one of those hot-button topics and I do NOT want to get into a discussion of it. Just leave all that aside for a moment. HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT A GREAT NUMBER ARGUMENTS FOR ABORTION WOULD ALSO APPLY IN FAVOR OF MEYERPIRES EATING US? Seriously, here is the source cited above, just imagine Aro reading it in his cold voice as someone begs for their life. Of all the philosophers of all societies of all human history, you couldn’t find ONE better source to draw an argument from?

Warren doesn’t believe that a being must have all of these characteristics to be treated as a person, but at least a combination of several is necessary, usually involving numbers one and three.

Then why not just list 1 & 3? Microscopic life demonstrates some forms of communication (via chemicals) and self-motivated activity. Which means that – once again – you’re killing a lot of people just by being alive.

Anyway, there’s more biology bashing coming – always fighting words to me.

Twilight’s vampires meet all five criteria. To say that they are not persons simply because they are physically different from us amounts to arbitrary speciesism.

Still no proof that speciesism is wrong in and of itself. ‘To thine own kind be true’ is far less arbitrary than most standards, including those in this essay.

As [Tom] Regan [contemporary philosopher, see previous] mentions, almost any criterion, other than “they aren’t human,” is one that humans can lack. For example, many very young children are not intelligent at all; in fact, an adult gorilla may be smarter than a young child. Why is it that we have to treat the child with respect and not the gorilla?

I can’t put it any better than a plaque my mom has hanging in her house:
“When I see a new-born baby, I have two impulses – One is to kneel and thank the creator, the other is to stand and tip my hat in respect for what he might become.” –Credited to Abraham Lincoln
Of course, gorillas have never written anything like this so I guess that’s some points for them.

What Humans, Vampires, and Animals Have in Common

Onto a new section where we start discussing another [ugh] contemporary philosopher, Martha Nussbaum. She uses a capability definition:

In other words, if something has the capability to do something that doesn’t harm anyone else, why interfere with it?

Knowing how intelligent the readership of this site is, I’m sure several of you just screamed the butterfly effect. Are you sure it’s not doing any harm to anything else?

What follows is a discussion about capabilities 2 and flourishing, which isn’t too bad. Until we get to…

For example, the capability life does not make something a person, but those who have it shouldn’t be denied it. If we used Nussbaum’s capabilities list as a way of determining how we should treat others, it is unlikely anything would be mistreated.

Newsflash: if everyone followed ANY morality (with extremely rare exceptions) 100% of the time perfectly, nothing would be mistreated either. The morality isn’t the problem: it’s the people following it.

Had Nussbaum’s capabilities list been followed, African Americans and others would not have been kept as slaves, and women would not have had to fight for the better part of a century to earn rights such as the vote.

“Do to others as you would be done by.” –The 2nd most important command of Christianity and Judaism, commonly known as the golden rule. Had that been followed all of the above probably wouldn’t have happened. And that’s just one religion/culture/ethical framework off the top of my head. High praise 3 goes to anyone who can cite other ethics, moralities, religions, etc that would have prevented the above mishaps. Only entries before 1993 (when Nussbaum published these capabilities) will be accepted – the older the better.

Moving on, there’s again a point that from this “capabilities” list animals should be treated well – I won’t repeat my point again, let’s go to:

If Animals Are Human Food, Are We Vampire Food?

Ummm… by definition: YES. That’s how nature – red in tooth and claw – works.

Rather than accept Nussbaum’s conclusion, you might simply ask, why not deny Edward personhood? After all, Edward is not human, and as noted earlier, he is very different. But why should difference matter? In many ways vampires are superior to humans. The very reasoning used to deny animals personhood would quickly work against us.

Hey! Call back to what I complained about earlier in this article. As for Edward’s personhood, let’s get Charlie’s input on this:

Thank you, Charlie.

[The Volturi] are smarter, they are capable of doing many things we can only dream about, and if they chose to herd us like cattle into pens for the slaughter, they could with ease (and do, in the case of some unfortunate tourists).

You know, it would have been better had this chapter and/or the previous one dealt more with human vampire relations rather than all this other stuf. In fact, had this chapter been “Are Humans People?” and written as if it was Carlise making the case to the Volturi, it would have actually been awesome.

So on what basis do we say humans deserve special treatment in the face of nonhumans who can do everything better?

The fact that we are human and it is the right of all life to defend itself against predators?

There is only one argument that counts us as persons to physically superior vampires: humans have souls.

No. Oh no.

How do you know you have [a soul]? How do you test for a soul?

NOW you want to start relying upon scientific testing? No, nadda, nein, negative – you don’t get to spit in the face of biology for three quarters of your essay and then suddenly start invoking it.

Vampires could argue that proof of their souls is in their superiority over humans. The vampire might argue that if humans had souls, God wouldn’t make them so easy to kill. (This is exactly the argument we often use against animals.)

