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Lecture 17

CAS PH 150 Lecture 17: PH150 Lecture 17: Thomson and Sumner

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Boston University
CAS PH 150
Suzanne Sreedhar

Lecture 17: Thomson and Sumner Judith Jarvis Thomson (JJT) Continued Strategy: grant, for the sake of argument, that the fetus has a right to life o She doesnt actually believe this, but she grants it to show that abortion is morally permissible either way Henry Fonda Example o Henry Fonda was the universal heartthrob of the 60s, so imagine our modern day equivalent (i.e. Ryan Gosling) o The only thing that can save your life is if the celebrity flies to your hospital and touches your brow While this would be kind, he doesnt HAVE to, it isnt morally wrong not to fly out to see you To save you would be supererogatory, but not required Right to life definition o What its not: the right not to be killed If true, the violinist has the right to be connected and killing in selfdefense would be wrong o What it is: the right not be killed unjustly Is abortion unjust? In cases of rape: No. It is like the violinist, you did not give your consent to be attached. Cases other than rape: Still yes People seeds example o You live in a world where babies come from seeds that float around like pollen. If it gets on carpet or furniture fabric, it takes root and grows o You put in screens, but they can get in anyway We dont think the homeowners should have to now raise the seed Contraception can fail, same answer o You dont have a screenprotection Just because you dont take every possible measure does not mean that you are required to keep the seed Similarly, the fetus doesnt automatically have a right to the body even if you didnt take every measure to prevent it Indecency vs. Immorality o Box of chocolates example The older brother is given a box of chocolates as a gift. He refuses to share with his younger brother AND eats them in front of the younger brother This is indecent and selfish, but not wrong because the younger brother has no actual right to the box of chocolates (it would be unjust if the box had been a gift for both of you)
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