The Instigator
Freeman
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
KeytarHero
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points

Abortion Is Morally Permissible

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Freeman
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/21/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 10,151 times Debate No: 22221
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (39)
Votes (5)

 

Freeman

Pro

I want to begin by thanking KeytarHero for giving me the opportunity to have a debate with him on this very important moral issue. I'm going to defend two basic contentions as I proceed to make my case. First, there are no good reasons to think that abortion is morally wrong. And secondly, there are good reasons to think that abortion is morally permissible. In defense of that first contention, I'll begin by offering a brief critique of a common pro-life argument.

C1: The sanctity of life doctrine is morally untenable.

Many arguments against abortion are based on some variety of the sanctity of life doctrine. In short, the sanctity of life doctrine contends that humans possess certain fundamental rights such as the right to life by virtue of their humanity. Here is an example of this type of argument that is as plausible as I can make it:

P1: It is prima facie morally wrong to kill any innocent human being.
P2: A human fetus is an innocent human being.
C: Therefore, it is prima facie morally wrong to kill a human fetus. (from 1 and 2)

As the world-renowned Princeton philosopher Peter Singer argues, there are good reasons to think that the first premise of the anti-abortion argument is false. First, the sanctity of life doctrine is vulnerable to clear counterexamples.[1] If all human beings are intrinsically valuable as subjects of rights, then this would imply that brain-dead individuals, anencephalic fetuses (i.e., fetuses that lack the neurological capacity for consciousness) and those in persistent vegetative states would all have a right to life. But surely such humans don't possess a right to life.

For starters, almost no one believes that they do. Indeed, these implications are so implausible that even people who are passionately opposed to abortion are often unwilling to accept them! Josh Brahm, the Education Director for Fresno Right to Life, writes, "I will grant that abortion is permissible for the anencephalic fetus."[2] Don Marquis, one of the most influential pro-life philosophers of our time, pulls no punches when he deems the sanctity of life doctrine "clearly false."[3]

Moreover, there is a good basis for the conclusion that Marquis and Brahm draw. As philosopher Dean Stretton points out, killing individuals that lack any mental life does not harm them because it does not frustrate their desires (they have none), and it does not deprive them of a valuable future.[4] Consequently, the first premise of the anti-abortion argument is false because it has absurd moral implications.

Second, the sanctity of life doctrine is based on a morally irrelevant biological property.[5] The reason we deem racism and sexism morally wrong is based on the fact that biological properties have, all by themselves, no moral significance whatsoever. From this it follows that the biological property of being a member of the human species has no moral significance whatsoever. The sanctity of life doctrine must therefore be rejected because it is based on a biological, but not obviously morally relevant, property.

Third, it is plausible that humans cannot be intrinsically valuable.[6] To be intrinsically valuable is to be necessarily valuable (i.e., valuable in all possible worlds).[7] But if there are possible worlds where humans had mental lives like insects, then it is doubtful that these humans would possess any moral value, intrinsic or otherwise. Given this possibility, it follows necessarily that humans aren't intrinsically valuable in any possible world including the actual world.

Finally, it is plausible that the right to life is an accidental property.[8] It is theoretically possible to transplant a human cerebrum into a non-rational being. The resulting organism from the transplant would develop self-awareness and thus come to possess a right to life. This demonstrates the same organism can at one point lack a right to life and then later come to possess it, and so the right to life is an accidental property. But this conclusion spells doom for the sanctity of life doctrine - for the sanctity of life doctrine holds that the right to life is an essential property that isn't accidently acquired.

And thus the destruction of the sanctity of life doctrine is well-established. So then let us turn to my second contention that there are good reasons to think that abortion is morally permissible.

C2: A fetus is not a person and thus cannot have a serious right to life.

A fetus may be a human in the biological sense, but it is not a person. According to philosopher Marry Anne Warren, the most plausible characteristics for personhood are mental in nature.[9] Since a fetus does not possess any significant mental qualities, it can rightfully not be considered a person with a serious right to life. My argument can thus be summed up as follows:

P1: Only a person has a right to life.
P2: An entity is a person if it has (1) consciousness, (2) the capacity to reason, (3) self-motivated activity, (4) the capacity to communicate messages, and (5) the presence of self-concepts.
P3: A human fetus does not have properties (1-5).
P4: Therefore, a human fetus is not a person. (from 2 and 3)
C: Therefore, a human fetus does not have a right to life. (from 1 and 4)

You might be surprised to learn that the only controversial aspect of the argument is the second premise which outlines criteria for personhood. Allow me to briefly sketch some of the reasons why the psychological criteria I have set forth should be accepted.

First, these criteria should be accepted because only entities that have had conscious desires at some time can be harmed in the morally significant sense of the term. As the philosopher Michael Tooley argues, granting rights to any entity presupposes that the entity can be harmed.[10] So, for example, living organisms such as plants and insects that lack conscious desires cannot have rights because they cannot be harmed.

Second, these criteria explain the intuitions most people have that brain-dead individuals, anencephalic fetuses and those in persistent vegetative states all lack a right to life.[11] Merely being human and alive is morally inconsequential. It is, rather, the ability to have a conscious experience of the world that is important. This is why most sensible people do not regard brain-dead individuals as having a right to life.

Third, these criteria offer a non-arbitrary and species free account of personhood for various beings, both real and imaginary.[12] For example, advanced extra-terrestrials and self-aware robots would obviously be persons and have a right to life even though they are not human.

Fourth, the psychological approach is able to explain numerous issues in personal identity.[13] In particular, the psychological approach explains why a human person would plausibly continue to exist over time if their cerebrum were swapped into another body and they possessed the same memories and personality as before. It would also explain why we would regard conjoined twins as two separate persons even though they are part of the same biological organism.

Finally, it is plausible that rights function to protect interests.[14] This understanding of rights bolsters the psychological criteria for personhood because the only sorts of beings that are capable of holding a desire to continue living are those beings who possess self-consciousness. Attributing a right to life to individuals who qualify as persons is therefore justified because doing so helps to safeguard their desire for continued existence.

| Conclusion |

In conclusion, a fetus is a human being, but it does not possess the mental properties that would qualify it as a person. In light of this, then, abortion cannot be seriously wrong because the entity being destroyed in the process does not have sufficiently strong interests that could be violated. For these reasons, abortion is morally permissible.

Sources: http://tinyurl.com...
KeytarHero

Con

I would like to thank Freeman for issuing this challenge and his willingness to debate with me. As space is limited, I will dive right in.

I would like to begin by making a brief case for the pro-life position. Then I will refute Freeman's objections.

