Tuesday, November 30, 2010

(EA) Souls, Fetuses, and Rights

As I suggested in class, the enthusiasm for defending early human fetuses on religious grounds (as “God’s will or product”), if extended to cover nonhumans (as it clearly could if we confuse sentience with  ensoulment), might afford the latter some newfound respect and protection.  But several problems emerge.  First, "right to lifers" notoriously fail to extend similar regard for young or adult humans (they're not in the main pacifists, child welfarists, or opposed to the death penalty for example).  Second, the move entails absurd consequences along the lines of restrictions on nonhuman animal “reproductive rights.”  And third, from the vantage point of the non-believer, it seems unethical to use another’s conceptual confusion for your own ends.

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