Abortion is always Morally Permissible
I have recently been having some philosophical and logical consistency issues with my Pro-Choice stance. I would therefore like to defend a Pro-Life position to help me understand that persepective, and to determine which point of view I find more compelling.
To accept this debate, you must have completed 4 debates already. To vote you must have a minimum of 3,000 ELO. Because this is such a contentious issue, I would also like to remind voters not to vote for their beliefs, but rather based on what was done technically in the debate.
Abortion is always morally permissible.
Abortion - "the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus: as induced expulsion of a human fetus." (Merriam Webster)
Always - "at all times: invariably." (Merriam Webster)
Moral - "concerning or relating to what is right and wrong in human behavior." (Merriam Webster)
Morally Permissible - “A moral system differentiates among behaviors that are morally prohibited, those that are morally permitted, those that are morally required, and those that are morally encouraged.... Permitted [means] behavior that is within the bounds of the moral system.” (Prof. Deni Elliot)
1. No forfeits
2. Any citations or foot/endnotes must be provided in the text of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final round
4. Maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No "kritiks" of the topic (e.g. challenging a core assumption of the resolution, arguing outside of the grounds provided by the topic, etc.)
6. No trolling
7. Pro accepts all definitions and waives his/her right to add definitions
8. Pro accepts the full BOP
9. Pro must post their case in Round One
10. Violation of any of these rules or of any of the R1 set-up merits a loss
R1. Pro's Constructive Case
R2. Con's Constructive Case, Pro rebuts Con's Case
R3. Con rebuts Pro's Case, Pro defends Pro's Case
R4. Con defends Con's Case, Pro rebuts Con's Case and Crystallizes
R5. Con rebuts Pro's Case and Crystallizes
...to whomever accepts. I sincerely hope that this will be a productive, informative, enlightening, and useful discussion.
Thanks for the open challenge Bsh1. *Cracks Knuckles*
Point#2 is immune to coercion-type rebuttals, since the action is still within her overall self-interest, even if the immediate act of aborting her child is not. E.g. “It is within her own self-interest to agree with her husband, who desires the abortion to be carried out”. In any case such as this, while an abortion may not be within the woman’s immediate self-interest, it will be within the woman’s long-term self-interest.
Thanks, Envisage! I will now, as per the rules, present a constructive case.
In my case, I will examine three ways to approach the topic of abortion and morality. There may be some overlap between ideas, but I intend for them to operate with a fair amount of independence; by this I mean that just one of these arguments should be sufficient to negate, and that each one is distinct enough to have to be addressed individually, vice lumped together and rebutted as a cluster. I also will take this moment to point out that even if I win none of the arguments that I am about to present, that does not mean I lose the debate. Since Pro bears 100% of the BOP, unless he can persuasively uphold the resolution, he loses. I do not need to negate; merely, I must prevent Pro from affirming. With this laid out, I'll transition into the body of my arguments.
This is, perhaps, the most common objection to abortion. I am using personhood as a term that applies to an agent or thing that has inherent moral worth; the moral worth creates a presumption against killing, because to kill is to essential obliterate the moral value of a person, creating a net negative in moral output. There are cases where this presumption can be overridden, but as long as the presumption succeeds at least once, it's sufficient for me to win. The first thing that needs to be established, then, is that humans, or, at a minimum, the average human, has personhood status. We can do this in a variety of disparate ways; the following is more of a list of possible ways to valuate humans, rather than individual arguments. Utilitarians might argue that the human capacity for pleasure and pain makes gives humans moral significance. Certainly, pleasure and pain are key factors in determining our self-interest, and so under an egoistic framework, these feelings take on moral weight. Kantians might assert that human's capacity for autonomy gives us moral worth. The difference between myself and a chair, or the difference between myself an a gold fish, is that I can make moral decisions. This capacity to make moral decisions is what makes us unique, and conveys upon us this moral worth. Sociobiologists or Darwinian Ethicists might claim that life is valuable because it helps to advance the species. Morality has arisen as a survival mechanism for humanity, and the idea of "survival in numbers" encourages placing a value on life and procreation. Finally, still others might claim that our future is what gives us moral worth (more on this later.) Whatever your justification, it is intuitively obvious that life has to have some kind of moral value, and that there ought to be a presumption against killing.
