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Lecture notes

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Cathal O Madagain

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PHLB09 2011 Lecture 7
Doing nothing but studying and having no social life might also be a failure
...could result in no friends and no energy, thus an unhappy life...this would be overcautious...
Refusing to ever countenance abortion might be over cautious
...but turning to abortion under any circumstance without the slightest hesitation might be
Making decisions with the same lack of respect for human life as Anne (case 5) could lead to
oUsing your friends; ignoring others' interest; failing to have any abiding meaningful
Problem with virtue theory:
oIt tells us that there are subtle dimensions to making important life-decisions
oBut it doesn't tell us anything about abortion specifically
Why is abortion in some contexts a "failure to appreciate the value of human life"?
...what's so special about human life?
...why do we feel so strongly about questions concerning abortion, but not about questions
concerning bicycles or clothes?
Dworkin argues that the reactions we have to abortion suggest something specific is going on
here(what's the difference between a fetus and a bicycle)
He recognizes that we have very extreme reactions to questions on abortion
Our reactions to abortion are not well explained by a "mother's rights" model
...we think that abortion may be a poor choice - or even monstrous - even when within a person's
Our reactions to abortion are not well explained by a "fetus's rights" model
Those who argue in favour of fetus' right often make exceptions for: rape, thereat to mother's life
Rape ought not to make any difference
oBeing the product of rape doesn't affect a person's rights
Accidentally threatening someone else's life shouldn't make a difference:
oSuppose two people are living on one kidney; a doctor can't kill one of them to save the
other - that's murder
So maybe it's neither:
A.The rights of the mother
B.The status of the fetus as a person
Dworkin holds that we value the fetus in a very specific way
1. Subjective value versus Objective value
Subjective values:
oI like running on the lake
oSo running on the lake has subjective value for me
o...but this doesn't say anything about how you should feel about it
Objective values:
oI'm not a huge fan of the Mona Lisa
oBut, nevertheless, I recognize the great paintings have value in themselves
oI should respect them, even if I'm not a huge fan myself
1. Instrumental versus final value
Money has instrumental value
...I can use it (as an instrument) to get things
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