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Bruce P. Blackshaw [23]Bruce Philip Blackshaw [11]
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Bruce P. Blackshaw
University of Birmingham
  1. Questionable Benefits and Unavoidable Personal Beliefs: Defending Conscientious Objection for Abortion.Bruce Philip Blackshaw & Daniel Rodger - 2020 - Journal of Medical Ethics 3 (46):178-182.
    Conscientious objection in healthcare has come under heavy criticism on two grounds recently, particularly regarding abortion provision. First, critics claim conscientious objection involves a refusal to provide a legal and beneficial procedure requested by a patient, denying them access to healthcare. Second, they argue the exercise of conscientious objection is based on unverifiable personal beliefs. These characteristics, it is claimed, disqualify conscientious objection in healthcare. Here, we defend conscientious objection in the context of abortion provision. We show that abortion has (...)
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  2. The Problem of Spontaneous Abortion: Is the Pro-Life Position Morally Monstrous?Bruce P. Blackshaw & Daniel Rodger - 2019 - The New Bioethics 25 (2):103-120.
    A substantial proportion of human embryos spontaneously abort soon after conception, and ethicists have argued this is problematic for the pro-life view that a human embryo has the same moral status as an adult from conception. Firstly, if human embryos are our moral equals, this entails spontaneous abortion is one of humanity’s most important problems, and it is claimed this is absurd, and a reductio of the moral status claim. Secondly, it is claimed that pro-life advocates do not act as (...)
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  3.  55
    Parental Responsibilities and Moral Status.Bruce Philip Blackshaw & Daniel Rodger - 2020 - Journal of Medical Ethics 47 (3):187-188.
    Prabhpal Singh has recently defended a relational account of the difference in moral status between fetuses and newborns as a way of explaining why abortion is permissible and infanticide is not. He claims that only a newborn can stand in a parent–child relation, not a fetus, and this relation has a moral dimension that bestows moral value. We challenge Singh’s reasoning, arguing that the case he presents is unconvincing. We suggest that the parent–child relation is better understood as an extension (...)
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  4. Gestaticide: Killing the Subject of the Artificial Womb.Daniel Rodger, Nicholas Colgrove & Bruce P. Blackshaw - forthcoming - Journal of Medical Ethics.
    The rapid development of artificial womb technologies means that we must consider if and when it is permissible to kill the human subject of ectogestation—recently termed a ‘gestateling’ by Elizabeth Chloe Romanis—prior to ‘birth’. We describe the act of deliberately killing the gestateling as gestaticide, and argue that there are good reasons to maintain that gestaticide is morally equivalent to infanticide, which we consider to be morally impermissible. First, we argue that gestaticide is harder to justify than abortion, primarily because (...)
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  5. Fine-Tuning the Impairment Argument.Bruce P. Blackshaw & Perry Hendricks - 2020 - Journal of Medical Ethics 1:medethics-2020-106904.
    Perry Hendricks’ original impairment argument for the immorality of abortion is based on the impairment principle (TIP): if impairing an organism to some degree is immoral, then ceteris paribus, impairing it to a higher degree is also immoral. Since abortion impairs a fetus to a higher degree than fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and giving a fetus FAS is immoral, it follows that abortion is immoral. Critics have argued that the ceteris paribus is not met for FAS and abortion, and so (...)
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  6. Strengthening the Impairment Argument Against Abortion.Bruce Philip Blackshaw & Perry Hendricks - 2020 - Journal of Medical Ethics 1 (Online):medethics-2020-106153.
    Perry Hendricks’ impairment argument for the immorality of abortion is based on two premises: first, impairing a fetus with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is immoral, and second, if impairing an organism to some degree is immoral, then ceteris paribus, impairing it to a higher degree is also immoral. He calls this the impairment principle (TIP). Since abortion impairs a fetus to a higher degree than FAS, it follows from these two premises that abortion is immoral. Critics have focussed on the (...)
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  7.  43
    Ectogenesis and the Case Against the Right to the Death of the Foetus.Bruce P. Blackshaw & Daniel Rodger - 2019 - Bioethics 33 (1):76-81.
    Ectogenesis, or the use of an artificial womb to allow a foetus to develop, will likely become a reality within a few decades, and could significantly affect the abortion debate. We first examine the implications for Judith Jarvis Thomson’s violinist analogy, which argues for a woman’s right to withdraw life support from the foetus and so terminate her pregnancy, even if the foetus is granted full moral status. We show that on Thomson’s reasoning, there is no right to the death (...)
