ERIC Number: ED309114
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985
Reference Count: N/A
Philosophers and the Abortion Debate: Coming to Terms with the Criticism.
Philosophers have paid comparatively little attention to the general criticism of the first generation of secular philosophical work on abortion, and by failing to do so have not come to terms with the criticism of some of the substantive and methodological presuppositions that generally guide philosophical work in applied ethics. To understand why philosophers' work on abortion has been so widely criticized, it is helpful to consider the place of applied ethics within the context of 20th century philosophy. Moral philosophy was not highly regarded in the post-World War II years by the criteria of the logical positivists, who required that philosophy be empirically verifiable or logically certifiable. These positivist prejudices linger both within philosophy and without. Also, the pursuit of applied ethics is viewed by some as being economically or opportunistically motivated, which casts aspersions on its contents. The motivations behind individual stances on the abortion issue clouds the philosopher's position as well. An investigation of the criticisms on the methods and language that philosophers have employed in discussing abortion reveals what are considered by some to be salient flaws within the corpus of these works, such as the difficulty in establishing the concept of fetal personhood. If the second generation of philosophical work on abortion is to do more than amplify or codify the wisdom of the first, they will have to come to grips with the criticisms and the motivations of those criticisms that have been leveled against the current philosophical work on abortion. (PPB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Colorado Univ., Boulder. Center for Values and Social Policy.