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Are we talking past each other on abortion? What is your understanding of the issues?

Simply state what you think are the underlying arguments in the abortion debate.

Tags: abortion, abortion ad nauseum

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3) Is there equivilence between human being and person?

No. These are descriptions of two types of being. As stated earlier, a human being is a member of the species Homo sapiens, whereas a person is a self-conscious or rational being. Neither is dependent upon the other. A human being can lack personhood, and a person can be a being other than a human being.
I disagree I improve on the latent or nature argument some conservative philosophers use but I'm in a bind I cannot go into how I get there as I'm talking it over with someone who I hope to act as a informal supervisor. What I could do is discuss the overall flaws of using personal identity to ground identity concerning memory and psychological continuity. BTW are you one of those who think he was never a foetus?
...but I'm in a bind I cannot go into how I get there...

No worries.

What I could do is discuss the overall flaws of using personal identity to ground identity concerning memory and psychological continuity.

I'm cool with that. It's been a while for me, so I may be a tad rusty.

BTW are you one of those who think he was never a foetus?

Yes. The body was once a foetus, but not I. There was no "I" at that time.
Yes. The body was once a foetus, but not I. There was no "I" at that time.

Thank you. I would think that as atheists we would be able to grasp this: We begin at birth and end at brain death. There is no after life and no before life, either. (Or at least, not a damn bit of evidence.)
4) What are the rights, if any, of a foetus?

A foetus has no rights, as rights exist only with respect to persons by virtue of they being moral agents: to be a person is to have moral agency as moral agency derives from rationality.

However, this is not to say that a human foetus is undeserving of protection. Protection is granted by virtue of a foetus having potentiality to personhood.
So do I take it you don't think much of Singers Potentiality fallacy? If you aren't that thing that has those capacities that grounds those rights you cannot have those rights . Appears quite clear cut to me and I have no problem with it. I'll read what else you have to say but as given the importance of having those capacities for personhood to ground those rights you had better have something else up your sleave. I think Tooley is quite correct here and something Warren is quite aware of.

BTW what sort of protection are you talking about for the human foetus that isn't clear?

& Singer would at least argue one cannot or shouldn't be speciest?
By protection I mean protection from harm. I expand on this in 6b.

I'm not familiar enough with the Potentiality Fallacy to offer a proper critique, but from what little I know of it I am not convinced by it.
From what I see it is just another way of saying to have a right to life you have to be a person. So if you don't like it it underminds your primary argument.
5) What are the rights of a pregnant woman?

Quite simply, the rights of a pregnant woman are the rights of any person. This includes the right to bodily autonomy.
*Thank* you.
6a) If a foetus has rights, are they equivilent to those of a pregnant woman?

As stated, a foetus has no rights, so the question of equivilnce is moot.

6b) If they are equivilent, does that equivilence result in an unjust trumping of one's rights over the other's?

For the reason stated above, this question is moot.

However, I have already stated that a foetus is deserving of protection. The question then becomes, how far does this protection extend?

The status of protection is inferior to the status of person, therefore the rights of the pregnant woman trump the status of protection of the foetus. A woman may therefore abort or continue her pregnancy at her will.

I do however, think there ought be some limit, and that limit is based on two criteria: viability and foetal pain. If a foetus has reached the state of viability, that is, there is a reasonable chance of the foetus being born healthy (under normal circumstances) then it's potentiality to personhood has progressed to a significant degree that it's continued protection is a greater good than the abortion of the pregnancy at that stage.

The intentional infliction of pain upon another being is a moral evil. In the case of such pain being inflicted upon another person the evil is the violation of that person's bodily integrity. This is subject, of course, to any good that may result from the infliction of that pain, such as is experienced during a medical proceedure, rescue, and other such instances.

In the case of such pain being inflicted upon a non-person, the moral evil is the harm that occurs to that being. Though a non-person has no rights, a being that has awareness is still deserving of proteciton: as moral agents we ought minimise pain and anguish, no matter in what type of being it is experienced. This is subject to the good that would occur from the infliction of such pain, such as the killing of an animal for sustinence. Of course, such pain ought be minimised as much as is practicable.

The question of at what stage a foetus is first able to feel pain is, to my knowledge, unresolved. Though a foetus is able to respond to stimuli from a relatively early stage, this is not neccessarily an indication of a pain response.

So, to the matter of balancing rights of the pregnant woman and protecting the foetus. That point occurs, for me, at approximately 30 weeks gestation. Before that time, a pregnant woman may abort her pregnancy at will, though a medical referal may be required if it is sought after 16 weeks gestation to ensure there would be no health problems resulting from the proceedure. After that time, medical need - that is, the health and well-being of the woman would be adversely affected by continuing with the pregnancy - would be the only justification for over-riding the protected status of the foetus and obtaining an abotion.
This is the crux. If rights are based on basic desires, then right for continued existence requires a sophisticated desire for continued existence. Singer's Animal rights arguments are based on sentient based desires relating to pain, but it is important to note that sentience while granting a right to freedom from pain, quite rightly in itself doesn’t grant a right to life or continued existence. The lit is quite clear on that. So sentience by itself cannot be used to justify not killing a baby & pain levels are irrelevant if the killings are done in a human way which is quite possible for a baby.

Also note many moral philosophers are basically saying what is morally relevant, is what you are, not where you are, so to date there are very few moral philosophers who think viability holds any water. Certainly Singer and David Boonin who is one of the best Liberal philosophers on the subject won't have a bar of it.

Summarised if personhood and its accompanying desire for continued existence is what grants existential rights the Singer’s fallacy holds and things that don’t have those capacities don’t prima facie have those rights. Potentiality nor sentience even combined won’t save you.(BTW the reverse of this fallacy is also true things that were once persons shouldn’t have the rights of persons so a coma victim fails the test)

So if a prenatal humans fail to have basic rights or protection so does a baby & from similar reasoning bare sentience only excludes suffering, not the death of a baby. Also if sentience, viability and the ability to transfer primary care is relevant then there are many other sentient animals that are also sentient, viable and are capable of having their primary care transferred. So if one isn’t to be arbitrary and speciest we should mandate that all these other animals must have the same treatment as human babies.

Or alternatively if you allow some people their arbitrary personal preferences on killing or saving the life of non person non human animals, to be consistent you should also allow those parents who don’t want the baby the option to kill it if that is their preference.

If you then want to ignore Singer’s Potentiality fallacy then actualising or having the capacity the capacity for personhood isn’t going to be the only way to ground existential rights and you open up other avenues. You are on the horns of a dilemma either way.


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