The Instigator
Fkkize
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Dookieman
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Abortion

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Dookieman
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/23/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,940 times Debate No: 72183
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (60)
Votes (2)

 

Fkkize

Pro

This debate is should not be possible to accept. If you are interested post a comment.


Greetings people of DDO! I saw this topic being discussed in the forums and in some debates in the recent past, but none of them seemed satisfactory to me, so here I go trying it on my own.
As Pro I will argue that abortion is always a justifiable course of action, thus Con will argue that it is not the case that abortion is a justifiable course of action (this can mean "not in all cases" or "never"). Note that this debate will neither be concerned with legislation nor religious arguments.

Definitions:
Person: A selfconscious, being that recognizes itself as a distinct entity over time.
Human being: Any living creature that carries human genes in its cells.
Merely conscious being: A living creature that lacks the criteria for personhood, yet is able to feel certain stimuli like pain. Examples might some invertebrates.

Format:
Round 1: Opening statements
Round 2,3,4: Rebuttals
Round 5: Closing statements, no new arguments

BoP is on Pro.
Forfeiting any round will result in a loss.
Keep it civil.

Accepting without permission, breaking the rules or not keeping the format will result in an instant loss, this includes the usage of different definitions or objecting to my definitions. If you do not feel comfortable with them let me know in the comments, maybe we can work something out.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Opening Statement

From looking at the definitions one might correctly conclude that "person" and "human being" are not identical, which implies that there are humans which are not persons and persons that are not human.
If we consider a person we know from experience that a person has preferences, feels pain, feels happiness and so on. We all have a strong preference to not feel pain and to continue living, hence violating those preferences has to be outweighed by something else. Killing a person violates a multitude of preferences such as the preference to continue living and makes void all of the persons endeavors.
To be regarded as a person one needs to be capable of the criteria listed above, thus an embryo is not to be considered as a person. To be capable of pain one needs to poses a neuronal basis which is formed about half way through pregnancy (18-25 weeks)(1), until then the synapses of the embryo are not connected. This means that there is no such thing as hurting or killing an embryo (up to this age), at least not in the sense as in hurting or killing a person. The pain inflicted by an abortion at this stage is equal to the same amount of pain one inflicts on the skin cells she looses whilst washing hands - none.
An older embryo however might pass as a merely conscious being, a being, while able to feel pain, has no self awareness, does not see itself as a distinct entity over time and has no (since it cannot have) interest in continuing to live. This means that even then abortion is justifiable under the condition that the life of the fetus is ended painlessly.



I am looking forward to a worthwhile debate.





(1)http://informahealthcare.com...
Dookieman

Con

Thank you for your opening statements, Pro. I look forward to our discussion.

Definitions

Abortion:
a medical procedure used to end a pregnancy and cause the death of the fetus. [1]

Morally Permissible:
“To say that an action of mine is morally permissible is to say that no one has a valid claim against my doing it, that doing it violates nobody's moral rights." [2]

In utero:
in the uterus : before birth [3]

Introduction

Before I begin, I should note that I'm Pro-abortion. Meaning that I think abortion is morally permissible. However, for the fun of it, I will be playing devil's advocate in this debate. Today I will be defending two contentions. The first is that abortion is generally morally wrong. The second is that Pro's justifications for abortion are not satisfactory and should therefore be rejected. As Pro pointed out this is a debate on the morality of abortion, not a legal or religious one. Pro also stated in the format of the debate that the burden of proof is on him. So if I can prevent him from doing this he will lose. However, I am still going to be putting forth my own arguments against abortion. With that said, let me begin

The Traditional Pro-Life Argument
P1) It is morally wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings.
P2) The fetus is an innocent human being.
P3) Abortion intentionally kills the fetus.
C) Abortion is morally wrong.

Defense of Premise 1
This premise seems pretty obvious and I don't think many would disagree with it. For that reason, this premise doesn't need that much of a defense.

Defense of Premise 2
This claim is simply a matter of biology and it can be shown to be true. To quote the embryology text book Human Embryology & Teratology:

"Although human life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed...." [4]

The distinguished bioethicist and moral philosopher Peter Singer also agrees that fetuses are human beings. In his book Practical Ethics he says:

"It is possible to give 'human being' a precise meaning. We can use it as equivalent to 'member of the species Homo sapiens' ... In this sense there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being." [5]

Defense of Premise 3
Given the definition of abortion I gave above, this premise is also true.

Since each premise I have defended is correct, the conclusion that abortion is morally wrong follows.

The Future-Like-Ours Argument
Here I will be using Don Marquis' future-like-ours argument to defend the anti-abortion position. His argument can be put forth as follows:

P1) Intentionally killing an innocent being with a future-like-ours (FLO) is morally wrong.
P2) A human being in utero is an innocent being with FLO.
P3) Abortion intentionally kills the human being in utero.
C) Abortion is morally wrong.

Defense of Premise 1
I believe this view gives us a good reason for why we believe killing other human beings is morally wrong. When you watch the news and hear family members of a murder victim talk about their deceased relative they often say, "he had his whole life ahead of him" or "now she will never be able to walk down the aisle." The point here is that killing deprives us of a valuable future that we would have experienced had our lives not been cut short. This is why we view killing a normally functioning human being without their consent to be one of the worse if not the worse crime somebody can do.

Defense of Premise 2

David Boonin, a Pro-Choice philosopher from the University of Colorado Boulder, writes of premise two:

"The future-like-ours argument appeals to an actual property that the fetus already has, the property of having a valuable personal future. This is an actual property it shares with us, not a potential it has to acquire which we already actually possess." [6]

So, a human fetus does have a FLO.

Defense of Premise 3
Given the definition of abortion I gave above, this premise is also true.

Since each premise I have defended is correct, the conclusion that abortion is morally wrong follows.

It’s important to note that Marquis only argues that the FLO argument is a sufficient condition for the wrongness of killing, not a necessary condition. Marquis admits that some people may not have a FLO, but that it may still be wrong to kill them for other reasons.

The Substance View
This argument comes from the philosopher Patrick Lee and claims that what makes human beings bearers of rights is not a property they obtain over time, but rather is an intrinsic property they have as rational animals. According to the substance view, even if a human person cannot immediately exercise person-like attributes (such as rational thought) because they are disabled or too young to exercise them, they are still persons because they are the same kind of intrinsically valuable being throughout their entire existence. [7] This argument can be put forth as follows:

P1) It is morally wrong to intentionally kill an innocent adult human being because they are members of an intrinsically valuable kind of being.

P2) Human beings in utero are members of an intrinsically valuable kind of being.

C1) Therefore, it is morally wrong to intentionally kill human beings in utero.

P3) Abortion intentionally kills human beings in utero.

C2) Abortion is morally wrong.

The Constitutive Property Argument
This argument comes from the philosopher Christopher Kaczor and is formulated as follows:

P1) If an individual being has a constitutive property at one point in time, then it has that property at every in its existence.

P2) You are the same individual living being or organism as the fetus from which you developed.

P3) You are a human person constitutively.

C) The zygote from which you developed was a human person.

Conclusion
In my opening statements I have given various arguments for thinking that abortion is generally morally wrong. In the next round I will respond to the arguments made by my opponent and show that there are many difficulties with the view he defends.

