Morally Relevant Potential
Hershenov (David) & Koch-Hershenov (Rose J.)
Source: Journal of Medical Ethics, 2014
Paper - Abstract

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Authors’ Abstract

  1. Fetuses1 and infants are said to warrant protecting because of their potential. But valuing potential supposedly leads to absurdities like protecting cells that could be technologically altered to develop into persons. This can be avoided by recognizing that morally relevant potential is determined by what is presently healthy development (proper functioning) for an organism.
  2. The only interests of mindless organisms are in the flourishing that necessarily depends upon their healthy functioning. They can be harmed when those interests are frustrated. We criticize McMahan for claiming that harm is instead a function of the degree of psychological ties to the future.


For the full text, see Hershenovs - Morally Relevant Potential.

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