All human beings have a prima facie right to life, based on the kind of thing that they are; that is, human beings with the inherent capacity to be moral, rational agents. This includes everyone, from the healthy developing embryo, to the healthy newborn, to the mentally disabled, even to the brain dead human. However, there are certain mitigating circumstances which would make preserving someone's life futile.

For example, the brain dead human being has an inherent right to life before being brain dead. But through some horrible event, he has become brain dead. He is, in essence, no longer alive. Only the body remains alive. The person he once was is gone; he is, essentially, dead. There is no reason to continue keeping the body alive. This is much different from a healthy, developing embryo who, as long as she is allowed to continue to develop normally, will develop the attributes that make her valuable as a human being. While the brain dead human no longer has a future, the developing embryo does. This is why we say it is prima facie wrong to kill an innocent human.

C1: The sanctity of life doctrine is morally untenable.

Now, it seems that Freeman is attempting to poison the well by calling sanctity of life a "doctrine," but most pro-life philosophers argue the value of humans from a secular perspective.

There are counterexamples to just about everything. In fact, there are clear counterexamples to every argument a pro-abortion-choice advocate raises. Yet I'm sure they would not say this means their arguments are clearly wrong.

Here's a clear example of a pro-choicer attempting to confuse the issue. Abortion is morally wrong because it takes the life of an innocent human child, with an inherent capacity to be a moral, rational agent. Considering the case of an anencephalic fetus, this is no longer a case of abortion but euthanasia, which is another matter entirely. One can be in favor of killing an anencephalic fetus as a measure of mercy killing, and still be pro-life. Additionally, Freeman blatantly misrepresents Josh Brahm's position on the anencephalic fetus. Brahm only granted abortion in those cases for the sake of the debate. Since anencephaly is so rare, he wanted to discuss abortion in the other 9,999 cases. This strikes me as simply dishonest.

Appealing to mentally disabled does not prove that abortion is only morally justifiable, only in those rare instances. But if Freeman believes that it is moral to kill a mentally disabled unborn human, does he also believe it is morally permissible to kill a mentally handicapped toddler, or adult? If not, then he must justify his position with an argument that is clearly not ad hoc.

Believing humans to have a right to life is not based on an irrelevant biological property. In fact, just the opposite. The reason that sexism and racism are wrong is because it unfairly discriminates against human beings. Female are equal to men, and blacks are equal to whites (and other nationalities) exactly because we are all human and all have the same value as human beings.

Regarding Freeman's third point, I would ask him to justify why, if humans are intrinsically valuable, they are necessarily valuable and must be valuable in all possible worlds. I read the links in question but I didn't see this position jusitfied. Additionally, I don't see how it would follow that if we are intrinsically valuable in this world, we must be intrinsically valuable in all possible worlds. What makes us intrinsically valuable is that we have the inherent capacity to be moral, rational beings, even while unborn (it just hasn't yet developed). If there are humans in a possible world who do not have that inherent capacity, then it does not follow that they would be inherently valuable.

Lastly, it is not plausible that right to life is an accidental property. You either have it or you don't. It is either moral to kill you or it is not. Just like one is human or one is not. This is why the right to life cannot be tied to something like consciousness, in which a human can have in degrees.

Freeman has not destroyed the concept that all humans have a prima facie right to life. Just the opposite. Simply because abortion may be justified in some cases (such as in the rare case of anencephaly) does not justify abortion in all, or even most, cases. Just like if pulling the plug on a brain dead human is moral, that does not mean it is moral to kill any other humans.

C2: A fetus is not a person and thus cannot have a serious right to life.

Personhood does not establish a right to life. In fact, the term "person" has been used in the past to discriminate against a group of humans. Blacks were once considered sub-human. They were considered 3/5ths of a person for voting purposes only.

As such, I take issue with premise one because "person" is a human concept. You can take away anyone's right to life by simply labeling them as "not a person." All humans have a right to life, despite whether we considered them "persons" or not.

Secondly, if you're going to accept premise two, then you must also believe that toddlers and the mentally disabled are not persons, and therefore do not have a right to life. It would be moral to kill toddlers and the mentally disabled without any justification whatsoever. Warren even recognizes this. Her reasons for not accepting infanticide are completely ad hoc. She just wasn't brave enough to make the leap that Peter Singer and Michael Tooley have, that infanticide is morally permissible.

The reality is that one does not have to have present desires to be harmed.

First, consider a case in which a child's father dies, leaving his entire estate to him. The child has no idea that he will receive all that money, and an unscrupulous lawyer takes advantage of a loophole and keeps all the money for himself. The child may not be aware of the harm, but the child has still been harmed because he is worse off than before.

Secondly, pro-life philosopher Don Marquis advances the future-like-ours argument. The reason that pulling the plug on a brain-dead human is morally acceptable, but abortion is not, is because the developing embryo has a future like ours, and the brain dead human no longer has a future. By killing an unborn child through abortion you are depriving them of the joy of life, and of all the experiences that she would otherwise be able to enjoy if she had been left alive.

The pro-choice position is not consistent. In fact, it proves too much because if present desires were necessary to have a right to life, then it would be morally acceptable to kill sleeping humans and humans in reversible comas.

The pro-life position would consistently allow extra-terrestrials and other beings to have a right to life, because what is important is the inherent capacity to be moral, rational agents. Intelligent alien lifeforms (e.g. Vulcans or Klingons) would certainly qualify.

Regarding the cerebrum, Freeman's example from personal identity does not prove what he believes it does. What this proves is that the cerebrum is the important aspect and anything that the cerebrum is transplanted into would have a right to life by virtue of the cerebrum residing inside it. [1]

Finally, rights function to protect everyone, including those who don't know they want to be protected. This is why an indoctrinated slave who does not have a desire to live would still be protected under the law. After all, toddlers also don't have a present desire to continue living, yet they are still protected under the law.

Freeman has not made an adequate case for why abortion is morally acceptable.

Source: http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Freeman

Pro

Thank you, KeytarHero, for that very interesting and thought provoking argument! My opponent defends a natural law argument against abortion known as the substance view of persons. I previously offered four reasons why we should reject this type of argument.

C1: The sanctity of life doctrine is morally untenable.

1. First, I argued that Con's argument leads to the absurd view that the irreversibly unconscious have a right to life. The objections given by Con are plainly false. For instance, the substance view does not maintain that these individuals are non-persons or that they need a future to be valuable.[1] Patrick Lee, a pro-life philosopher and defender of the substance view, writes, "every human being, including those in persistent vegetative state and anencephalic infants, are persons and intrinsically valuable as subjects of rights."[2] My objection is completely unscathed.

