Abstract Traditional moral philosophy, developmental psychology and moral education have generally been concerned with relationships between human beings. However, moral philosophy has gradually expanded to include plants, animals and ecosystems as legitimate moral objects, and aesthetics has rediscovered nature as an object of consideration. Thus it seems appropriate to begin to include this sphere in moral education and corresponding research as well. In this paper we wish to report on an investigation we have begun using children's philosophy as a hermeneutic (...) tool to assess the morally relevant values and attitudes that children and adolescents hold with respect to nature and the patterns of reasoning with which they are expressed. In the first part of our presentation we will outline current positions in environmental ethics and aesthetics which provide a theoretical framework for such an investigation and the problems they present. Subsequently the difficulties involved with applying contemporary theories of moral development to the problem at hand will be discussed. Finally, we will describe the project we have begun and summarise preliminary results derived from different age groups. (shrink)
The societal and ethical impacts of emerging technological and business systems cannot entirely be foreseen; therefore, management of these innovations will require at least some ethicists to work closely with researchers. This is particularly critical in the development of new systems because the maximum degrees of freedom for changing technological direction occurs at or just after the point of breakthrough; that is also the point where the long-term implications are hardest to visualize. Recent work on shared expertise in Science & (...) Technology Studies (STS) can help create productive collaborations among scientists, engineers, ethicists and other stakeholders as these new systems are designed and implemented. But collaboration across these disciplines will be successful only if scientists, engineers, and ethicists can communicate meaningfully with each other. The establishment of a trading zone coupled with moral imagination present one method for such collaborative communication. (shrink)
Voles are attracting attention because genetic variation at a single locus appears to have a profound impact on a complex social behavior, namely monogamy. After briefly reviewing the state of the most relevant scientific literature, I examine the way that this research gets taken up by the popular media, by scientists, and by the notable philosopher of neuroscience Patricia Churchland and interpreted as having deeply revisionary implications for how we ordinarily understand ourselves as persons. We have all these big (...) questions we would like to resolve about free will, consciousness, our understanding of persons, and the nature of morality and there is a tendency to ask more of neuroscience than it can yet answer. I do not deny that advances in neuroscience may eventually bear on important philosophical issues. However, it is not at all clear that this research has many of the sweeping implications being claimed for it and, in communicating science responsibly to the public, there is reason to be cautious about suggesting that it does. (shrink)
This review describes central difficulties in the interdisciplinary study of dreaming, summarizes Jouvet's account of his role in the history of modern dream science, queries his positive speculations on the semantics of dreaming, and suggests work for historians of neuroscience.
Are experience and stimulus necessarily alike? Wertheimer spoke of this as an “insidious and insistent belief”. By contrast, Watson devotes an entire book to the defense of the thesis that representation necessarily requires resemblance. I argue that this bold and important thesis is ambiguous between a historical and a systematic reading, and that in either one of these readings the thesis, for different reasons, will be found wanting. Second, a proper evaluation of it in either one of its possible interpretations (...) requires a careful analysis of the notion of resemblance. I proceed to supply some necessary distinctions and argue that, given such an analysis, Watson's thesis may be historically applicable only to ancient and medieval philosophy, while its systematic import is untenable. (shrink)
This collection of essays by philosophers and educationalists of international reputation, all published here for the first time, celebrates Paul Hirst's professional career. The introductory essay by Robin Barrow and Patricia White outlines Paul Hirst's career and maps the shifts in his thought about education, showing how his views on teacher education, the curriculum and educational aims are interrelated. Contributions from leading names in British and American philosophy of education cover themes ranging from the nature of good teaching to (...) Wittgensteinian aesthetics. The collection concludes with a paper in which Paul Hirst sets out his latest views on the nature of education and its aims. The book also includes a complete bibliography of works by Hirst and a substantial set of references to his writing. (shrink)
This paper replies to an argument due to Greenspan (1980) and to Morton (2002) against the view that emotions are perceptions of values. The argument holds that this view cannot make room for ambivalent emotions both of which are appropriate, such as when it is appropriate to feel fear and attraction towards something. This would make for a contradiction, for appropriate emotions are supposed to present things as they are. The problem, I argue, is that this line of thoughts forgets (...) that things can have positive and negative aspects: something can both be dangerous and attractive, for instance. (shrink)
