Phil paper 2

Phil paper 2 - Adam Goldsmith Philosophy 4 Discussion F...

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Adam Goldsmith Philosophy 4 Discussion F 10am Thomson’s essay is an attempt to discredit and disprove the anti-abortionist perspective. She addresses several heated issues including the status of a fetus, its right to life and whether or not abortion violates it, and whether or not a mother has any responsibility to her fetus. She provides thorough explanations of her viewpoint, ripe with examples and analogies, but for the most part she comes up short. Her analogies are often inapplicable and her explanations are often insufficient if not contradictory with each other, essentially failing her argument as a whole. The standard pro-life argument (or at least the one Thomson is countering) stems from the designation of fetuses as humans; because there is no way to determine when a fetus becomes human, a fetus must be considered human from conception. Furthermore, as humans, fetuses have a right to life that is violated by abortion, making abortion morally impermissible. Thomson uses her flawed analogy of an acorn not being an oak tree not as her basis for pro-choice justification, but only to discredit the standard pro-life argumentative basis in prelude to her pro-choice agenda. However, while an acorn by itself is without doubt not an oak tree (just as a sperm cell without an egg is not a human), a planted acorn that has already sprouted but not yet surfaced (something more analogous to a fetus) might arguably be a baby oak tree. And just as Thomson’s acorn analogy fails, so too do her pro-choice analogies and the argument they haphazardly support. Thomson puts aside the issue of whether or not a fetus is a person and just assumes for the sake of her argument that it is. Where her argument begins is in disagreement with the idea that abortion violates a fetus’ right to life. She feels the right
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to life does not guarantee the right to the bare minimum for continued life or the right not to be killed. She then goes on to explain why these rights are not guaranteed along with the right to life. Against the right to the bare minimum of continued life, she illustrates a scenario in which a dying person whose survival depends on the physical touch of Henry Fonda clearly would have no right against the actor that he touches her, even being that Henry Fonda’s touch is the bare minimum for the dying person’s continued life. This example seems to suffice, at least against the claim that the right to life grants the right to
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This essay was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course PHIL 4 taught by Professor Chandler during the Winter '08 term at UCSB.

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Phil paper 2 - Adam Goldsmith Philosophy 4 Discussion F...

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