I’m calling bullshit. Can anyone cite a source using this argument that wasn’t in jest? Also, there’s a big difference. Vampires can kill us with ease using nothing more than their natural bodies. Go try killing an animal without a single tool, just your bare hands. The only reason animals are so “easy” to kill now is because we have many millennia invested into the research and development of tools to help us do so. Even then the little bastards had to make it hard so finally we said, “Screw it, let’s just domesticate and breed a couple of beasts that won’t put up that much of a fight.” (though sometimes they still will)

Hmmm… vampires breeding humans like livestock – that would also have improved the Twilight series. Oh wait, that’s been done.

There’s another issue here, too. Let’s say we could prove that we do have souls. Why should this matter? After all, human beings have many features that make us unique, but that have no weight whatsoever when thinking about morality. …So what’s so great about this soul thing?

Hey, discussing what is a soul and its effects would have also been a better chapter than this. The first and obvious point would be an afterlife, so since meyerpires are immortal, we might say that the presence of a soul isn’t an issue for them. Historically, some said that creating, appreciating art and acting morally were effects of having a soul. But then Meyer had to make Edward perfect so even under a lot of these classical standards, he’s still a soulful being. Nowadays, we all know there’s only one standard of soul:

Anyway, the essay has more fluffiness, sweetness, we-need-to-be-nice-to-everything, so on and so on until we reach at last the final section:

Naughty Vampire! No People for You!

Ok, that headline made me laugh a bit. We again return to the idea of a moral community and vampire’s place in it.

This is different from the case of animals who cannot determine that they want to reject morality; they simply do not understand it. Animals are then objects of our moral treatment, though they couldn’t choose to participate fully in the moral community.

See first article linked.

Animals would thus have a limited kind of personhood. …But we also should not eat them by virtue of Nussbaum’s capabilities list, because animals can be persons whose capabilities we respect.

Insert your own rebuttal here. Still no respect for the rights of plants or microscopic life I notice.

Moral personhood may be judged only on a case-by-case basis. …We would reject, punish, or in the case of the Volturi, defend ourselves from those who choose to violate the personhood and capabilities of others.
The great irony, though, is this: If we choose to reject some individuals as nonpersons because of their willingness to harm others, we may find ourselves as only partial persons. Why? If by our accounts animals have a kind of limited personhood, then our treatment of them is analogous to the Volturi’s treatment of us. So if the Volturi should be punished or denied personhood because of their treatment of other persons then we should similarly be punished for our treatment of these other weaker animals-persons.

And yet there are numerous accounts of animal-persons mistreating other animal-persons. Can we then punish them with eating? (Like the question, would the Volturi be so bad if they only ate the worst criminals?) Cats, for example, are a bit notorious for playing with smaller creatures. Even dolphins have been accounted for cruelly murdering other animal-persons. Does that mean that it’s ok for us to eat cats and dolphins?

In the end Edward might be not only a person, but a better person than most humans. After all, he refrains from killing those who are weaker and less intelligent than he is, while humans gladly kill animals weaker with different intelligences.

Cream Count: 128

“Why did you go to that Goat Rocks place last weekend…to hunt? Charlie said it wasn’t a good place to hike, because of bears.”
He stared at me as if I was missing something very obvious.
“Bears?” I gasped, and he smirked. “You know, bears are not in season,” I added sternly, to hide my shock.
“If you read carefully, the laws only cover hunting with weapons,” he informed me.
He watched my face with enjoyment as that slowly sank in.
“Bears?” I repeated with difficulty.
“Grizzly is Emmett’s favorite.” His voice was still off-hand, but his eyes were scrutinizing my reaction. I tried to pull myself together.
“Hmmm,” I said, taking another bite of pizza as an excuse to look down. I chewed slowly, and then took a long drink of Coke without looking up.
“So,” I said after a moment, finally meeting his now-anxious gaze. “What’s your favorite?”
He raised an eyebrow and the corners of his mouth turned down in disapproval. “Mountain lion.” – Twilight , Chapter 10

1. Why do I have a morbid fascination toward that croc? What is up with him? Is there like an old crocodile legend that if you eat a thousand humans you grow wings and spit fire?

2. The 10 items on Nussbaum’s capabilities list is as follows: 1. Life 2. Bodily health 3. Bodily integrity 4. Senses, imagination, and thought 5. Emotions 6. Practical reason 7. Affiliation 8. Other species 9. Play 10. Control over one’s environment
Yes, 99.999% of all life violates #8, and a large amount of life violates 5, 6, 7 and 9.

3. High Praise Update: Spanman won the first round. Steph and Dan Locke both tried for the 2nd and it goes to Dan for being closest, Lucy Wannabe also won a bonus round so currently it’s a 4-way game.

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  1. Danielle on 19 April 2010, 11:57 said:

    Well. This just goes to show how far an “it’s not really human because it’s not as smart as me” or “it’s not human yet“ argument can go before descending into the realm of very bad, very scary philosophy.

