The Instigator
Apologician
Pro (for)
Losing
59 Points
The Contender
TheSkeptic
Con (against)
Winning
81 Points

Abortion is Prima Facie Morally Wrong

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/10/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 10,755 times Debate No: 10048
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (73)
Votes (28)

 

Apologician

Pro

I'm going to offer a brief outline of the pro-life position that I defend, and I will engage in further argumentation in the subsequent rounds.

The fundamental issue regarding the abortion debate is not women's rights or other factors which concern personal autonomy, but over the status of the unborn child. Variants of the personal choice argument presuppose that the unborn child is not a human person, for if the unborn child is indeed a human person, then no amount of freedom justifies its elective termination. Henceforth, variants of the personal autonomy argument beg the question by presupposing their conclusions: they are valid if and only if the unborn are not human persons. [1]

As outlined by Francis J. Beckwith, my argument against abortion will be as follows :

1. The unborn entity, from the moment of conception, is a full-fledged member of the human community.
2. It is prima facie morally wrong to kill any member of that community
3. Every successful abortion kills an unborn entity, a full-fledged member of the human community
4. Therefore, every successful abortion is prima facie morally wrong. [2]

From the moment of conception, the unborn is a human. It has human cells, a human parent, and human DNA. The embryo does not develop into a human, it is a human which undergoes development. Humans have in their nature certain potentials. The actualization of these potentials are "merely the public presentation of functions latent in every human substance from the moment it comes into being that it may lose and regain throughout its life." [3] It develops into what it is precisely because it has intrinsic potentials that are found only within human nature. Consequently, it is simply wrong to say that the unborn are not human, for they more certainly are.

Perhaps the abortion choice advocate argues that although the embryo is a human, it is not a human _person_ (a being who possesses intrinsic value). But this argument seems flawed, for how could size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency have any bearing on whether or not the unborn human is a person? A person is not a person because of how large he is, how developed he is, where he is, and what he depends on for survival. Surely we would consider a two year old to be an intrinsically valuable person when compared to an adult or teenager even though he is smaller, less developed, and more dependent on others. Moreover, it is not at all clear how a journey of a few inches through the birth canal miraculously changes a "non-valuable mass of tissue" into a valuable human person.

It makes more sense to affirm that personhood is an essential property of the unborn child. Simply because it has many unactualized potentials does not mean that it is not a human. The very fact that it has these potentials in the first place stems from the fact that is has a human nature. The fetus's never actualizing its potential to think does not disqualify it as a human any more than a bird's inability to actualize its potential to fly disqualifies it as being a bird. There is hence no good reason to think that personhood is an accidental, rather than essential property.

_____________

SOURCES

[1] - This is a modified version of my essay, found here -- http://scaeministries.org...
[2] - Francis J. Beckwith, "Defending Life" (New York: Cambridge University Press. 2007) xxii.
[3] - Francis J. Beckwith, Pulling the Plug on Bioethics, The American Conservative. http://www.amconmag.com...
TheSkeptic

Con

First, I want to thank PRO for creating this open debate; I know the progression of it will be wrought with philosophical material which makes it's oh so interesting for both of us - at least for me. Furthermore, I want to congratulate my opponent on his philosophical prowess - it's a rare sight among many theists ;).

One important observation I want to note before diving into my arguments is that the resolution refers to the moral evaluation of abortion in terms of prima facie, which in Latin means 'at first sight'. I'll take it that he is supplying an argument that shows abortion to be intuitively wrong, in which I will do the opposite.

I will demonstrate that on multiple levels that my opponent's argument is wrong, and that abortion is prima facie morally justified. I will borrow my responses from the works of Mary Anne Warren[1] and Jane English[2]. I will use Warren's psychological criteria of personhood to demonstrate a better determinant than my opponent's argument, and I will use English's arguments to demonstrate the falsehood of the second premise in his argument.