Any study of the 'Scientific Revolution' and particularly Descartes' role in the debates surrounding the conception of nature (atoms and the void v. plenum theory, the role of mathematics and experiment in natural knowledge, the status and derivation of the laws of nature, the eternality and necessity of eternal truths, etc.) should be placed in the philosophical, scientific, theological, and sociological context of its time. Seventeenth-century debates concerning the nature of the eternal truths such as '2 + 2 = 4' (...) or the law of inertia turn on the question of whether these truths were created along with nature, or were uncreated and subsisting in God's mind. One's answer to that question has direct consequences for conceptions of the necessity/contingency of mathematical and natural knowledge, how knowledge of such truths is accomplished by humans, and what grounds these truths. In this paper, I review the positions of four successors to Descartes' philosophy on the question of the eternal truths to illustrate how in specific ways that question with its theological, metaphysical, modal, and epistemological dimensions concerned the objectivity and certainty of the discoveries of the new science. Author Recommends: Clarke, Desmond. Descartes' Philosophy of Science . University Park, Penn State Press, 1982. This work provides an account of Descartes as a practicing scientist whose rationalism is mitigated by reliance on experiment and experience. Author re-examines Descartes' philosophical and scientific works in this new light. Dear, Peter. Revolutionizing the Sciences: European Knowledge and its Ambitions, 1500–1700 . Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2001. This work provides a useful overview of the issues and thinkers of the Scientific Revolution. Of particular relevance is chapter 8 on Cartesian and Newtonian science. Funkenstein, Amos. Theology and the Scientific Imagination from the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century . Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1986. This work is an advanced study of the theological and metaphysical foundations of early modern science. Discussions include questions of God's nature, God's knowledge in relation to human knowledge, providence, the laws of nature, and the truths of mathematics. In particular, chapter 3 discusses Descartes' account of the eternal truths and divine omnipotence. Garber, Daniel. Descartes' Metaphysical Physics . Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1992. This work examines how Descartes' metaphysical doctrines of God, soul, and body set the groundwork for his physics. It includes a study of God and the grounds for the laws of physics (chapter 9). Henry, John. The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science . 3rd ed. New York, Palgrave, Macmillan Press, 2008. This work provides a brief, general, and informative overview of the Scientific Revolution, including the themes of method, magic, religion, and culture. Osler, Margaret J. Divine Will and the Mechanical Philosophy: Gassendi and Descartes on Contingency and Necessity in the Created World . Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1994. This work is an examination and comparison of the mechanical philosophies of Gassendi and Descartes. It offers in-depth discussion of the issue of voluntarism and intellectualism in the period and how that related to conceptions of laws of nature and the eternal truths. Shapin, Steven. The Scientific Revolution . Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1996. This work provides a critical synthesis of as well as a guide to recent scholarship in the history of science for a general readership. Online Materials Dr. Robert A. Hatch's Scientific Revolution Website: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/rhatch/pages/03-Sci-Rev/SCI-REV-Home/ A compendium of resources for the study of Scientific Revolution. Early English Books Online: http://eebo.chadwyck.com/home Early English Books Online (EEBO) contains digital facsimile page images of virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America and works in English printed elsewhere from 1473 to 1700. Early Modern Resources: http://www.earlymodernweb.org.uk/emr/ Early Modern Resources is a gateway for all those interested in finding electronic resources relating to the early modern period in history. Gallica, the Digital Library of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ An ever-growing digital library which includes numerous primary and secondary texts of relevance to Descartes and his role in Scientific Revolution. Hatfield, Gary, 'René Descartes', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Spring 2009 ed. Ed. Edward N. Zalta; URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2009/entries/descartes/ Slowik, Edward, 'Descartes' Physics', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Winter 2008 ed. Ed. Edward N. Zalta; URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2008/entries/descartes-physics/ Syllabus Sample Syllabus: Cartesian Science The following is five weeks covering Cartesian Science in a course on Descartes or the Scientific Revolution, or 17th-century theories of matter, or related themes on early modern truth and method, especially on the continent. This material is best suited to a graduate level audience, but it could be modified to suit an upper-division undergraduate course, as the readings are basically primary texts whose context and background can be explained in lectures. Week 1: Cartesian Revolution in France • Scientific method • Role of mathematics and experiment • Certainty of scientific