    This book doesn’t even deserve to use the word “philosophy” in its title. It should be called Twilight and Psuedointelligent Ramblings: Proof Stephenie Meyer is a Freelance Psycopath.

  2. dragonarya on 19 April 2010, 15:51 said:

    Urgh, my head! I’m not good with this sort of thing, even with Nate dissecting it.

    This book doesn’t even deserve to use the word “philosophy” in its title. It should be called Twilight and Psuedointelligent Ramblings: Proof Stephenie Meyer is a Freelance Psycopath.

    I agree wholeheartedly.

  3. ZeeZee on 19 April 2010, 16:39 said:

    Every time I click on a link, I waste another hour.
    But was the animal mass murderer link really necessary?

    Great post though (yet again).

  4. Nate Winchester on 19 April 2010, 18:30 said:

    ZeeZee, think of it as just my source for why I’m so cynical about animals. ;-)

  5. Thea on 19 April 2010, 19:31 said:

    So, I think I got bit lost…in all this argument why is okay for Edward to eat mountain lions? I mean, he eats them, therefore by definition they are weaker and less intelligent than he is. Or they’re more intelligent and avoiding the mutant sparkles and he chases them down anyway, which is worse still.

  6. Loni on 19 April 2010, 19:48 said:

    You know, contrary to popular belief, all Australians do not have to battle death-creatures to get to school every day =)
    I promise, you will find just as many people with silly romanticised ideas about nature in an Australian city as anywhere else!

  7. Puppet on 19 April 2010, 21:49 said:

    Yeah Nate, the links are quite distracting. It’s annoying to have to click on a link just to find out what you’re talking about when I would be more interested in the article itself.

  8. LucyWannabe on 20 April 2010, 04:02 said:

    You know, I would find an article about vampire-humans relations to be interesting. I mean, really—how many vampire stories actually make a good effort at that? I’ve seen True Blood do some interesting things with that (“going mainstream” and all that…but, uh, no spoilers, I only finished season one. ;) ), and a few other books. An article-article would be cool.

    If I weren’t so damn lazy, I’d try and write that, like how I once tried to figure out just what the ratio of vampire:human would be in the real world, going by a lot of crazy factors (I never thought I’d have to use Google to figure out how many dead bodies just turn up out of nowhere).

    Uh…in any case, this article was so damn uninteresting and brain-cracking that I sat here writing a rambling post thinking about articles that could be cooler.

  9. fffan on 20 April 2010, 06:32 said:

    @ LucyWannabe
    The article wasn’t that bad. The book it was sporking on the other hand…

  10. LucyWannabe on 20 April 2010, 16:38 said:

    Aww, crap. I meant book, not article. I’ve always liked Nate’s stuff.

    This is what I get for writing at 3am. <_<

  11. iamcells on 20 April 2010, 20:50 said:

    So… this books authors confuse me :S
    It seems as though they are arguing that vampires eating people is wrong, and then it seems that they are arguing that Edward’s eating animals is wrong.
    >.> Sam and Dean Winchester

  12. Nate Winchester on 20 April 2010, 20:57 said:

    I should clarify a bit…

    That final block quote: I pulled from Twilight because I thought it was a great punchline reply to the essay.

  13. NeuroticPlatypus on 21 April 2010, 21:01 said:

    the butterfly effect.

    Just ask Ashton Kutcher

    Oh wait, that’s been done.

    I love The Time Machine!

    The author of Twilight and Philosophy, however, seems a bit off. She contradicts herself quite often.

  14. Nate Winchester on 21 April 2010, 21:05 said:

    In a (slight) defense there, NP, there is no ONE author of TnP. There is an editor but each essay is written by different people (well, so far, I haven’t come across two essays written by the same person).

  15. Steph on 25 April 2010, 07:17 said:

    I think Charlie deserves HighPraise! this time around.

  16. Kyllorac on 25 April 2010, 19:46 said:

    But there is no internal consistency in the essays! D: And they make my head hurt. >.<

    I am so tempted to write a philosophical essay propounding the defense of helpless microorganisms and plants everywhere, immediately followed by an essay on why eating animals is ethically and morally right. >.>

  17. Silivren on 26 April 2010, 09:47 said:

    This book portrays Edward as being so great because he denies eating humans, but who’s to say he wouldn’t eat a hamburger if he could? He can’t EAT like a human, he can only drink the blood of others. But I am willing to bet money that if he could eat like a human he would enjoy a good many hamburgers just like the rest of us.

  18. Stephenie Rowling on 4 July 2011, 22:33 said:

    Did this people even read the book? Edward killed criminals during his rebellious years (murderers and serial rapists) he felt bad about it, because the human blood affects vampires making less civilized it was a choice between ending becoming the kind of monster he hated or eating animals to keep on existing peacefully among then and with a family.
    Is ethical but is also practical normal vampires cannot create big covens so he made a choice based on a good reason but is not like there was not a price to pay for indulging in murder of humans. Vegetarians and Vegans usually are the ones selecting from pure abstract reasons, so is a different position to choose from.