phil 160 paper - abortion

phil 160 paper - abortion - 713966879 Professor Joshua...

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713966879 Professor Joshua Knobe 11-27-07 Suppose, after being in a coma, you wake up to unexpectedly find a violinist attached to your back. The violinist has a fatal kidney disease, and you are the only person in the world that can help him. While you were unconscious The Society for Music Lovers hooked you up to the violinist and has asked you to stay hooked up to him for approximately nine months. If you detach yourself, the violinist will perish. This hypothetical situation was created by Judith Jarvis Thomson in her book, A defense of Abortion , in an effort to create an analogy to pregnancy and abortion. Being attached to the violinist is analogous to being pregnant and detaching one’s self from the violinist, Thomson argues, is analogous to having an abortion. Given her arguments in the novel, abortion seems to be a morally acceptable action; it is not one’s duty to sustain the violinist for any amount of time. If the analogy is an accurate one, then it seems an abortion is morally acceptable. However, I will argue that the analogy is not analogous to pregnancy, except in cases of rape, because of free will and direct causation; a pregnant woman brings the fetus into existence and therefore has a moral responsibility to it. Since the violinist analogy is not accurate, then abortions are not moral. In Thomson’s analogy one is not morally required to sustain the violinist’s life. Because the violinist is supposedly analogous to a fetus, a pregnant woman likewise is not morally required to sustain a fetus’s life. Thomson argues that a fetus does have a right to life, like any other living being (in this argument Thomson pretends the fetus is a living being), but nobody, not even a fetus, has a right to every need of life; therefore, the fetus does not have a right to the mother’s body. However, this analogy may not be accurate. Women do not “wake up” and unexpectedly or randomly find themselves pregnant. A woman who has consensual sex plays a direct role in creating the fetus’s existence and therefore may have a special moral responsibility towards the fetus which she would not have towards the violinist. If Thomson’s analogy is parallel to pregnancy and mothers do not have a responsibility towards their fetus,
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This note was uploaded on 03/24/2008 for the course PHIL 160 taught by Professor Knobe during the Fall '07 term at UNC.

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phil 160 paper - abortion - 713966879 Professor Joshua...

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