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Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Volume 23, Issue 2, Fall 2016


Jack Weir
Pages 35-51

A New Argument from Evolutionary Biology and Psychology

Using conclusions from contemporary evolutionary biology and psychology, I defend a new argument for the moral permissibility of abortion. My analysis shows the falsity of some of the empirical and moral claims in two popular and widely anthologized anti-abortion articles, one by the judge and legal scholar John T. Noonan (1970) and the other by the moral philosopher Don Marquis (1989). My argument builds on my criticisms of Noonan and Marquis. People are contingent emergent beings, and cannot be reduced to their DNA or fetus. My analysis of four theses, two for males and two for females, shows that the absence of consent is enough to establish every woman's broad moral right to terminate unwanted pregnancies. A final section presents the conclusion and responds to two important objections.

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