B + C divide the mainstream moral status theories into the following five categories: human properties, cognitive properties, moral agency, sentience, and relationships. The authors do not list a libertarian category of moral status theories. The purpose of the LIBERTARIAN BIOETHICS BLOG is to correct this injustice.
B + C appropriately note flaws in each of the five mainstream moral status theories. I will not bore the reader with the details; please read the chapter yourself. The criticisms in the chapter, interestingly, do not significantly damage the best libertarian bioethics statement regarding moral status, which I previously mentioned in this blog. The statement is Sigrid Fry-Revere's claim that a being has moral status if the being possesses the minimum mental equipment necessary for reasoning power, regardless of whether the reasoning power is ever utilized. The definition of reasoning power is of obvious importance for Revere's statement. I think Revere defines reasoning power as "the capacity for higher brain functions," based on my review of her work. What are the higher brain functions? Self-consciousness (awareness), emotion, cognition, motivation (able to give and understand reasons for acting), intention, higher-order volition, ability to engage in purposeful action, ability to communicate with other beings using a language, ability to make moral judgments about the wrongness or rightness of actions, sentience (able to feel pain and pleasure), and the ability of develop relationships involving rules and obligations are the obvious answers. The correct answer to that question is important if non-human beings are created ("living" computers or human/non-human "hybrids") or discovered, for the correct answer will help bioethicists determine, empirically, if the non-human beings have moral status.
The LIBERTARIAN BIOETHICS BLOGger recommends a minor qualification of Revere's moral status statement. A superior version is as follows: a being has moral status if the being possesses the minimum mental equipment necessary for reasoning power under healthy developmental conditions, regardless of whether the reasoning power is ever utilized. This adjustment disallows the anencephalic fetus objection (anencephalic fetuses do not have the minimum mental equipment necessary for reasoning power due to unhealthy developmental conditions) and the environmental catastrophe objection (environmental catastrophe could preclude the ability of all members of an advanced species to demonstrate reasoning power leading to beings from other species not accepting the moral status of any of the beings from the damaged species). Neuroscience advancements, allowing a priori identification of "the minimum mental equipment necessary for reasoning power" would also be helpful for the environmental catastrophe scenario.