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Bioethics Final Exam Study Sheet- 2013F

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University of Toronto St. George

PHL281 Study Sheet 2013 Abortion Human Beings and Persons  Abortion- termination of fetus’ life or woman’s pregnancy?  Conservative View: Abortion never (almost never) permissible  Liberal View: Abortion always permissible  Moderate views: In between  Noonan: Reject various proposals about source and standard of humanity and support the conception criterion of humanity o Viability: Being is human if conceived of human parents and is viable  Obj: artificial incubation can make viable- length of life not exact measure; standard would vary with race and circumstances  Relativity; like height requirements is neither relative nor subjective  Obj: Dependence not ended by viability  Two types of dependence- radical needed before viability and the regular dependence after o Experience: Humanity formed by memories- fetus is unformed, conceived of humans and conscious  Obj: embryo alive and responds to environment  But not consciously  Obj: sufferers of amnesia not human?  Unclear- depends on degree of amnesia  Obj: young children  Unlikely- depends on statement of standard  Obj: Not clear why  Needs to be morally salient o Social Visibility  Subjective Version: human just in case it is socially perceived as human (Obj: dehumanization if only subjective  Objective: human just in case it is capable of knowing moral rules governing human behaviour (still stands)  Desirable features of abortion standard:  Objective (no beliefs/attitudes) and morally salient (prominent as moral difference- maker) o Conception criterion of humanity  Based on genetic sense of “human” (23 pairs of chromosomes)  But cells also have chromosomes and are not humans o Argument for conservative view 1. Fetus is a human being 2. Human beings have moral rights, including to life and liberty 3. Hence, fetus has rights 4. Fetus’ right to life trumps woman’s right to liberty 5. Hence, Abortion not morally permissible PHL281 Study Sheet 2013  Warren- reject on grounds of equivocation o Difference between genetically human and morally human 1. Fetus is homo sapiens 2. Being with moral standing have moral rights including to life and liberty 3. Hence fetus has rights 4. Fetus right to life trumps right to liberty 5. Hence abortion not permissible o Human being: biological being and member of species o Person: moral being, member of moral community o Plausible components of personhood  Consciousness  Reasoning  Self-motivated activity  Flexible communication  Possession of self-concept o Argument for Liberal View 1. Only members of moral community have rights 2. Only persons are members of moral community 3. Self-consciousness is necessary for personhood 4. Fetuses are not self-conscious 5. Hence, fetuses are not persons, not members of moral community, and not rightsbearers o Issues  Resemblance: Fetuses resemble adults  But Warren feels that even late fetus stage still not person despite that  Potentiality: Fetuses potential persons  But even if potential person has prima facie right to life actual person right to liberty trumps potential person rights  Infanticide: infants are not persons either  Neonates very close to being persons (aren’t fetuses?)  Infanticide deprives adoptive parents of adoptees (doesn’t abortion?)  Neonates pose no threat to life or health (What sort of threat?)  Two views: o Infanticide prima facie impermissible but overridden o Infanticide prima facie permissible but overridden Wrongness of Killing (not on exam)  Constitution question: what features necessary and sufficient for being to be a person?  Casual question: how do beings come to have features necessary and sufficient for personhood?  Marquis: Neg- stalemate, Pos- support conservative via wrongness of killing o Initial assumption that fetus=person o Anti-abortionists conception criterion includes too much  No explain why physical characteristic is sufficient for moral rights o Pro-choicers personhood criterion excludes too much PHL281 Study Sheet 2013  No explain why psychological characteristics necessary for rights  Warren does show that personhood necessary for moral duties and liberty rights- but not for any rights ie. Life o Warren again 1. Only members of moral community have rights 2. Only persons in moral sense are members of moral community 3. Self-consciousness necessary for personhood in psychological sense 4. Fetuses not self-conscious 5. Hence fetuses are not persons in psychological sense 6. Hence fetuses not members of moral community and have no rights o Killing wrong: Loss of one’s life greatest loss one can suffer- loss of future o Valuable: Worthy of being valued or in fact valued o Prima facie