David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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International Philosophical Quarterly 45 (3):357-376 (2005)
In his A Defense of Abortion David Boonin largely misreads one of the oldest and most defensible arguments against abortion, the argument based on the fetus’s rational nature. In this paper it will be shown that Boonin’s characterization of this argument isinaccurate, that his criticisms of it are therefore ineffective, and that his own criterion—the possession of a “present, dispositional, ideal desire for a future like ours”—is insufficient to ground a human being’s right to life. Boonin’s misread of this classic argument is largelythe result of his focus upon the “properties,” as opposed to the nature, of a fetus and his failure to consider the notion of a rational nature as ordered to rational activities. In addition, his argument for abortion rights fails on its own terms because it ultimately licensesinfanticide. Infants have desires and they possess a future like ours, but they do not have any desire for a future like ours
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