Before I begin I want to lay down a very important note: the conclusions of Warren and English on the issue of abortion will be different, with Warren accepting most cases of abortion to be permissible while English accepting only some cases to be permissible (or in other words, a significantly less amount). However, this does not endanger my argument for the purpose of using these two is to demonstrate that it is not true prima facie that abortion is morally wrong - a position that unless clarified must be meant to say that all normal instances of abortion are morally wrong.

====================
Examination of my opponent's argument against abortion
====================

My opponent makes a central claim of saying that there personhood is an essential property of a fetus, and that unactualized potentials do not have any effect on such a property. He observes that attributes such as size or degree of dependency have no bearing on personhood, and on that issue I would agree. However, what he glosses over as being important is what Warren recognizes as psychological capacities - indeed, I would argue that to become a person a fetus must have some psychological characteristics. I propose that if an entity does not have ANY of the 5 following psychological characteristics, then it can't be a person:

1. Consciousness and in particular sentience
2. Reasoning
3. Self-motivated activity
4. The capacity to communicate messages with not only an indefinite number of possible type and on content, but on indefinitely many possible topics
5. The presence of self-concepts

And prima facie, we would agree with this - is a zombie not in essence a human being? It has human cells, had human parents, and contains human DNA. However, the lack of any psychological capacities would have us deem it to be a nonperson.

On another note, my opponent's second premise is that it is prima facie morally wrong to kill any person. Jane English makes an interesting point that this is not always the case. For example, would not self-defense be a legitimate example of when killing a person is justified? However, the abortion opponent could also claim that fetus' are innocent entities, but even then prima facie it would seem that self-defense would still be legitimate.

Take the following thought experiment: say a hypnotist controlled several people who came at you with killing intent. Even though they are innocent, it would seem prima facie permissible for you to defend yourself by capacitate them with lethal force. In the same breathe, English states that it's permissible to terminate a fetus EVEN if it was determined to be a person.

---References---
See comments section.
Debate Round No. 1
Apologician

Pro

My thanks to Con for accepting this debate, hopefully some fruitful discussion can be generated!

Let me first begin by clarifying on what is meant by "prima facie," and stating a little more about my position. I did not take it to mean that it would be intuitively wrong. Instead, I meant that abortion is generally wrong. "Prima facie" means "at first glance" in Latin. When I stated that it was prima facie wrong to take a human life, all that was meant was at first appearance (Not to be confused with intuition) murder is wrong.

I want to make it clear before I respond that I do believe that there are cases where abortion is justified (Ie: the life of the mother), the same with murder (ie: self-defense). This is not a concession, I am merely stating the way in which I used prima facie in order to correct misconception's that have already arisen.

Now, regarding my opponent's five criteria, my goal is to demonstrate that these are not essential criteria for personhood. I will also argue that even if I do grant these criteria, nothing of significance arises. In fact, it harms my opponent's case more than it helps it.

Let me begin with the latter. Suppose I concede that in order to be considered a human person, the unborn must have all five criteria listed by Con. What follows? Nothing of interest, because the unborn have these characteristics. As compared to a zombie (Which my opponent uses as a comparison), the unborn have intrinsic potentials that are geared toward the actualization of all five criteria. A zombie, by contrast, has lost its humanity and has none of these potentials intrinsic to itself (They are acted on by outside forces). The characteristics listed are all had by the unborn, they have simply not been adequately developed yet. Writes Beckwith:

"The unborn's potential is intrinsic to its nature, something for which its parts act in concert to actualize... The unborn does not have a 'weak potential' for consciousness, it has a basic capacity for consciousness by nature... In contrast, the "weak potential" of a [zombie] is not an active, intrinsically directed potential it has by nature but is the sort of passive potential that all things have: a passive potential to be acted upon, shaped, and altered by extrinsic causes including agents." [1]

If my opponent retorts that these five criteria must be actualized in order for the unborn to be considered persons, then this generates numerous absurdities. For example, it would imply that some humans are more valuable than others by virtue of having actualized these potentials to a greater degree (Einstein vs. Atilla). But obviously we both know that this is absurd. Stephen Schwarz writes, "he is equally a person; he is the same person at his earlier stage of development as at the latter stages, or else it would not be his development." [2] As I have stated in my OP, one's level of development is irrelevant to his status as a human being. The cognitive traits of a two year old are less developed than a twenty-year old, but we obviously hold them to be equal in value.

