Medical Ethics
Michael Green
Manuel Vargas
phone, office information

03 April. The Basic Argument Against Abortion
06 April. The Extreme View
08 April. The Voluntariness Objection
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.

Medical Ethics: 22 April. Wrapping Up

The end of the contraception objection

I think that Marquis's best reply to the contraception objection is to say that none of the beings whose futures might be disrupted by contraception (i.e. sperm and egg cells, in various combinations) have valuable futures. Only a person or something very much like a person could have a valuable future.

If so, Marquis's strategy doesn't offer as clear a way out of the abortion debate as we thought. It appeared that he could avoid the question of whether fetuses are persons or not: as long as they have valuable futures, it would be wrong to kill them. Now, it's not so clear.

Thomson and Marquis

There's a gap between showing that death is bad for those who die and showing that it is wrong to kill.

Of course, part of why killing is wrong is that death is bad. I'm just saying that the badness of death isn't sufficient to settle the wrongness of killing in all cases.

To see this, consider what Thomson would say about Marquis's argument. Does the violinist have a valuable future? Is it obvious that killing him is wrong or morally forbidden?

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