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I am trying to understand the logic of associated rights (i.e. if I have right A, then I must also have right B).

Imagine I have the right to own the white house (which is a property), then it follows that I must also have the right to own "a" property.

Now imagine that I have the right to be cared for by my parents (who are an opposite sex couple), then does it also follow that I must also have the right to be cared for by "an" opposite sex couple?

Thanks

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  • Yes, but dont go thinking you can do this with every if . . . Then construction. You can't and expect to receive the truth each time. In some cases this method works but in others the results will differ. If a woman has a Federal Right to abortion services then she has the right to go to an abortion provider for the purpose of getting an abortion.We all likely heard this is FALSE in the state of Alabama if their new legislation holds without objection. How could this law a state law override a Federal law is another question.Since this is about logic why not think how irrational that is.
    – Logikal
    May 24 '19 at 18:37
  • The reasoning you are using is logical weakening: if one has a right to X then one has a right to Y of which X is an instance. So it depends on the definition of "parents" in the corresponding right. If only biological parents count, then an opposite sex couple would not be an instance of that. If legal (or some other sense of mutual commitment) parents do, then it would be. Laws currently on the books also make the distinction between same sex and opposite sex couples when it comes to adoption, for example.
    – Conifold
    May 25 '19 at 4:14
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If I've understood your question correctly (about how to formalize and prove arguments of the kind you provided), then yes, both arguments are formally valid.

First argument

If we use the following interpretation:

g    =>  Gueda
w    =>  the white house
Oxy  =>  x has the right to own y
Px   =>  x is a property

The argument can then be symbolized as:

1. Ogw
2. Pw
-------
∴ ∃x(Px ∧ Ogx)

Second argument

If we use the following interpretation:

g    =>  Gueda
p    =>  Gueda's parents
Cxy  =>  x has the right to be cared for by y
Ox   =>  x is an opposite-sex couple

The argument can be symbolized as:

1. Cgp
2. Op
-------
∴ ∃x(Ox ∧ Cgx)

As we can see, both arguments are pretty straightforwardly valid: take the conjunction of premises 1 and 2, and apply existential generalization to the result to get the conclusion.

[A word of caution: if read in a vacuum, the conclusion of the second argument can be misinterpreted as something other than what we actually derived. "I have the right to be cared for by an opposite-sex couple" might sound like a statement against the rights of homosexuals to care for children, when in fact what it literally means nothing more than the innocuous statement "there exists at least one opposite-sex couple by whom I have a right to be cared for (namely, my parents)".]

In general, all similar arguments probably follow a similar form: x has some rights to y; y is of some type P; so x has some rights to something of type P. Just keep the warning above in mind, as the conclusion could be read ambiguously in natural language.

Hope this helps!

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  • Thanks so much Adam that word of caution really helps. A quick follow up if I may. Taking the first argument, if someone were to say to me “Gueda it doesn’t matter whether you have a property or not” would they be disrespecting my right to the White House? It seems so. Similarly, in the second argument, if someone were to say “Gueda it doesn’t matter whether you are cared for by a same sex couple or an opposite sex couple” would they be disrespecting my right to be cared for by my parents (who are an opposite sex couple)? It seems so. Just checking I’ve understood correctly. Thanks again.
    – Gueda
    May 25 '19 at 7:25
  • @Gueda I'm not too sure about disrespecting. The context is probably important here. But it sounds like they're saying that just because you happen to own a property, it doesn't give you the right to own property (and moreover, it doesn't give you the right to own a particular property, the white house). Is this right? This opponent also probably wouldn't grant you your first premise, that you have the right to own the white house. I hope I didn't misunderstand. May 25 '19 at 14:51
  • Thanks @Adam. I used the White House example so that it wouldn’t be political and I could concentrate on the logic but you seem a reasonable guy so here is the actual question I have: Imagine children have the right to be cared for by their biological mother and father (technically they don’t but let’s assume they did), and imagine a law passed that said “it makes no difference at all whether children are cared for by either two women, two men, or a man and woman”. Would that law undermine the child’s right to be cared for by their biological mother and father? It would seem so. Thanks
    – Gueda
    May 25 '19 at 16:06
  • @Gueda Interesting. At first glance, it seems so to me too, but I'm not really sure. I might not have time today, but if I have anything more to add I will modify my answer to be more relevant (and after I've thought a bit more about it, since tbh I haven't really thought much about the "logic of rights"). May 25 '19 at 17:20
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In order for this association to be true you first need to prove your premises, i.e., prove you have a right to anything.

I don't think your line of reasoning is correct because you're putting forward the right to property as a consequence of the right to a specific house when in reality it's the other way around.

I'm assuming the validity of hoppean argumentative ethics in the above.

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