2. Second, I argued that Con's view is false because it's based on a morally irrelevant biological property. Con's response clearly begs the question. He says that racism and sexism are wrong because different ethnicities and men and women are all human. But why think that this is the case? He merely assumes the truth of his view– namely, that being human is what makes one morally valuable.

3. Third, I argued that humans can't be intrinsically valuable. Con responds by saying that he sees no reason to suppose that being intrinsically valuable entails being necessarily valuable in all possible worlds. As the esteemed philosopher Ben Bradley argues, "[I]f a thing's intrinsic value is essential to it, then intrinsically good entities are intrinsically good in all possible worlds."[3] Trent Horn, a highly respected pro-life advocate, points out that under the substance view "a human being's personhood is an essential property."[4] It therefore follows that the substance view entails that humans must be intrinsically valuable in all possible worlds.

4. Finally, I argued that the right to life is an accidental property. In essence, Con objects by arguing that we would not lose our substantial identity in a cerebrum swap. The problem with Con's response is that he assumes that the new cerebrum will develop a natural capacity for self-awareness. But since the genetic code of the body holding the cerebrum hasn't changed, it seems clear that this capacity would be unnatural, and thus the change to the organism would be accidental.[5]

Moreover, Con says that the right to life is not an accidental property because it cannot be tied to consciousness since that comes in degrees. His argument here is self-defeating. Natural capacities come in degrees among various animals. There exists a continuum of natural capacities as well as developed capacities.[6]

On a side note, I am not trying to "poison the well" by using the word "doctrine." Even pro-life philosophers like Don Marquis use the phrase "sanctity of life doctrine" to delineate my opponent's type of argument.[7] In addition, a reasonable person reading Brahm's argument in its full context would be lead to believe that he regards anencephalic fetuses as lacking a right to life. I'm not trying to be dishonest, just clever.

C2: A fetus is not a person and thus cannot have a serious right to life.

First, I must say that Con's attack on P1 is simply misguided and philosophically confused. The term "person" in a philosophical context is synonymous with a being that possesses a right to life.

1. What about my argument that only beings that have had conscious desires can be harmed? Con argues that my view entails the permissibility of infanticide. There are numerous problems with this objection.

First, moral intuitions alone can't establish the wrongness of infanticide because people can clearly be blinded by failures of moral intuition. Paul Slovic, a research scientist at the University of Oregon, has demonstrated this conclusively with his psychological research on human responses to genocide.[8] In general, people tend to care a great deal about the plight of individuals in trouble; however, these same people are often blithely indifferent to mass-murder.

Second, the view that infants are not persons does not necessarily make it acceptable to kill infants. As Peter Singer argues, no other line except birth has the visibility and self-evidence required to mark the beginning of a socially recognized right to life. And thus birth provides a compelling reason to think that infants should be treated as if they have a right to life under the law.[9]

Toddlers or adults with virtually no mental lives would be practically brain-dead, so I wouldn't say that killing them is seriously wrong.

2. What about my argument that my view explains why the irreversibly unconscious don't have a right to life? Con tries to strengthen his argument by conjoining it with the future-like-ours argument. First, Con's entire pro-life case collapses when he does this. Why? Because the substance view and the FLO argument are mutually exclusive, as Patrick Lee points out![10] For example, the substance view says that anencephalic fetuses are intrinsically valuable. The FLO argument would maintain that anencephalic fetuses are not intrinsically valuable. This makes Con's argument self-referentially incoherent and therefore necessarily false. Second, the existence of "ideal desires" would constitute a defeater to Marquis' argument in any case.

Moreover, Con argues that my view entails that it's acceptable to kill people who are asleep or in temporary comas. Simply put, the states which allow for personal identity such as memories and personality traits are present in the brain of the sleeping individual and the temporarily comatose patient.[11] These individuals who are psychologically continuous over time through memories and personality traits have enjoyed self-consciousness in the past, and it is this that makes depriving them of continued existence seriously wrong.

3. What about my argument that Warren's psychological criteria offer a non-arbitrary and species free account of personhood for various beings? I will grant that the substance view can offer a species free account of personhood. Con does not, however, offer us an explanation of how his view would grant a right to life to self-aware robots.

4. What about my argument that the psychological account resolves issues in personal identity? Con hasn't responded to my argument about conjoined twins.

5. What about my argument that it is plausible that rights function to protect interests? Here Con claims that my view implies that it's permissible to kill an indoctrinated slave who wants to die and to steal from a child who has an unknown inheritance. This is simply not the case. David Boonin, a philosopher at CU-Boulder, explains how individuals can have actual as well as ideal desires.[12] If the slave better understood its future prospects, then it would hold an actual desire to live. It can therefore be said that the slave has an ideal desire to live. Likewise, the child has an ideal desire to keep all of that which belongs to him or her.

My opponent might object by arguing that a fetus has an ideal desire to live. But this rejoinder, too, is flawed. As Boonin argues, ideal desires are simply actual desires that have been corrected for cognitive distortions.[13] You need to have actual desires in order to have ideal desires. Con can't just impute a desire out of thin air and apply it to a fetus when the fetus doesn't have any actual desires in the first place.

| Conclusion |

So in conclusion, then, I think we've seen good reasons from the desire based view of rights for supposing that fetuses are not persons and that the pro-life arguments do not serve to subvert that conclusion. Unless and until Con can overcome my objections, I maintain that we have ample justification for regarding his argument as unsound.

Sources: http://tinyurl.com...
KeytarHero

Con

I would like to thank Freeman for this interesting debate.

I would just like to point out that if I have failed to address any of his points, it is simply because he has offered so many arguments that to properly address them all would require more characters than I have allotted to me.

Sanctity of Life

1) The substance view does not entail that the irreversibly unconscious have a right to life. The substance view entails that all humans have an inherent right to life, so that if one were to take that person's life, one would need a morally justifiable reason to do it. Pulling the plug on a brain dead person, for example, is morally permissible because the person they were is gone. They will not be coming back. This is different from an embryo who has the inherent capacity for consciousness, she just hasn't developed it yet. She has a future-like-ours, which the brain dead person doesn't. The Future Like Ours and Substance Views are not mutually exclusive. They can work in tandem, such as used by pro-life apologist Trent Horn in a debate against Freeman. [1] Freeman's objection has failed. While a brain dead person may have human rights, there is a morally justifiable reason for pulling the plug on this unfortunate human.
2) I have not begged the question. I could not be more clear. Racism and sexism are human rights violations. They unfairly discriminate against humans based on gender or nationality. We all belong to the same human race, and therefore deserve the same fundamental human rights, the most fundamental being the right to life. Without this right, no other rights can be had or enjoyed.