wrong to kill being that (i) has future like ours and (ii) either currently values that future or will value it at a later time (if it survives) o A fetus has a future like ours and will value that future at a later time (if it survives) o Therefore, it is prima facie wrong to kill a fetus  Criticizing o Argue fetus does not have future-like-ours o Argue fetus neither does nor will value its future o Present alternative explaination of wrongness of killing  Alternative: prima facie wrong to kill a being that (i) has future like ours and (ii) currently has an idea, dispositional desire for life  Occurrent desire in case one is currently consciously aware of that desire  Dispositional desire when one would be consciously aware of desire if given cue  Actual desires are the desires one has both occurrently or dispositional  Ideal desires if one’s desire forming ability is not compromised (hiker case)  Good theory: o Parsimony: One natural property vs two o Intuitive fit o Salience: Marquis less plausible as it appeals to one’s future, but who they are now more important  Conditions for human consciousness: o Functioning reticular formation in brain stem o Functioning cerebral cortex  Fetus not conscious until 25 weeks PHL281 Study Sheet 2013 Good Samaritanism and the Violinist  Thomson: Negative: Inference from fetus’ having right to life to impermissibility of abortion not straightforward, Positive: support moderate view on abortion by examining limits of assistance  Revision of Noonan’s premise 4 1. Human beings have rights including to life and liberty 2. Fetus is a human being 3. Hence, fetus has rights 4. Right to life entails right to life support 5. Abortion removes a fetus’ life support 6. Hence abortion violates fetus’ right to life  Thomson on Ethics o Rights: Fetus having right to life does not make abortion impermissible  Broad: Right to life includes given bare minimum to continued life  Strict: Right to life does not include anything except not to be killed by anybody  This is the properly understood right to life o Commonsense morality: other moral concerns do not make abortion impermissible  All ethical concerns that are not captured in most plausible system of moral rights  Moral concerns besides rights do not make abortion morally impermissible- “ought” does not entail right  Can require when burden of carrying is light o Problems  Liberals mad that she does not say abortion is always permissible  Arguing for permissibility of abortion and not for right to secure death  Warren complains that normally pregnancies women are somewhat responsible  People-seed analogy o Thomson Argument 1. All ethical concerns are captured by either rights or commonsense morality 2. Rights does not require life-preserving Good Samaritanism because right to life strict 3. Commonsense morality requires life-preserving action only if burden is light 4. Abortion is not ethically prohibited except when burden is light  Thomson on Law o Legal restrictions inconsistent requiring good Samaritans of pregnant women Objections to Thomson  Three versions of conservative o Extreme conservatism: never morally permissible o Normal conservatism: morally permissible if life is endangered o Compassionate conservatism: morally permissible only if life endangered or rape  Thomson offers that mother has special duties o Special rights arise out of relationships between persons o General rights arise from the sort of thing one is PHL281 Study Sheet 2013  But fetus only has general right to life- Thomson holds that issue with Noonan’s argument is general right to life does not allow life support  Compassionate reformulation of Noonan 1. Human beings have rights including general rights to life and liberty and special rights 2. Fetus is human being 3. Hence, fetus has general rights and special rights 4. When woman voluntarily has intercourse knowing that a fetus may come to exist, her action gives resultant fetus a special right to life support 5. Abortion removes a fetus’ life support 6. Hence abortion violates fetus’s special right to life  When woman voluntarily has intercourse, she consents to fetus using body for support  Her action makes her responsible for life of fetus  Vs Dworkin’s radical feminist- women cannot voluntarily consent to sexual intercourse  Objections to Violinist case o Tacit Consent Objection  Inexplicit but implied agreement  Part I: voluntarily engaging in sexual intercourse sufficient for tacit consent  Person’s voluntarily bringing about state of affairs  Peron’s doing an action foreseeing that it may lead to a certain state of affairs o Voluntariness, foreseeability, causality but is not enough for tacit consent (case of leaving money on dining table)  Part II: what is thereby consented to is to provide all necessary life support  Even