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lect 14, 15 Reproductive Technology.docx

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Kelin Emmett

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 Want questions of moral guiltiness (ex: asks about the person who committed the crime) to match those of legal guiltiness (ex: asks judge and jury)  Standard arguments for and against moralities of abortion  Legal status of abortion in Canada: only developed country that has no laws concerning abortion (no legal restrictions)  Moral debates about abortion tends to hinge on the moral status of fetus  Human being – biological concept; homo sapiens  Person – moral concept; worthy of moral regards for some reasons or another (philosophers disagree among different reasons) ex: consciousness, ability to feel pain, ability for reasoning, capacity for autonomy, communication, conception of oneself Von  Fallacy of qualification concerns using the same term in two different senses, arguing against the following premise that it is not valid Premises of abortion (pro-life, conservative) 1. Killing of innocent human beings is wrong 2. A fetus is a human being 3. Therefore it is wrong to kill fetus  In the first premise, human being is used in moral sense  Rephrasing premise 1) killing of a person is wrong, then the whole argument is not valid because not the same term used in premise 2)  Then rephrase premise 2) a fetus is a person – but it is not, does not have any moral concepts  In order for premise 3) to be plausible, premise 3) needs to conclude in a moral sense  Need to make a stronger claim, fetus also needs to be a person (a fetus is a potential person)  Wrong to kill potential people, but then also wrong to harm an egg, human stem cell, sperm cells because they are all potential people  But do not treat potential prime ministers (anyone may be) like prime ministers  Another way to patch up argument: although a fetus is not a person, there will be a point where the fetus will become a person – but when is that point? At birth? 18 birthday? No clear way where the fetus makes a transition to a person  Person – moral concept; worthy of moral regards for some reasons or another (philosophers disagree among different reasons) ex: consciousness, ability to feel pain, ability for reasoning, capacity for autonomy, communication, conception of oneself o Another argument (pro-choice, liberal): premise 1) the killing of innocent persons is wrong 2) a fetus is not a person 3)therefore killing of fetus is not wrong  Problem with argument: severely handicapped, newborns, etc are not persons Marquis  Pro-life and pro-choice of anti abortion arguments are very similar  Both are severely flawed  Liberal positions justifies not killing of all human beings and persons  We should step back and think about what makes killing wrong in the first place  If we can articulate what makes killing wrong, then we can look at killing of fetuses, and see whether the same things would apply  Whatever that is wrong about killing human beings has to do with the victim (not the people around him)  What happens to victim: deprived of consciousness, may suffer pain, etc many bad things  What makes killing wrong is that the human is deprived of valuable features and a future  Seems to show that is equally wrong to kill a fetus because they also have valuable experiences and a future like ours  Wrong to inflict pain on animals, using above strategy, humans suffer is pain is inflicted upon, animals also suffer  But fetus is not aware of and value the future, so is fetus actually deprived of anything? Might be the case that someone that is severely depressed and so does not value future, but still wrong to kill them because they in fact will have a future, the fact they don't value future not does not make it acceptable to end the depressed’s life  Seems like it may prove too much, because if wrong to kill adult human being, more wrong to kill fetuses because ends more future for them. but no one thinks this Thompson – Defence of Abortion  Still have to prove the fetus’s entitled use of the woman’s body to survive  Gap that fetus is a person, has a right to life, but fetus depends life on use of mother’s body  presumably mother has right to decide what can be done to her body regardless of fetus’s right to life  right to life is stronger than mother’s decision  perceives largely by way of proposing fantastical analogies: concerned with terminating pregnancy, parallels case with unconscious violinist with a rare kidney disease plugged into another person  almost nobody would force the person to lie in bed for 9 months with the violinist  situation we are unclear about: permission of abortion. One way to resolve issue is to think about cases where our moral intuition are more clear, and if that case is similar to abortion, then by analogy, we can see what the case we are clear about can tell us what we are unclear about  analogies are supposed to be similar in every relevant respect to the morality of terminating pregnancy  two ways to take his analogies: deny his intuition by finding relevant dissimilarity between the 2 cases  wants to take abortion step by step that abortion is permissible to save mother’s life, terminating unwanted pregnancies extreme view  abortion is always impermissible even to save the mother’s life. Both fetus and mother have right to life, so not enough to deal with issue. How do we decide whether it should be mother’s or fetus’s right of life  moral issue between killing and letting someone die  Actively killing somebody is worse than letting someone die  Killing in self defensive should be permissible – abortion to save mother’s life. If you don't think that, then you are committed to the view that unplugging yourself from violinist would be impermissible  Killing in self defense may be permissible, but abortion is more like a case where the mother asks someone else to kill to save her life (ex: person laying on track asking you to switch path of trolley to kill another person on the other track): asking another person to decide who should live – if baby not killed, mother will die  Analogy: Jones is wearing Smith’s coat in the cold, would freeze to death if no coat. So it’s not impartiality to decide who should wear the coat  Shows that in ca
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