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Abortion

Freeman
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5/8/2010 9:09:15 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I don't plan on debating this at the moment, but I would be interested in hearing what people think of my arguments.

Abortion is prima facie morally wrong. (Con)

Abortion is not morally reprehensible and should not be illegal given the actual qualities that a human fetus possesses. Unlike an adult, a fetus is not self-conscious and is thus incapable of holding any desires to continue living. For this reason, a fetus cannot be said to have a serious right to life. While many people feel strongly about this topic, very few have actually ever taken the time to sit down and carefully reason through their position. Indeed, many people have come to conclusions about abortion out of deference to pernicious and assiduously promulgated dogmatisms. These dogmatisms, however, do not demonstrate why abortion is wrong or why it should be illegal. If anything, they merely demonstrate that it is possible for billions of different people to be deeply confused about the true basis for human wellbeing.

================> Why A Fetus Does Not Have A Serious Right To Life <================

C1: It is not always wrong to kill an innocent human being.

Despite what many deeply moral people may believe, there are very strong and reasonable grounds to conclude that abortion is not prima facie morally wrong. Over the years many different versions of anti-abortion arguments have been created. But, they all seem to be unified under the same key premises. More often than not, the premises of such arguments seek to uphold the intrinsic moral status of a human fetus. And if the reasoning behind these arguments were put into a syllogism, they might take the following form:

P1: It is wrong to kill an innocent member of the species Homo sapiens.
P2: A human fetus is an innocent member of the species Homo sapiens.
C: Therefore, it is wrong to kill a human fetus.

If anti-abortion arguments are constructed like this, strong objections can be raised against the first premise. For example, a devastating counterexample can be raised against the notion that it is always wrong to kill an innocent member of the species homo sapiens. An adult human with complete upper brain death does not possess a serious right to life; they are, for all intensive legal and moral purposes, already dead at that stage. [1] As Bernard Gert - the Stone Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy at Dartmouth College – points out, simply being alive does not have inherit value in itself. It is, rather, the permanent loss of consciousness that is important. [2] And those who may wish to still believe all humans have a serious right to life should consider how ridiculous the anti-abortion syllogism would appear in light of the counterexample listed above.

Clearly, the notion that all innocent members of the species homo sapiens have a serious right to life is deeply erroneous. Unlike an adult, a human fetus is lacking attributes in several very important areas. The human fetus does not posses the same mental faculties as a full-grown adult and therefore cannot be said to posses the same serious right to life that conscious persons do. As demonstrated earlier, this moral principle can be recognized in the way humans differentiate between fully conscious adults and those that have experienced a permanent loss of consciousness due to disease or some sort of traumatic accident. And it is in this ethical purview that it is possible to recognize that a fetus does not have a serious right to life since, like a brain dead adult, it does not posses a significant mental life with thoughts and desires. This is why murdering grown adults is wrong whereas killing a fetus is not.

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

Unlike a person, a fetus is not a rational or conscious agent and therefore does not hold a serious right to life. The fetus may be a human (in the biological sense), but it is not a person. In her book, On The Moral and Legal Status of Abortion, Mary Anne Warren - an American writer and philosophy professor that taught at San Francisco State University - details five psychological criteria for personhood. According to Warren, these qualities include consciousness and in particular sentience; the capacity to reason; self-motivated activity; the capacity to communicate messages; and lastly, the presence of self-concepts. [3] Since a fetus does not possess any of the above qualities it can rightfully not be considered a person. Given these criteria, it logically follows that a human fetus cannot possess the same right to life that a grown adult has since it does not qualify as a person.

C3: An entity's potentials cannot grant that entity rights.

A fetus' potential to acquire characteristics like rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness are not a sound basis for granting it a right to life. The potential to gain certain mental qualities – it is sometimes argued – presents a valid basis for giving a fetus a serious right to life. As Peter Singer — the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, and laureate professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE), University of Melbourne — points out, this principle simply cannot be adopted as a rights criterion since masturbation, contraception, and abstinence could all be equally condemned by its own standards. [4] In fact, under this ethical framework, even refusing to be raped could be considered unethical since it denies a potential entity the ability to become a person. These are simply an odious and untenable set of conclusions that could be drawn from the notion that entities can acquire rights through undetermined potentials. Therefore, a fetus' potential to become a self-conscious person should be rejected as the foundation for granting it rights.

Conclusion:

In summary, the human fetus is a biological member of the human species, but it does not posses the qualities that would grant it a serious right to life. The fetus may be "innocent" in some sense, but this is irrelevant since a fetus does not hold the status of personhood. Consequently, the arguments often raised in objection to abortion simply cannot withstand rigorous scrutiny. They either rely on false premises or principles that cannot withstand sufficiently strong counterexamples. Indeed, many such arguments against abortion amount to little more than the tautological assertion that abortion is murder. But a slogan is no substitute for rational inquiry. Moral philosophy is predicated upon compassion and reason, not bumper stickers.