Following from that, it is not hard to make the claim that, if personhood can be applied to a fetus, abortion is wrong. This logical can be displayed more formally:
P1. Persons ought not be terminated.
It is my contention that there is no good post-implantation/fertilization criterion that exudes fetuses from personhood and so, unless Pro can proffer such a criterion, there is a moral presumption against abortion. To expound on this argument, I will refute two common criteria used to determine what is/is not a person: (1) survival outside of the womb and (2) full development. Also, just so no one accuses me of plagiarizing myself, I am arguing view here I floated in an earlier thread on DDO.
My primary concern is that this brightline is changeable, and that implies arbitrariness. Let's take a look at two identical mothers (A and B), with two identical fetuses--the only difference between them is one mother is pregnant in 2014, and another is pregnant in 2020.
Both have their babies during the 23 week of gestation. Due to insufficient technological advancement, mother A's fetus doesn't survive. Yet, six years later, the technology has grown enough that mother B's baby does survive. Under the fetal viability threshold to personhood, the first baby isn't a person, but the second baby is. It seems to unacceptably tie whether something is a person to how advanced we are technologically...and technological prowess doesn't seem like it should have anything to do with the issue.
By "full" development, I don't mean to adulthood, but rather, I mean until the fetus has developed all or almost all of the biological facets of a recognizable human. "Full" might be a confusing term for me to use here, a bit of a misnomer, but it's the best I can come up with for the time being. Looking at the pattern of fetal development, I would say sometime around week 31 a fetus has reached this stage of development.  This standard, too, is untenable because it would seem to imply that fetuses born before the 31st week and who manage to pull through are somehow not persons when they're born, still alive. Moreover, there is the infamous alien argument. If an alien, who had all the faculties that humans had, were to fly down to Earth and mingle among us while looking nothing like us, could we justifiably deny this alien personhood? The answer is no, because it seems as if there is no morally relevant difference between himself and us. Appearance is not a moral trait--and someone ought not to have personhood denied to them on the basis of how closely they resemble us.
P2. MORAL WORTH AND FLO
There are two questions I want to pursue at this juncture. First is, "what makes killing wrong," and second is, "how can the answer to the first question enlighten the debate on abortion."
The first question is perhaps one of the most vexing questions philosophers can ask. Some might suggest that killing is wrong primarily for the wrong it does to others (e.g. the family of the victim, society, etc). But, what if the victim was a hermit, or despised by his compatriots? Still others might claim that the wrong lies in the idea that killer is brutalized in the act of killing, yet, it seems that the wrong to the victim explains this transformation into savagery, not vice versa. Perhaps the most plausible of accounts of the wrong of killing is that it "imposes upon us the misfortune of a premature death."  In other words, it denies us a future. An early death is harmful because it denies us future goods. "The goods of life are whatever we get out of life...The goods of life are what make life worth living...An individual's future will be valuable to that individual if that individual will come, or would come, to value it...Thus, killing someone is wrong, in general, when it deprives her of a future like ours."  This is the FLO argument, and applies whether or not one believes a fetus to be a person or not; so long as the fetus has a potentially valuable future, it would be wrong to deny the fetus the opportunity to engage in that future. In this way, murder and abortion--while not necessarily the same under this view--are wrong for the exact same reason: the denial of a FLO.
We can look to FLO for a number of reasons. FLO seems consistent with our idea of a moral hierarchy of crimes: i.e., that killing is worse than most other crimes. Killing is the total loss of a FLO, whereas crimes like robbery and theft are harms that, while they may impact our future, do not delete our future altogether. FLO also appears to reflect a considered, logical judgement on the nature of why we believe killing to be wrong. Moreover, FLO does not seem wholly inconsistent with a morally egoistic position--certainly, to be egoistic, we must evaluate our self-interest. This oftentimes can best be done by examining what will make us better off in the future--in other words, value is placed on the future.
P3. SOCIETAL BENEFITS ARGUMENTS
Even if you buy none of the arguments I've presented so far, we can make the argument that abortion makes life for those already living worse off, and is thus unfair and unjust for them.
