Ontology and the Morality of Abortion by Your Name Class Name School Name November 24, 2015 Ontology and the Morality of Abortion When does life begin? It has been a question pondered for decades, possibly even millennia. Some feel that it begins at conception, the moment the sperm fertilizes the egg, and others believe life begins only once the being is viable, or can live and breathe on its own, while others argue it is at birth, once it is its own entity…
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It seems everyone has a view on this issue and all seem to want to have their say. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the human race has strong ties to its origins so in answering the question of if humans were once fetuses; many feel the answer to when life begins will also be uncovered. After researching the ontological issue of was a human being ever a fetus and the moral issue of what the arguments are for the various position on abortion: anti-abortion, moderate and strong, the question of the morality of abortion should become clear. Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence or reality. It is through ontology that the primary focus on the debate of abortion becomes the answer of one simple question, was a human being ever a fetus? Two of the most famous philosophers to debate this issue are Erin T. Olson and Lynne Rudder Baker. Their primary debate focuses on whether we are a person, or whether we are essentially persons. Baker takes on the view that we are all essentially persons. The term person, as he defines it, is as a being capable of rational and moral activity. In this he argues that we could never have been something that was not a person, such as a fetus. He then takes this idea step further in saying that since only persons are moral agents and as a result have rights, no abortion ever has nor ever will violate any rights since non-persons, in this case fetuses, do not have any. This debate, though it seems logical, can hold many horrendous implications. If, in society, we view only those who are capable of rational and moral activity, as persons and therefore the only ones to have rights, many others besides the fetus could be excluded. Take for instance a man in a comma. In the comma state the man does not have the ability of ration or moral activity; he is in a sense a vegetable, same as a fetus. So according to this theory if he was an inconvenience then the plug could be pulled and it would be okay to let him die because he is not essentially a person. A new born, according to this theory, could also be deemed incapable of rational and moral activity, so in essence it is yet to be essentially a person, so therefore has no rights and if one so choose could be done away with. Another example would be a mentally handicap person, in many severe cases, the mentally handicap are incapable of rational and moral activity, therefore are they not considered essentially persons with rights. It seems that saying that only those with rational and moral activity are essentially persons and therefore have rights is a dangerous road to travel. Olson, however, takes on the view that we are not all essentially persons, but that each of us is essentially a member of the species, Homo sapiens, in short, an animal, a biological kind. He says that the properties of personhood are acquired by humans at some stage in their biological career, just like we acquire other properties like being a student, a mother, so on. So with this view all humans were once a fetus. If all human kind therefore was once a fetus, in the debate of abortion it would be wrong to kill or abort a human, despite what state it is in. This argument makes more logical sense as
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After viewing research on the question of whether a human being is a fetus, and how this affects the moral issues presented by the anti-abortionist, and the pro-choice, the question of the morality of abortion should become clear. The Morality of Abortion When does life begin?
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