Can the Potentiality Argument Survive the Contraception Reduction?

Many philosophers believe that the main reason it is wrong to kill people is that killing them deprives them of all the experiences and activities that would otherwise have constituted their futures. Some of these philosophers have also argued that killing potential people is wrong for the same reason, and have used this as support for a conservative position on abortion. Critics have countered by arguing that if zygotes are potential people so too are gamete pairs, and that the potentialist is therefore committed to saying that contraception is very seriously wrong.The first part of this paper examines critically three potentia!ist lines of defense against the (above) contraception reductio and argues that they all fail. The second part of the paper discusses three attempts to finger the flaw in the (above) deprivation argument that is used by the potentialist, and points to significant problems facing each attempt. It concludes that while there is good reason to believe the potentialist’s deprivation argument is unsound, the flaw in the argument has not yet been convincingly identified
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DOI 10.5840/jpr_2000_9
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