PHIL 1550 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Sorites Paradox, Sentience, Moral Agency

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Jan 17
Foetus a human being
-when we say this it is either false or irrelevant.
-foetus is human being in biological sense, but it is irrelevant.
-term human in moral sense, person, is what is important. A person is a moral category; a foetus
according to warren is not a person because it is neither conscious nor moral
6 psychological propriety needed to be a person
-sentient: ability to have experience, consciousness, sensations
-reason: think logically, solve problem
-self awareness
-moral agency: ability to be morally responsible and make right and wrong decision
-this leaves door open for infanticide
-and could also make some animals, especially mammals, are persons.
-However not all 6 are needed to be person, but at least a couple must be needed
-sentience is most important
-in 2nd trimester foetus becomes sentient. But this does not equal a person. An abortion before a foetus
becomes sentient is according to warren not even close to a moral dilemma.
-however her 6 psychological proprieties leave the door open to infanticide.
-if we need to choose between women and foetus, it is very easy to choose women
-this can also open the door to animals becoming “person”. Intelligent animals like apes, monkeys, dogs
can be classed as “person’s”
-not all humans are persons
-not all persons are humans
At what point does a foetus become morally considerable? (What conservatives would say?)
If abortion is ok can you kill a baby right before it is born? The act of being born does not make
something human. (conservative)
Sorites paradox can be used against this argument.
-losing one hair does not make you bald therefore losing your last hair does not make you bald.
-fertilized egg to baby creates the same problem.
Don Marquis
-everyone is ignoring the question, what is so wrong about killing?
-Marquis brings up the term FLO. Killing someone is robbing them of the future
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