Abortion and deprivation: a reply to Marquis

Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (1):22-25 (2019)
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In ‘Why Abortion is Immoral’, Don Marquis argues that abortion is wrong for the same reason that murder is wrong, namely, that it deprives a human being of an FLO, a ‘future like ours,’ which is a future full of value and the experience of life. Marquis’ argument rests on the assumption that the human being is somehow deprived by suffering an early death. I argue that Marquis’ argument faces the ‘Epicurean Challenge’. The concept of ‘deprivation’ requires that some discernible individual exists who can be deprived. But if death involves total annihilation, then no discernible individual exists to be so deprived. I argue that the Epicurean Challenge must be addressed before it can be proven that Marquis is correct to claim that abortion and murder are wrong because they deprive someone of an FLO.



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Anna B. Christensen
Central College

References found in this work

Why Abortion is Immoral.Don Marquis - 1989 - Journal of Philosophy 86 (4):183-202.
Death.Thomas Nagel - 1970 - Noûs 4 (1):73-80.
The Evil of Death.Harry S. Silverstein - 1980 - Journal of Philosophy 77 (7):401-424.
How to Be Dead and Not Care: A Defense of Epicurus.Stephen E. Rosenbaum - 1986 - American Philosophical Quarterly 23 (2):217 - 225.

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