Regarding the criteria for personhood, a much more robust view of human nature would be to say that personhood is not determined by what properties you have, but by what you _are_. Writes Robert Joyce, "Living beings come into existence all at once and then gradually unfold to themselves and to the world what they already, but only incipiently, _are_. [3] Similarly, Beckwith argues, "Because one can only develop certain functions by nature (i.e., as a result of basic, intrinsic capacities) because of the sort of being one _is_, a human being, at every state of her development is _never_ a potential person; she is _always_ a person with potential even if that potential is never actualized due to premature death or the result of the absence of deformity of a physical state necessary to actualize that potential." [4]

_____________
See comments for sources
TheSkeptic

Con

I thank my opponent for his response. The reason I took his use of prima facie to refer to inutiton is that it's often used in ethical intuitionism (prima facie obligations and such). He instead states that it means that in general abortion is wrong - I'm fine with this, because I will argue that abortion is morally permissible even in situations in which rape or the mother's life is not involved. However, given the latter exceptions on my opponent's part, I will drop my argument about Jane English since it would not apply (though it's no fault of mine).

====================
Response to my opponent's case - Potentiality
====================

His criticism of my criteria at the onset makes a small but important mistake - I nor Warren never states that an entity must have all 5 characteristics to be a person (though this is a distinct possibility), instead we stated that if an entity has NONE of these properties then it is surely not a person. There is a faint but critical difference.

In summary, my opponent's response is to resort to a common defense by abortion opponent's; that a fetus has the potential for certain psychological characteristics. And indeed, I would agree that on average a fetus will develop into a human person given the natural course of human development. However, to predicate your argument on potentiality is utterly absurd - there is no moral virtue in having the potential to acquire certain characteristics. To say that a fetus has the potential to be a person is another way of saying a fetus is NOT A PERSON (it only has yet to become one). Indeed, I find such a defense to be awkward and unfounded - do we prescribe children the same rights as adults because they have the potential to become one? Of course not, we know that in the present they possess certain psychological characteristics that limits their rights.

For example, take the thought experiment in which a scientist finally creates an A.I. machine. Effectively, this computer has the same cognitive abilities as a human, maybe even better. This means that the moment the scientists flips the switch, the computer will possess all the needed psychological characteristics to be a person...so is it immoral for the scientist to not flip the switch? Of course not - potentiality does not prescribe rights.

On a final note, he makes another criticism that if we are to accept this criteria, then we would then put people on a moral standard based on their psychological disposition (notably intelligence). This is a strawman; what matters is not to what degree you have actualized certain psychological traits, it's that YOU HAVE THE CAPACITY to utilize them. The mere fact that you possess them warrants you rights, as well as everyone else.

====================
Response to my opponent's case - His criteria of personhood
====================

Interestingly enough, my opponent states that "personhood is not determined by what properties you have, but by what you are." What is entertaining about this is that it's self-defeating, the essence of an entity is described BY THE SET OF PROPERTIES IT POSSESSES. What you "are" is prescribed by what characteristics/properties you have. As an essentialist, my opponent is aware of this and advocates it as well - since I am one as well, I will argue in favor of this position in this context (though I don't expect our debate to delve into that topic). If we both agree on essentialism, then it would seem obvious that such a statement is useless.