Discrimination and Selective Abortions
Discrimination on the basis on immutable characteristics is not only unfair, but widely regarded as immoral. A person cannot help being male or female, black or white, and so it is unfair to accord them more or less moral significance. What's more--it's harmful to society. For example, "[r]esearchers in India...for the Lancet journal said prenatal selection and selective abortion was causing the loss of 500,000 girls a year...the ratio of girls to boys in the next birth was 759 to 1,000."  This creates a dangerous imbalance in the male-to-female ratio, which can, in turn, have broader negative side effects. So, for young men already born, they could be being denied a future bride, because people currently reproducing are not producing enough women. Moreover, this will make it harder for girls, because they will be an even greater minority in India, which could only make instituting gender-biased policies easier. There is a similar risk of this happening in the U.S., but on a racial level. "In the United States, black women are 3.3 times as likely as white women to have an abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute." 
Abortions reduce the number of adoptable babies which hurt those couples who would like to adopt.
Harms to the Mother
Evidence shows that prior abortions can increase the risk of pregnancy and diminish the chance of successfully carrying to term in many mothers. Furthermore, evidence shows that abortions can result in psychological trauma for many mothers that has actually been linked to higher suicide rates.
1 - http://www.nlm.nih.gov...
2 - "An Argument that Abortion is Wrong" by Don Marquis. Found in "Morality and Moral Controversies: Readings in Moral, Social, and Political Philosophy," 8th edition, edited by John Arthur and Steven Scalet (2009)
3 - http://news.bbc.co.uk...
4 - http://abortion.procon.org...
Incoherence of Moral Realism
Thanks to Envisage. I apologize in advance for any formatting errors made due to C/Ping from word; I tried to correct them all, but I can't guarantee that there aren't any. I'll now rebut Pro's case.
Pro takes the position that an action is moral if it maximizes conscious self-interest with intent. What this essentially means is that an action is morally permissible if it is uncoerced and in accordance with what we believe to be our self-interest. In the comments section, Pro has refused to specify whether his stance is one of psychological, ethical, or rational egoism. Yet, his own source indicates that: "[e]thical egoism claims that it is necessary and sufficient for an action to be morally right that it maximize one's self-interest."  Therefore, if we use Pro's own source, we can see that he is, in fact, arguing for ethical egoism.
Furthermore, Pro never laid the groundwork for an absolutist psychologically egoistic stance in his case or in the comments, and so it seems that it is at least possible for someone to act immorally; if Pro wants to advance a hard psychologically egoistic position later, I will rebut it at that time. But, because the possibility of immoral action exists, it is still possible that someone will choose to abort their fetus in circumstances where that goes against their believed self-interest. That's all we really need to negate the resolution right now.
But, now let's talk a bit more about ethical egoism and Pro's justification for it. Pro writes: "Moral egoism holds one, unparalleled advantage over any other ethical definition, and that is its moral facts, and moral values are identical...because what 'ought' to be the case is synonymous with what 'is' the case." He goes on to justify this assertion by saying that it is (a) incoherent for someone not to value their self-interest, and (b) in other moral systems, a party may not care about the value appealed to in that system.
This is, essentially, one big is/ought fallacy.  Just because something is the case, does not mean it ought to be the case. Applied to Pro"s logic, just because we value X, doesn't mean we ought not to value Y instead. Moreover, Pro gives us no reason or justification as to why our self-interest is necessarily a moral criterion; he never explains why our self-interest necessarily is linked with morality. Without that connection, most of his moral claims are just bare assertions without sufficient warrant. Finally, one could also say that egoism gives us no means of resolving conflicts between interests, and is thus incomplete. For instance, it is equally in my self-interest to do A and to do B, but I cannot perform both A and B. Egoism gives us no way to decide between these actions, and so puts the actor in a moral limbo where they have no guidance on how to act.
But, we can also rebut Pro's idea that it is incoherent not to value one"s self-interest. Recent genetic evidence hints that humans may have a genetic predisposition to altruism [3, 4], where "altruism" refers to "'a motivational state (where)' 'actions are meant to benefit another person' 'at a cost to themselves' '(that are) voluntarily done' 'and requires a group of two, at least'."  The presence of an altruistic gene means that it is possible for humans to feel motivation--to want--to act contrary to what they believe to be their self-interest. If this is true, then egoism does not successfully marry moral facts with moral values, and falls prey to the same criticisms Pro levels at other moral theories. In fact, this holds true if we can ever decide to act, want to act, contrary to what we believe to be our self-interest, even if this want isn't genetically ingrained.
