Readings in Moral Philosophy

Moral Philosophy

First Reading: Why Abortion is Immoral

Author Don Marquis's view justifies the immorality of abortion on identical grounds with that of the immorality of killing an adult human being. Akin to killing an adult human which is prima facie wrongful as it denies him of a future life, killing a fetus also deprives it of a future life. Hence to Don, the supporters of abortion are inconsistent when they advocate abortion but consider killing an adult a crime when both killing a fetuses as well as killing an adult both amounts to killing. Anti-abortionists are quite right when they maintain that life comes into being from the time of conception or that fetuses morphologically appear like babies or that the genetic code has already been imprinted on them which is both necessary as well as sufficient for being human and putting forth any claim is enough to demonstrate that abortion with certain exceptions tantamount to murder. Therefore the premises for demonstrating that abortion is immoral must make us not merely believe but also understand why killing adult human beings like us are wrong.

2): The author in the essay argues that save for rare cases; abortion is seriously immoral and akin to killing an innocent adult human being. However, he also states that people who support abortion defend their act by compartmentalizing that fetuses are not individuals or rational agents and also not social beings hence these claims are enough to demonstrate that abortion should never be construed as a wrongful killing. The opposing claims of both camps i.e. The anti-abortionist and the supporter of abortion makes an impasse which has to be surmounted as regards the principles of morality involved. The anti-abortionist defends his turf on moral principles entailing the wrongness of killing which tends to be broad in its applicability such that fetuses at an early stage of pregnancy will be covered under it. The difficulty with accepting broad principles, results in accepting a lot too much.

Similarly the pro-choicer looks to find a moral principle regarding the wrongness of killing which becomes narrow in scope so as to exclude fetuses from their purview. Hence narrow principles have an inherent flaw that they do not embrace enough premises. Thus a stalemate comes about in the form that the anti-abortionist charges fairly justifiably that pro-choice principles regarding killing are very narrow to be acceptable; the pro-choicer holds that anti-abortionists principles regarding killings are very broad to be acceptable. Hence this demonstrates that a necessary condition of resolving the abortion disagreement is more theoretical account of the wrongfulness of killing. In the ultimate analysis if we just believe, but fail to comprehend as to why killing adult human beings like us is wrong, how could we plausibly demonstrate that abortion is ether immoral or permissible?

A possible answer to this problem could be found out by looking at oneself whose absence would put untold miseries on our dependents i.e. our family. However, the greatest loss will be to the victim as loss of one's life is one of the greatest losses one can suffer denying him of all the experiences, performances, projects, and enjoyments which would otherwise have constituted one's future. This is the loss of one's biological life which might not be valuable at the moment but will be valued when a person grows old and he depends on those values when his capacities decline or changes. Therefore wreaking this loss on a person makes the killing of a person wrongful. Therefore what renders killing any adult human being wrong on the face of it is the loss of his or her future.

Besides, the author also defends the wrongness of killing in his essay which he extends to children and infants at it are presumed that they too have futures or values. As it is considered to be wrong to kill defenseless tiny babies, it is crucial that a theory of the wrongness of killing is responsible for this. The claim that the fundamental wrong-making feature of the killing is the loss to the victim of the value of the future accounts for the wrongness of taking the life of young children and infants directly, it renders the wrongness of such acts as obvious as we really believe it is. Thus, it appears that this value of 'future similar to ours' theory of the wrongfulness of the killing shares the strengths of both sanctity of life and personhood accounts at the same time avoiding the weakness of both. Apart from that, it interlocks with a central inkling that makes killing wrong.

3): The strongest argument of Don Marquis regarding the immorality of abortion draws on the parallel that the primary wrong-making aspect of a killing is the personal loss to the victim of the value of its future has apparent outcomes for the ethics of abortion. The future of a normally growing fetus contains a set of experiences, projects, performances and other acts which are same with the futures of adult human being and are same with the futures of young children. As the cause, which is sufficient to elucidate the reason why it is wrongful to kill human being following the time of birth is a reason which is also applicable to fetuses as well. Hence, I am in complete agreement with this view that abortion is severely a morally wrongful act. The debate to the conclusion that abortion is basically a wrongful act proceeded independent of the notion of person or potential person or any equivalent.

It is wrong regardless of any circumstances as the loss of the future to a normal fetus, in the event of it being killed, is, nevertheless, at least as huge a loss as the loss of the future to a normal human being who is killed, abortion, similar to normal killing, can be justified merely by the most convincing arguments. The loss of a person's life is definitely the gravest disaster which can happen to someone. Apparently, abortion could be defended in some situations only if the loss resulting in failing to abort would be as immense. I have no disagreement on this serious issue with the author on the entire issue of immorality of abortion as I personally feel that abortion is severely a wrongful act, as wrongful as killing another human being.

Second Reading: The Singer Solution to World Poverty

1): The author Peter Singer's belief stems from the lopsidedness of the hapless divide between the haves and have-nots and how the situation is further compounded by the affluent who instead of contributing precious little to the cause of the poor continue to indulge in luxuries of life while his less fortunate brethren starves to death. If sacrificing some of the less important luxuries of life contributes in favor of a noble cause that confers the very fundamental right of every human being to get some food so that a precious life is saved, then we all should do so. As a step in that direction Singer advocates how every individual can contribute in his own way to the cause of the poor by sacrificing some of expensive habits like refraining from buying new clothes, not dining at exotic restaurants and such stuff which are not indispensable for leading a normal healthy living and donating this money to charitable bodies which could save the lives of numerous children living on the fringes.

Singer does not remain just theoretical and offer rhetoric about morality of the issue of donating. He at the same time shows practicality of his philosophical argument and urges his readers about the urgency of donating for the cause of deprived children by stating the Toll free numbers of UNICEF and Oxfam in his writing. As a further step he invites a modest sum of $200 dollars as contribution for treatment of a sick 2-year-old into a healthy 6-year-old, which will help a child overcome his most vulnerable years of life. There are a lot of people who can afford to contribute $200 dollars, but many aren't taking the step which should not mean that an individual should follow herd mentality and refrain from contributing. This would mean acting akin to the many Germans who overlooked the situation when crimes against humanities were being committed by the Nazis.

Singer also takes an insight into the human mind when contributing $200 is concerned. As there are several deprived children in this world, contributing for one child will not mean enough and for how long one must go on contributing? Is it to the point of exhausting oneself? Then what is the threshold limit? Is it up to the point where the self is put to trouble? If venturing to this extreme would imply inflicting pain to oneself, then it would definitely discourage people to contribute to charity. It is here that Singer offers a solution that charity has to be on an equitable basis so that each and every citizen contributes equally and…