3) Freeman's conclusion here is a non sequitur. Just because humans are intrinsically valuable in the actual world does not entail they are intrinsically valuable in all possible worlds. What makes humans valuable is their inherent capacity as moral, rational beings. If there are any possible worlds in which humans don't have this capacity, then they would not be inherently valuable as we are in the actual world.

4) Freeman claims that I am simply assuming that the new cerebrum will develop a natural capacity for self-awareness. However it is inescapable that the conclusion Freeman draws is also an assumption. Since it is currently impossible to switch cerebrums with someone else, anything we say on the topic will be pure speculation. As such, this point cannot be proven and should be discarded.

One does not need to be conscious in order to enjoy a right to life. Otherwise it would be morally justifiable to kill someone while they are asleep, sedated, or in a reversible coma. The right to life does not come in degrees. You either have it or you don't. There is no reason to assume that one must be conscious to have your life protected.

I should point out here that Josh is a good friend of mine, and I know how he feels about anencephalic fetuses. The reality is that any reasonable person, when reading the debate in question, would see that Josh was only accepting those abortions for the sake of argument, because they are so rare. He wanted to concentrate on the other multitude of abortions. It is dishonest to use someone's words out of context, especially in an argument contrary to the one he holds.

Freeman still has not offered compelling reason that the unborn should not possess a right to life.

Fetuses are not people

A "person" can be labeled any way you so choose. It doesn't matter what it means philosophically, it matters how our country uses it. Otherwise you would have to agree that when blacks were not considered persons and kept as slaves, the whites were morally justified in killing them for no reason because philosophically, only "people" enjoy a right to life and blacks were not considered people. This is absurd and morally repugnant. We can use "person" to discriminate against any group of humans, as it is used to discriminate against the unborn.

1) Freeman seems confused by my argument. I am stating that infanticide is wrong for the same reason abortion is wrong: the infant is a human being with an inherent capacity as a moral, rational agent. Freeman's argument would entail that infanticide is morally permissible because infants don't fit the description of Warren's view of personhood. Her reason for rejecting infanticide is ad hoc. Warren argues that moral intuition is why infanticide should not be allowed (which is ad hoc), so Freeman has effectively argued against Warren's criteria for personhood. Freeman must accept infanticide as morally justified or reject Warren's criteria for personhood.

Secondly, Singer's argument is also ad hoc. He is essentially stating that the only reason infants should be protected is because we have a visible line drawn. But what about fertilization? That has an obvious line between non-existence and existence (Freeman recognizes that the unborn are living humans). So what justification do we have that birth should be the dividing line and not fertilization?

2) I have already shown that the Substance View and Future-Like-Ours arguments are not mutually exclusive. This is simply silly to believe that they are. Even pro-lifers realize that not all killing is wrong, such as killing in self defense or in justified war. All humans having a right to life does not entail that it is always wrong to kill another human being. It just entails that a morally justifiable reason is needed. We have one in pulling the plug on a brain dead patient. We would also need a morally justifiable reason to abort an unborn child, one in which Freeman has thus far failed to supply.

Furthermore, the existence of "ideal desires" is not a defeater. David Boonin would argue that one would need actual desires to have ideal desires. But why is this so? Why can't we assume that the unborn have ideal desires? After all, couldn't it be stated that an unborn child's ideal desire would be to live if it could have an actual desire to live, as well? This is also why an indoctrinated slave, who has been indoctrinated to believe he has no right to life, would still have a right to life despite his indoctrination. He would never have an actual desire to live, yet he would still have an ideal desire to live.

Additionally, Freeman has trapped himself. Now he says that people who are asleep or in temporary comas have enjoyed self-consciousness in the past, and that makes depriving them of continued existence seriously wrong. But now Freeman must admit that pulling the plug on a brain dead patient would be seriously wrong, since that brain dead patient, too, has enjoyed self-consciousness in the past. If Freeman can claim that certain people have a right to life, but not others, why must it necessarily entail that those who hold to the Substance View cannot possibly believe that pulling the plug on a brain dead person is morally justifiable?
3) Freeman admits that the Substance View offers a species free account of personhood, so this point is moot. However, if a robot could ever be self-aware, then there is no reason to deny it a right to live. If it contains the same qualities that make humans or other intelligent species' valuable, then it would be valuable, as well.

4) Conjoined twins are two separate individuals, even though possibly sharing organs. They are not part of the same organism, their egg simply failed to separate completely. They are still two independent organisms, as two twins who are completely separate are.

5) Freeman's response to the indoctrinated slave is ad hoc and does nothing to promote abortion. As the indoctrinated slave would have an ideal desire to live though not having that actual desire, the same can be said of unborn humans. Freeman hasn't explained why one needs actual desires in order to have ideal desires.
Debate Round No. 2
Freeman

Pro

I really do appreciate the time and care that Con has put into defending his position. But I must confess that I remain unconvinced. Let me explain why.

C1: The sanctity of life doctrine is morally untenable.

1. The substance view is subject to counterexamples that render it false. My opponent persists in falsely claiming that the substance view entails that the irreversibly unconscious are non-persons without a right to life even when the evidence that he's wrong is placed right in front of him. Con doesn't address my evidence and merely falls back on his talking points. My opponent must accept that irreversibly unconscious humans are persons with a right to life and justify this view or he must reject the substance view as false.

Moreover, Con merely appeals to the authority of Trent Horn to try to show that his two arguments are compatible. Well, Trent is demonstrably wrong and Con doesn't actually deal with the merits of my objection. My opponent's arguments when combined entail that anencephalic fetuses are both intrinsically valuable and not intrinsically valuable at the same time. This is a logical contradiction that can't possibly be true.[1] Even the preeminent defender of the substance view Patrick Lee admits this![2]

2. The substance view is false because it's based on a morally irrelevant biological property. Once again, Con's response begs the question and doesn't engage my argument. He has failed to explain why the biological property of being a human is morally important when biological properties are morally inconsequential in all other areas (e.g., race and sex).

3. Humans can't be intrinsically valuable because there are at least some possible worlds where humans would reasonably have no moral value. Con says that the conclusion I draw is a non-sequitur. He is simply incorrect and doesn't engage my logic. My conclusion follows necessarily from the axioms of modal logic and the definitions of intrinsic value and essential properties.

As philosopher Paul Teller points out in the scholarly Journal of Philosophy, "An essential property is usually taken to be a property a thing has necessarily."[3] Con's response demonstrates nothing more than confusion about modal logic and also his position. Contrary to what Con claims, his argument maintains all humans have the inherent capacity to be rational beings merely by being human.[4]

4. It is plausible that the right to life is an accidental property. Con says that my argument is based on pure speculation since no one can currently perform a cerebrum swap. But thought experiments can help produce valuable information in science (e.g., Maxwell's demon, Einstein's elevator and Schr´┐Żdinger's cat).[5] I am not just making an assumption like Con. I made a reasoned argument that Con hasn't responded to.