Sources:
(1) http://www.merriam-webster.com...;
(2) https://ndpr.nd.edu...;
(3) http://www.merriam-webster.com...;
(4) Human Embryology & Teratology, 3rd Edition P8.
(5) Peter Singer. Practical Ethics P127
(6) http://bama.ua.edu...;
(7) David Boonin. A Defense of Abortion. (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2003) P62.
(8) Patrick Lee and Robert George, “The Nature and Basis of Human Dignity."
(9) Christopher Kaczor. The Ethics of Abortion: Women's Rights, Human Life, and the Question of Justice (Routledge Annals of Bioethics) P105.
Debate Round No. 1
Fkkize

Pro

First of all I would like to thank Dookieman for accepting my challenge and putting forward some thought provoking arguments.

The Traditional Pro-Life Argument


P1) It is morally wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings.
P2) The fetus is an innocent human being.
P3) Abortion intentionally kills the fetus.
C) Abortion is morally wrong.


Premise 1
I disagree with this premise, of all premises in this argument this one needs the most justification. For ending a life to be immoral it must violate the organisms preference to stay alive, it is not simply because something consist of living cells or carries the human genome with it. I outlined in my opening statement that fetuses do not poses the capacity to feel pain or have any kind of preference, hence any "harm" done to them is not really harm at all. For this reason the argument fails.


Premise 2


The second premise is undoubtedly correct, but supporting it with a Singer quote is first of all unnecessary since my definition of human being ("Any living creature that carries human genes in its cells. ") already includes fetuses and secondly it might give the reader the misleading impression that a significant bioethicist like Singer is an opponent of abortion and thinks that this is a justification for the pro-life position. In fact Singers position is quite similar to mine in that we would both accept this premise to be true but make an important distinction between "human being" and "person", as explicated in my opening statement.

In Practical Ethics Singer says in the subsequent paragraph:

"There is another use for the term 'human', one proposed by Joseph Fletcher, a major figure in the development of bioethics. Fletcher compiled a list of what he called 'Indicators of Humanhood' that includes the following: self-awareness, self-control, a sense of the future, a sense of the past, the capacity to relate to others, concern for others, communication and curiosity"(1)


The argument fails for it equivocates what we, reading this, experience as the "life of a human being" and the life of a human being in the pure biological sense of "a great number of living cells that carry human genes with them".





The Future-Like-Ours Argument

P1) Intentionally killing an innocent being with a future-like-ours (FLO) is morally wrong.
P2) A human being in utero is an innocent being with FLO.
P3) Abortion intentionally kills the human being in utero.
C) Abortion is morally wrong.


Premise 1


In his defence of this premise my opponent equivocates two things, firstly the abstract property of a human being in utero to experience a future life and secondly the actual preferences of living persons to have a future life.

I can only quote David Boonin myself:
"
To say that an action of mine is morally permissible is to say that no one has a valid claim against my doing it, that doing it violates nobody's moral rights"(2)

Killing us certainly deprives us of our future, but this is only bad since we can want to live on. A fetus cannot.



Premise 2

If we are to say that a fetus has a FLO then we can surely say that it is an actual property of the fetus, but it is not a property we share with it, to illustrate this consider the following:


A fetus has a future-like-ours.

It will mature until it has capacities similar to that of average adults.


We have a future-like-ours.

We (the average human adults) will mature until we have capacities similar to that of average adults.

It should be pretty clear why this might be a property of fetuses but not of beings who already reached that "future". Hence the argument does not show that a fetus shares a property with us such that ending its life is immoral.





The Substance View

P1) It is morally wrong to intentionally kill an innocent adult human being because they are members of an intrinsically valuable kind of being.

P2) Human beings in utero are members of an intrinsically valuable kind of being.

C1) Therefore, it is morally wrong to intentionally kill human beings in utero.

P3) Abortion intentionally kills human beings in utero.

C2) Abortion is morally wrong.

If someone is to propose that adult humans and human beings in utero are a intrinsically valuable kind of being, then one needs to show what this intrinsic value consist of, which was not done by my opponent.

What is it that makes an adult intrinsically valuable?

Is it the preference to continue living? I guess one could speak of that as an intrinsic value.

What is it that makes a human being in utero intrinsically valuable?
Is there a similar preference such that we could speak of parallels between ending the life of an adult and ending the life of a fetus? No there is not. Value is attributed by the parents and others close to the fetus but that is
extrinsic value not intrinsic value.



The Constitutive Property Argument

P1) If an individual being has a constitutive property at one point in time, then it has that property at every in its existence.

P2) You are the same individual living being or organism as the fetus from which you developed.

P3) You are a human person constitutively.

C) The zygote from which you developed was a human person.


My opponent gives no actual defence for any of the premises, especially premise two needs justification, since I cannot point at any property of myself that was present when I was only a zygote. Furthermore premise three needs a solid definition of personhood.



Conclusion


In this first rebuttal I have refuted all of the arguments put forward by my opponent. In my second rebuttal I will defend my opening statement and the objections to Cons arguments I gave above.










(1)Peter Singer, Practical Ethics P73 (Third Edition, Cambridge University Press)


(2) David Boonin, A Defense of Abortion P5


Dookieman

Con

Thank you Pro for presenting your objections to my arguments.

Introduction
I'm not going to be responding to the various objections that were put forth to the arguments I advanced last round. I will leave that for the next round. Instead I will be responding to my opponent's opening statements. With that said, let me begin.

The Desire View of Personhood

My opponent's defense of abortion is essentially the same as Peter Singer and Michael Tooley. Under this view, what makes killing individuals like you or me wrong is that it frustrates our desire to continue living. One can have a desire to continue living if they have the concept of oneself as a continuing subject of experience. In other words, one must possess self-awareness. This defense of abortion also entails that infanticide is morally permissible. To quote Singer:

"If the fetus does not have the same claim to life as a person, it appears that the newborn baby does not either, and the life of a newborn baby is of less value to it than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee is to the nonhuman animal." [1]

For those unfamiliar with the philosophical literature on abortion, this view may sound very shocking and seem extremely counterintuitive. Most people who are Pro-Choice will think that it's morally permissible to kill the fetus but not the newborn. On this defense of abortion provided by Tooley and Singer, abortion is morally permissible throughout all 9 months of pregnancy and infanticide up until a week after birth (Tooley) or a month (Singer). I believe there are good reasons to reject this argument exploited by my opponent, and below I have provided 6 objections to it.

The Suicidal Teenager Objection
So if we take the view that killing is wrong because it frustrates our desire to continue living, then we are committed to the view that it's not morally wrong to kill a suicidal teenager. Such a human being does not desire to preserve his life, and thus we have no moral obligation to refrain from killing him. But surely this doesn't seem right. Just because someone doesn't desire that their life continue mean it's okay to end their life. Imagine you heard about this suicidal teenager and had just finished reading Tooley and Singer's account of the wrongness of killing. You then decide to go kill this young man and you say to yourself "well, what I did was not wrong since he didn't desire to live." However, clearly you did something seriously wrong by killing him. You deprived him of his future of value and took advantage of him while he was vulnerable.