ABORTION AND SELF-INTEREST
Pro makes the assumption that his first point is immune to "coercion-type rebuttals," as it is within the woman"s self-interest to submit to whoever is coercing her. The problem here is that this really isn"t an action done with intent, i.e. done voluntarily. The whole point of coercion is that it forces you to make a decision you would otherwise not have made, by limiting your pool of options such that you see few viable courses of action. The absence of meaningful alternative negates choice, and so the woman really isn"t acting voluntarily. If Pro asserts that she is acting voluntarily, then there can be no such thing as coercion because I will always have a choice of some kind. So, in fact, it is not immune to coercion-type rebuttals.
Moreover, it is possible for someone to choose to act against their self-interest, so it is feasible that a mother chooses to abort even when she believes it will not maximize her self-interest.
Pro writes, "when we consider values, they must always be done from the perspective of beings capable of holding subjective values." By subjective values, I am going to assume that Pro is referring to subjective sensations--a rock, as Pro notes, cannot have intrinsic value in that it has no interests of its own. I disagree, however, with Pro's claim: "self-interest is necessarily predicated on being intelligent and aware." Firstly, this is just barely asserted. Secondly, we can reasonably discuss a baby's self-interest, a comatose person's self-interest, or a dog's self-interest, while simultaneously stipulating that none of the three is, in their current state, "intelligent." Why are awareness, consciousness, and intelligence necessary to have self-interest? All that I need to do is show that the fetus has some form of interest in order to show that an abortion violates that interest, and thus commits a moral wrong under Pro's own framework.
We can reasonably say that a fetus has an interest in a FLO. Pro can agree that a normal person like himself or myself has an interest in our future--that"s why we make decisions designed to improve our future quality of life. It is also part of the reason why, more often than not, we say that death is not in our self-interest; our access to our future is prematurely cut off. Even if we say that death isn"t always wrong, we can agree that it is often against our self-interest. If that is the case, we can say that a fetus has an interest in not being aborted, because it will have lost access to its FLO and that this is true for some of the same reasons I have an interest in not being murdered.
We can also justify or ground a fetus's interest in its ability to feel pain. "The majority of the scientific literature on the subject finds that the brain connections required to feel pain are not formed until at least 24 weeks."  Others argue that a fetus can feel pain at just 20 weeks.  Regardless of when this threshold arrives, it is significant that a fetus can feel pain at any point in time. Certainly much of our self-interest is rooted in our desire not to feel pain, and, hopefully, to feel pleasure. I do not touch a hot stove because I find the resultant pain a negative sensation. I do not fail to turn in assignments, because I believe an "A" will bring me happiness/pleasure. I, and most people, would describe such things as being in our self-interests. Consequently, I would argue that a fetus's ability to feel pain is sufficient to say a fetus has interests of its own, that abortion can be said to violate.
Moreover, in some countries the fetus is recognized as a person or granted certain legal rights. In these countries, it can be said that the fetus has legal interests, in that it has rights, protections, statuses, or guarantees that can be denied or affirmed.
So, when Pro writes, "it is impossible for abortion to positively or negatively fulfil [sic] [the fetus"s] self-interest," Pro is incorrect. It is possible for abortion to negatively fulfill the fetus"s interests by denying it a FLO, by causing it pain, and/or by violating its legal rights and protections.
Moreover, I would just briefly note that abortion may be against the father's self-interest or the family's self-interest, and that Pro has failed to explore these possibilities. It is wholly conceivable that an abortion may violate these agents' self-interests.
Pro writes: "we need to consider, does society influence whether or not one will have the self-interest to abort. The answer, quite clearly, is no. It is precisely because of society that the option to consensually abort a child even exists, as such society is acting within its own self-interest when it facilitates the abortion of a child."
Firstly, in my case I explain how abortion is not necessarily in the interests of society. If this is true, then, under an egoistic paradigm, a society ought not to facilitate abortions. Secondly, however, many societies have made abortion illegal, and, in so doing, they do directly "influence whether or not one will have the self-interest to abort."
Pro writes next that, "one of the core values of society is autonomy of its citizens...Abortion simply isn"t one of those actions which impinges upon the self-interests of others within society in a direct way."
Firstly, I have already explained how abortion does abridge the interests of a fetus. Secondly, not all societies place such a premium on autonomy, and instead prefer to emphasize collective or theocratic values. Abortion, if it isn"t net beneficial, may harm those collective values, and abortion is very clearly not in line with the values of many faiths.