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  8. Frozen Embryos and The Obligation to Adopt.Bruce P. Blackshaw & Nicholas Colgrove - 2020 - Bioethics (8):1-5.
    Rob Lovering has developed an interesting new critique of views that regard embryos as equally valuable as other human beings: the moral argument for frozen human embryo adoption. The argument is aimed at those who believe that the death of a frozen embryo is a very bad thing, and Lovering concludes that some who hold this view ought to prevent one of these deaths by adopting and gestating a frozen embryo. Contra Lovering, we show that there are far more effective (...)
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  9.  57
    The Impairment Argument for the Immorality of Abortion: A Reply.Bruce P. Blackshaw - 2019 - Bioethics 33 (6):723-724.
    In his recent article Perry Hendricks presents what he calls the impairment argument to show that abortion is immoral. To do so, he argues that to give a fetus fetal alcohol syndrome is immoral. Because killing the fetus impairs it more than giving it fetal alcohol syndrome, Hendricks concludes that killing the fetus must also be immoral. Here, I claim that killing a fetus does not impair it in the way that giving it fetal alcohol syndrome does. By examining the (...)
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  10. Hormone Replacement Therapy: Informed Consent Without Assessment?Toni C. Saad, Bruce Philip Blackshaw & Daniel Rodger - 2019 - Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (12):1-2.
    Florence Ashley has argued that requiring patients with gender dysphoria to undergo an assessment and referral from a mental health professional before undergoing hormone replacement therapy is unethical and may represent an unconscious hostility towards transgender people. We respond, first, by showing that Ashley has conflated the self-reporting of symptoms with self-diagnosis, and that this is not consistent with the standard model of informed consent to medical treatment. Second, we note that the model of informed consent involved in cosmetic surgery (...)
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  11.  26
    The Ethics of Killing: Strengthening the Substance View with Time-Relative Interests.Bruce P. Blackshaw - 2019 - The New Bioethics (Online):1-17.
    The substance view is an account of personhood that regards all human beings as possessing instrinsic value and moral status equivalent to that of an adult human being. Consequently, substance view proponents typically regard abortion as impermissible in most circumstances. The substance view, however, has difficulty accounting for certain intuitions regarding the badness of death for embryos and fetuses, and the wrongness of killing them. Jeff McMahan’s time-relative interest account is designed to cater for such intuitions, and so I present (...)
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  12.  66
    Meeting the Epicurean Challenge: A Reply to Christensen.Bruce P. Blackshaw & Daniel Rodger - 2019 - Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (7):478-479.
    In ’Abortion and deprivation: a reply to Marquis’, Anna Christensen contends that Don Marquis’ influential ’future like ours’ argument for the immorality of abortion faces a significant challenge from the Epicurean claim that human beings cannot be harmed by their death. If deprivation requires a subject, then abortion cannot deprive a fetus of a future of value, as no individual exists to be deprived once death has occurred. However, the Epicurean account also implies that the wrongness of murder is also (...)
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  13. Beyond Infanticide: How Psychological Accounts of Persons Can Justify Harming Infants.Daniel Rodger, Bruce P. Blackshaw & Calum Miller - 2018 - The New Bioethics 24 (2):106-121.
    It is commonly argued that a serious right to life is grounded only in actual, relatively advanced psychological capacities a being has acquired. The moral permissibility of abortion is frequently argued for on these grounds. Increasingly it is being argued that such accounts also entail the permissibility of infanticide, with several proponents of these theories accepting this consequence. We show, however, that these accounts imply the permissibility of even more unpalatable acts than infanticide performed on infants: organ harvesting, live experimentation, (...)
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  14.  37
    The Impairment Argument for the Immorality of Abortion Revisited.Bruce P. Blackshaw - 2019 - Bioethics (Online):211-213.
    Perry Hendricks has recently presented the impairment argument for the immorality of abortion, to which I responded and he has now replied. The argument is based on the premise that impairing a fetus with fetal alcohol syndrome is immoral, and on the principle that if impairing an organism is immoral, impairing it to a higher degree is also—the impairment principle. If abortion impairs a fetus to a higher degree, then this principle entails abortion is immoral. In my reply, I argued (...)
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  15.  19
    No Conscientious Objection Without Normative Justification: A Reply.Bruce P. Blackshaw - 2019 - Bioethics 33 (4):522-523.
    Benjamin Zolf, in his recent paper ‘No conscientious objection without normative justification: Against conscientious objection in medicine’, attempts to establish that in order to rule out arbitrary conscientious objections, a reasonability constraint is necessary. This, he contends, requires normative justification, and the subjective beliefs that ground conscientious objections cannot easily be judged by normative criteria. Zolf shows that the alternative of using extrinsic criteria, such as requiring that unjustified harm must not be caused, are likewise grounded on normative criteria. He (...)