knowledge Readings: Hatfield, Gary, 'René Descartes', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Spring 2009 ed. Ed. Edward N. Zalta; URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2009/entries/descartes/ Descartes, Discourse on Method , Parts 1–3 Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy , First Meditation. Week 2: Descartes' Scientific Treatises • Mechanization and mathematization of nature • Primary–secondary quality distinction Readings: Discourse on Method, Parts 4–6 Selections from Descartes' Scientific Essays: The World or Treatise on Light (ATXI 3–48); Treatise on Man (ATXI 119–202); Optics (ATVI 82–147). Slowik, Edward, 'Descartes' Physics', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Winter 2008 ed. Ed. Edward N. Zalta; URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2008/entries/descartes-physics/ Henry, John, 'The Mechanical Philosophy,' chapter 5. The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science . 3rd ed. Macmillan, 2008. Week 3: Descartes' Theory of Nature • Descartes' derivation of the law of conservation and the three laws of motion • God's role in the metaphysics and physics of nature Readings: Selections from Principles of Philosophy, Preface (all); Letter to Elizabeth; Part I: 1–8; Part II: 1–45, 55, 64; Part III: 1–4, 15–19, 45–47; Part IV: 187–207. John Henry, 'Religion and Science,' chapter 6. The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science . 3rd ed. Macmillan, 2008. Week 4: Post-1650 Cartesian Science: Necessity and Contingency in Nature • Debates on God, Creation, and Causes Readings: Easton, Patricia, 'What is at Stake in the Cartesian Debates on the Eternal Truths?' Philosophy Compass 4.2 (2009): 348–62. Malebranche, Nicolas, 'Elucidation 10', from The Search after Truth (1674). Note: All selections available in Nicolas Malebranche (1992). Philosophical Selections , edited by S. Nadler, Hackett. Gottfried Leibniz (1714) Monadology . Week 5: Causes in Nature and Morals • Theodicy as an explanation of defect and evil in a lawful universe: Malebranche v. Leibniz Readings: Nicolas Malebranche, Elucidation XVI (on occasionalism), and Treatise on Nature and Grace, Discourse One, Part 1. Gottfried Leibniz (1706), Theodicy. Focus Questions Weekly questions can be used to focus the readings. This can be done in a web or e-mail discussion thread, as a weekly assignment, or for in class discussion. I require students to post a short paragraph in response to the question or some posting by a classmate on the question. Students are required to post by 10 a.m. the day before we meet for class on a course website. Week 1: According to Descartes, what role does skepticism play in scientific reasoning? Week 2: Comment on the following: 'But I am supposing this machine to be made by the hands of God, and so I think you may reasonably think it capable of a greater variety of movements than I could possibly imagine in it, and of exhibiting more artistry than I could possibly ascribe to it' [ Treatise on Man ; ATXI 120]. Week 3: What is Descartes' conception of the relation between the metaphysics and physics of nature? Week 4: Critically discuss the positions of Descartes, Malebranche, and Leibniz on what provides the foundation for the certitude of natural knowledge? Week 5: Explain why both Malebranche and Leibniz consider moral sin to be analogous to natural defect? Seminar/Project Idea Hold a debate on the question of the status of the eternal truths. The proposition will be Descartes' position: 'Eternal truths must be both created and necessary if certainty in science is to be possible'. Format: 1. At the beginning of the 5-week module, students will be assigned to one of three roles: Team A, Team B, and judge's panel. Students will be given the debate proposition, but will not be told which team will take the affirmative and which team the negative until the time of the debate. 2. Recommend a variation on the Classic Debate Format to encourage the development of argument: sequence begins with affirmative construction (8 minutes), negative construction (8 minutes), second affirmative construction (8 minutes), second negative construction (8 minutes), first negative rebuttal (4 minutes), first affirmative rebuttal (4 minutes), final negative rebuttal (4 minutes) and final affirmative rebuttal (4 minutes). 3. Judges Panel: will consist of 3–4 judges who will assess the performance of Teams A and B. Judgment should be based on the persuasiveness of the team position. 4. Debate will be held at the end of the fifth week, or semester, whichever makes most sense given the course length and structure. Acknowledgements The author gratefully acknowledges the immensely helpful comments and suggestions by the participants in her graduate seminar on the Scientific Revolution: Benjamin Chicka, Sarah Jacques-Ross, Richard Ross, Marcella Stockstill, and Zohra Wolters. (shrink)
Gray zones, which develop wherever oppression is severe and lasting, are inhabited by victims of evil who become complicit in perpetrating on others the evils that threaten to engulf themselves. Women, who have inhabited many gray zones, present challenges for feminist theorists, who have long struggled with how resistance is possible under coercive institutions. Building on Primo Levi's reflections on the gray zone in Nazi death camps and ghettos, this essay argues that resistance is sometimes possible, although outsiders are rarely, (...) if ever, in a position to judge when. It also raises questions about the adequacy of ordinary moral concepts to mark the distinctions that would be helpful for thinking about how to respond in a gray zone. (shrink)