Once more, Con says that rights can't be tied to properties that come in degrees. I've already refuted this argument. It's self-defeating since natural capacities come in degrees as well. Con doesn't offer a response.

What about this claim that I'm taking Josh Brahm's words out of context? Josh said in our debate that it's ok to kill brain-dead people.[6] Given that there is no real moral difference between brain-death and anencephaly, I'm lead to believe he feels the same way about anencephalic fetuses. I'm not taking anyone's words out of context.

C2: A fetus is not a person and thus cannot have a serious right to life.

Contrary to what my opponent claims, the term "person" cannot be defined any way that one wishes. The concept of what a "person" denotes in philosophy has a rigid meaning that is not subject to arbitrary revision. A "person" is a being that has a serious right to life. Anyone who went around calling black individuals "non-persons" would obviously be unjustified in their views. Now what about my reasons for accepting the psychological criteria for personhood?

1. My first argument was that only beings that have had conscious desires in the past can be harmed in any morally significant sense. First, I don't have to agree with Warren's view on infanticide to accept her general argument. Second, the reason many pro-lifers think that this objection is so devastating is because the acceptance of infanticide runs deeply contrary to some people's moral intuitions. But I've given pretty unequivocal evidence that moral intuitions aren't always reliable. Thus, the infanticide objection can't go through on moral intuitions alone without rational support. I submit that Con's general argument doesn't provide that support.

In any case, I've given an argument that my view doesn't necessarily entail infanticide and so Con's point is moot. Con objects to my argument by saying that it's ad hoc and asks why fertilization wouldn't be a good dividing line. First, Singer's argument isn't ad hoc because the line can't be between existence and non-existence, since virtually no one seriously considers existing brain-dead people to be valuable. Second, assuming the non-personhood of the fetus, granting a right to life at fertilization would run afoul of what even pro-life philosophers have called "the important value of reproductive choice."[7]

2. My second argument was that my view properly accounts for why the irreversibly unconscious don't have a right to life. I've already responded to Con's false claim that the substance view and FLO argument are not mutually exclusive.

My opponent raises the sleeping and comatose person objection once more as if I haven't addressed it. My opponent simply drops my counter argument. Con then goes on to say that I have somehow trapped myself into accepting that brain-dead people also have a right to life because they've been conscious in the past. My argument simply doesn't imply this. According to my argument, brain-dead people are no longer psychologically continuous as persons and would therefore lack a right to life.

3. My third argument was that the psychological account of personhood can offer a non-arbitrary and species free account of personhood. I will grant that my opponent's argument and mine are effectively tied in this one small area.

4. My fourth argument was that the psychological account of personhood explains numerous issues in personal identity. Con objects by saying that conjoined twins are two separate biological organisms. This response is subject to a number of strong objections.

First, it is very implausible that these dicephalic twins are two distinct organisms when there is very little duplication of organs and the organs all function together as a single unit.[8] Second, it is possible for the cerebrums of dicephalic twins to emerge from a single brainstem. Because there would only be one brainstem to regulate the single autonomic nervous system for a single set of organs, it should be clear that there is only one biological organism. After all, it is the brainstem, not the cerebrum, that regulates the functioning of the various organs and somatic systems within the organism.[9]

5. My fifth argument was that it's plausible that rights function to protect interests. I've already anticipated Con's objection to my argument and refuted it. Ideal desires require actual desires. The fetus doesn't have any desires that can be corrected for cognitive distortions. Con is trying to impute an ideal desire out of thin air and attribute it to the fetus that doesn't have any desires to begin with. My opponent may think his maneuver is reasonable, but it clearly seems incoherent.

| Conclusion |

The weakness of Con's position is attested by both his refusal to substantively engage with my arguments and also by the inadequate justification he has given for his own position. By contrast, it would seem that all of my arguments remain intact despite Con's refutations. And for that reason I remain enthusiastically in support of the important value of reproductive choice.

Sources: http://tinyurl.com...
KeytarHero

Con

I also appreciate Freeman's time in debating this important topic to me.

Freeman is an intelligent and well-read debater. This makes it a travesty that he has decided to debate in the way that he has. Freeman's arguments largely rely on appeals to authority (citing other philosophers as opposed to arguing for his position), and trying to quote pro-life philsophers in an attempt to discredit my arguments. I don't have the books he is quoting from with me so I can't verify whether or not he is accurately representing their positions, but I can tell you that Pro, throughout this debate, has misrepresented the position of Josh Brahm so it can be assumed that he is not accurately representing the positions of those in the pro-life field. Even if he is, quoting a philosopher who disagrees with me is nothing more than an appeal to authority.

C1 -- Sanctity of Life

1. Freeman has consistently misrepresented the Substance View. This view states that since humans outside the womb are the same humans that exist in utero, then unborn humans enjoy the same basic human right to life (for there is no right more fundamental, as you cannot enjoy any other rights without the right to life) as we do. That being said, this does not mean the Substance View entails it is never right to take a life. What it entails is that there must be sufficient moral justification for taking any life, born or unborn. Freeman's claim that this view entails that we are never justified in taking a life is misrepresentation, and simply false.

This means that a brain-dead person is not a non-person. This means the unfortunate brain-dead human is still a person, but it is morally justifiable to pull the plug. The person he was is gone. He is dead and not coming back. This is different from a human embryo, which does not require a brain to live until it develops one. It has a Future-Like-Ours, whereas the brain-dead human does not.

Pro's assertion that I am appealing to authority with Trent Horn is blatantly false. He appealed to authority by quoting Trent (among quoting other philosophers), and I was showing that the two positions are not mutually exclusive. It is a pity that Pro would accuse me of appealing to authority, as appealing to authority makes up the bulk of his argumentation.

2. I have not begged the question here. Sexism and racism is wrong because we are all humans. You are discriminating against groups of humans based on their race or sex. Race and sex are accidental properties. A human is a human regardless of whether they're male or female, black, white, or Asian (or others). Being human is an essential property. Remove what makes you human (the inherent capacity as moral, rational agents) and you stop being human. This is why Pro's "all possible worlds" analogy fails. If there is a possible world in which a humans are not inherently moral, rational creatures, then they would not actually be human in that possible world.