====================
Conclusion
====================

Potentiality is a weak basis to determine the personhood of an entity, it's a complete red herring that has no basis in rational argument or intuition. Likewise, to say that "personhood is not determined by what properties you have, but by what you are" is completely self-defeating.
Debate Round No. 2
Apologician

Pro

My response will be conducted out of order, since I want to dedicate as much space as possible to the points that I think warrant the most attention. First, I need to rectify some more misunderstandings that arose:

Con attacks a strawman. My argument was not that the unborn are persons because they have the potential to become persons (Which is rightly absurd), but instead they are persons by virtue of their human nature (Which happens to include the potentials for the actualization of some criteria that Con listed). It is their human nature which makes them persons, not possession of certain potentials. The purpose of my a fortiori argument was to demonstrate that even if Con's criteria was necessary for personhood, the unborn already meet the criteria by virtue of their nature endowing them with intrinsic potentials. So at the bottom line, it is not possession of certain potentials that makes one a person, rather it is the having of a human nature. Something can have those the criteria outlined and still fail to be a person. "Because one can only develop certain functions by nature (i.e., as a result of basic, intrinsic capacities) because of the sort of being one _is_, a human being, at every state of her development is _never_ a potential person; she is _always_ a person with potential even if that potential is never actualized due to premature death or the result of the absence of deformity of a physical state necessary to actualize that potential." [1]

"What is entertaining about this is that it's self-defeating, the essence of an entity is described BY THE SET OF PROPERTIES IT POSSESSES. "

By properties, I was referring to contingent/accidental properties, instead of essential properties. If there was a misunderstanding, I apologize. Something is what it is by virtue of having an essence, and not by what accidental properties it has (Such as being five feet tall). Similarly, I was stating that the unborn are persons because of their human nature and not because of certain properties they acquire throughout their lifetime.

Con also seems to neglect the difference between intrinsic rights with extrinsic rights. Of course, some rights vary in regards to location, maturity, circumstances, etc... Such as the right to vote. Other rights, however, are inherently intrinsic in the individual regardless of extrinsic factors, this would include the right to life.

Regarding Con's use of the A.I. analogy, psychological characteristics are neither necessary nor sufficient for personhood, which is not determined by one's level of cognitive functioning, but by possession of a human nature. Hence, the A.I. analogy fails on account of the machine's not having a human nature. As I stated in my OP, I am defending a view of personhood in which it is essential to human nature (Human nature entails having personhood). I am not defending a view of personhood in which individuals are persons because they have the potential for certain cognitive abilities.

Finally, Con accuses me of a strawman when I described his position as being discriminatory on the basis of cognitive abilities. First, this is not a strawman, I was offering it as an advance reply to a possible argument, hence my use of "If my opponent retorts that..." If my opponent chooses not to use it, then so be it.

Moreover, in spite of Con's assertion that "what matters is not to what degree you have actualized certain psychological traits, it's that YOU HAVE THE CAPACITY to utilize them," it is hard to see how this solves the problem. Just exactly what is meant by "capacity?" If Con means the immediate ability to exercise any of the criteria he listed, this fares no better, for "if moral respect were due only to those who possess a nearly immediately exercisable capacity for characteristically human mental functions, it would follow that six-week-old infants do not deserve full moral respect." [2]
TheSkeptic

Con

One of my criticisms of my opponent's argument is that his usage of human nature is ambiguous and he would have to clarify it - it turns out that he designates it (albeit with vagueness) it to be a biological underpinning, given his usage of the term human being.

====================
Response to my opponent's case - Potentiality
====================

Upon reviewing my opponent's argument, it can be concluded that his a fortiori argument concerning potentiality still fails. He states that the purpose of such an argument was to demonstrate that EVEN if my criteria were to be a sound classification of what constitutes a person, a fetus is a person because it posses "intrinsic potentials". However, before that he admits that an argument that shows unborn are persons because they have the persons to become persons is absurd...and yet that is what his a fortiori argument does. If you are working under Warren's framework of personhood, then to say that an entity has intrinsic potentials to become a person is the EXACT SAME THING as saying the entity in question has yet to become a person.

If he agrees that to say the unborn are persons because they have the potential to become one, then his argument here is invalid.

