ProfessorCathal O Madagain
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PHLB09 2011 Lecture 8
•A person is invested with huge creative effort-their own, their parents, their culture, nature,
oIt's when we deeply value the process that goes into creating something, that thing
becomes "sacred" to us-irreplaceable
•It's because God invested effort (divine effort) into nature that nature is sacred (for religious folk)
•It's because Da Vinci invested the effort of his creative genius into the Mona Lisa that it has
•It's because parents/grandparents/society invest into individuals
•Does any effort count?
oNo. remember the great effort I undertook to demolish your house…
oOr the great effort it took to establish Nazi Germany…
•We don't particularly value the outcome of the huge time and effort put in
•What counts is where the effort is put and what kind
oEx. Where we value the intentions of the creator-they were trying to make something
oOR perhaps where the effort is neutral but great (evolution)
•When sacred things are destroyed, it is tragic
•Ex. The destruction of the library at Alexandria by a mob of Christians in 391AD. Or the
destruction of Buddhas of Bamiyan by the Taliban (2001). The extinction of the polar bear?
•Miscarriage of 24 hour zygote that was conceived accidentally
•Miscarriage of 24 hour zygote that was conceived after years of effort
oNow that return is deprived of the couple
•Tragedy = when investment outweighs return
•3 year old infant had parents effort, grandparents, family, state, kindergarden
ABORTION AND TRAGEDY
•IF this is what's motivating our intuitions, then we might start to get explanations:
oFor why rape is an obvious exception for many people:
•The creation of the zygote is not the end of a valued process
•Rape is not a valued process
oFor why threat to life of mother is an obvious exception
•The mother has had a lot of effort put into it, still a lot of potential
•IF this is what we're really concerned with, then we should decide the rights/wrongs of abortion
by appealing to this measure...
oSo, a late term abortion would generally be bad; why?
•Note that this provides an objective measure for whether an abortion is right or wrong
•A mother could think that an abortion was a good idea (ex. Anne case 5), and be wrong…
•Or someone could think that abortion is a tragedy because the life of a fetus is scared; but be
wrong in some cases...
oMother's investment/accidental pregnancy
•Finally, offers a way to reconcile many intuitions from different cultural backgrounds, who all
share the notion of the "sacred" and the "tragic"
PURDY AND THE DUTY NOT TO CONCEIVE
•So far we have been discussing the right to have an abortion
•Now we turn to the possibility that there is a duty
oNot to conceive
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