Abortion and the Argument from Potential: What We Owe to the Ones Who Might Exist

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 37 (1):49-59 (2012)
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Next SectionI challenge the idea that the argument from potential (AFP) represents a valid moral objection to abortion. I consider the form of AFP that was defended by Hare, which holds that abortion is against the interests of the potential person who is prevented from existing. My reply is that AFP, though not unsound by itself, does not apply to the issue of abortion. The reason is that AFP only works in the cases of so-called same number and same people choices, but it falsely presupposes that abortion is such a kind of choice. This refutation of AFP implies that (1) abortion is not only morally permissible but sometimes even morally mandatory and (2) abortion is morally permissible even when the potential person’s life is foreseen to be worth living


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Author's Profile

Alberto Giubilini
Università degli Studi di Milano (PhD)

References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
The Value of Life.John Harris - 1985 - Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Abortion and the golden rule.R. M. Hare - 1975 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 4 (3):201-222.
A Kantian Approach to Abortion.R. M. Hare - 1989 - Social Theory and Practice 15 (1):1-14.

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