Abortion and Ownership

The Journal of Ethics 17 (4):275-304 (2013)
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I explore two thought-experiments in Judith Jarvis Thomson’s important article, “A Defense of Abortion”: the violinist example and the people-seeds example. I argue (contra Thomson) that you have a moral duty not to unplug yourself from the violinist and also a moral duty not to destroy a people-seed that has landed in your sofa. Nevertheless, I also argue that there are crucial differences between the thought-experiments and the contexts of pregnancy due to rape or to contraceptive failure. In virtue of these differences, it would not follow from my conclusions about the violinist and people-seeds cases that abortion would not be permissible in a case of rape or in a case of voluntary intercourse with contraceptive failure



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John Fischer
University of California, Riverside

Citations of this work

Abortion and Ectogenesis: Moral Compromise.William Simkulet - 2020 - Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (2):93-98.
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A steady diet of strange, exotic, or downright bizarre examples.Rebecca Bachmann - 2022 - Zeitschrift für Praktische Philosophie 8 (2):295-322.

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References found in this work

Famine, Affluence, and Morality.Peter Singer - 1972 - Oxford University Press USA.
Famine, Affluence, and Morality.Peter Singer - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (3):229-243.
A Defense of Abortion.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1971 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (1):47-66.
A Defense of Abortion.David Boonin - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
Famine, Affluence, and Morality.Peter Singer - 1985 - In Lawrence A. Alexander (ed.), International Ethics: A Philosophy and Public Affairs Reader. Princeton University Press. pp. 247-262.

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