For the last 100 years historians have denigrated the psychology of the Critique of Pure Reason. In opposition, Patricia Kitcher argues that we can only understand the deduction of the categories in terms of Kant's attempt to fathom the psychological prerequisites of thought, and that this investigation illuminates thinking itself. Kant tried to understand the "task environment" of knowledge and thought: Given the data we acquire and the scientific generalizations we make, what basic cognitive capacities are necessary to perform (...) these feats? What do these capacities imply about the inevitable structure of our knowledge? Kitcher specifically considers Kant's claims about the unity of the thinking self; the spatial forms of human perceptions; the relations among mental states necessary for them to have content; the relations between perceptions and judgment; the malleability essential to empirical concepts; the structure of empirical concepts required for inductive inference; and the limits of philosophical insight into psychological processes. (shrink)
Fox, Patricia Any study of recent publications, the statistics from diocesan websites and the litanies of anecdotal evidence reveals that the Church in Australia is at present being confronted by some very serious pastoral realities.1 In the face of this, I want to suggest that Vatican II's teaching on the call to holiness can open new pathways for the church by offering a significant challenge to the still widespread assumption among Catholics that God's call belongs only to a select (...) few. I want to propose that a restored and renewed theology of vocation needs to be a crucial element within the church's response to the serious pastoral situations confronting us. I will begin with the teaching on the call to holiness in Lumen Gentium, trace some developments towards a renewed pneumatology and theology of vocation that occurred in the wake of the conciliar teaching on holiness, and then consider briefly the creative impact of this on a theology of ministry and ministerial practice. I want to argue that there is an urgent pastoral necessity in this country for the leadership of the church, universal and local, to receive and enact the church's teaching on being called and sent. (shrink)
Merleau-Ponty's reference to "a past which has never been present" at the end of "Le sentir" challenges the typical framework of the Phenomenology of Perception, with its primacy of perception and bodily field of presence. In light of this "original past," I propose a re-reading of the prepersonal as ground of perception that precedes the dichotomies of subject-object and activity-passivity. Merleau-Ponty searches in the Phenomenology for language to describe this ground, borrowing from multiple registers (notably Bergson, but also Husserl). This (...) "sensory life" is a coexistence of sensing and sensible—bodily and worldly—rhythms. Perception is, then, not a natural given, but a temporal process of synchronization between rhythms. By drawing on Bergson, this can be described as a process in which virtual life is actualized into perceiving subject and object perceived. Significantly, this process involves non-coincidence or delay whereby sensory life is always already past for perception. (shrink)
Within the domain of philosophy, it is not unusual to hear the claim that most questions about the nature of consciousness are essentially and absolutely beyond the scope of science, no matter how science may develop in the twenty-first century. Some things, it is pointed out, we shall never _ever_ understand, and consciousness is one of them (Vendler 1994, Swinburne 1994, McGinn 1989, Nagel 1994, Warner 1994). One line of reasoning assumes that consciousness is the manifestation of a distinctly nonphysical (...) thing, and hence has no physical properties that might be explored by techniques suitable to physical things. Dualism, as this view is known, is still to be found among those within the tradition of Kant and Hegel, as well as among some with religious convictions. Surprisingly, however, strenuous foot-dragging is evident even among philosophers of a materialist conviction. Indeed, one might say that it is the philosophical fashion of the 90's to pronounce consciousness unexplainable, and to find the explanatory aspirations of neurobiology to be faintly comic if not rather pitiful. The very word, "reductionism" has come to be used more or less synonymously with "benighted-scientism-run-amok", where scientistm apparently means "applying scientific techniques to domains where they are inapplicable." McGinn, perhaps the most unblushing of the naysayers, insists that we cannot expect even to make any headway on the problem. (p. 114) Ironically perhaps, here we are at a conference in honor of Dr. Herbert Jasper who was a great pioneer in moving neuroscience forward on this problem, and where results will be presented allegedly _showing_ additional progress on the problem. Because I am quite optimistic about future scientific progress on the nature of consciousness, my aim here, as a philosopher, is to address the most popular and influential of the skeptical arguments, and to explain why I find them unconvincing. Thus the overall form of the paper is negative, in the sense that I want to show why a set of naysaying arguments fail. (shrink)
Better Never to Have Been argues for a number of related, highly provocative, views: (1) Coming into existence is always a serious harm. (2) It is always wrong to have children. (3) It is wrong not to abort fetuses at the earlier stages of gestation. (4) It would be better if, as a result of there being no new people, humanity became extinct. These views may sound unbelievable--but anyone who reads Benatar will be obliged to take them seriously.