The Religious Martyr Objection
The desire view of the wrongness of killing also would not explain why it would be wrong to kill a religious martyr. That is a person who believes they will go to paradise if they end their own life or someone kills them. Surely most of us would think that such a person is delusional and it would be seriously wrong to end their life. But under the desire view, it's not explained why killing this human being would be wrong.

The Temporarily Comatose Adult Objection
Adults in a temporary coma also don't desire to continuing living. They are completely unconscious and thus lack this important desire.

The Indoctrinated Slave Objection
Suppose that I am a slave owner and that I indoctrinate my slaves from birth and make them believe that they have no desire or interest in continuing to live. Even though they lack the desire to live and take no interest in their own welfare, it still seems wrong to kill these humans beings even though they don't fit into Tooley and Singer's standard for being wronged by certain things.

The Creation of Brainless Human Beings Objection

Imagine that I am a mad scientist and I find the part of the brain that is responsible for desire in human beings. Now suppose that a pregnant woman allows me to alter the brain of her fetus while it's in the early stages of its development. The alter will be such that when this human being is finally born it will have no desires at all. It will grow into an adult and become my slave along with all the other human beings that I altered to have no desires while they were in utero. Suppose further that I performed this same kind of procedure on female fetuses and when they were born and grew into adults I turned them into sex dolls. However, after doing all of these things I'm quite confident that I have done nothing wrong. This is because I have not frustrated any desires and thus, according to my opponent's line of argument, not violated them. But surely what I have been doing is morally wrong. I deprived these human beings of their future of value and failed to respect them.

The Buddhist Master and Divine Persons Objection

Humans beings who follow Buddhism believe that the extinguishing of all desire is possible. If a Buddhist ever reached the point of perfection, he would lose all his desires and thus no longer have a right to life under Pro's line of argument. The same would be true of divine persons who, if they existed, would lack all desires. Since desires are viewed as a lack of perfection and weakness. But surely if these beings actually existed, they would be worthy of respect and consideration. In fact, these beings would probably be worthy of more respect than average human beings. Since they would possess qualities that are vastly superior to our’s.

Conclusion
Pro's desire or preference view of the wrongness of killing suffers from many difficulties and his defense of abortion should therefore be rejected.

Sources:

(1)Peter Singer. Practical Ethics P160-161
(2) Christopher Kaczor. The Ethics of Abortion: Women's Rights, Human Life, and the Question of Justice (Routledge Annals of Bioethics) P59
Debate Round No. 2
Fkkize

Pro

Introduction

In this rebuttal I will do two things, first I will respond to the objections to preference utilitarianism and secondly I will show why they are misguided in the first place. A last note on the objections: due to their similarity my responses will be quite similar as well.


The Desire View of Personhood


Yes, the ethics I propose contains infanticide as logical consequence. It is true that postnatal abortions might seem rather counterintuitive, but I do not think one can reasonably argue against it. Ann Furedi expressed this quite acurately:
"There is nothing magical about passing through the birth canal that transforms the fetus into a person" (1)


More on the topic of counterintuitivity in the end.


The Suicidal Teenager Objection
Suicide prevention is certainly a difficult issue, not only for utilitarians but for everyone else, too. One cannot give an universal answer to this, since every individual case is different.


Suicidal teenagers and people with mental health disorders, generally do not actualy want to die, they feel like there is no hope left and life will never get any better, but they wish it would. They do not have a desire to die, they have a desire to get helped. At least that is my personal experience with teenagers, job related or not.



But let us say that we go forth and kill the teenager, what would be the consequences? Quite obviously the parents and other relatives would grieve horribly. This can lead to family breakups, depression, more suicidal people as a result of their loss and frankly other suicidal teenagers would feel even worse, since people do not actualy care for their betterment.
It is really hard to tell whether someone has a genuine desire to die or is calling out for help. In reality ordinary people cannot know that, since it requires profound psychological investigation. For these reasons alone one should under realistic conditions refrain from killing the teenager.


The Religious Martyr Objection
Reigious martyrs are quite obviously delusional and are more often than not accompanied. If we think about religious martyrdom most people do not think about silent deaths in the middle of nowhere, no, they think of people who are pursueing some kind of goal, be it the violent deaths of unbelivers or the killing of abortion doctors. The imanent consequences aside, martyrdom has allways inspired followers, leading to more martyrs. Frankly those acts have detrimental effects on our society and it should be out of question why we should not allow give them what they want.


If they think they will go to paradise no matter their "achievements" then there is probably not much you can do anyway. In case someone decides to do that then she would not tell anyone anyway, under realistic circumstances you do not know whether or not someone is trying to become a martyr.





The Temporarily Comatose Adult Objection
If a coma is only temporary, i.e., one still poseses the capability to regain consciousness, then one cannot easily say that the person in question lacks all desires, in fact some coma patients are aware of their surroundings, even some who are diagnosed with a vegetative coma(3). In case the patient is expected to wake up rather quickly (as indicated by the term "temporarily") then killing them still makes void all of their endeavors and should not be done.


That aside, lets evaluate the consequences: what do you gain from killing someone without desires? Even if one has an inexplicable joy in killing then she gets momentary satifaction that is outweighed by the grieve of relatives.


What if we would live in a society in which killing coma patients gets common? Hospitals would stop inducing comas to save their patients or if doctors do it anyway, people would not go to the hospital anymore.
By now it should be quite obvious why the killing of coma patients is obstructive in achieving the "greatest happiness of the greatest number", as the famous (though slightly inacurate) quote goes.




The Indoctrinated Slave Objection

Indoctrination is never without bad consequences. Until a slave owner gets to the point described in this objection, serious harm has to be done.





The Creation of Brainless Human Beings Objection
"For psychologists, desires arise from bodily structures and functions (e.g., the stomach needing food and the blood needing oxygen).
[...]


A 2008 study entitled "The Neural Correlates of Desire" showed that the human brain categorizes any stimulus according to its desirability by activating three different brain areas: the superior Orbitofrontal cortex, the mid-cingulate cortex and the Anterior cingulate cortex. "(4)

Riding a person of all desires requires modification of the three above mentioned brain areas:


Orbitofrontal cortex: Consequences of damage in this area "include swearing excessively, hypersexuality, poor social interaction [...] and poor empathising ability."(5)

Mid-cingulate cortex: "is involved with emotion formation and processing, learning, and memory."(6)


Anterior cingulate cortex: plays “a role in a wide variety of autonomic functions, such as regulating blood pressure and heart rate.”(7)


Whether or not one can modify these areas and still maintain a “functioning human” is pure speculation since alteration in these parts might just result in death. It is a topic on which neither I nor my opponent can make any sensible statement.




The Buddhist Master and Divine Persons Objection

Humans beings who follow Buddhism believe that the extinguishing of all desire is possible. If a Buddhist ever reached the point of perfection, he would lose all his desires and thus no longer have a right to life under Pro's line of argument.


