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Contemporary Moral Problems Notes - March 1 and 3

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Contemporary Moral Problems Notes - March 1 and 3 PHIL 3720

Marketplace > Georgia State University > PHIL-Philosophy > PHIL 3720 > Contemporary Moral Problems Notes March 1 and 3
Jada Notetaker
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About this Document

These are CMP notes from the first week of March, covering the Animal Ethics debate and Lee and George's philosophy on abortion.
Contemporary Moral Problems
Ms. Elizabeth Dwyer
Class Notes
Contemporary Moral Problems, CMP, PHIL 3720, Ms. Elizabeth Dwyer, Ms. Dwyer




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jada Notetaker on Sunday March 6, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PHIL 3720 at Georgia State University taught by Ms. Elizabeth Dwyer in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 34 views. For similar materials see Contemporary Moral Problems in PHIL-Philosophy at Georgia State University.


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Date Created: 03/06/16
PHIL 3720: Contemporary Moral Problems 3/1/16: Animal Ethics In­class Debate Regan  His argument provides an actual guide for what should be done.  Rights (Combatting prejudice is usually done with representation. Does this extend to  animals?)  The basis of rights: o A social contract is formed and respected. o Rights are essential to cooperation.  Since animals are used to improve humans’ quality of life (such as by testing vaccines),  the benefits aren’t overestimated.  It’s just more efficient. Frey  Regardless of their status (such as terminally ill), human beings retain a higher quality of life than animals.  The term “subject(s)­of­a­life” was debated in favor of “capacities.” Other Posits  Just because we (as humans) have a social contract, we don’t have to exclude animals  from getting in on it regardless of it they respect ours.  Animals don’t kill on a whim, just when they need to eat or defend themselves.  However, take the common house cat. It will kill birds and mice just because it wants  something to play with, then not eat them sometimes. In this way, animals disprove the  above argument.  Animal testing is necessary for humans’ survival. 3/3/2016: Abortions Part 1 (Lee and George) How do Patrick Lee and Robert P. George define abortion? Abortion – the intentional killing of a human fetus Seems like a simple enough definition, right? Well, it raises a number of ontological  (metaphysics concerning the existence of things) and evaluative (moral value in this case)  questions. What is a fetus? Exactly what sort of being is it? For these philosophers, there are three characteristics that apply to all human beings re:  development: 1. It has cells distinct from both its mother and father. 2. It’s a complete organism (as in, has the ability to develop into a fully­functional being  provided it has the appropriate environment, even though it’s currently immature). 3. It’s human (surprise, surprise, it’s neither dog nor cat, nor anything else). Also, supposedly, you’re the same type of person you were in the womb, despite developmental  capacities. Evaluative  Value  Moral standing  (The fetus’ interests are) Considerable Where Does Our Value Come From? The types of beings we are, or capacities? Ding, ding, ding! It’s the first one. Why We Should Prefer #1 Over #2  Capacities vary, which would justify treating people differently.  You either are or aren’t a human. o …and exist through time (stay the “same” from the womb to the grave).  Reductio (the process of following an argument to its Logical Extreme™ to discover its  absurdity). For example, it’s not right for a mother to abandon her 6­week­old infant  since there’s no difference in capacities between that and a fetus. Reductio – reduce to logical conclusion The potential to fully develop = Basic natural capacity Fetuses have the same value at the ages of 1, 25, 100, etc. Therefore, abortion is impermissible. Responsibility and Harm  Parents have special responsibilities to protect their child(ren). For example, the  responsibility to avoid harm (moving away from an environment that harms the child  (Lee and George 45), and not intentionally harm them – like smoking around them when  they already have breathing problems (45)). Supposedly, the harms of pregnancy/the fetus being killed outweigh the harms to the woman.


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