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  16.  53
    Why Arguments Against Infanticide Remain Convincing: A Reply to Räsänen.Daniel Rodger, Bruce P. Blackshaw & Clinton Wilcox - 2018 - Bioethics 32 (3):215-219.
    In ‘Pro-life arguments against infanticide and why they are not convincing’ Joona Räsänen argues that Christopher Kaczor's objections to Giubilini and Minerva's position on infanticide are not persuasive. We argue that Räsänen's criticism is largely misplaced, and that he has not engaged with Kaczor's strongest arguments against infanticide. We reply to each of Räsänen's criticisms, drawing on the full range of Kaczor's arguments, as well as adding some of our own.
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  17.  31
    Civil Dialogue on Abortion. [REVIEW]Bruce Philip Blackshaw - 2019 - The New Bioethics 25 (4):377-380.
    Volume 25, Issue 4, December 2019, Page 377-380.
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  18.  30
    Defining Life From Death: Problems with the Somatic Integration Definition of Life.Bruce P. Blackshaw & Daniel Rodger - 2020 - Bioethics (5):1-5.
    To determine when the life of a human organism begins, Mark T. Brown has developed the somatic integration definition of life. Derived from diagnostic criteria for human death, Brown’s account requires the presence of a life‐regulation internal control system for an entity to be considered a living organism. According to Brown, the earliest point at which a developing human could satisfy this requirement is at the beginning of the fetal stage, and so the embryo is not regarded as a living (...)
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  19.  34
    Does the Identity Objection to the Future‐Like‐Ours Argument Succeed?Bruce P. Blackshaw - 2019 - Bioethics 34 (2):203-206.
    Eric Vogelstein has defended Don Marquis’ ‘future-like-ours’ argument for the immorality of abortion against what is known as the Identity Objection, which contends that for a fetus to have a future like ours, it must be numerically identical to an entity like us that possesses valuable experiences some time in the future. On psychological accounts of personal identity, there is no identity relationship between the fetus and the entity with valuable experiences that it will become. Vogelstein maintains that a non‐sentient (...)
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  20. Genetic Selective Abortion: Still a Matter of Choice.Bruce P. Blackshaw - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (2):445-455.
    Jeremy Williams has argued that if we are committed to a liberal pro-choice stance with regard to selective abortion for disability, we will be unable to justify the prohibition of sex selective abortion. Here, I apply his reasoning to selective abortion based on other traits pregnant women may decide are undesirable. These include susceptibility to disease, level of intelligence, physical appearance, sexual orientation, religious belief and criminality—in fact any traits attributable to some degree to a genetic component. Firstly, I review (...)
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  21. Is Pregnancy Really a Good Samaritan Act?Bruce P. Blackshaw - forthcoming - Christian Bioethics.
    One of the most influential philosophical arguments in favour of the permissibility of abortion is Judith Jarvis Thomson’s violinist analogy, presented in ‘A Defense of Abortion’. Its appeal for pro-choice advocates lies in Thomson’s granting that the fetus is a person with equivalent moral status to any other human being, and yet demonstrating—to those who accept her reasoning—that abortion is still permissible. In her argument, Thomson draws heavily on the parable of the Good Samaritan, arguing that gestating a fetus in (...)
     
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  22.  7
    Legal Punishment, Abortion and the Substance View.Bruce P. Blackshaw - 2019 - The New Bioethics (3):1-3.
    A response to Henrik Friberg-Fernros' commentary on ‘The Ethics of Killing: Strengthening the Substance View with Time-relative Interests’.
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  23.  3
    Legal Punishment, Abortion and the Substance View.Bruce P. Blackshaw - 2019 - The New Bioethics 26 (3):275-277.
    A response to Henrik Friberg-Fernros' commentary on ‘The Ethics of Killing: Strengthening the Substance View with Time-relative Interests’.
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  24. Schrödinger’s Fetus Examined.Bruce P. Blackshaw - 2019 - Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy:1-3.
    Joona Räsänen has proposed a concept he calls Schrödinger’s Fetus as a solution to reconciling what he believes are two widely held but contradictory intuitions. I show that Elizabeth Harman’s Actual Future Principle, upon which Schrödinger’s Fetus is based, uses a more convincing account of personhood. I also argue that both Räsänen and Harman, by embracing animalism, weaken their arguments by allowing Don Marquis’ ‘future like ours’ argument for the immorality of abortion into the frame.
