take home test #2

take home test #2 - At the beginning of her essay A Defense...

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At the beginning of her essay “A Defense of Abortion” Judith Jarvis Thomson makes it clear that she wants to produce an argument that, unlike other pro-choice arguments, can begin from the premise that the fetus is a human being and a person, yet can still arrive at the conclusion that abortion is morally permissible. She says that the impermissibility of abortion is not at all an obvious conclusion from the premise that the fetus is a person with a right to life. Answer five of the following questions: What is her basic argument and how would you evaluate it? Are the examples and analogies that she uses [such as the violinist, the box of chocolates, Henry Fonda, the people seeds, etc.] really relevant to pregnancy and do they accurately reflect the relation between mother and child? What do you think of her claim that the best way to understand pregnancy is as a situation in which there is a conflict of rights such that the woman’s negative right to have no limitation in her control of her body outweighs the right of the fetus to life? What do you think of her use of the distinction between the Good Samaritan and the Minimally Decent Samaritan? Do you agree with her statement at the bottom of page 574 that a woman who is pregnant does not have a “special responsibility” for her child unless she explicitly assumes it by giving birth and taking the child home? 1. The contemporary bioethicist Peter Singer wrote a book entitled Rethinking Life and Death—The Collapse of Our Traditional Ethics in which he makes the following claims about the traditional Judaeo-Christian ethical views about life and death and their replacement by an essentially Utilitarian view: “[This traditional view] seems true and substantial only while we are intimidated into uncritically accepting that all human life has some special dignity or worth. Once challenged, the traditional ethic crumples. Weakened by the decline in religious authority and the rise of a better understanding of the origins and nature of our species, that ethic is now being brought undone by changes in medical technology with which its inflexible strictures simply cannot cope….A period of transition…is bound to be filled with uncertainty and confusion….But it is also a period of opportunity, in which we have an historic chance to shape something better, an ethic that does not need to be propped up by transparent fictions no-one can really believe, an ethic that is most compassionate and more responsive to what people decide for themselves, an ethic that avoids prolonging life when to do so is obviously pointless, and an ethic that is less arbitrary in its inclusions
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take home test #2 - At the beginning of her essay A Defense...

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