1 - http://plato.stanford.edu...
2 - http://en.wikipedia.org...
3 - http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org...
4 - http://www.ukessays.com...
5 - http://www.motherjones.com...
6 - http://www.mccl.org...
Thanks. Over to Pro...
#1 I have just discussed. #2 is also a critically important distinction, and is an aspect of most moral philosophies (that are non-imperative). For example, natural disasters are not ‘morally wrong’ since they completely lack intentionality, even if their effects go against self interest/well-being/etc. and lesser intelligent beings such as lion kills are seen as ‘less immoral’, since they do not possess the same level of intentionality of the consequences (murder). This applies to many other moral philosophies we well (such as some util). With these two points, most of Con’s rebuttals collapse.
Her self-interest in her family’s interests will exceed her unenlightened self-interest. It’s for these reasons why somebody would not rob a shop even if it was within their immediate self-interest to make material gain, since it’s against their greater/enlightened self-interest not to be arrested, imprisoned, etc.
Quite bluntly, a foetus is not a “normal person”! When we are talking about people we are talking about “they” or “I”, but a foetus doesn’t possess that (since it’s not a conscious entity), a crucial distinction. If we hack away a person’s limbs, it does not change the fact that *they* exist, even a quadreplectic has interests. But as soon as their brain dies (and therefore their consciousness), *they* do not have values, moreover legally we don’t even treat them as such (organ donation, autopsies, etc). There simply is no *they* to talk about.
Thanks once again to Envisage on this debate. I kindly remind him that this round will be his last opportunity to post arguments as he must forgo the final round. At this time, I will discuss the BOP for this debate and defend my case.
Pro writes, "Note that BoP only means I need to give evidence that positivly [sic] demonstrates the resolution." That is partially correct. Pro must offer evidence that upholds the resolution, and this evidence must be sufficient on its own to accomplish that task, but it must also not be cancelled out by any arguments I might make. For instance, let's say Pro has argument A and I have argument B; Pro's argument fully affirms the resolution, whereas mine fully negates it. Because Pro has the BOP, in case such as that, we presume against Pro and vote Con. Therefore, Pro must not only successfully argue through evidence that is sufficient to affirm the resolution, but he must also deal with any potential arguments I present that would negate the resolution.
What is an objective moral statement? I want to explore this question though the example of Utilitarianism. A utilitarian might make the statement: "maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain are moral." They use this as their first principle to determine whether a given individual action is or is not moral. To use Pro's phraseology, the moral truth espoused by the utilitarian exists "independently of cognition, bias and opinion," even though it may be biased in its application (i.e. biased in favor of promoting pleasure.) the same could be said of Kant's philosophy, with its categorical imperative being used to make right-wrong claims that exist independently. Why, then, is moral egoism not a morally realist theory? It is axiomatic in the sense that an egoist will make the claim: "doing what is in your self-interest is moral." This is a first principle by which the morality of a given action is determined. Like Utilitarianism and Kantian Ethics, it seems to meet all of the criteria that Pro lays out as well. If this is the case, all of Pro's arguments can be turned back against him, defeating his own case.
"The debate between moral realists and anti-realists assumes, though, that there is a shared object of inquiry--in this case, a range of claims all involved are willing to recognize as moral claims--about which two questions can be raised and answered: Do these claims purport to report facts in light of which they are true or false?...Moral realists answer ‘yes’."  Moral egoism is purporting to report facts in light of which moral claims are true or false, and thus falls under the scope of moral realism, affirming Pro's self-contradiction.
Now, let's discuss Pro's syllogism. P1 is obviously true, so we'll focus on P2 and P3. Pro's argument in support of P2 is that when we make a moral statement, we can keep asking "why" ad infinitum. But, this objection seems true even for so-called objective facts. If you make the claim "1+1=2" I could continue to ask "why" for every single response you gave until it would reach the point of absurdity. Everything has to start from some basic assumption, some first principle, that we can then work back from, like egoism's first principle of maximizing self-interest, utility's first principle of maximizing pleasure, Kant's first principle of respecting human dignity, etc. The implications of Pro's argument is that nothing is objective, but that's clearly false. Very clearly "1+1+=2" even if I can ask "why" until my throat gets hoarse.
