A Cool Hand on My Feverish Forehead: An Even Better Samaritan and the Ethics of Abortion

Philosophy Study 2 (2):115-123 (2012)
The debate concerning abortion abounds in miraculous narratives. Judith Jarvis Thomson has contrived the most celebrated set among related ones, to wit the “violinist analogy,” the “Good Samaritan” narrative, and the “Henry Fonda” allegory, by virtue of which, she intends, on the one hand, to argue that women’s right to autonomy outweighs the alleged fetus’s right to life, and on the other, to prove that no positive moral duties can be derived towards other persons alone from the fact that a moral agent is ascribed certain rights. What this short paper endeavors to prove is that Thomson’s argumentation by analogy is a weak one, since neither the number nor the relevance of similarities invoked is adequate or satisfactory, while crucial parameters concerning the morality of abortion are being totally overlooked.
Keywords abortion, fetus, rape, violinist analogy, Good Samaritan, duty, right, morality
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Abortion, Society, and the Law.David F. Walbert - 1973 - Cleveland [Ohio]Press of Case Western Reserve University.
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