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Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 11, 1985

Stephen Griffith
Pages 347-354

How Not to Argue About Abortion

The most important contribution which professional philosophers could make to the debate concerning abortion would be to produce a detailed conceptual analysis of the sorts of situations in which abortion is typically contemplated and/or performed and a set of moral considerations and/or principles which would be applicable to any such case. I argue that the sorts of hypothetical cases and fanciful analogies typically used by philosophers in their discussions of abortion can be either appropriate or inappropriate for this purpose, and attempt to illustrate this difference by considering several possible interpretations of some of the scenarios diacussed in J.J. Thomson’s classic paper “A Defense of Abortion” together with some of my own.

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