====================
Response to my opponent's case - His criteria of personhood
====================

Interestingly enough, my opponent has been using the term human nature since his first round as a presentation and in Warren's article I cited it goes into detail to demonstrate the ambiguity of such an argument. What does he mean by human nature? It seems that he states that it is a human being that is seen as human nature, i.e. it is a biological basis of personhood. He brings up the point about essential properties, and yet is frustratingly unclear about what essential properties a fetus has - supposedly it's biological basis of being a human being.

This then continues the discussion: why should I accept such a criteria as opposed to Warren's? He denies my example of the A.I. analogy on the basis that he believes human nature entails personhood (though he should realize that example was in defense of any potentiality argument), but still demonstrates absolutely NO rationale for why we should accept his criteria. I propose Warren's criteria is not only much more intuitively appealing, but it's sound under the reasoning that such criteria is a sound basis for a person to have their own personal identity (the synchronic problem). I believe we can find a convincing link between personal identity and personhood.

====================
Conclusion
====================

Before I conclude, I want to respond a few remarks that I don't find incredibly important to our main discussion but nonetheless deserves some attention:

"Con also seems to neglect the difference between intrinsic rights with extrinsic rights."
----> I have never heard of a distinction before, what validates such a dichotomy? You state there is a difference between the right to vote and the right to life, and yet I see no substantial difference. The right to vote is dependent on varying factors, most notably the cognitive capability of the voter. The right to life is dependent on varying factors as well, such as psychological capacities (my view) or a biological underpinning in yours.

He makes a further note about a supposed problem of capacity, and even adds the fact that this wold mean six week old infants do not deserve full moral respect under my criteria. First of all, that criticism would only work in a specific form of psychological criteria that Warren does not uphold. After all, can't an infant feel pain? Even if does validate infanticide, so what? And if he is really confused about the importance of capacity, then just take into account the act of voting. We do not give others a greater vote power based on their intellectual prowess but by their capacity to make a reasoned, mature judgment.
Debate Round No. 3
Apologician

Pro

I don't think Con has quite grasped my a fortiori argument. I stated that if these criteria were indeed indicative of what a being must have to be considered a person, then the unborn are persons by virtue of having the capacities for these criteria, even if these capacities are not fully realized. Con, in responding to this argument, argues that the capacities for these criteria are the same thing as potentials. In doing so, Con seems to presuppose that the immediate actualization of these characteristics are needed. But that is not what Con seemed to indicate in his OP, which was -- "I propose that if an entity does not have ANY of the 5 following psychological characteristics, then it can't be a person" I responded by stating that the unborn DO have these characteristics, but that they are not immediately actualizable.

=My criteria of personhood=

Con is correct in supposing that I base personhood off a biological basis (That is, human beings are persons because that is intrinsic to their very nature, a human being is essentially a person). Con additionally argues that I have provided no reason to accept this. This is not true, I argued for its being the best explanation by way of showing that Warren's view entails several absurdities. Even if Con does not buy the argument, I did provide arguments in favor of my view. But let me present another. Con argues that Warren's view of personhood is more intuitively appealing. On the contrary, my view (Which I shall refer to as Thomistic hylomorphism) is even more intuitively appealing than Con's, which turns out to commit us to an absurdity. Consider the proposition "I was once a fetus." After all, was it not you that was developing in your mother's womb? You are identical to that same fetus. Most of us would, upon reflection, immediately agree with this statement. But if Warren's view on personhood is correct, then we must deny that we were once a fetus, for they did not actualize the criteria required for personhood. Does it really make any sense to say that "I came to exist after my body?" Contrary to my opponent, this is not intuitively plausible. But if personhood is constituted by our human nature instead of our mental abilities, then it makes perfect sense as to why that proposition is true. Thus, Warren's view is not intuitively plausible.

Intrinsic rights vs. Extrinsic rights

The difference, I think, is pretty clear. Some rights are bestowed upon us only at certain times and places, they are extrinsic. For example, a Florida resident may have the right to vote in Florida, but not in South Carolina. These are legal rights, not moral rights. Moral rights, like the right to life and the right to be treated fairly, are intrinsic to all entities regardless of their time, place, or situation.