Buddhism

"Everyone fears punishment; everyone fears death, just as you do. Therefore do not kill or cause to kill. Everyone fears punishment; everyone loves life, as you do. Therefore do not kill or cause to kill" (8)


Buddha "asks us to make a difference between what we need and what we want and to strive for our needs and modify our wants. He tells us that our needs can be fulfilled but that our wants are endless - a bottomless pit. There are needs that are essential, fundamental and that can be obtained and this we should work towards."(9)

First of all, I am not an expert in Buddhist teachings, but it seems to me that they do value live to some extent and even if we consider only the enlightened ones, it would still not be permissable for quite similar reasons as for the other responses: What does one gain from killing this person? Suppose the murderer is taking pleasure in killing. His momentary bliss is again outweighed by the terror it induces in non-enlightened Buddhists who start to fear the consequences of their religion.


Divine Persons


"if they existed"
I can argue whether or not killing unicorns is permissable, but even if an ethics has horrendous implications for imaginary beings, it should be of no concern to us (I am not imlying that my ethics is hostile to unicorns).
Furthermore I think immortality could be considered as a perfection, too, making this part of the objection futile.


Moral Intuitions


The single most common critizism of utilitarianism is that "it seems wrong to do that" or in other words: it is against my moral intuition, therefore it can't be right. This is what most critizism boils down to, including the examples given by my opponent and it is why they miss their goal. Unfortunately gut feelings are on some level contrary to basically all ethical theories including kantianism, utilitarianism, divine comand theory and virtue ethics. Moral intuitions do not confirm or dismiss any of them, they are a result of our evolutionary origin and are prescriptive, not normative. They match with those acts which would grant the best survival chances in an pre-globalized era and are more often than not contradictory and inconsistent. When it comes to reaching an ideal state of affairs (like the utlilitarian normative ideal) they are not helpfull.
This explains why most people would save a drowning child if it is at no significant cost to themselvs, yet watch with more or less indifference as 1600 people die a preventable death from malaria on a daily basis(9), most of which are children. Of course people do not like that fact and of course nobody denies that in an ideal world this would not be the case, but do they feel even close as obliged to help as they feel towards the drownign child? In this case utilitariansim actually appeals to our intuitions and even demands that we help (to some extent). Hence a lot of utilitarians are also so called 'effective altruists', Peter Singer for example gives approximately 30% of his income to charity (10).


With the ability to reason comes the ability to overthrow our evolutionary bonds which will in fact be necessary to achieve a better world.



Conclusion


Basically all objections are shortsighted and ignore the long term effects. Furthermore I would have responded in more detail, but I am out of characters. In the next und I will defend my responses to Con's generall objections to abortion.







(1)http://pop.org...


(2)http://www.livescience.com...


(3)http://en.wikipedia.org...


(4)http://en.wikipedia.org...


(5)http://en.wikipedia.org...


(6)http://en.wikipedia.org...


(7)Dhammapada, Chapter 10


(8)http://www.buddhanet.net...


(9)http://www.who.int...


(10)"How to live an Ethical Life", Big Think

Dookieman

Con

Thank you Pro for responding to my objections to your arguments.

Introduction
I will now respond to the various objections that Pro raised to my arguments. With that said, let me begin.

The Traditional Pro-Life Argument
The Future-Like-Ours Argument
Pro says that it's true that killing us deprives us of our future but that this is only bad because we can want to go on living. The fetus, on the other hand, clearly is not able to do this. However, as I already showed in my objections to his argument, this view of the wrongness of killing has many difficulties and thus is an unsatisfactory answer to why ending life is wrong. For that reason, this is not a good objection to the FLO argument.

Pro objects to premise 2 claiming that what separates adult human beings from the fetus is that we have already reached our future-like-ours whereas the fetus has not. However, I think this is a misunderstanding of the argument, partly due to my fault. The FLO argument claims that what makes killing certain beings wrong, is that it deprives them of a valuable future. This is why Marquis sometimes refers to this argument as a future of value. Adult human beings have not reached their future of value so to speak, rather they continue to have a future that could be valuable to them. Thus, killing adult humans is considered a wrong doing. In the same way, killing the fetus is wrong because it deprives that human being of its future of value. So Pro's claim that the fetus has not reached his future-like-ours is a misunderstanding of the argument because future-like-ours simply means a future of value. Again, this misunderstanding is my fault.

The Substance View
Pro asked what makes adult human beings and human beings in utero intrinsically valuable. I maintain that what makes them valuable is the fact that they have a rational nature. It's true that not all human beings possess the immediate exercisable capacity to act rational, but nevertheless they are still the same kind of being who can, in certain circumstances, perform actions specifically defined as rational. An adult human being in a temporary coma may not have the immediate exercisable capacity to act rational, but it would still be wrong to kill him because he has a rational nature. And the same would be true of the human being in utero.

The Constitutive Property Argument
Pro says that I provided no defense of the premises of this argument and that premise 2 especially needs justification since there are no properties he has now that were present when he was a fetus. I also did not provide a definition of personhood of premise 3. I will now defend these premises and respond to Pro's objection to premise 3.

Defense of Premise 1
If you remember correctly, P1 says:

"If an individual being has a constitutive property at one point in time, then it has that property at every in its existence."

This premise is true by definition, since what a being has constitutively must always be a characteristic of that being, otherwise it is not a constitutive characteristic but an accidental one. [2]

Defense of Premise 2
Pro misunderstands this premise. He said:

"I cannot point at any property of myself that was present when I was only a zygote."

But premise 2 doesn't even mention the word property in it. The premise says:

"You are the same individual living being or organism as the fetus from which you developed."

And this is clearly true. We were all once a fetus that later developed and was born. So premise 2 should be accepted.

Defense of Premise 3
As far as the definition of personhood, I would like to use the concept of a person offered by the philosopher Boethius. Under this view, a being is a person if they are an individual substance with a rational nature. This concept of a person is the same as The Substance View in that it focuses on having a rational nature as the basis of being a person. This idea of a person would not just apply to human beings but also to other beings as well. For example, there might exist intelligent aliens that have a rational nature. Under this view of a person, they would be entitled to the same basic rights that human beings have. So if we define person in this way, then premise 3 is true. Since what is by nature is constitutively a feature of the being in question.

Conclusion
Pro raises a number of reasonable objections to my arguments, but ultimately they are unsuccessful.

Source:

(1) Christopher Kaczor. The Ethics of Abortion: Women's Rights, Human Life, and the Question of Justice (Routledge Annals of Bioethics) P102
Debate Round No. 3
Fkkize

Pro

Introduction
In this rebuttal I will defend my objections to my opponents arguments.



The Traditional Pro-Life Argument
Con mixed this headline with the next one which probably resulted in missing out the defence. My opponent will probably add his response in the subsequent round.



The Future-Like-Ours Argument

P1) Intentionally killing an innocent being with a future-like-ours (FLO) is morally wrong.
P2) A human being in utero is an innocent being with FLO.
P3) Abortion intentionally kills the human being in utero.
C) Abortion is morally wrong.


Premise 1
Con defends this premise with his objections from the last round. However it is worth mentioning that they were not actual objections to my ethics, but rather objections to supposed implications of my ethics which is something completely different.
If one is to criticize preference utilitarianism (PU) he cannot do it by objecting to the implications, but rather to the foundations. Even if it was true that PU commits us to all the things my opponent mentioned in the preceding round -which is not the case, as I have shown- then he has only described a disagreement between some intuitions and PU. In case one cannot object to the basic principles of PU, he also cannot give reason to reject PU or in other words, if there is nothing wrong with the basic principles, then there is nothing with the implications. If anything this shows that we should reject intuitions since they do not lead to a perfect state of affairs. All that these "objections" now express is something along the lines of "I don't like abortion", but at this point they are not objections to an ethical theory anymore.
In the end I debilitated the objections my opponent refers to in the last round, leaving even less reason to accept this defence. Hence the argument still fails.

