Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 12, 1986/1987

Alister Browne
Pages 101-124

Is Abortion a Pseudo-Problem?

I argue that (1) whether abortions are morally permissible depends on whether the fetus has a right to life, (2) the only point of disagreement between the possible theories on this question--the Extreme Conservative, the Middle, and the Extreme Liberal--concerns the relevant temporal proximity to, or degree of probability of actualizing, some selected potential, (3) there is in principle no non-arbitrary way of resolving this disagreement, and hence the problem of abortion is a pseudo-problem inasmuch as it is not theoretically capable of being solved, and (4) legislators should, in the light of this, act as if the Extreme Liberal Theory were true.