3. One might wonder here if Pro is even reading the same debate you are. I engaged his argumentation and showed it to be false. Not liking my rebuttal does not equate to not engaging the argument. We can pull the plug on a brain-dead human because they have lost what makes them "you," and will never get it back (this is why it would be immoral to pull the plug on someone in a reversible coma but not an irreversible one). This is also why it's immoral to kill a human embryo, because it has those inherent qualities. It just hasn't developed them yet. As toddlers are less developed than humans and deserve the same right to life, so we are not morally justified in killing an unborn child simply because they are less developed.

Pro simply misunderstands my argument. Humanity is an essential property. The right to life extends to humans only insofar as they have the qualities that make them valuable (the inherent ability to be moral, rational agents). If there exists any possible worlds in which humans would not have these qualities, they would not have the same right to life we do.

4. I understand the benefit of thought experiments. What I meant is that we can only speculate what would happen in the case of a cerebrum swap. We can't prove for sure what would happen. I can only say it is more reasonable to suppose that if my cerebrum was removed and put into another person, "I" would inhabit that person's body. The person that human was would be lost and I would now occupy the body. This means that if I were put in the body of an irrational animal, the animal would now be rational and deserve a right to life because "I", the person who inhabited the human body the cerebrum would be removed from, would still exist. Just in a different body (or animal, as the case may be).

I think it patently obvious to anyone who reads the debate that Pro is taking his words grossly out of context. And he has done it again. There is a difference between kill and pulling the plug on a brain-dead human. Josh does not believe we can kill a brain-dead person, or someone in an irreversible coma. However, withholding treatment (or pulling the plug) is morally justified in this case. This is not killing. It is allowing a human that is essentially already dead to finally rest in peace.

C2 -- Personhood

I do not define "personhood" arbitrarily. In fact, I believe that all humans should be considered persons. This is the inclusive view. To claim that any humans should be excluded as persons would leave Pro with the burden of proof as to why we should define it in any other way. Pro's definition does not hold up.

Pro speaks of a right to life, but what he fails to consider is that blacks in the south at one time did not have a right to life, so therefore were not persons. Pro would have to say this was morally acceptable because they didn't fit the definition of person. Only under the pro-life view, the Substance View, can we say that even though black didn't fit the definition of person, they still deserved a right to life and should have been considered persons. In fact, anti-slavery was the pro-life position back then.

1. Pro doesn't have to agree with Warren's view of infanticide, but to be consistent with his views he would have to accept infanticide. He has not shown why we should accept infanticide, or reject infanticide if we accept Warren's criteria. In fact, Warren's view on infanticide was laughably ad-hoc. If we accept Warren's criteria for personhood (as Pro does), then we must also accept infanticide. To do otherwise is inconsistent. Pro is simply incorrect in labeling my views. My views charge that all humans are valuable, whereas Pro would argue that infants, like the unborn, are not valuable and do not have a right to life. Which is it, Pro?

2. Pro tries to have it both ways, that a sleeping person has a right to life due to previous consciousness, but not the brain-dead human. Pro has failed to offer a reason for why we should even accept that consciousness should define personhood (for even in this case, infants would not qualify and therefore still would not have a right to life).

3. Pro has granted my case here.

4. Pro's criticisms do not hold up. Even if conjoined twins share organs, it does not follow that they are not separate individuals. Does Pro honestly believe that conjoined twins are the same organism, the same person? Would a conjoined twin, him- or herself, say that they are?

5. The fetus may not be corrected for cognitive distortion, but it still does not follow that they would not have an ideal desire to live if they had actual desires. I'm running low on characters, but it does not follow we should be able to allow the killing of someone just because they haven't yet developed to the point where they can have, or even express, those desires.

Again, Pro's entire case rests on misrepresentation and appeals to authority. The pro-life position has the most explanatory power, and therefore should be accepted. I look forward to our final round.
Debate Round No. 3
Freeman

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent once more for his participation and kind words in what has been quite a stimulating exchange. And I must return his complements. My goal in this last round is to tie together some of the loose ends of the debate and see if any conclusions can be reached.

C1: The sanctity of life doctrine is morally untenable.

1. What about the irreversibly unconscious? Con is simply reduced to attacking straw-men. For example, I've never argued that his view entails that it's always wrong to take a life. Moreover, he still doesn't respond to my evidence or my logic.

Con is simply wrong in many of his claims. The substance view maintains that the irreversibly unconscious are persons with a right to life. They are, after all, innocent human beings. I've even quoted the leading defender of the substance view to demonstrate this![1] Con's only defense of this position entails that a logical contradiction is true.

My opponent's mere appeal to Trent Horn is clearly fallacious. His two arguments have mutually exclusive views on the intrinsic value of the irreversibly unconscious. Con doesn't dispute my evidence or logic and thus his entire case simply collapses because a logical contradiction can't be true.

2. What about humanness being a morally irrelevant biological property? Con simply begs the question again. Assuming sexism and racism are wrong because of the biological characteristic of being a human assumes that being human is a morally relevant property. Con goes after numerous red herrings about essential properties, but his points here are irrelevant even if they are true. Accidental properties like essential properties can either have or lack moral significance. The fact that we are essentially human beings doesn't necessarily mean that we are all valuable as subjects of rights.

3. I've presented a modal argument that humans can't be intrinsically valuable. It essentially had two premises. First, being intrinsically valuable entails being necessarily valuable in all possible worlds, according to the standard definitions of intrinsic value and essential properties. After initial skepticism, Con has not disputed this. Second, humans in a possible world with the mental lives of insects would not be intrinsically valuable. Con's only objection to this premise is based on a false belief about what qualifies humanity. Francis Beckwith, a lead proponent of the substance view, explains that his argument entails that humans have these qualities even if it is impossible for us to actualize them.[2] According to Con's argument, there is no possible world where human beings don't have a rational nature.

4. I argued that the right to life is an accidental property? Happily, Con has ceased to attack the usefulness of thought experiments. He is now reduced to saying that we can't prove what would happen in the cerebrum case. We can only establish what is plausible. This is exactly my point! Con remakes his original argument and completely fails to address my rebuttal. The right to life acquired in the case of the cerebrum swap would plausibly be unnatural and hence accidental because the body of the organism holding the cerebrum still has the genetic code of a non-rational type of animal.

I would maintain that Brahm's views are incoherent in much the same way Con's are, both internally and with the facts. I'm interpreting them as plausibly and honestly as I can. Remember, the original position he was willing to grant for the debate was that actively aborting anencephalic fetuses is acceptable. I'm representing all of my sources accurately.

C2: A fetus is not a person and thus cannot have a serious right to life.

Out of nowhere, Con says that I've appealed to authority to make up the bulk of my case, but that obviously isn't true. I've consistently given warrant for all of my arguments and to show that Con isn't representing his position accurately.

