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Week 8 readings

by: Paola Araque

Week 8 readings PHL 223

Paola Araque
GPA 3.29

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these notes are summaries of the readings that were assigned for week 8 of medical ethics
Medical Ethics
Stuart Rachels
Class Notes
medical ethics
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Paola Araque on Thursday March 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PHL 223 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Stuart Rachels in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 15 views. For similar materials see Medical Ethics in PHIL-Philosophy at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.


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Date Created: 03/24/16
Readings  On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion   ● Warren believes that abortion is always morally permissible  ● She believes that the unborn is not a person, and that it is just a creature with human  DNA.   ● Only people have full­fledged right to life, and can be murdered.   ● She lays out a few standards that make a being qualify as a person:  ○ 1. Consciousness and the capacity to feel pain.  ■ The consciousness of objects and events external/ internal to the being.  ○ 2. Reasoning   ■ The developed capacity to solve new and relatively complex problems  ○ 3. Self motivated activity  ■ Activity which is relatively independent of either genetic or direct external  control  ○ 4.The capacity to communicate  ■ By whatever means, messages of an indefinite variety of types. Not just  with an indefinite number of possible contents, but on indefinitely many  possible topics  ○ 5. The presence of self concepts and self awareness  ■ Either individual, racial, or both.   ○ In order to be a person, the individual does not need to have all 5 of these, just 1.   ○ #1 and #2 are sufficient for personhood, and probably #1­3  ○ Any fetus that satisfies none of these is not a person.   ● Argument:   ○ How far advanced since conception does a human being need to be before it  begins to have a right to life by virtue?  ○ To what extent, does the fact that a fetus has the potential for becoming a person  endow it with some of the same rights?  ● Warren believes that it would be wrong to kill a newborn infant because even if its parents  do not want it, and wouldn’t suffer from its destruction, there are other people who would  like to have it. Those people would be deprived of happiness if that infant were destructed.   ● As long as there are people who want to preserve infants, and are willing to provide to  care for it, it is wrong to destroy it.   ● A fetus is just as valuable as an infant.   ● As long as the fetus in unborn, its preservation, contrary to the wishes of the pregnant  woman, violates HER rights to freedom, happiness, and self determination.   ● The minute the infant is born, its preservation no longer violates an of its mother’s rights,  even if she wants it destroyed, because she is free to put it up for adoption .  ● When an unwanted/ defective infant is born into society, and no one is willing to care for it  and can’t afford it, then its destruction is permissible.         Why Abortion is Immoral  ● Marquis argues that murdering someone is wrong because it robs him or her of a future  (experiences, activities, projects, enjoyments)  ○ Abortion is almost always wrong because it deprives the fetus of all prospects of  such future experiencing and being.   ● Marquis suggests, is that principles on which anti­abortionists rely on are too broad,  whereas principles on which pro­choicers rely on are too narrow.  ● There are several reasons why killing a fetus/someone is wrong.   ○ Murder is one of the worst crimes, because it deprives the victim of so much  value.   ■ As well as with the terminally ill  ● A fetus will go on and enjoy its future like we would, and that is why depriving a fetus of  its future is immoral.   ● Abortion is not the same thing as premature death but abortion deprives the fetus of future  experiences in the same way as a premature death deprives a human being of future  experiences  ● Therefore, abortion is wrong for the fetus like premature death is for human beings.  ● So, abortion is as wrong as killing people  ● Is contraception wrong to use? Marquis: at the time that contraception is being used,  there is no being in existence to deny a future like ours.   ● Abortion is not wrong if:   ○ The fetus, if born, would be handicapped, and not able to have any future  experiences  ○ The fetus, if born, would be so defective that all of its experiences would be  unpleasant or painful that it would benefit from being deprived of those  experiences.   ● Permits some cases of euthanasia  ○ If a person is in a permanent coma and will not have any future experiences  


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