Essay 3 - RLG224 - Prof. Schmidt Quila Toews - 997556201...

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Assignment Three: Outlooks on Abortion The issue of abortion is one that spreads throughout debates within one’s individual thought, the political sphere, philosophical dilemmas, texts and in clinical settings. There are not only distinct views regarding whether abortion should be permitted or prohibited, but many that also fall in between, that speak of abortion in terms of certain standards or situations. This essay will delve into two distinct essays with completely different views on the matter. Rosalind Hursthouse’s essay, Virtue Theory and Abortion, discusses ethics in regard to the outcome’s relevance to the path of eudaemonia. The contrasting article, Is Abortion Murder?, was written by Michael Tooley and Laura Purdy, and discusses the status of the fetus and the influence of society on the overall happiness of its population. These articles will be analyzed in regard to the Five Types of Ethical Theories, by Lawrence Schmidt, as will my personal view be stated and analyzed in this way. The first writer that poses a significant argument regarding the ethical dilemmas involved with the issue of abortion is Rosalind Hursthouse. Hursthouse generalizes her debate to a “virtue ethics” treatment, modeled on Aristotle’s moral view. She believes that what matters most in a person’s life is eudaemonia, which is happiness in the sense of flourishing, well-being, and meaningfulness (Hursthouse 226). In Hursthouses view, one must act virtuously and must exhibit traits of character that are conducive to or constitutive of eudaimonia. People must guide their life in ways that demonstrate essentially contestable characteristics such as prudence, courage, honesty, kindness and generosity (227). There is no formal decision procedure in order to decipher what action would be virtuous, and which would be a vice. Hursthouse applies this logic to the moral rights of abortion. She uses the facts of reproduction and human emotion in RLG224 - Prof. Schmidt Quila Toews - 997556201 1
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relation to the biological process of childbirth. This allows her to come to the conclusion that familial relationships include the deepest, longest lasting and most significant connections that can be formed between people (237). Therefore, it is not the equivalent of removing an aberration from the body such as getting a haircut or an appendectomy (237). According to Hursthouse, to think of abortion lightly is ignorant and is not an action that represents virtue. Abortion is not merely the killing of something that has no connection to the mother, it is not just the exercise of one’s rights or it is not the means to one’s desirable state of affairs, but it is the cutting off of a human life (237). Hursthouse believes that evil is brought on when anyone dies, and that death is always a bad thing. Therefore, if there are not strenuous circumstances, a woman should not get an abortion. Concerning the mother, most abortion arguments emphasize the right of a woman to her own life, but they do not focus on eudaemonia, and they do not
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This note was uploaded on 11/18/2011 for the course RLG 224Y1 taught by Professor Professorschmidt during the Fall '10 term at University of Toronto- Toronto.

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Essay 3 - RLG224 - Prof. Schmidt Quila Toews - 997556201...

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