Premise 2
Firstly, I thank my opponent for clearing up any misunderstandings concerning this argument.
Secondly I will rise a different objections instead: Peter Singers' The totipotent Cell Objection (1), put in premise-conclusion form by me.

P1. A fertilized ovum has a FLO.
P2. If one single cell that can develop into a person (fertilized ovum) has a FLO, any single cell that can develop into a person has a FLO.
P3. Denying such a cell a FLO is immoral.
P4. Abortion denies FLO's
C1. Abortion is immoral.
P5. A fetus consist at some point of totipotent cells (TC).
P6. All TC's can develop into persons if separated.
C2. All TC's have a FLO.
C3. Not separating TC's is denying them a FLO.
C4. Not separating TC's is immoral.

This shows why accepting Marquis' argument commits us to the view that not extracting every embryo to split it up and implant each cell into a new womb is immoral. Why this is an absurdity should not be hard to recognize.



The Substance View

P1) It is morally wrong to intentionally kill an innocent adult human being because they are members of an intrinsically valuable kind of being.
P2) Human beings in utero are members of an intrinsically valuable kind of being.
C1) Therefore, it is morally wrong to intentionally kill human beings in utero.
P3) Abortion intentionally kills human beings in utero.
C2) Abortion is morally wrong.


My opponent insists that a fetus is a being of rational nature, which he did not mention in his original defence:
"
that what makes human beings bearers of rights is [...] an intrinsic property they have as rational animals."
Claiming that humans as rational animals posses a valuable property is not the same as claiming that their rational nature is valuable.

He goes on and says:
"According to the substance view, even if a human person cannot immediately exercise person-like attributes (such as rational thought) because they are disabled or too young to exercise them, they are still persons because they are the same kind of intrinsically valuable being throughout their entire existence."

And he mentions this in his latter defence:
"not all human beings possess the immediate exercisable capacity [...]"

This means that rationality is not something a fetus actually possess, but rather something that it has the potential to posses, I agree, but now we can ask ourselves whether he potential to do something is in any way equal to actually being able to do/be something.

Does a potential surgeon have the right to perform surgery?
Does a potential pilot have the right to fly a passenger plane?

The answer is in any case "No".



The Constitutive Property Argument

P1) If an individual being has a constitutive property at one point in time, then it has that property at every in its existence.
P2) You are the same individual living being or organism as the fetus from which you developed.
P3) You are a human person constitutively.
C) The zygote from which you developed was a human person.


Con points out that I misunderstood premise 2, hence I will explain my reasoning:
Recall that a constitutive property is a property a being has at every point in its existence. To claim that I am
"a human person constitutively." is to claim that personhood is constitutive. But personhood was not defined by my opponent. It certainly does not refer to the definition I gave in the beginning (we agreed in chat that using a different definition is fine).
I can grant that a zygote is a human person (if I don't insist on my definition), but then reject that killing a someone on the grounds of being a person is wrong. That is the crux of all forms of utilitarianism; something is not valuable just because of some philosophical construct like personhood.
Now I can quite simply alter my opening statement to fit this definition of person and remove the distinction between "human being" and "person". Instead I can replace these terms with "human person" and "individual that is able to have preferences".
In this case the argument neither refutes nor supports the pro-choice position.

Premise 3
My opponent here defines a person again as a being with rational nature. I presented the problems of this definition in my objections to the substance view argument.
Moreover this definition is not as progressive as Con portrays it to be, since intelligent beings from outer space would be valuable even for late 18th century utilitarians.



Conclusion
I have conclusively refuted all pro-life arguments put forward by my opponent and await his following rebuttal.





(1)Peter Singer, Practical Ethics P143
Dookieman

Con

Thank you Pro for putting forth more objections to my arguments.

Introduction
I will now raise more objections to my opponent's arguments. With that said, let me begin.

The Desire View of Personhood

Pro agrees with me that his defense of abortion entails that infanticide is morally permissible as well. Despite this being contrary to most people's moral intuitions, he is unwilling to abandon his arguments. If you remember correctly, Pro's view is that in order to be wronged by death, an individual has to have a desire to continue living. One can have a desire to continue living if they have the concept of oneself as a continuing subject of experience. In other words, one must possess self-awareness. However, if this is the criterion for having a right to life, one wonders if two or three year olds meet this standard. I don't think this is an unreasonable question to ask. Indeed, in Practical Ethics Peter Singer seems to think this is a possibility. He says:

"It would, of course, be difficult to say at what age children begin to see themselves as distinct entities existing over time. Even when we talk with two and three year old children it is usually very difficult to elicit any coherent conception of death, or of the possibility that someone - let alone the child herself - might cease to exist. No doubt children vary greatly in the age at which they begin to understand these matters, as they do in most things." [1]

So there does seem to be a possibility that two or three year olds don't desire to continue living because they lack the concept of themselves as distinct entities existing over time. And that means that if one accepts the moral permissibility of infanticide, they should also (at least be open to the possibility) that two or three years can be killed too. I know Peter Singer has never actually advocated for the moral permissibility of killing two or three year olds, and that when it comes to ending life he thinks it should be done as early as possible. But this seems arbitrary. Why should it be done early? If certain beings really don't have the concept of themselves, it's not exactly clear why it's wrong to kill them under this standard set up by him. If infants are not persons, i.e. don't have the right to life, then one also wonders why they couldn't be killed and used for their organs. Jeff McMahan, another philosopher who advocates infanticide, claims in his book The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life that it is morally permissible to kill a healthy orphaned newborn in order to harvest his organs to save the lives of four other human beings. He calls this scenario, "Healthy Newborn."

"A woman dies in childbirth leaving a very premature but healthy newborn infant, just a few hours old. The child's biological father died months ago and neither he nor the mother had any living relatives. Both were reclusive and had no friends; hence there is no one who is specially related, even indirectly, to the infant. Suppose there are four children in the same hospital, all of whom are three years old and need an organ transplant within the next twenty twenty-four hours in order to survive. Because these children's organs have been impaired by illness it is not possible to wait for one to die and use his or her organs to save the others; nor is it possible to sacrifice one (say, by lottery) to save the other three. But the newborn infant has the right tissue type and its organs could be used to save all four." [2]

When it comes to this scenario, what separates my opponent from Jeff McMahan is that not only would it be morally permissible to kill this baby, but it would be morally required. This is because my opponent subscribes to utilitarianism, which is an ethical theory that says the right thing to do is the act that will have the best consequences of the options open to you. And clearly, killing a non-person to save four persons will have the best consequences.

