Centaurs and the Law: Another View

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ Aatheus' Centaur WWWBoard ] [ FAQ ]

Posted by Mavra on January 30, 2002 at 10:23:15:

Poster's IP was:
This is for the transformees out there, for we, myself included, underwent a rather significant physical change, and when Argon and I were discussing some of the legal ramifications of this change, we came up with a few key topics.

1) Are centaurs ‘human’ in the sense of having ‘inalienable *human* rights’?

This has to be the cornerstone of everything, for otherwise, the remainder of the argument is nothing but a house of cards. So, what defines ‘human’ in this context? I won’t go into the deep philosophical and theological rationales and arguments, but more in the sense of what makes a human a ‘human’ and not an animal? This is important for centaurs have often been portrayed as such in myth, both ancient and modern. Let’s take this one step at a time, for it can be a tricky concept.

a) Number of legs?

Should having four legs be a major concern? Not to be obverse, but there are many ‘human’ - humans out there that have either been born without legs, or having underwent trauma, had them removed. Since they are still considered ‘human’, legs is therefor out.

b) Size and/or mass?

Again, humanity in general has shown an incredible range in sizes, and not just between the genders. On the smaller scale, there are dwarves and midgets for example, not to mention those who are quite skinny in general, either by choice or genetics. On the larger size, there are the eight-foot giants (heh, eight feet...) and gravid individuals, again, either by choice or genetics as far as mass is concerned, not height. Both ends of the spectrum, as well as those in between, are still considered human (albeit taunted over their variance from the norm) and are of course afforded all rights and responsibilities thereof of being ‘human’.

I would like to aside for a moment that I am only speaking of the United States law, government, et cetera, for it’s the only one that I have sufficient familiarity with as far as statutes go. I could quite easily imagine there being other countries/regimes that would no doubt think quite differently in this regard.

c) Having a tail?

Would having a *tail* mean anything to being ‘human’? Again, by means of the previous arguments, the number of limbs has nothing to do with being ‘human’, and the tail is very much is so a *limb*, ergo, tails, present or otherwise, is not a significant factor in consideration of humanity.

d) Potential differences between human and centaur DNA?

Here is where things can get to be tricky, for there are apparently a wide variety of transformation methods, having gone on numerous accounts submitted by individuals. I would submit that DNA wouldn’t be and/or *shouldn’t* be a cause for determination of ‘human-ness’, for it could set a very dangerous precedent in lieu of upcoming, future genetic repair of congenital defects.

e) Mental state?

Here is where it really all boils down; the mind-set. While there have been and are many individuals exhibiting normal physical characteristics of humanity, their actions are quite another, if not indeed monstrous. These can easily be seen in your serial murderers, for example. I won’t go any further than these descriptions, for it can quickly be bogged down into a quagmire of debate in philosophy and religion.

In the best ‘ideal’ of humanity, a human would be able to have rational thought, cognizance, understanding of surroundings and circumstances, and many other numerous concepts that I cannot fully describe in the context of this posting. Suffice to say that I see no difference in the actions that I have seen both here and elsewhere as far as humans and centaurs go.

With these arguments, I do hereby claim that centaurs are indeed ‘human’ as far as rights, responsibilities, and privileges thereto are concerned. Now, for the second portion...

2) Are the transformed centaurs still ‘themselves’?

This is where identity of the individual comes to the forefront. I repeat the question, ‘Are they still themselves?’ Said in another fashion, ‘has anybody that has underwent trauma still the same person?’ There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it, changing from Homo Sapiens Sapiens to Homo Sapiens Centaurus is a *BIG* change! Such a change would no doubt affect folks significantly, either positively, negatively, or perhaps in both ways. Would a victim of a vehicular accident still be themselves if they lost both of their legs? I would say for the most part, yes, but they would have to change their outlook to reflect their new status and use of either prosthetics and/or a wheelchair.

I’ll admit that I still have nightmares (no pun intended) over my transformation and events that have transpired soon afterwards, but then I also have very pleasant dreams as well. I have indeed changed, but I feel that my core personality is still basically the same. My outlook has changed as well, knowing my limitations, but also acknowledging my new capabilities. But this still doesn’t fully answer the original question, ‘am I still *me*?’ How would this be determined empirically?

I conclude that the identity of one’s self, post-transformation, could only be done by character witnesses, excluding any other identification methods, either fingerprints or retinal scans. Knowledge of bank-account or social security number for example would probably suffice for proof, if not knowledge of particular events experienced only by the transformee and one other person.

This is all that Argon and I have discussed at length, but I can easily imagine that there are other ramifications that we have left out, and if so inclined, I would like to hear any other postulations expressed.

Thank you for your time.


Follow Ups:

Post a Followup




Optional Link URL:
Link Title:
Optional Image URL:

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ Aatheus' Centaur WWWBoard ] [ FAQ ]