Sources:
1. http://spot.colorado.edu... (7.2 The Counterexample Objection)
2. Gert, Bernard. Common Morality: Deciding What to Do. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2004. (p. 30) http://books.google.com...
3. Warren, Mary Anne. The Moral and Legal Status of Abortion. 1973. On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion. Vol. 57. La Salle, Illinois: The Monist, 1973. (pp. 97-105)
4. Singer, Peter. Practical Ethics. 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge, 1993. (p. 181) (http://www.utilitarian.net...)
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,926
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5/9/2010 8:53:25 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Uh, these arguments entail that it is morally permissible to commit infanticide for any reason- and it seems you don't even go that far in advocating infanticide.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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5/9/2010 8:55:29 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/9/2010 8:53:25 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
Uh, these arguments entail that it is morally permissible to commit infanticide for any reason- and it seems you don't even go that far in advocating infanticide.

I think he does....

Babies don't care what happens...

From what I can tell he's saying:
If you do (in that you wanna kill a baby)... for any reason... do what you want.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Freeman
Posts: 1,239
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5/9/2010 9:18:25 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/9/2010 8:55:29 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 5/9/2010 8:53:25 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
Uh, these arguments entail that it is morally permissible to commit infanticide for any reason- and it seems you don't even go that far in advocating infanticide.

I think he does....

No, not necessarily.

Infants without severe medical complications (e.g. Harlequin Ichthyosis, spina fibula, Hydrocephaly etc.) will likely bring a net balance of happiness into the world over misery. It would, therefore, be wrong to kill those infants.
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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5/9/2010 9:24:51 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/9/2010 9:18:25 PM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/9/2010 8:55:29 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 5/9/2010 8:53:25 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
Uh, these arguments entail that it is morally permissible to commit infanticide for any reason- and it seems you don't even go that far in advocating infanticide.

I think he does....

No, not necessarily.

Infants without severe medical complications (e.g. Harlequin Ichthyosis, spina fibula, Hydrocephaly etc.) will likely bring a net balance of happiness into the world over misery. It would, therefore, be wrong to kill those infants.

well... what if it's just you and your baby and you (for, lets say some trivial, shallow reason) want to kill it....

it doesn't want anything... so... kill it right?

that would be the best/moral thing to do??? Right?
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,926
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5/9/2010 9:31:57 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/9/2010 9:18:25 PM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/9/2010 8:55:29 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 5/9/2010 8:53:25 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
Uh, these arguments entail that it is morally permissible to commit infanticide for any reason- and it seems you don't even go that far in advocating infanticide.

I think he does....

No, not necessarily.

Infants without severe medical complications (e.g. Harlequin Ichthyosis, spina fibula, Hydrocephaly etc.) will likely bring a net balance of happiness into the world over misery. It would, therefore, be wrong to kill those infants.

What you are saying is that there are no wrongs done to the infant when it is murdered - it is the wrong done to the people that the infant brings happiness to. That's like saying raping an infant wrongs the rapist and the people the infant brings happiness to instead of just saying it is wrong to rape an infant because one should not rape an infant.

Furthermore, there is no reason for you to restrict infanticide to disabled infants if you think it morally permissible to abort able and disabled fetuses. They are both non-sentinent according to you.

Your morality system treats an infant like property - if my car is vandalized the vandalizer didn't wrong the car; they wronged me. You're saying much the same thing.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
Freeman
Posts: 1,239
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5/9/2010 9:36:33 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/9/2010 9:24:51 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 5/9/2010 9:18:25 PM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/9/2010 8:55:29 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 5/9/2010 8:53:25 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
Uh, these arguments entail that it is morally permissible to commit infanticide for any reason- and it seems you don't even go that far in advocating infanticide.

I think he does....

No, not necessarily.

Infants without severe medical complications (e.g. Harlequin Ichthyosis, spina fibula, Hydrocephaly etc.) will likely bring a net balance of happiness into the world over misery. It would, therefore, be wrong to kill those infants.

well... what if it's just you and your baby and you (for, lets say some trivial, shallow reason) want to kill it....

it doesn't want anything... so... kill it right?

that would be the best/moral thing to do??? Right?

No, the proper thing to do at that point would be to give it up for adoption.
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
Freeman
Posts: 1,239
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5/9/2010 9:45:13 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/9/2010 9:31:57 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 5/9/2010 9:18:25 PM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/9/2010 8:55:29 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 5/9/2010 8:53:25 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
Uh, these arguments entail that it is morally permissible to commit infanticide for any reason- and it seems you don't even go that far in advocating infanticide.