According to the American Transplant Foundation, more than 123,000 people in the United States are currently on the waiting list for a lifesaving organ transplant. Another name is added to the national transplant waiting list every 12 minutes. On average, 21 people die every day from the lack of available organs for transplant. [3]

If we accept my opponent's view that infants are not persons, and his ethical theory of utilitarianism, it seems like we are committed to the view that we should kill healthy orphaned newborns in order to use their organs for others to use. This will produce the best consequences and maximize the preferences of all sentient beings. Imagine that our society actually adopted this view, and we started to pay women to get pregnant and carry babies to term only to later kill them for their organs. These babies would be unwanted, and thus we don't have to worry about what the preferences of the parents would be. In fact, killing the infants would be fulfilling the preferences of the parents, since this is what they are getting paid to do.

However, I think a society that adopted such a practice would be profoundly immoral, because they would be intentionally killing individuals that have a future of value.

The Suicidal Teenager Objection
Here Pro makes two claims. The first is that suicidal teenagers don't actually desire to die, rather they desire to get help. But this is clearly untrue, once one considers the fact that many suicidal teenagers do in fact take their lives. The second is that killing this suicidal teenager would lead to bad consequences such as grieving parents and distress among other suicidal teens. But now Pro is appealing to something other than the desire to live for why killing is wrong. It's no longer about frustrating desires, but rather the bad consequences that result out of killing.

Even if we were to accept this as the reason for why it would be wrong to kill the teen, I can simply change the situation around in order to avoid the bad consequences. Let's say the suicidal teen is an orphan and has no relatives that would be saddened by his death and because he spends all his time on Debate.org, nobody knows him and therefore no other suicidal teenagers would feel worse about his death. Now suppose I'm a highly trained assassin, and I know how to kill individuals without society finding out about it and becoming scared of the fact that there is a killer roaming about. It seems like then Pro would have no problem with me killing this teen. After all, I will not be frustrating his desire to live, I will not saddened his relatives or scare society. But clearly it's wrong to kill this teen because he has a future of value.


The Temporarily Comatose Adult Objection

In response to this objection, Pro says:

"If a coma is only temporary, i.e., one still poseses the capability to regain consciousness, then one cannot easily say that the person in question lacks all desires, in fact some coma patients are aware of their surroundings, even some who are diagnosed with a vegetative coma."

But I never claimed that adults in a temporary coma lack all desires. Rather, I said:

"Adults in a temporary coma also don't desire to continuing living. They are completely unconscious and thus lack this important desire."

I specifically said the desire to live, not all desires. This might seem like a petty nitpick, but it's actually important to point out. Thus, I don't think he gets around this objection.

The Indoctrinnated Slave Objection
Pro claims that the slave indoctrination would lead to bad consequences, and thus is morally wrong. But again, suppose that I keep my slave indoctrination a secret, and society never finds out about my operation. Moreover, one can imagine a case where the slave indoctrination would lead to good consequences. Suppose that I use the slaves to benefit the rest of society, and overall it produces better consequences. It seems like then Pro would have no problem with bringing slavery back. But surely this absurd, most people alive today would not be willing to defend slavery.

The Creation of Brainless Human Beings
Pro doesn't really seem to provide a response to this objection. What I think he's trying to say is that altering a human's brain to have no desires at all is impossible, and that it would just result in the death of the human organism. I could be misinterpreting him, so hopefully this doesn't come off across as a straw man. But I definitely don't think it's impossible for a human being to survive such a surgery. Of course it depends on what one means by "possible." It certainly seems logically possible, i.e. it can be asserted without implying a logical contradiction. So as long as it's logically possible, I don't think it can be simply disregarded. Other than that, Pro doesn't provide a good reason to think that doing this to human beings would be morally permissible.

The Buddhist Master and Divine Persons Objection

Pro claims that it would be wrong to kill the Buddhist Master because it would scare the Buddhist that are not masters. But again, if I kill the Buddhist Master without the others finding out about it then it seems like Pro would have no problem with me ending his life. Pro also claims that because Divine Persons most likely don't exist their moral status should be of no concern to us. But whether or not they exist is not relevant, because if they did exist, they would obviously be persons with a right to life. Pro then says that if someone is immortal, it does not matter whether they have a "right" to life because you could not kill them anyway. However, it is entirely possible to violate someone's moral rights without inflicting any actual damage upon them. Attempted assault, rape, or murder is wrong even if such an attempt did not and could not have succeeded. [4]

Conclusion
Pro's arguments lead to insanely immoral conclusions and his responses to my objections to his argument are not satisfactory.

Sources in comments
Debate Round No. 4
Fkkize

Pro

Thank you Con for presenting further arguments.

Closing Statement


This debate revolved around two things, firstly my justification for abortion and secondly my opponents anti-abortion arguments, since my final objections to his arguments have not been rebutted, due to my opponents argumentation structure, this closing statement will only be about the objections to my justification.


In my opening statement I stated that, because a fetus do not have preferences, an abortion is not doing any harm to it and hence is morally permissible. At no point was this addressed by my opponent, rather he focused on on his own arguments and supposed implications of my view. He ignored my critique of moral intuitions in all of his rebuttals and even goes forward and uses them as an argument against post-natal abortion:


"Despite this being contrary to most people's moral intuitions, he is unwilling to abandon his arguments."


This is first of all not the topic of this debate and most importantly blatantly talking past my arguments against intuitions as a basis for morality. Sure most people find it counterintuitive, but there is one thing that I should make absolutely clear: I never said that having an abortion is an easy choice, it is one of the hardest some parents could possibly face in their lifes and post-natal abortion even more so.





The Suicidal Teenager Objection


My original response to the suicidal teenager objection (STO) still stands as Con misses the point of consequentialist theories, when he says that:


"It's no longer about frustrating desires, but rather the bad consequences that result out of killing."

It is still about frustrating preferences, but not of an individual.


A preference to die does not exist from the very beginning of a depression for example. Initially a teenager has to endure a lot of other frustrated preferences like being loved by her parents. If we help them at that point, there will not be a preference to die and we ought to help them at such an early point. But this is completely derived from job experience, so anyone can take this how they want.
As for the altered version of the STO, the latter part of my original response still applies:
"It is really hard to tell whether someone has a genuine desire to die or is calling out for help. In reality ordinary people cannot know that, since it requires profound psychological investigation."
Should it be the case that, after being diagnosed with a mental health disorder and long, unsuccessful treatment, the person in question still wishes to die, then yes, we should relive her suffering.



The temporarily comatose Adult Objection


In his last defence of the temporarily comatose adult objection Con said that this person specifically lacks the desire to live and my response is still: How would anyone know that?

I said many coma patients are aware of their surroundings, now postulating that they lack the most basic desire of all is mere assertion.

A quote from David Boonin should close that topic:


"When I wake up in the morning I do not have to learn everything that I believed the day before. I seem to have almost all the same beliefs, concepts and desires I had yesterday. This suggest that these mental items were retained in some form or other while I was asleep."
(1)


Sleeping and temporary coma can be taken interchangeably in respect to unconsciousness.



The indoctrinated Slave Objection


In dealing with my response to the indoctrinated slave objection my opponent claims that it could lead to good consequences. I disagree, to benefit anyone serious harm has to be done first. Even if we say that those slaves are helping society, there is another principle of PU that is left out: The Principle of declining marginal Utility.