=The issue of capacity=

My opponent argues that an infant can feel pain, and hence must be counted as a person. However, medical research has demonstrated that the unborn, towards the end of the second month of pregnancy, can feel pain. [1] Thus, by this criteria the unborn must be considered persons. Con then states that "Even if does validate infanticide, so what?" I take this to be an incredible admission, for if it does, then is it not morally counterintuitive, contrary to what Con argues? If Warren's criteria validates infanticide, then I take that as a sign that it should be rejected. Con seems to simply shrug it off as it if were no problem. Moreover, what exactly is the difference between an newborn and a baby who is close to being delivered. There seems to be none, a journey of a few inches does not turn one into a valuable human person. Thus, if newborns qualify as being persons, then there is no reason to not extend this same treatment to late-term fetuses, thus making at the very least late-term/partial birth abortion immoral.

Thanks for the debate! :-)
TheSkeptic

Con

I thank my opponent for this debate; it's been quite fun. Of course, I still find both his a fortiori argument and his criteria for personhood to be deeply flawed so here we go:

====================
Potentiality
====================

Your explanation of the evolution of our response is accurate, but then your final conclusions seemingly betray your comprehension of our discussion. If we both agree that the potentiality for gaining a status (being an adult, becoming a person, etc.) does not entail you to have that status, then fetus' ARE NOT PERSONS.

You state that "the unborn DO have [Warren's psychological] characteristics, but that they are not immediately actualizable." This makes no sense. If you possess a characteristic at the present moment, then you have actualized it - in the sense that you have a capacity for it. You're conclusions are merely a play with words, and upon a simple examination is falls flat on it's face.

====================
My opponent's criteria of personhood
====================

Since my opponent refers to his position as Thomistic hylomorphism, I will refer to it as TH.

He creates a false dichotomy. He states that he argued for his position by showing it's the best explanation in comparison to Warren's view - sure, but this would only work if our views were the only one on the table. Obviously, there are many other positions that this debate hasn't examined, so to use this argument is foolish and fallacious.

Then, he fails to develop TH in which case the only sensible conclusion we can derive from his position is that to be a person, you must be a human being...which upon further thought proves to be intuitively absurd. For example, according to your criteria if an alien species were to arrive on our planet, then we would consider them to NOT be person simply in virtue of them not being Homo Sapiens. However, if aliens were to arrive on planet Earth they would likely be much more intelligent and capable in comparison to humans...and yet you would have us treat them as if they were morally below us. It's more sensible to show that humans possess an essential characteristic for personhood that can be actualized in other forms of life instead of concluding on the exclusive fact of biological makeup.

Secondly, his argument against my criteria is simply an equivocation of the word "I". The statement "I was once a fetus" can be either false or true, depending on how you conceive of "I". If you use it to refer to your physical body, then of course it would be correct (given the biology of human development). However, if you use it to refer to one's personal identity then it would incorrect to say so, given the psychological criteria.

Lastly, he has given no response to my explanation of using Warren's criteria - using psychological facts is a much more suitable answer to the problem of personal identity, thus giving it justificatory foundation.

====================
Conclusion
====================

There are two other issues of interest to discuss, so I will respond to them here:

The distinction you create between intrisic and extrinsic rights befuddles me, and I can't find any relevant source material on such a distinction. If you mean to make a distinction between legal and moral rights, then I see the merit. However, to say that moral rights are "intrinsic to all entities regardless of their time, place, or situation" smells of a deonotolgical nature to me - which itself is contentious given the scope of the norative ethical debate thus far.