While we may have trouble identifying what the basic truth of morality is, that doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. By citing a variety of theories, I was attempting to show that from multiple possible first principles of morality, we would arrive at the same conclusion--thus, regardless of which of these first principles was right, we could still make the claims I was making. For the purposes of this round, I was establishing that murder is generally wrong. Even egoism agrees with this claim, as committing murder could find you locked up in jail, ostracized by potential allies in the community, etc. So, my case preceded on the notion, on the first principle, that murder is generally wrong.
Regarding P3, this is also not true. Pro is attempting to prove a negative here--i.e. to prove that there is no objective moral first principle. If it is at least possible that such a principle exists, even if we don't yet know what it is, P3 is undermined because, this principle is not something I want or value, "ought" statements do not connect with what I care about. I might "ought" to do something I do not care to do. This casts serious doubt on the validity of P3.
Finally, there are several advantages to moral realism that mean we should prefer that as a framework for the debate. The main one I will give here is that moral realism has the "capacity to resolve moral disagreements: If two moral beliefs contradict one another, realism says that they cannot both be right, and therefore everyone involved ought to be seeking out the right answer to resolve the disagreement." 
Pro writes: "To state that humans ‘have worth’ is to literally state that ‘Humans are worth *something*’, what is this something?" I would argue that, for the purposes of this debate, I don't have to answer than question as long as I make the claim that humans are of equal worth. If humans are of equal worth, then killing one to save another creates no net harms (it's a 1 for 1 trade.) However, killing one without saving one does create a net harm. That's sufficient to make my argument.
As for the inherency of human worth, a lot of that ties back into moral realism, so I don't see much reason to explore that too much. Instead, I want to focus on Pro's claim that worth is never inherent, but rather assigned. He explains that a dollar bill has no inherent worth of it's own. That's true insofar as the value of a dollar bill is determined--subjectively--by society. This seems to be a relativistic stance Pro is taking.
Let's take a moment to explore moral relativism: "The philosophically interesting claim at the heart of most forms of moral relativism is that moral statements are true (or false) relative to some normative standpoint, usually one characteristic of some particular culture...Cognitive relativism holds that (a) the truth value of any judgment is relative to some particular standpoint (for example, a conceptual scheme or theoretical framework); and (b) no standpoint is metaphysically privileged over all others--there is no 'God’s eye point of view' that yields the objective truth about reality. Relativists of this sort are not so impressed by the fact-value distinction. They do not view truth as a property that sentences possess in virtue of their correspondence to an independent reality. Rather, they argue that we call a sentence 'true' when it coheres with the rest of our beliefs, perceptions, values, and assumptions."  There are two impacts to this:
The key impact of this analysis is that relativism leads to an inability to make meaningful moral claims. Because there is no objective truth, and all moral values are analyzed from an individual perspective with no overarching first principle, something can be both moral or immoral. Let's say Envisage and I witness situation X transpire. Envisage thinks what occurred was moral; I think what occurred was immoral. Under a morally relativist paradigm, we're both correct. Therefore, it is impossible to make substantive claims about whether an action is or is not moral. This would lead to a Con ballot because Pro cannot affirm the "always" statement since--from some point of view--abortion will be immoral. This would also function as a kritik of the topic (something disallowed by rules) because it challenges the debate's assumption that we can make moral claims about abortion. Since the logical implications of Pro's dollar bill analysis would lead us to a relativistic conclusion, we can actually turn those arguments against him.
So, Pro is really all over the map. He argues that egoism is a moral axiom (objective), then denies objectivity (subjective). Morality is either objective, subjective, or nonexistant. Pro cannot affirm if morality doesn't exist, and his other two stances are widely contradictory. What's more is that if morality is subjective, we can turn that back against him and negate.
All of Pro's attacks on this part of my argument are simply cross-applications of his earlier remarks about realism and existentialism. Since I've already reviewed those two concepts thoroughly, I see no need, nor do I have the space, to repeat myself. I am not dropping this contention, though, because I have already addressed the core assumptions of Pro's rebuttals. As for the remark about gold fish, we can make the claim that a gold fish will never have the potential for moral decision-making, whereas a fetus will. The same is true of a baby.
It appears I need to offer a brief clarification here: I contend that murder is wrong except in self-defense, because at that point the losses in FLO cancel out (1 for 1 trade). Otherwise, the FLO argument would seem to assert that killing is wrong. To more properly construct the syllogism, we would write:
P1. Any action that leads to a net loss in FLO is wrong
This clarification, combined with my earlier statements, should sufficiently uphold P1.