Con's continued attack upon P1 is irrational. Black people would obviously be persons under my argument. It doesn't matter what the masses believe "person" means. The term "person" in philosophy means a being with a right to life. Con is practically guilty of playing semantics.

1. I argued that being "harmed" requires conscious experience. Con continues his straw-man critique of Warren's views on infanticide that I haven't defended. He simply sticks to his talking points and does not address my argument. I've shown that even though fetuses wouldn't be persons under my view, this doesn't constitute a good objection because intuitions can be misleading. And I submit that his general argument fails to underpin the intuitions he holds about infanticide.

I then argued that there are other considerations to prohibit infanticide, despite infants not being persons. He hasn't responded to the objections I've given to the view that a socially recognized right to life should be at fertilization. Given the necessity for clear distinctions in the law, birth marks a very good spot to grant a right to life, even if one were to grant the non-personhood of the newborn infant. Con brings up toddlers once again, but they would obviously be persons under my view.

2. I argued that my view explains why the irreversibly unconscious lack a right to life. My opponent tries to argue, again, that my defense of a sleeping person's right to life implies that brain-dead people have a right to life. But notice that Con simply drops my counterargument. Even though brain-dead people were once conscious in the past, they are no longer psychologically continuous with the persons who enjoyed that past conscious experience. This is the crucial difference and the reason Con's objection fails.

3. I agree with my opponent that both of our views can offer a species free account of personhood that could also establish why self-aware robots would have a right to life.

4. I argued that my view explains numerous issues in personal identity. Con offers basically two objections to my counterarguments that dicephalic twins consist of one biological organism. First, Con says that even if the twins share organs, this doesn't mean that they are one organism. As I've pointed out earlier, it should be abundantly clear that the dicephalic twins consist of one organism in the case where there is only one brainstem to regulate a single autonomic nervous system.

Second, it is completely irrelevant that the dicephalic twins may believe that they are one or two biological organisms. There is a scientific fact of the matter here which is true independently of the twin's beliefs about themselves.

5. I argued that rights plausibly function to protect interests. Con argues that the fetus would have an ideal desire to live in a world where they had actual desires. My opponent's objection is trivially correct. The problem is that Con's objection is based on a conditional statement about a state of affairs that isn't true. In the real world, fetuses do not have actual desires.

My view of rights is prima facie plausible. No one has successfully been able to demonstrate that rights can exist in the absence of corresponding desires. Moreover, my opponent's objections about the child with an inheritance and the indoctrinated slave haven't been successful. The desire based view of rights should therefore be accepted.

| Conclusion |

So, I don't think we've seen any good reasons to become pro-life. Indeed, Con's argument couldn't really be in a more hopeless position. Not only is it subject to four strong objections which haven't been overcome, it is literally self-refuting. By contrast, my argument explains why my opponent's view is right when it is, and my view does not suffer from the difficulties that his view faces. And therefore I think that the pro-choice view is by far the more rational and moral position to adopt.

Sources: http://tinyurl.com...
KeytarHero

Con

I would once again like to thank Freeman for the opportunity to debate this.

At this point, I would for the most part be reiterating my
arguments. So I’ll try not to take up too much space as what I need to say has basically been said already.

1. Sanctity of Life

1. I have explained that since the irreversible unconscious do not have a Future-Like-Ours, we are morally justified in pulling the plug. The person they are is gone, whereas a fetus still has a Future-Like-Ours that makes them valuable. I have explained this several times. I don’t know why Freeman keeps missing it.

The Future-Like-Ours view clearly makes Freeman’s attack of Premise 1 baseless. He has relied on appeals to authority and misquoting or misrepresenting pro-life advocates (Josh Brahm and Trent Horn) in order to try and support his attack. I have very clearly responded to his claim. Under the
Substance View, all human beings have a right to life. This means you must have a morally justified reason for ending their life. The brain-dead individual and irreversibly comatose are essentially dead. The person they are is gone. They have no future like ours. The unborn do.

Additionally, I did not appeal to Trent. Pro did. I was showing that Pro’s appeal to Trent was dishonest, as were his appeals to Josh.

2. Pro has simply ignored my argument. He has not offered a reason for why sexism or racism is wrong. I have offered a reason, that we are all humans. The reason sexism or racism is wrong is because you are discriminating against humans for unfair reasons (as abortion rights discriminates against the unborn).

3. I have already responded to this. My qualities for human value are not fallacious, and Pro has not proven them wrong. If there were a possible world in which humans don’t have the qualities that make them valuable, then they would not be valuable.

4. I never attacked the usefulness of thought experiments. I attacked the usefulness of this
thought experiment. Like Trent and Josh, Pro is now misrepresenting my own argument. I really don’t think we can take Pro’s assertions about pro-life philosophers seriously since he continues to misrepresent the words or arguments of pro-life advocates. See my last round argument for my response to this argument, which Pro has not disputed.

Pro is not representing Brahm’s position honestly. Brahm only agreed for the sake of the debate
that aborting anencephalic fetuses was acceptable only because they were extremely rare. Pro is being dishonest by stating that Josh believes aborting anencephalic fetuses is morally justified.

2.
Personhood of the Fetus

As Freeman states, person means “a being with a right to life.” Blacks in the south were not “beings with a right to life” and so were not persons under the definition Pro has given. However, the pro-life view is consistent, that all humans deserve a right to life and so all beings should be considered persons, whether or not society accepts them as such. The anti-slavery view was the pro-life view.

1. Pro has not given his acceptance or rejection of infanticide. The reality is that if we accept Warren’s critera for personhood, we must also accept infanticide. Pro says that birth marks a very good spot to grant right to life. So Pro’s argument is contradictory. He must either accept
infanticide, or reject Warren’s criteria for personhood which would also mean that infanticide were morally justified. Con has now shown that my criteria for personhood, that the unborn have the
inherent capacity as moral, rational agents , should be rejected. As such, I extend this criteria and reject Freeman’s as contradictory.

On a side note, birth is not a good place to grant a right to life. This would mean that a child born at seven months (two months premature) would be more valuable than a child nine months in the womb. The two month premature child would have a right to life while the nine-month-old child
in utero would not.

2. My objection here does not fail. If conscious experiences in the past were essential for a right to life, this would grant the irreversibly comatose and brain-dead humans a right to life. Pro cannot reject this just because he says so. This obviously cannot be morally significant in granting a
right to life.

3. We are pretty much in agreement here, although I’m not sure it could ever be proven that a robot is truly self-aware and not just mimicking self-awareness (think the Chinese room experiment).

