You have now completed a number of reading assignments in applied ethics. Which
You have now completed a number of reading assignments in applied ethics. Which applied ethics reading did you find most interesting? Why did you find the reading in question interesting? Please summarize the basic argument of the reading you have selected. Then identify and explain the normative ethical theory that its author used to reach his/her conclusion. Finally, connect the author's argument to your own point of view on the subject of the reading. Did this reading lead you to change or reevaluate your point of view? Did it reinforce a point of view you already hold? Did it help you to better understand the point of view of someone with whom you disagree? Don Marquis: Why Abortion Is Immoral Summary Marquis argues that abortion is, with rare exceptions, seriously immoral. He begins with an uncontroversial assumption: It is seriously wrong to kill healthy adult human beings. Why is this wrong? After considering several possible explanations, Marquis concludes that killing normal adult humans is wrong because it deprives them of a valuable future, a future like ours. Because most fetuses have futures like ours and abortion would deprive them of these valuable futures, Marquis claims that abortion is seriously morally wrong, on a par with killing an adult human being. Marquis concludes his paper by defending his account from objections. In particular, he denies that his theory commits him to the view that contraception is morally wrong because in the case of contraception, there is no identifiable subject who has been deprived of a future like ours. Judith Jarvis Thomson: A Defense of Abortion Summary Unlike many pro-choice advocates, Thomson grants for the sake of argument that the fetus is a person with full moral rights. Even given this assumption, Thomson argues that it does not follow that abortion is always immoral. To make her case, she presents a vivid thought experiment. Suppose you wake up one morning to find that you have been attached to a machine that is using your body to provide life support for a famous violinist. If you detach yourself and go about your business, the violinist will die. But if you stay in bed with the unconscious violinist for nine months, he will recover and can be detached from you without incident. Thomson claims that although it would be nice of you to stay attached to the violinist, you are not obligated to do so. She draws the conclusion that having a right to life (as the violinist has) does not entitle one to the use of another's body, even if one needs to use that body in order to survive. Even if fetuses are considered persons, Thomson concludes, abortion is often morally permissible.

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