Consider the following:

A salve owner earns 500€ a week,
he owns a slave that helps him earn additional 100€ every week. The slave earns nothing and gets only a minimum to eat.
We can now ask ourselves how we can achieve the best consequences. Who is better of with 100€ more a week? Someone who earns enough or someone who earns nothing? If the slave owner was to pay 50€ a week to his servant the overall consequences would be more desirable. Or in other words, who would benefit more from 100€? Bill Gates or a starving child?




The brainless Human Objection


The creation of brainless human beings is surely logically possible, but so are unicorns, should we now take unicorns into consideration when discussing environmental issues? I think not, they have the same impact on real life decisions as hypothetical brainless humans and divine persons.




The enlightened Buddhist and the divine Person Objection

Of course it is possible to violate the rights of the latter without causing them harm, but that is only if we first suppose an ethical theory that revolves around moral rights, PU does not.


An enlightened Buddhist would never proclaim that he is in fact enlightened and it is nothing Buddhists really talk about, since only death gives you certainty.

"Enlightened Tibetan masters traditionally stay in their bodies for three days after death."(2)

The body of Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, the sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, stayed warm for three days after his death just as the quote describes. This is the only sign recognizable by others that indicates enlightenment in the form my opponent asks for, which means that you cannot know whether they are enlightened while they are alive.



This brings me to some final notes on all these objections:


"However, clearly you did something seriously wrong"

"Surely most of us would think"

"it still seems wrong"

"But surely what I have been doing is morally wrong."

"But clearly it's wrong"

"But surely this absurd"


These are the justifications for the objections to what Con calls the Desire View of Personhood, they boil down to gut feelings. One can ignore all what I have said to show how these objections miss their mark and still have no reason to reject my view, other than ones intuitions and I think I have covered the issue of moral intuitions more than enough by now.
Of course it is true that all forms of utilitarianism trade in the well being of some for the well being of many, but so do all ethical theories, they are just less obvious about it. Satisfying everyone's needs in their entirety is just not possible.




Conclusion


Last round I conclusively refuted Con's anti-abortion arguments and this round I again redeemed preference utilitarianism by showing why these acts are not entailed by it and why they give no reason to reject it. Over the course of several rounds my opponent has not addressed the problems of moral intuitions and failed to give justification for any of his objections other than that they 'seem wrong'.


It has been an insightful debate and I thank Dookieman for accepting my challenge and playing Devils' Advocate.






Sources
(1)David Boonin, A Defence of Abortion

(2)http://en.wikiversity.org...
Dookieman

Con

Thank you Pro for your defense of your original arguments and closing statements.

Introduction
In the last round of this debate I will defend my original arguments from objections raised by Pro, and then conclude with my closing statements. With that said, let me begin.

The Traditional Pro-Life Argument

Pro says he disagrees with the claim that it is morally wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings. He claims that in order for an individual to be wronged by death, it must contradict the organism's preference to continue living. However, as I already showed in my objections to his argument, this view of the wrongness of killing has many difficulties and thus is an unsatisfactory answer to why ending life is wrong.

Pro agrees that the fetus is a human being, but denies that this means it has a right to life. I worry this view advocated by Pro undermines human equality, and that he uses reasoning similar to those of past injustices. Namely, some human beings have moral worth, but other human beings do not. The lessons of history provide strong evidence that we should advocate a society in which all innocent human beings have moral consideration and are treated with respect.


The Future-Like-Ours Argument
Pro claims that I defended P1 with objections from the last round. But that they were not actual objections to his ethics, but rather objections to the supposed implications of his ethics. But if an ethical theory has immoral implications, then that actually does count againist it being a good ethical theory. For example, if someone proposed an ethical theory that implicated it would be morally good to torture small children, that would count against it being a sound moral theory. In the same way, if Pro's preference utilitarianism leads to immoral conclusions, then we have good reason to reject it.

Pro claims that if we are committed to the FLO argument I have advanced, then we should also accept the view that failing to separate each individual totipotent cell in the human embryo is morally wrong. This is because the totipotent cells in the human embryo have a FLO, and if we don't divide up these cells this will deny them a FlO.

I expected this objection to come up in the debate, which is why I put P1 of the argument as follows:

"Intentionally killing an innocent being with a future-like-ours (FLO) is morally wrong."

In response to this objection, I want to make a distinction between intention/foresight. It's true that when I fail to divide up the human embryo, I foresee that this will deny individuals a future of value, but that is not my intention. My intention is to not have to go through the burden of dividing up every single embryo. However, if I perform an abortion, not only do I foresee the death of the embryo, but it is my intention is to cause its death. That, I believe, makes a moral difference. In the former case my intentions are permissible, while in the latter they are not.

But given that my opponent is a utilitarian, he may deny that your intentions matter, and the only thing that is morally relevant is the consequences. But I think this is implausible, for consider this example. Imagine two dentist one of whom is kind while the other is a sadist. When the kind dentist performs a tooth removal, he merely foresees, and regrets, that this procedure will cause pain. But it is not his intention to cause pain. His intention is to better the health of his patient. However, when the sadistic dentist performs a tooth removal, not only does he foresee that this was cause pain, but he intends to cause pain.

Would anybody really try to claim that these two situations are morally equivalent? I would guess not. In the former case the dentist's intentions are permissible, while in the latter they are not.

The Substance View
I take it that the main objection here is that the fetus is not a rational being but a potential one, and therefore it does not have the same basic rights as an actual rational being. But I don't think potentiality can be quickly dismissed out of hand. For consider the case of an adult human being that is in a temporary coma. While in the coma this adult lacks the immediate exercisable capacity to act rational, but he still has the potential to become rational once he is no longer in the coma. However, just because the adult lacks the immediate exercisable capacity to act rational, does not give us a moral justification to kill him. This is because he has the potential to become rational. In the same way, the fetus also lacks the immediate exercisable capacity to act rational, but this does not give us grounds for killing the fetus, because it has the potential to become rational.

Pro may object that what separates the adult in the temporary coma from the fetus is that the adult in the temporary coma has a dispositional desire to go on living whereas the fetus does not. A dispositional desire is a desire that one is not consciously thinking about, but nevertheless has. So the adult in the temporary coma still has a desire to live, even if he is not consciously thinking about it.

However, one can imagine a case in which an adult in a temporary coma would not have a dispositional desire to live, but still obviously have a right to life. Imagine an adult who gets in a terrible car wreck and becomes comatose for 9 months. This wreck was so severe that, in addition to the temporary coma, he also developed amnesia. Given that the adult has suffered amnesia, we can't even posit a dispositional desire to him. Thus, he lacks a right to life under Pro's view. However, I think it's pretty uncontroversial that this adult still has a right to life. This is because even though he doesn't have a dispositional desire to continue living, he still has the potential to become rational. And therefore it would be wrong to end his life.


The Constitutive Property Argument
Pro lays out pretty much the same objections he raised to the Substance View, and for that reason I don't feel the need to respond. Moreover, I've noticed that the Constitutive Property Argument and the Substance View look very similar to each other. So in a way it feels like I'm defending the same argument twice. For the sake of time, I'm just going to drop this argument and let the Substance View stand in its place.