4. Even if we grant that conjoined twins (notice that even Pro uses the plural here) are one organism, this doesn’t follow that they’re not two separate individuals. They may share one organ but two people are obviously present. In some cases, they just couldn’t be separated without killing one or both of them.

It is not irrelevant what the twins think about themselves. The fact that the two twins are capable of independent thought would lend support to the fact that they are two separate people.

5. Pro has not offered a defense against the indoctrinated slave or child with an inheritance, despite his assertion. One does not need actual desires to have an ideal desire. We cannot assume a fetus would not desire to live, just because he currently does not have “actual desires.” This is the height of arrogance. There is absolutely no reason to suppose a child would not want to live, just because he does not currently have a desire to do so, whether he or she has current desires at all.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, Pro has relied on shotgun argumentation to
support his case so I couldn’t give any of the arguments the attention they deserved. But suffice it to say, the pro-choice position is the one with insurmountable problems (which could more easily be shown if I had many more characters to argue with). The fact of the matter is that the pro-life position is the inclusive one. We accept all humans, regardless of their differences, as valuable and possessing a right to live. We believing in protecting those rights, and only taking them away with a morally justifiable reason.

The pro-choice position is inherently flawed and discriminatory, not to mention contradictory. The pro-life position says that all humans are valuable from fertilization. This does not change from human from human. No matter where a pro-choice advocate decides to place basic human rights, there will always be clear counterexamples that applies to someone outside the womb (as Pro’s tacit support of infanticide by accepting Warren’s criteria for personhood).

Debate Round No. 4
39 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
I'm going to have to reread this when it's not 5 in the morning before voting. I'll be back tomorrow.
Posted by socialpinko 4 years ago
socialpinko
Reading through now but will have to read it a few times before I can give a proper vote.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
I think con won.

I will vote later
Posted by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
Posting to remind myself to read this. It looks like a lot of work went into this and I'm sure both sides would appreciate an additional reader/voter.
Posted by SM1970 4 years ago
SM1970
Looking the format there isn't really room to tease out some of the fine details. Maybe it would be good to have a post debate thread in the forum??
Posted by SuburbiaSurvivor 4 years ago
SuburbiaSurvivor
Thirdly, Pro argued something rather bizzare, in that he attempted to use ontology to show that human beings don't have a right to life. But in order to do this, he argued that humans would have to have mental lives like insects. Of course, this would only be possible if human beings weren't actually human beings, as Con countered. Then of course, if Pro's argument followed, then he'd essentially be proving that human beings don't have a right to life at all, which seems even more absurd.

Quite honestly, you both argued brilliantly. Even though I found various flaws with Pro's arguments, he masked them extremely well and argued confidently. I honestly don't feel that my RFD covers every intricate detail to this debate, but I attempted to sum things up.
Posted by SuburbiaSurvivor 4 years ago
SuburbiaSurvivor
RFD:

Okay, I'm going to skip the debate about references to philosophers, because I honestly couldn't care less. I want to read personal arguments.

The first point: "The sanctity of life doctrine is morally untenable", I think was beautifully argued by Con. In that he argued that anencaphalic fetus's and brain-dead patients do have a right to life, but there is a morally sufficient reason to kill them. I've never heard this approach before, but I found it to fit perfectly into Pro-Life reasoning. As this was seemed to be the main, or at least, one of the main thrusts of Pro, I think Con's win here played substantially into my arguments vote.

The second point: "The sanctity of life doctrine is based on a morally irrelevant biological property". This is, of course, the heart of the abortion debate. Pro mainly argued that personhood is based on biological property, whereas Con countered that if it were, toddlers and the mentally disabled are technically not people. However, rather then stay consistent with his views, Pro argues that in regards to infanticide "no other line except birth has the visibility and self-evidence required to mark the beginning of a socially recognized right to life". But in that he concedes that a right to life is not based on biological property! Not just that, but he argues that our moral intuition is unreliable. But if our moral intuition is unreliable, then how can we ascertain whether abortion is morally justified? To me, Pro shot himself in the foot here. Furthermore his argument that a mentally disabled person, or a perosn in a coma is a person because they've essentially exhibited personhood before doesn't seem to follow either (as Con countered).

(Continued)
Posted by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
I'm not sure if it's really appropriate to do so in the comments. You could probably send the relevant person a PM and ask for some clarification, but I don't know if that's appropriate or not.
Posted by SM1970 4 years ago
SM1970
Newbie here, are debaters open to clarifying some aspects of their arguments?
Posted by TheDiabolicDebater 4 years ago
TheDiabolicDebater
This is an awesome debate. Kudos to both sides.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
FreemanKeytarHeroTied
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Reasons for voting decision: PRO used shotgun argumentation, it seems, so con could not respond adequately to all of his claims. I also think pro essentially conceded, saying our moral senses lack. This means neither case can be "right". Hence according to pros own argunmentaiton, he ties or lost. Also I think CON had better points on why it was wrong to kill a fetus. Good arguments to both, but con won.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
FreemanKeytarHeroTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The inclusiveness of Con's position is more intuitive than Pro's until the brain-dead argument. Con defends their death as morally acceptable because they lack a FLO, but I am unable to differentiate between the ability to be rational, moral agents from the specific psychological and cognitive traits Pro used to define personhood. If both sides agree that similar attributes are necessary for a justified claim to life, then the fact that a fetus lacks these attributes supports Pro's stance.
Vote Placed by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
FreemanKeytarHeroTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro did a better job demonstrating logical reasons why terminating a fetus should not be considered immoral. Con simply had weaker arguments, such as, a fetus has the potential to become conscious and he/she would theoretically want this this. Also, since Con refused to adequately rebuttal many of Pro's key points, I give more convincing arguments to Pro.
Vote Placed by Ricky_Zahnd 4 years ago
Ricky_Zahnd
FreemanKeytarHeroTied
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Reasons for voting decision: cons argument seems to center on the idea that life is given value by one's potential future, but when it comes to conjoined twins, he abandons the fact that they have a joint future, and considers them two people - seemingly due to their separate minds - a notion he rebuts elsewhere. Can't have it both ways. Conduct - round 3, con calls pro's debating "a travesty." Sources: pretty clear cut there. Pro's sourcing is extensive and thorough. Con is missing sources throughout.
Vote Placed by SuburbiaSurvivor 4 years ago
SuburbiaSurvivor
FreemanKeytarHeroTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD will be in the comments. Very intricate debate, gentlemen. Which is both a good and a bad thing. It's good because it means you guys did your homework and it's bad because as someone who has to judge this debate I'm going to have to read this entire thing like 5 times to properly judge every point.