A curious question by Barry Arrington on UD..

…that I can’t seem to resist posting here:

I have a question for our materialist friends. Let’s imagine a group of chimpanzees. Say one of the male chimps approaches one of the female chimps and makes chimp signals that he wants to have sexual relations with her, but for whatever reason she’s not interested and refuses. Is it morally wrong for the male chimp to force the female chimp to have sex with him against her will?

If you answer “no it is not morally wrong,” imagine further a group of humans. On the materialist view, a human is just a jumped up hairless ape. Is it morally wrong for a human male to force a human female to have sex with him against her will? If you answer “yes, it is morally wrong,” I certainly agree with you. But please explain why on the materialist view it is not wrong for a hairy ape to force a female to have sex with him, but it is wrong for a hairless ape to force a female to have sex with him.

Link.

  1. Is it wrong for a man but not for a chimp? Yes, it is wrong for a man but not for a chimp.
  2. Why is it wrong for a man but not for a chimp?
    1. It is a meaningful question in regard to a man, whereas it is not for a chimp, because human beings are capable of moral choice, by virtue of many factors, including our theory of mind capacity, our complex social structures and our capacity for linguistic cultural transmission.
    2. The answer to the meaningful question for a man is “yes”, because prioritizing our own desires the wellbing of others lies at the definitional heart of human morality, and rape is a clear example of such an act.

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