"Abortion and Degrees of Personhood: Understanding the Impasse of the Abortion Problem (and the Animal Rights Problem)"

Public Affairs Quarterly 11 (1):1-19 (1997)
Abstract
I argue that the personhood of a fetus is analogous to the the heap. If this is correct, then the moral status or intrinsic value of a fetus would be supervenient upon the fetus's biological development. Yet to compare its claim vis-a-vis its mother's, we need to consider not only their moral status, but also the type of claim they each have. Thus we have to give weight to the two factors or variables of the mother's moral status and her claim to some lesser good (assuming that this is not the kind of case in which the mother would suffer some great harm, such as death). And then we have to consider the fetus's lesser moral status and its claim to some greater good, namely, life. I argue that we do not know how to compare these two-variable claims. This also explains why the central cases of abortion have been so difficult to resolve. I suggest that the problem of animal rights has a similar structure.
Keywords Personhood of a fetus  Paradox of the Heap  Impossibility to compare two-variable claims  Problem of Abortion  Problem of Animal Rights
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 12,095
External links
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

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Donald Wilson (2007). Abortion, Persons, and Futures of Value. Philosophy in the Contemporary World 14 (2):86-97.
Holly M. Smith (1983). Intercourse and Moral Responsibility for the Fetus. In William B. Bondesson, H. Tristram Englehardt, Stuart Spicker & Daniel H. Winship (eds.), Abortion and the Status of the Fetus. D. Reidel.
Ronald M. Green (1974). Conferred Rights and the Fetus. Journal of Religious Ethics 2 (1):55 - 75.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2011-05-23

Total downloads

14 ( #120,567 of 1,102,037 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

8 ( #34,166 of 1,102,037 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.