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  25.  11
    Book Review. Untangling Twinning: What Science Tells Us About the Nature of Human Embryos. [REVIEW]Bruce Philip Blackshaw - 2021 - The New Bioethics 1:1-3.
    In their previous book,1 Samuel and Maureen Condic provided a comprehensive defence of the position that a human being's life begins at fertilisation. They briefly addressed the twinning argument,...
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  26. Untangling Twinning: What Science Tells Us About the Nature of Human Embryos.Bruce Philip Blackshaw - forthcoming - The New Bioethics:1-3.
    In their previous book,1 Samuel and Maureen Condic provided a comprehensive defence of the position that a human being's life begins at fertilisation. They briefly addressed the twinning argument,...
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  27.  62
    Why a Right to Life Rules Out Infanticide: A Final Reply to Räsänen.Bruce P. Blackshaw & Daniel Rodger - 2019 - Bioethics 33 (8):965-967.
    Joona Räsänen has argued that pro‐life arguments against the permissibility of infanticide are not persuasive, and fail to show it to be immoral. We responded to Räsänen’s arguments, concluding that his critique of pro‐life arguments was misplaced. Räsänen has recently replied in ‘Why pro‐life arguments still are not convincing: A reply to my critics’, providing some additional arguments as to why he does not find pro‐life arguments against infanticide convincing. Here, we respond briefly to Räsänen’s critique of the substance view, (...)
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  28. Prolife Hypocrisy: Why Inconsistency Arguments Do Not Matter.Nicholas Colgrove, Bruce Philip Blackshaw & Daniel Rodger - 2020 - Journal of Medical Ethics (Online First):1-6.
    Opponents of abortion are often described as ‘inconsistent’ (hypocrites) in terms of their beliefs, actions and/or priorities. They are alleged to do too little to combat spontaneous abortion, they should be adopting cryopreserved embryos with greater frequency and so on. These types of arguments—which we call ‘inconsistency arguments’—conform to a common pattern. Each specifies what consistent opponents of abortion would do (or believe), asserts that they fail to act (or believe) accordingly and concludes that they are inconsistent. Here, we show (...)
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  29. An Introduction to Ethical Theory for Healthcare Assistants.Daniel Rodger & Bruce P. Blackshaw - 2017 - British Journal of Healthcare Assistants 11 (11):556-561.
    This article will explore and summarise the four main ethical theories that have relevance for healthcare assistants. These are utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics, and principlism. Understanding different ethical theories can have a number of significant benefits, which have the potential to shape and inform the care of patients, challenge bad practice and lead staff to become better informed about areas of moral disagreement.
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  30. Quotas: Enabling Conscientious Objection to Coexist with Abortion Access.Daniel Rodger & Bruce P. Blackshaw - 2020 - Health Care Analysis 29 (2):154-169.
    The debate regarding the role of conscientious objection in healthcare has been protracted, with increasing demands for curbs on conscientious objection. There is a growing body of evidence that indicates that in some cases, high rates of conscientious objection can affect access to legal medical services such as abortion—a major concern of critics of conscientious objection. Moreover, few solutions have been put forward that aim to satisfy both this concern and that of defenders of conscientious objection—being expected to participate in (...)
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  31. Using Animal-Derived Constituents in Anaesthesia and Surgery: The Case for Disclosing to Patients.Daniel Rodger & Bruce P. Blackshaw - 2019 - BMC Medical Ethics 20 (1):1-9.
    Animal-derived constituents are frequently used in anaesthesia and surgery, and patients are seldom informed of this. This is problematic for a growing minority of patients who may have religious or secular concerns about their use in their care. It is not currently common practice to inform patients about the use of animal-derived constituents, yet what little empirical data does exist indicates that many patients want the opportunity to give their informed consent. First, we review the nature and scale of the (...)
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  32. Responding to Objections to Gatekeeping for Hormone Replacement Therapy.Toni C. Saad, Daniel Rodger & Bruce Philip Blackshaw - 2019 - Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (12):828-829.
    Florence Ashley has responded to our response to ‘Gatekeeping hormone replacement therapy for transgender patients is dehumanising.’ Ashley criticises some of our objections to their view that patients seeking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for gender dysphoria should not have to undergo a prior psychological assessment. Here we clarify our objections, most importantly that concerning the parity between cosmetic surgery and the sort of intervention Ashley has in mind. Firstly, we show Ashley’s criticism of our comparison is insubstantial. We then examine (...)
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