if there’s tacit consent- not really for EVERYTHING (pain of bone marrow extraction case)  Seems to be only prima facie morally obligatory for us to adhere to our tacit agreements o Responsibility Objection  Speeding driver case- voluntary speeding foresees accident  When one voluntarily acts in a way that another person requires assistance- one is morally obligated to provide assistance  Boonin types of responsibility  Type 1: You are now responsible for the existence of another  Type 2: You are responsible for the fact that given the other person now exists, the other stands in need of your existence (if you have not done, he would exist but not need your assistance)  Consider having a perfect vs imperfect drug- you give imperfect drug  Imperfect drug: responsible (1) for prolonged existence of needy patient  Perfect drug: responsible (2) for neediness of patient  Pregnant woman bears only responsibility (1), Speeding driver bears responsibility (2)  Warren: x’s responsibility for y’s existence does not lessen obligation to keep y alive if x is also responsible for y’s being in a situation where only x can save y  Boonin: this intuition opposes imperfect drug case  Berry: Is it x’s casual relation to y? Or uniqueness of x’s assistance for y? PHL281 Study Sheet 2013 o Killing vs Letting Die objection  In abortion- fetus is killed, in violinist case, he is allowed to die  Boonin responds:  Hysterectomy- surgical removal of uterus with fetus intact  Hysterotomy- surgical removal of fetus intact from uterus o Intending vs foreseeing objection  Distinction between intending and foreseeing (bomber 1 and 2 case)  Bomber 1 intends on killing athletes- bad  Bomber 2 foresees death of athletes - ok  Abortion not permissible because we intend the bad effects  Boonin responds:  Sufficient vs Insufficient intentions  Bomber 3 wants both factory and athletes gone- bad  Bomber 2 happy with one or the other- ok  As long as woman has sufficient intention to terminate pregnancy- ok  Back to definition of abortion as either termination of life vs pregnancy o Denying Thomson’s intuition- Duty to Save the Violinist  Analogous case that elicits contrary intuitions  Everest case:  Ailing Everest climber needs your help  You will be through much physical suffering but won’t die  Needy one has right to life  Needy one will die without aid  Potential good Samaritan exists: you  Only you can provide needed aid  You are aware of the situation  Aiding involves significant burdens  Impurity in violinist case  Element of force- common intuition can be either justified or excused  Killing in duress vs in self-defense  Impurity in Everest case  Vintage Everest case climber puts himself in peril  Element of bearing responsibility does not hold for violinist or fetus  Interpret as support for broad right to life and show that it is not incoherent  By rights: Shocking idea that rights fade as it’s harder to accord  By commonsense morality: Support for existence of duties also acknowledge limits in burdens they require of us  So right to life can be right to life support  Broad right to life has critical intuitive fit  Wilderness cabin case with the orphaned child- analogous case  An infant’s right to life entails right to life support  Unborn fetus newborn infant no change  Fetus’ right to life support PHL281 Study Sheet 2013  Show it has similar explanatory power  Power of theory to explain common but unaccounted for attitudes  Duty to aid laws, good Samaritan immunity laws, default organ donation after death, orphanages, universal health care  But most women will have obligation to provide physical life support whereas men will not o Moral luck? o Sex-based inequality might allow abortion  Summary- Rights Perspective o Acceptance of alternative future like ours principle- abortion morally permissible in first 20-24 weeks and not later except to save life of woman  Effect of abortion- Culture of Death o Pope John Paull II  Abortion, euthanasia and capital punishment belong to culture of eath  Concept that life is means to some other end and not an end itself o Less respect for life argument  Places where culture of death practices legal, sanctity of life lose respect  Where sanctity of life loses respect, violent crime more common  Abortion has been legal in US since 1973  Hence, violent crime in US will have become more common o But actually legalization of abortion direct cause of almost half of the 30-40% reduction in violent crimes (Donuhue and Levitt)  Women who statistically bear children more likely to engage in violence had more abortions Death Death  Feldman o Concept of death is mysterious in the sense that its standard analysis is unacceptable and no obvious modification is correct o Conceptual anal
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