Friday, May 29, 2020

Definitions of "Murder" and Anything Else

I recently had a discussion with someone who insisted this: when and where abortion is legal, it cannot be "murder" because murder only has a legal definition, 'illegal killing.' 

I responded that "murder" also has a moral definition, at least "wrongful killing" or the "wrongful killing of a person."

This person denied this definition, insisting that anyone who understood "murder" this way is just mistaken.

How can this dispute be resolved? In general, how can disputes about definitions be resolved? A brief response is below. (Click on the post title to get there).

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Are you part of a cult about abortion, or anything else?

How people engage the issue of abortion can be indicative of general patterns of inquiry, thinking and communicating about controversial and challenging issues. Some of these patterns of response are good but others are bad.

One bad response to issues like these is to engage in what can be called "cult-like" thinking and behavior. To be part of a cult is similar to being part of an "echo chamber" or - a newer related term - an "epistemic bubble."

So if someone engages in cult-like thinking, or is part of an echo chamber or an epistemic bubble about abortion, what's likely true of that person? See below! (Click on the post title to get there).

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Trent Horn on "The Problem of Personhood"

Dear Mr. Horn,

Someone kindly alerted me to the fact that you discussed some of the arguments I have reviewed on the topic of abortion on your apologetics podcast. Thanks for that discussion there!

I hope you watched those videos that I made for classes, read our book Thinking Critically About Abortion, and have reviewed some of my other materials that are especially relevant to what you said, such as my reply to Christopher Tollefsen on what might (and might not) follow, morally, from our having “rational natures,” and my review of Francis Beckwith’s book.

I’ve taught logic, philosophy, and ethics at the college (and, occasionally, medical school) level for 20 years or so, and I’ve published a fair amount on this issue and many others.

My main motivation for engaging these issues is just that I believe many academic philosophers know a lot about them and so should share their knowledge to help improve the quality of engagement on these issues (and, of course, people who honestly don’t know much about these topics should learn about them from experts). Given that, I want to briefly respond to some of the things you say about personhood, at least in the transcript that I read. (Click on the post title to get to the rest of this post).

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

A Not Optimally Honest Abortion Debate: A Response to Alexandra DeSanctis’s "An Honest Abortion Debate" in The National Review

Yesterday I ran across Alexandra DeSanctis’s November 14, 2019, National Review article “An Honest Abortion Debate: A response to Caitlin Flanagan’s essay in The Atlantic.”  I’m late to this discussion, but, since I found DeSanctis’s discussion to be not optimally “honest,” in a sense, I wrote up this post. (Click on the post title to get to the post).

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Yes, "a person is a person, no matter how small," but . .


It's sometimes claimed that people who think that is abortion is generally not wrong think this because of fetuses’ size, level of development, location or environment, and dependency (the “SLED” test). 

The suggestion is that pro-choice people think that anything small, dependent, and undeveloped that is located in someone else’s body is permissible to kill. 

The objection is that this principle, and related principles, are false, so this principle fails to support thinking that abortion is permissible.

The problem here is that no thoughtful abortion advocate accepts such a principle: nobody should think personhood is defeated or eliminated by SLED factors. Below I explain why. (Click on the post title to get to the post).