Two stalemates in the philosophical debate about abortion and why they cannot be resolved using analogical arguments
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Bioethics 26 (2):84-92 (2012)
Philosophical debate about the ethics of abortion has reached stalemate on two key issues. First, the claim that foetuses have moral standing that entitles them to protections for their lives has been neither convincingly established nor refuted. Second, the question of a pregnant woman's obligation to allow the gestating foetus the use of her body has not been resolved. Both issues are deadlocked because philosophers addressing them invariably rely on intuitions and analogies, and such arguments have weaknesses that make them unfit for resolving the abortion issue. Analogical arguments work by building a kind of consensus, and such a consensus is virtually unimaginable because (1) intuitions are revisable, and in the abortion debate there is great motive to revise them, (2) one's position on abortion influences judgments about other issues, making it difficult to leverage intuitions about other ethical questions into changing peoples' minds about abortion, and (3) the extent of shared values in the abortion debate is overstated. Arguments by analogy rely on an assumption of the commensurability of moral worldviews. But the abortion debate is currently unfolding in a context of genuinely incommensurable moral worldviews. The article ends by arguing that the default position must be to permit abortion as a consequence of the freedom of conscience protected in liberal societies
|Keywords||abortion analogy argument reasoning moral standing|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Georg Spielthenner (forthcoming). Analogical Reasoning in Ethics. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-14.
Similar books and articles
Stephen Griffith (1985). How Not to Argue About Abortion. Philosophy Research Archives 11:347-354.
George Kegode (2010). Abortion and Morality Debate in the African Context: A Philosophical Enquiry. Zapf Chancery.
Alex Rajczi (2009). Abortion, Competing Entitlements, and Parental Responsibility. Journal of Applied Philosophy 26 (4):379-395.
Elliott Louis Bedford (2012). Abortion: At the Still Point of the Turning Conscientious Objection Debate. [REVIEW] HEC Forum 24 (2):63-82.
Chris Meyers (2010). The Fetal Position: A Rational Approach to the Abortion Debate. Prometheus Books.
Andrea Whittaker (2004). Abortion, Sin, and the State in Thailand. Routledgecurzon.
Nancy (1993). The Abortion Debate: The Search for Common Ground, Part 2:Contested Lives: The Abortion Debate in an American Community Faye D. Ginsburg; Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes Laurence H. Tribe. Ethics 103 (4):731-.
Nancy (1993). The Abortion Debate: The Search for Common Ground, Part 1:Contested Lives: The Abortion Debate in an American Community. Faye D. Ginsburg; Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes. Laurence H. Tribe. [REVIEW] Ethics 103 (3):516-.
David F. Walbert (1973). Abortion, Society, and the Law. Cleveland [Ohio]Press of Case Western Reserve University.
Added to index2010-04-06
Total downloads77 ( #17,071 of 1,099,037 )
Recent downloads (6 months)11 ( #16,641 of 1,099,037 )
How can I increase my downloads?