Medical Ethics
Michael Green
Manuel Vargas
phone, office information

03 April. The Basic Argument Against Abortion
06 April. The Extreme View
10 April. Samaritanism and objections
13 April. Warren's criticism, more voluntariness
15 April. Fetuses aren't persons?
20 April. Does Marquis have to say contraception is wrong?
20 April. Nicole's point, one more time.
22 April. Wrapping Up

Medical Ethics: 08 April. The Voluntariness Objection

Breaking the parallel The point of the objection is to show that the violinist case is unlike pregnancy. Pregnancy is usually the result of voluntary behavior while being hooked up to the violinist is not.

What difference would voluntary behavior make? How does my voluntary behavior affect my rights or duties in these cases? We distinguished two ways that it could be relevant.

What is the difference? What kind of voluntary behavior marks the difference between the violinist case and the abortion case?

Well, in the violinist case, I don't do anything voluntary to get myself into the predicament. I was just walking down the street, doing what I normally do, when all of a sudden, I was kidnapped and hooked up. I had no idea that could happen! Sexual intercourse isn't like that: you know what can happen.

Is that the difference: being hooked up to sick violinists is unusual, whereas pregnancy is not?

Suppose you knew that gangs of music lovers prowled the streets, looking for people with strong kidneys. Suppose that you took a walk anyway without being very careful about where you were going or who was following you. Suppose a music lover gang caught you. Would you be allowed to unhook yourself then? After all, you knew the risks.

But taking a walk is a normal thing that it's perfectly reasonable of me to do, provided I'm careful not to harm others. I can't be held responsible for the lives of others just by doing this; if I could be, I couldn't take a casual walk!

So the way of breaking the analogy is to hold that sexual intercourse is not a normal thing that it's perfectly reasonable to do, provided one is careful not to harm others?

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