A dualist analysis of abortion: personhood and the concept of self qua experiential subject

Journal of Medical Ethics 31 (1):48-55 (2005)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

There is no issue more central to the abortion debate than the controversial issue of whether the fetus is a moral person. Abortion-rights opponents almost universally claim that abortion is murder and should be legally prohibited because the fetus is a moral person at the moment of conception. Abortion-rights proponents almost universally deny the crucial assumption that the fetus is a person; on their view, whatever moral disvalue abortion involves does not rise to the level of murder and hence does not rise to the level of something that should be legally prohibited.In this essay, I argue that, under dualist assumptions about the nature of mind, the fetus is not a person until brain activity has begun.i First, I argue it is a necessary condition for a thing to be a moral person that it is a self. Second, I argue it is a necessary condition for a fetus to be a self, under dualist assumptions, that there has been some electrical activity in the brain. I conclude that a dualist can take the position that abortion ought to be legally permitted at least until the beginning of brain activity in the fetus

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 89,718

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

What is being qua being?Allan Bäck - 2004 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 82 (1):37-58.
Interpersonal recognition: A response to value or a precondition of personhood?Arto Laitinen - 2002 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 45 (4):463 – 478.
Neuroscience and Personhood.Dan Ernst - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 5:5-12.
Doubts about a Classic Defence of Abortion.Jo Difford - 2011 - Human Reproduction and Genetic Ethics 17 (1):122-129.
The Latin Avicenna and Aquinas on the Relationship between God and the Subject of Metaphysics.Peter Furlong - 2009 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 83:129-140.

Analytics

Added to PP
2010-08-24

Downloads
53 (#265,353)

6 months
1 (#1,018,209)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

Abortion.Jonathan Lewis & Søren Holm - 2023 - In M. Sellers & S. Kirste (eds.), Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 1-8.
Of souls, selves, and cerebrums: a reply to Himma.F. J. Beckwith - 2005 - Journal of Medical Ethics 31 (1):56-60.

Add more citations