Lastly, yes late term fetus' can feel pain and thus under Warren they should be attributed rights (I noted this in the beginning, so this is not a concession). However, you seem to believe that fetus' are able to feel pain even in their second month, based on a flaw test conclusion. The inspiration for such a conclusion is inadequate, it's agreed that pain occurs only in the last trimester[1][2].
Debate Round No. 4
73 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TheSkeptic 4 years ago
TheSkeptic
Reacting to stimuli =/= being consciously aware of said stimuli. To equate the two is utterly and completely ridiculous.
Posted by Demosthenes 4 years ago
Demosthenes
@ whoever said plants are unaware of their surroundings, that is utterly and completely ridiculous.

Plants visibly react to their environments, including from releasing poisons and toxins to deter predators to growing in ways meant to receive the most nutrition. By the fact that we know plants have evolved is proof enough that plants react to their environment and surroundings, otherwise they would have died out by now.
Posted by GeoLaureate8 4 years ago
GeoLaureate8
I agree wheelhouse3. Just look at all the sea life of coral reefs that look like plants, yet eat and some are even mobile.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com...
Posted by TheSkeptic 4 years ago
TheSkeptic
@Freeman: You are conceiving of consciousness in a slightly different conception, I mean concepts such as being self-aware.

@wheelhouse: True, we can't possibly know what qualia is like for others (a classic problem of philosophy of mind), but as a functionalist this poses no problem - since consciousness is fundamentally physical there is nothing barring us from making judgements on the nature of consciousness.
Posted by wheelhouse3 4 years ago
wheelhouse3
I think that you can't really know if plants are as you say "aware of their surroundings" until you actually are a plant. Science cannot do that. It cannot see through the figuative "eyes" of the plant. They can study it, but study does not always bring complete understanding.
This is just the particular way I see the world. I view all living, breathing things capable of some form of thought. It may not be like our own, but I believe that thought is there.
As for what I eat...
To answer this I have to say that I also view humans as animals. We are intelligent, yes, but animals all the same. As animals, we must feed off of other living creatures. I don't think it pleasant, but survival is a basic instinct we are all victims too. Were there a way I could survive without eating the creatures of this world, plants included, I would do it. It is impossible, though.
This is a point of view I have and seeing as point of views are forms of opinions, then believing that plants have some form of consciousness is an opinion.
Posted by MTGandP 4 years ago
MTGandP
Crap, I hit "enter" and it posted my message twice.

wheelhouse3: Whether or not plants have consciousness is not a matter of opinion. Consciousness requires a) an ability to sense what's going on in the world and b) the mental capacity to generate consciousness. Plants have very rudimentary sensory input, and do not have any sort of intelligence. So how could they possibly have consciousness?

You seem to be saying that all living beings have consciousness. What about bacteria? Do they have consciousness? What about viruses?

If plants have just as much a right to live as we do, then what do you eat?
Posted by MTGandP 4 years ago
MTGandP
wheelhouse3:
Posted by MTGandP 4 years ago
MTGandP
wheelhouse3:
Posted by Freeman 4 years ago
Freeman
I don's see what the point of listing 5 properties is. Properties 2-5 cannot be actualized without the presence of consciousness.

1. Consciousness and in particular sentience
2. Reasoning
3. Self-motivated activity
4. The capacity to communicate messages with not only an indefinite number of possible type and on content, but on indefinitely many possible topics
5. The presence of self-concepts
Posted by Apologician 4 years ago
Apologician
Wow! This certainly generated a lot of comments. From a brief skim, I do agree that I was a bit vague. Had I realized that this debate would be as complex as it is, I would have alloted more room for arguments.
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Total points awarded:70 
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Vote Placed by maggiee 3 years ago
maggiee
ApologicianTheSkepticTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Vote Placed by Brandonmaciel333 4 years ago
Brandonmaciel333
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Vote Placed by arenax3 4 years ago
arenax3
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Vote Placed by BewareItsAndrew 4 years ago
BewareItsAndrew
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Vote Placed by Thade 4 years ago
Thade
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Vote Placed by ZT 4 years ago
ZT
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Vote Placed by zdesotelle 4 years ago
zdesotelle
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Total points awarded:07