Abortion and Simple Consciousness
Pluhar (Werner S.)
Source: Journal of Philosophy 74, No. 3, Mar., 1977, pp. 159-172
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

  1. After offering positive considerations for regarding simple consciousness ("sentience") as a plausible cutoff point for abortions1, the paper (1) defends the "sufficiency" of sentience for a prima facie right to life against various arguments by Laura Purdy and Michael Tooley, Harold Noonan, and Richard B. Brandt, stressing however that this right decreases along with the degree of sentience all the way down to thorough negligibility.
  2. Concerning (2) the "necessity" of sentience for a prima facie right to life, the paper denies this, arguing that merely the potential for sentience is necessary. It gets around the standard objections against such a "potentiality principle" by stressing that the prima facie right to life derivable from such a potential decreases along with that potential, once again all the way down to thorough negligibility.
  3. Finally, the paper (3) defends the (independent) suggestion that the mentioned potential is actually not only necessary but is also sufficient.

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  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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