Wednesday, November 9, 2022

"Fetuses are human, so abortion is wrong."

Some quick notes on common arguments that result from what ordinary people say about these issues. 

1.      Fetuses are human.

2.      All humans are prima facie wrong to kill.

3.      So, abortion – killing fetuses – is prima facie wrong.

This argument disambiguates in at least two ways:

 

4.      Fetuses are biologically human organisms. (True).

5.      All biologically human organisms are prima facie wrong to kill. (Why think that?)

6.      So, abortion – killing fetuses – is prima facie wrong.

 

7.      Fetuses are human beings, i.e., feeling, perceiving, biologically human organisms. (False, if this means all fetuses, especially beginning ones).

8.      All human beings, i.e., feeling, perceiving, biologically human organisms are prima facie wrong to kill. (True)

9.      So, abortion – killing fetuses – is prima facie wrong.

 

 

Two logically invalid arguments: the premises do not lead to the conclusion due to using ‘human’ in two different meanings, or an “equivocation” on ‘human’:

 

10.  Fetuses are [merely] biologically human organisms. (True).

11.  All human beings, i.e., feeling, perceiving, biologically human organisms are prima facie wrong to kill. (True).

12.  So, abortion – killing fetuses – is prima facie wrong.

 

13.  Fetuses are human beings, i.e., feeling, perceiving, biologically human organisms. (False, if this means all fetuses, especially beginning ones).

14.  All [merely] biologically human organisms are prima facie wrong to kill. (Why think that?)

15.  So, abortion – killing fetuses – is prima facie wrong. 

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