Conclusion

In this debate I have defended the anti-abortion position and provided arguments in defense of the claim that abortion is morally impermissible. I want the voter reading this to keep in mind that even if all my arguments against abortion have been unsound, one will still be committed to vote for me if they believe that I kept Pro from meeting his burden of proof. With that said, let me say how much I enjoyed this debate. Having a discussion on this topic with Pro has been really fun. Pro is an intelligent person who argues with force and clarity. He is a worthy opponent and I wish him the best.
Debate Round No. 5
60 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Dookieman 1 year ago
Dookieman
@kingkd

Thanks. I thought this was a good debate too. It sucks that we didn't make it to the front page.
Posted by kingkd 1 year ago
kingkd
SO GOOODd
Posted by Kozu 1 year ago
Kozu
PM me for a longer RFD if needed.
Posted by Fkkize 1 year ago
Fkkize
@Philocat

Originally the immorality of killing innocents was more or less limited to members of ones tribe. It has only been recently that we do not make differences between other peoples origins anymore.
We can simply conclude that our intuitions are derived from our evolutionary origin by observing the behavior of apes.
Look I am not here to talk biology.

I think we are still talking past each other...
My whole point is, that just because something seems wrong (by intuition) it does not mean that it is actualy wrong.
Furthermore I actually came to utilitarianism through reason not intuition. Where I live deontology is the predominant ethics, I looked into the problems and turned my back.
Posted by Philocat 1 year ago
Philocat
@Fkkize,

Generally, our basic moral intuitions are roughly the same regardless if culture; for example the intuitive knowledge of the immorality of harming innocent people or being unfair is almost universally shared.
I'm not sure what you are implying when you say that I should take another look at evolution; what have I got wrong?

In response to you second point; I never stated that intuitive acceptance of something entails that this is innate (i.e they were born with it).
All I said was that the fundamental principle of utilitarianism (causing harm is immoral) is an intuitive moral truth. People aren't necessarily born with it, but at some point somewhere in their minds they realise the truth of such a principle, not by reason, but by intuition.
Posted by Dookieman 1 year ago
Dookieman
(1) Peter Singer. Practical Ethics PP.171-172
(2) Jeff McMahan. The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life (Oxford Ethics Series) PP.359-360
(3) http://www.americantransplantfoundation.org...
(4) Christopher Kaczor. The Ethics of Abortion: Women's Rights, Human Life, and the Question of Justice (Routledge Annals of Bioethics) P58
Posted by Fkkize 1 year ago
Fkkize
"it is evolutionary beneficial to kill people with genetic disorders in order to remove these genetic mutations from the gene pool. Yet our moral intuitions would not concur with this proposition."

First of all there is no such thing as "our" moral intuitions, they differ from culture to culture. In ancient greek it was usual to expose unwanted (disabled) children to nature by laying them on a cliff.
Secondly you might want to take another look at evolution.

"For classical utilitarians, it is intuitive that causing harm is immoral and causing pleasure is moral.
For deontologists, it is intuitive that it is moral to follow one's duties.
For divine command theorists, it is intuitive that it is moral to obey God."

Are you trying to tell me that one is somehow born a utilitarian/deontologist/DCTist?
I was born a Christian, whether or not it is intuitive for anyone to obey some deities rules, I became a utilitarian much later.
Utilitarianism is not something I chose by intuition, I rejected the others after looking into the arguments supporting them.
Posted by Philocat 1 year ago
Philocat
It would seem, actually, that moral intuitions are not a result of evolution, as often are moral intuitions disagree with what is evolutionary beneficial. For example, it is evolutionary beneficial to kill people with genetic disorders in order to remove these genetic mutations from the gene pool. Yet our moral intuitions would not concur with this proposition.

For classical utilitarians, it is intuitive that causing harm is immoral and causing pleasure is moral.
For deontologists, it is intuitive that it is moral to follow one's duties.
For divine command theorists, it is intuitive that it is moral to obey God.

So even if reason is used to develop these theories, their fundamental basis is intuitive.
Posted by Fkkize 1 year ago
Fkkize
@Philocat
In round three I toued on this issue. I argued that our moral intuitions are a result of our evolutionary origin.
"They match with those acts which would grant the best survival chances in an pre-globalized era and are more often than not contradictory and inconsistent. When it comes to reaching an ideal state of affairs (like the utlilitarian normative ideal) they are not helpfull."
Yes, they exist (descriptive), no, they will in many circumstances not lead to an ideal state of affairs (normative), like in the drowning child example I gave.

For classical utilitarians an action that produces less harm then good is a moral action,
for deontologists an action that is in accordance with ones duties is a moral action,
for divine command theorists an action that is in accordance with Gods will is a moral action.

None of them have semantic grounds for what they claim morality to denote, but for each the principles of their theory gives them a way to determine which action should receive the label 'moral' and which do not.
Posted by Philocat 1 year ago
Philocat
'Gut feeling' is a basic expression of what intuition is, yes. Intuition is where something is intuitively known. For example, we intuitively know what it is like to see the colour green. I argue that, fundamentally, our morality is based on brute moral facts that we cannot further explain. Logic demands this to be the case, as if there is no brute moral fact then we would go back ad infinitum when asked to justify moral beliefs.

You have no semantic grounds for asserting that the definition of 'immoral' is 'causing harm'. Of course causing harm generally has the property of being immoral, but 'immoral' is not defined as such. If it was, then it would be absurd and incoherent to postulate a harmless immoral act, yet whilst such acts may be hard to think of, such a postulation is not incoherent in the way that postulating 'a married bachelor' is incoherent.

In terms of moral truths, I assert that intuition is the foundation for all moral knowledge. Yet this is as far as intuition goes; once we have a set of intuitive moral facts then the prerogative belongs to reason to be the epistemological framework with which to learn of more complex and non-intuitive moral truths.

Yet nonetheless, I would maintain that, at their foundation, all the common moral principles you mentioned resort to intuition when scrutinised to the maximum extent.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Kozu 1 year ago
Kozu
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro needed to refute all of Con's arguments to meet his burden. Perhaps his biggest burden was finding grounds to base his own morality on, which would also result in no valid claims held against it. Pro puts forth the idea that if something doesn't posses a "preference to stay alive", there is nothing immoral about killing it, hence, abortion is acceptable. Con is quick to jump on this and points out that it would lead to absurdities such as infanticide or the killing of coma patients. To counter this, Pro says there's nothing wrong with infanticide (arguably), and that killing a person in a coma is wrong because they are temporarily unable to exercise this desire.This is where I disagree with Pro. If a coma patient merely needs more time to exercise their desire to live, then why would this not be applied to a fetus?Con was able to tie together most of Pro's arguments he made, to both fetuses and coma patients.Basically forcing Pro to value people who are easily comparable to a fetus
Vote Placed by Philocat 1 year ago
Philocat
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Reasons for voting decision: Both parties performed excellently, but just thinking about arguments, I maintain that Con's were more convincing. As Pro concedes that a foetus is a human being, the debate was essentially over what constituted wrongful killing. Pro's preference view raised multiple absurdities, such as the suicidal teenager and the Buddhist. In contrast, Con's 'Future Like Ours' view was more convincing. It better accords with why we actually condemn murder, and raises far less absurdities. As Con's view was more convincing and better defended, he negated the resolution, as abortion does remove a being with a FLO and hence is immoral.