Moral absolutes have little or no moral standing in our morally diverse modern society. Moral relativism is far more palatable for most ethicists and to the public at large. Yet, when pressed, every moral relativist will finally admit that there are some things which ought never be done. It is the rarest of moral relativists that will take rape, murder, theft, child sacrifice as morally neutral choices. In general ethics, the list of those things that must never be done will (...) vary from person to person. In clinical ethics, however, the nature of the physician–patient relationship is such that certain moral absolutes are essential to the attainment of the good of the patient – the end of the relationship itself. These are all derivatives of the first moral absolute of all morality: Do good and avoid evil. In the clinical encounter, this absolute entails several subsidiary absolutes – act for the good of the patient, do not kill, keep promises, protect the dignity of the patient, do not lie, avoid complicity with evil. Each absolute is intrinsic to the healing and helping ends of the clinical encounter. (shrink)
In Better Never to Have Been, David Benatar argues that existence is always a harm (Benatar 2006, pp. 18--59). His argument, in brief, is that this follows from a theory of personal good which we ought to accept because it best explains several 'asymmetries'. I shall argue here (a) that Benatar's theory suffers from a defect which was already widely known to afflict similar theories, and (b) that the main asymmetry he discusses is better explained in a way which allows (...) that existence is often not a harm. (shrink)
David Benatar argues that being brought into existence is always a net harm and never a benefit. I disagree. I argue that if you bring someone into existence who lives a life worth living (LWL), then you have not all things considered wronged her. Lives are worth living if they are high in various objective goods and low in objective bads. These lives constitute a net benefit. In contrast, lives worth avoiding (LWA) constitute a net harm. Lives worth avoiding are (...) net high in objective bads and low in objective goods. It is the prospect of a LWA that gives us good reason to not bring someone into existence. Happily, many lives are not worth avoiding. Contra Benatar, many are indeed worth living. Even if we grant Benatar his controversial asymmetry thesis, we have no reason to think that coming into existence is always a net harm. (shrink)
This is about the rights and wrongs of bringing people into existence. In a nutshell: sometimes what matters is not what would have happened to you, but what would have happened to the person who would have been in your position, even if that person never actually exists.
Like many people, I was initially attracted to free will issues – at first embracing hard determinism, as part of a general rejection of doctrines associated with religion, though exposure to Kant’s views in my first philosophy course made me begin to consider nonreligious grounds for an indeterminist conception of free action. Of course, Kant also takes belief in God and immortality as presupposed by moral agency, but I was never much moved by those arguments. On free will, though, I (...) thought seeing my acts as determined would give me a reason to expend less effort on them. (shrink)
Law students are usually told that the purpose of damages is to make it as if a wrong had never happened.3 Although torts professors are good at explaining this idea to their students, it is the source of much academic perplexity. Money cannot really make serious losses go away, and it seems a cruel joke to say that money can make an injured person “whole.” Worse still, if money could make an injured person whole, injuring someone and then paying them (...) seems just as good as not injuring them at all. (shrink)
Ford’s <span class='Hi'>Helen</span> <span class='Hi'>Keller</span> Was Never in a Chinese Room claims that my argument in How <span class='Hi'>Helen</span> <span class='Hi'>Keller</span> Used Syntactic Semantics to Escape from a Chinese Room fails because Searle and I use the terms ‘syntax’ and ‘semantics’ differently, hence are at cross purposes. Ford has misunderstood me; this reply clarifies my theory.
