Abortion

Abortion - Contraception and Abortion standard arguments...

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Unformatted text preview: Contraception and Abortion standard arguments Conservative CP1) Fetus is a person. CC) Abortion is morally wrong. Liberal LP1) Fetus is not a person. LC) Abortion is morally acceptable. These standard arguments are invalid. To make them valid, we need to add more premises thereby exposing the underlying assumptions. standard arguments Conservative CP1) Fetus is a person. CP2) Abortion = killing a fetus. CP3) If x is a person, then killing x is morally wrong. CC) Abortion is morally wrong. Liberal LP1) Fetus is not a person. LP2) Abortion = killing a fetus. LP3) If x is not a person, then killing x is morally acceptable. LC) Abortion is morally acceptable. Two assumptions : 1. Abortion = killing a fetus. 2. Killing a person is always wrong. If these assumptions are correct, then the key issue is personhood: the acceptability of abortion depends on whether the fetus is a person . Are these assumptions correct? problem 1: the wrongness of killing Conservatives: Is killing a person always morally wrong? What about: killing a person in self-defense killing a person in a just war Liberals : Is killing a non-person always morally acceptable? What about: wantonly killing horses just for kicks blowing up a cat in a microwave just for kicks problem 2: personhood Imagine that aliens arrive on earth. Theyre trying to determine whether we are persons or a food source. What should they look for? What are the essential characteristics of personhood? What is to be a person? what makes x a person? Viability : to be a person is to be capable of living as an independent entity Problems: cats, dogs, and spiders are all viable artificial incubation makes a fetus of any age viable viability varies from infant to infant, culture, race Rational thought : to be a person is to be capable of rational thought Problems: what about infants and young children? what about the chronically comatose and severely mentally handicapped? what makes x a person? Parental bonding : to be a person is to be emotionally connected to ones parents Problems: penguins, whales, and chimpanzees all experience parental bonding what about parents who dont bond with child? what about children without parents? Social membership : to be a person is to be able to communicate and function as a member of social group Problems: elephants, wolves, and antelope all have social membership what about people who are alienated or dehumanized? what makes x a person? A future like ours : to be a person is to be such that if one does not die prematurely, then one will have a future like ours Problems: being a potential x doesnt make something an x what about the chronically comatose and severely mentally handicapped?...
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This note was uploaded on 03/27/2008 for the course PHIL 163 taught by Professor Zagura during the Spring '08 term at UNC.

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Abortion - Contraception and Abortion standard arguments...

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