I think he does....

No, not necessarily.

Infants without severe medical complications (e.g. Harlequin Ichthyosis, spina fibula, Hydrocephaly etc.) will likely bring a net balance of happiness into the world over misery. It would, therefore, be wrong to kill those infants.

What you are saying is that there are no wrongs done to the infant when it is murdered - it is the wrong done to the people that the infant brings happiness to. That's like saying raping an infant wrongs the rapist and the people the infant brings happiness to instead of just saying it is wrong to rape an infant because one should not rape an infant.

It's wrong for both reasons.

Furthermore, there is no reason for you to restrict infanticide to disabled infants if you think it morally permissible to abort able and disabled fetuses. They are both non-sentinent according to you.

The issue gets much more difficult when you're dealing with perfectly healthy infants.

Your morality system treats an infant like property - if my car is vandalized the vandalizer didn't wrong the car; they wronged me. You're saying much the same thing.

No, that's a caricature of my view.
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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5/9/2010 9:49:28 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/9/2010 9:45:13 PM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/9/2010 9:31:57 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 5/9/2010 9:18:25 PM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/9/2010 8:55:29 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 5/9/2010 8:53:25 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
Uh, these arguments entail that it is morally permissible to commit infanticide for any reason- and it seems you don't even go that far in advocating infanticide.

I think he does....

No, not necessarily.

Infants without severe medical complications (e.g. Harlequin Ichthyosis, spina fibula, Hydrocephaly etc.) will likely bring a net balance of happiness into the world over misery. It would, therefore, be wrong to kill those infants.

What you are saying is that there are no wrongs done to the infant when it is murdered - it is the wrong done to the people that the infant brings happiness to. That's like saying raping an infant wrongs the rapist and the people the infant brings happiness to instead of just saying it is wrong to rape an infant because one should not rape an infant.

It's wrong for both reasons.

Furthermore, there is no reason for you to restrict infanticide to disabled infants if you think it morally permissible to abort able and disabled fetuses. They are both non-sentinent according to you.

The issue gets much more difficult when you're dealing with perfectly healthy infants.

From what I know... not for skinner.

(so long as they themselves can't care if they live or die.


Your morality system treats an infant like property - if my car is vandalized the vandalizer didn't wrong the car; they wronged me. You're saying much the same thing.

No, that's a caricature of my view.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,926
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5/9/2010 10:24:11 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/9/2010 9:45:13 PM, Freeman wrote:
The issue gets much more difficult when you're dealing with perfectly healthy infants.


It does. But your position entails that it is just as morally permissible as killing a perfectly healthy fetus because there is no morally relevant difference between the two.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
InsertNameHere
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5/9/2010 10:26:27 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
My views on abortion are simple. Women should be allowed to get abortions in cases of rape or if the mother's life is threatened. Other than that, if you don't want a child then keep your pants up or use protection.
Cerebral_Narcissist
Posts: 10,806
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5/9/2010 11:50:28 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/8/2010 9:09:15 PM, Freeman wrote:
I don't plan on debating this at the moment, but I would be interested in hearing what people think of my arguments.


Abortion is prima facie morally wrong. (Con)


Abortion is not morally reprehensible and should not be illegal given the actual qualities that a human fetus possesses. Unlike an adult, a fetus is not self-conscious and is thus incapable of holding any desires to continue living. For this reason, a fetus cannot be said to have a serious right to life.

The foetal stage starts with the 9th week of gestation up until birth. A fetus may therefore have the right to life for the following reasons,
1: It is able to feel pain.
2: It is able to react to outside stimuli, spicy food, music, pressure on the mothers stomach. etc.
3: It is able to move, is certainly aware of it's movement and through the action of kicking etc must realise that there is a distinction between itself, and something around it. Is this not basic self-awareness?
4: Unless otherwise indicated tt has the potential to be a fully sentient and sapient human being. You do not for instance automatically shoot sleeping people in the head because at that moment they may lack full self-awareness.

After that I got bored... sorry.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
Mirza
Posts: 16,992
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5/10/2010 6:14:50 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
I do not see how killing a newborn child is much worse than killing one that is a month or week behind being born. A newborn child has no understanding of reality, has no plans for life, has no needs, and there is therefore no bigger evil in killing it than killing one that is not long away from being born.

Abortion is used as prevention by incredibly many women. This is such a horrible thing, and if they do not want children, then let them get educated on what sex can lead to. People are becoming mindless - murdering a child due to fear of having to take care of it. What is this? Abortion should be outlawed entirely, except if it is life threatening to a mother, or she was raped and fears of how she would live with the child by being put to shame, etc. Besides these, other good reasons are rare.