Pro drops 2 of my harms to society. He cannot rebut these later, as that would be making new arguments. Extend them. Society is harmed in those ways by abortion--I'll impact this in my next speech (where it's relevant).
1 - http://plato.stanford.edu...
2 - http://en.wikipedia.org...
3 - http://www.iep.utm.edu...
Thanks, again :) Over to Pro...
IF Con defines a human as a “person”, then this becomes question begging since he has defined a person as “an agent or thing that has inherent moral worth”, it also doesn’t show all persons are of *equal* inherent moral worth, even assuming itis a coherent concept. IF Con defines “Human” as just the biological entity, then Con has a hard time demonstrating “all humans have moral worth”.
Thanks, Envisage! I will address a rules dispute, rebut Pro's case, and crystallize.
ON THE RULES
Before I launch into defending my own case, I merely want to point out that I haven't violated the rules. I think this is important for me to point out, because this is my only opportunity to defend myself against this accusation. Pro writes: "Con is breaking the rules attacking my case in R4." I have two responses: (A) pointing out how arguments interplay is not the same thing as rebutting Pro's case. Pro is expected to maintain logical consistency throughout the debate, and if there is something logically inconsistent, I should be able to point it out. (B) Pro violates the exact same rule, so things cancel out. In the last round, Pro states that, when he was rebutting my case, that he "implicitly addressed" arguments I made against Pro's case. That commits the same rule breach I am accused of.
Before I get into the other issues here, I wanted to address my altruism argument. I pointed out that genetic evidence showed that people had biological factors that made it "possible for humans to feel motivation--to want--to act contrary to what they believe to be their self-interest." Remember, Pro specifically defines egoism as "maximising...conscious self-interest with intent." Pro does not challenge the genetic basis of altruism, but instead he says that altruism and egoism are not incompatible because people can choose for forgo their myopic self-interest in favor of a long-term self interest. Yet, this doesn't address my claim that the genetic basis of altruism means we could feel compelled to act altruistically EVEN IF we consciously believe it to be against our long-term or short-term interests. So, Pro's point does not address my argument. This is going to become very important as the debate progresses--it shows that it is not incoherent to not value one's own self-interest.
Pro then accuses me of strawmanning his position. But, by failing to clarify in the comments what his position actually was, I felt that I need to address possible interpretation of his argument, including one of absolute psychological egoism, which is the belief that humans can only act in what they believe to be their own self-interest. Saying that Pro failed to lay the groundwork for such a claim is also not the same as saying Pro was advancing that claim. As for the issue of ethical egoism, I merely meant to point out that his arguments were most similar to that theory of egoism. I have throughout this debate talked about Pro's standard for egoism, vice "necessary and sufficient," so my arguments are not aimed at a strawman.
Also, Pro drops the following: if "the possibility of immoral action exists, it is still possible that someone will choose to abort their fetus in circumstances where that goes against their believed self-interest. That's all we really need to negate the resolution right now." Because he doesn't defend a hard psychological egoism, he concedes that people can act against their self-interests, and can thus act immorally. If the possibility is there, it is highly unlikely that all abortions will always be moral, and that is sufficient to negate the resolution.
Pro argues that we should prefer egoism because self-interest is linked to morality by definition; yet, nowhere in the definition of "moral" decided on in R1 does it mention self-interest. In addition, our genetic capacity to be altruistic means that we can value things other than our self-interest.
Regarding the is/ought dilemma, Pro writes: "all the problems of deriving 'ought' statements are from moral realism philosophies...which attempt to posit objective 'oughts'." But, as I noted earlier, Pro is defending a form of moral realism. He is making the claim that what is in our self-interest is what we ought to do. That asserts that objectively true moral decisions can be reached via this axiom. Hence, it is a form of moral realism, and is open to is/ought critiques. Moral egoism assumes that there is a moral fact (that obeying our self-interest is moral), and that from this fact we can then make objective decisions about morality. He even says as much when he writes: "Moral egoism holds a tremendous advantage over every other moral system because what "ought" to be the case is synonymous with what "is" the case." So, not only is his system morally realist, but this quote shows I am not strawmanning Pro's position. In R3, Pro had claimed that I was strawmanning, because he had not argued that "what 'is' the case is synonymous with what 'ought' to be the case."
