Abortion: Three Perspectives
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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OUP USA (2009)
The newest addition to the Point/Counterpoint Series, Abortion: Three Perspectives features a debate between four noted philosophers - Michael Tooley, Celia Wolf-Devine, Philip E. Devine, and Alison M. Jaggar - with three different perspectives on abortion: the "liberal" pro-choice approach, the "communitarian" pro-life approach, and the "gender justice" approach. Each of the authors takes a controversial position, and all push their philosophical opinions to their logical limits. All of the views presented are radical, both in the sense of exploring fundamental assumptions and in the sense of diverging from mainstream opinion in America. They do not rely on religious authority; therefore their arguments address all citizens regardless of their religious beliefs. The first "liberal" pro-choice approach is Michael Tooley's. After examining, analyzing, and challenging the most important arguments for a right to life before birth, he holds that abortion is always morally permissible in itself. He argues that it is unreasonable to claim that human embryos/fetuses either have or develop a right to life before birth. Celia Wolf-Devine and Philip E. Devine, however, take a "communitarian" pro-life position, arguing that the human organism is a person from the point at which it first came to be. They also argue that, because its creators are responsible for its existence, the prospective parents have a moral obligation to care for its life. Finally, Alison Jaggar explores abortion in light of political philosophy and social justice. She argues that women everywhere have a human right to abortion, that abortion rights are necessary for gender equality, and that the availability of abortion is indispensable for pubic health and social development. As philosophers, the authors have special skills in critical analysis and thinking systematically about values. Because they do not rely on religious authority, their arguments address all citizens regardless of their religious beliefs. By drawing examples from real life, employing logic, philosophy, and empirical data, and addressing views of abortion from across other disciplines, the authors present a well-informed and up-to-date discussion. Advanced courses in ethics, contemporary moral problems, sex and gender, and bioethics will find this text useful and relevant
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