This paper will directly tackle the question of Benatar’s asymmetry at the heart of his book Better Never to have Been and provide a critique based on some of the logical consequences that result from the proposition that every potential life can only be understood in terms of the pain that person would experience if she or he was born. The decision only to evaluate future pain avoided and not pleasure denied for potential people means that we should view each (...) birth as an unmitigated tragedy. The result is that someone who seeks to maximize utility could easily justify immense suffering for current people in order to prevent the births of potential people. This paper offers an alternative framework for evaluating the creation of people that addresses Benatar’s asymmetry without overvaluing the potential suffering of potential people. (shrink)
This Companion makes a new departure in Hobbes scholarship, addressing a philosopher whose impact was as great on Continental European theories of state and legal systems as it was at home. This volume is a systematic attempt to incorporate work from both the Anglophone and Continental traditions, bringing together newly commissioned work by scholars from ten different countries in a topic-by-topic sequence of essays that follows the structure of Leviathan, re-examining the relationship among Hobbes’s physics, metaphysics, politics, psychology, and religion. (...) Collectively they showcase important revisionist scholarship that re-examines both the context for Leviathan and its reception, demonstrating the degree to which Hobbes was indebted to the long tradition of European humanist thought. This Cambridge Companion shows that Hobbes’s legacy was never lost and that he belongs to a tradition of reflection on political theory and governance that is still alive, both in Europe and in the diaspora. (shrink)
This is a philosophical investigation of the linguistic strategy of Chinese Chan Buddhism. First, it examines the underlying structure of Chan communication, which determines the Chan pragmatics of 'never tell too plainly'. The examination of the structural features of Chan communication reveals what the Chan 'special transmission' means. The Chan definition of communication is very different from the Aristotelian conception of communication in the West. The Aristotelian hierarchy of speaker over listener, or the direct over indirect, is absent is Chan (...) communication. Communication in the Chan context is interactive, open-ended and determined by its existentio-practical concern. Second, this essay investigates the different types of the Chan strategies of indirect communication, such as the use of paradoxical, tautological and poetic language, which best demonstrate the principle of 'never tell too plainly'. The whole study indicates that Chan Buddhism provides the resources for our contemporary inquiry into the issue of indirect communication. (shrink)
Even though Husserl and Brouwer have never discussed each other's work, ideas from Husserl have been used to justify Brouwer's intuitionistic logic. I claim that a Husserlian reading of Brouwer can also serve to justify the existence of choice sequences as objects of pure mathematics. An outline of such a reading is given, and some objections are discussed.
In Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence, I argued that coming into existence is always a harm and that procreation is wrong. In this paper, I respond to those of my critics to whom I have not previously responded. More specifically, I engage the objections of Tim Bayne, Ben Bradley, Campbell Brown, David DeGrazia, Elizabeth Harman, Chris Kaposy, Joseph Packer and Saul Smilansky.
The recent Supreme Court decision upholding Roe v. Wade and in particular, the dissent by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, sheds new light on the issue of abortion. Let us consider any stage of a pregnancy when abortion is medically safe for the mother. If at that stage it is also medically viable to save the fetus, is an abortion performed at that stage of pregnancy morally justifiable? For example, if it is, or becomes, medically safe to perform abortions after first (...) trimester of pregnancy and at the same time saving a fetus is, or becomes, medically viable or not unusual during some stage of the second trimester, can abortions during and after that stage of pregnancy be justified? With a number of qualifications I shall argue the thesis that as a general rule, but not an absolute rule, abortion in these instances is not usually justifiable. For if it is, then one will also have to grant the moral justification for a number of other highly questionable medical practices. This thesis is not to be identified with the stronger claim that abortions of viable fetuses can never be performed. There are surely exceptions such as when the life or health of the mother is in danger. But, I shall argue, the justification for making such exceptions is on different grounds than is sometimes claimed because one must weigh the health of the mother against the life of another human being. (shrink)