Finally, the conditionals argument is not convincing, because a question such as "you ought to murder, if you enjoy murder" still makes the basic, core assumption that what is the case informs what ought to be the case--clearly, this still commits and is/ought fallacy, and moral reasoning, rather than factual reasoning, must be used to back up the claim. The altruism argument also serves to rebut these conditionals, because it confuses the link between what we desire and what we ought to do. Our genetic predisposition to altruism means that we may desire things we believe to be against our self-interest. So, I may believe X to be against my self-interest, but I value it nonetheless. Ought I to do X, according to Pro? No, despite what Pro's conditional might suggest.
Therefore, Pro's framework is not only open to is/ought critiques because it seeks to make objective is/ought claims, but my attacks were also not founded on a faulty premise. Because no moral reasoning is forthcoming from Pro as to why self-interest is necessarily a moral criterion (except a faulty appeal to definitions), he commits an is/ought fallacy is his framework that takes it out.
ABORTION AND SELF-INTEREST
Pro claims that it is implausible that someone could rationally act against there self-interests. But, he gives no justification for this except to say it is assumed in courts of law. Firstly, this is an appeal to authority. Secondly, Pro has made arguments about how it is moral to act egoistically, but he never constructed arguments as to how egoistic action was the sole rational option to participate in. The two are not the same. Pro's argument lacks a foundation. Thirdly, our genetic predisposition to altruism provides an explanation of how a rational person could come to act in an un-egoistic fashion, therefore negating Pro's argument.
Pro's argument essentially boils down to the idea that only conscious entities can have a self-interest. Consciousness has to do with awareness. But, as I said before, "we can reasonably discuss a...comatose person's self-interest." Someone who is comatose is not necessarily aware. Pro remained silent on that example, so I can only assume he doesn't disagree. We can discuss the self-interest of a comatose person because we know that this person could wake up, we realize that they have an interest in being cared for and having their affairs run well in their absence. In other words, we realize that this person has an interest in their potential future should they emerge from the state of unconsciousness in which they reside.
Firstly, "them" implies a self or individual just like "you" or "I" has that connotation, and that self has interests, and so it does not appear that consciousness is a prerequisite for self-interests. Secondly, in the instance of the comatose person, there will be an "I" if that person does awaken, and, there is definitely a "them" while they are unconscious. This future "I" allows us to rationally talk about the present entity's self-interests. For example, it is not incoherent to say, "it is in the comatose patient's interests that, in case he wakes up and regains consciousness, that he bank accounts are not robbed." Because a fetus is an individual entity and can be referred to as "them" and/or because it has a potential future, i.e. a FLO, it has self-interests. This is going to take out most of Pro's rebuttals here.
As for pain, a desire to avoid pain does not imply some kind of advanced conative ability. A stink bug recoils from pain, as does any living creature capable of feeling pain. They all have a self-interest in avoiding pain because pain is--in a word--unpleasant. If this is the case, then it would be wrong to abort a fetus that could feel pain. Insofar as any abortion anywhere has/will cause pain to a fetus, it was/would be immoral. Please note: "some countries, like Canada, China...and Vietnam have no legal limit on when an abortion can be performed." 
Pro says the law isn't topical, but they give fetus's protections, and thus interests in those protections. Pro fails to rebut this logic.
I did not argue for dictatorship, but rather collectivism. Collectivism does work for the purpose of serving our interests, in that by making a better community to live in, we're better off. There are certainly societal harms to making abortion totally permissible (underpopulation, as with the USSR , lack of adoptable kids, harms to the mother, etc.) so such a society might reasonable make abortion illegal and "directly 'influence whether or not one will have the self-interest to abort.'"
Remember, Pro bears the sole BOP. My voting issues 1 and 3 take out moral egoism, the bedrock of his case. Without moral egoism, Pro cannot affirm. Issues 2 and 4 shows how even under egoism, Pro cannot meet the "always" standard. Thus, I negate.
1. TURN: Moral Egoism is a form of Moral Realism. Pro defeats his own framework.
2. The possibility of immoral action exists, which is sufficient to negate.
3. Moral Egoism rests on an is/ought fallacy.
4. The Fetus has Interests the Violation of which would be a Wrong
Please VOTE CON! Thank you.
1 - http://en.wikipedia.org...
2 - http://en.wikipedia.org...
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|Who won the debate:||-|