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Reply-to-Marquis-on-Abortion.pdf

Reply-to-Marquis-on-Abortion.pdf

WALTER SINNOTT-ARMSTRONG

YOU CAN’T LOSE WHAT YOU AIN’T NEVER HAD:A REPLY TO MARQUIS ON ABORTION∗

(Received in revised form 22 May 1997)

Don Marquis’s article, “Why Abortion Is Immoral”,1 has beenanthologized very quickly and very widely. It is easy to see why.Marquis presents the most sophisticated and detailed argumentagainst abortion in the literature. This makes it important to determ-ine whether his argument succeeds. I will argue that it does not.

1. MARQUIS’S ARGUMENT

Marquis’s argument takes the form of an inference to the best expla-nation. He begins with the assumption that it is morally wrong tokill me or you or any normal adult human in normal circumstances.2

He then proposes an explanation ofwhy this is morally wrong. Healso criticizes several alternative explanations, usually by showingthat these alternatives conflict with his (or our) moral intuitions (orbeliefs) about other cases. He concludes that his proposal is the bestexplanation of the moral wrongness of killing, and this supports itsunderlying moral principle.

Marquis’s proposed explanation is that it is morally wrong to killa normal adult human except in extreme circumstances because itis morally wrong to cause “the loss to the victim of the value of itsfuture” (192). He then claims that an abortion also causes a fetus tolose a valuable future, so abortion is also morally wrong except inthe same extreme circumstances.

2. PREVIOUS CRITICISMS

Three criticisms of Marquis’s article were published the followingyear. All three fail to refute Marquis’s main argument.

Philosophical Studies96: 59–72, 1997.© 1997Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.

60 WALTER SINNOTT-ARMSTRONG

The first criticism, by Ann Cudd, accuses Marquis of “assumingthat whatever rights of, or obligations to, fetuses there are, they mustbe absolute.”3 However, Marquis’s argument is not formulated interms of either rights or obligations, and he admits several timesthat “the most extreme reasons” can justify abortion. His claim isthat it would take the same strength and kind of reason to justifykilling a fetus as it would take to justify killing a normal adulthuman. We would like to hear more aboutwhich circumstances areextreme enough to justify killing normal human adults and fetuses,but Marquis is definitely not committed to absolute rights.

The second response was by Peter MacInerney.4 His main claimis that fetuses lack the mental states that many philosophers take tobe necessary for personal identity, so the fetus does not possess itsfuture, since it is not the same as the person who will or would havethat future. However, Marquis emphasizes that his argument avoidsthe concept of a person (192). Consequently, Marquis can respondthat the fetus is the sameorganismas the body into which it will orwould develop, even if it is not the sameperson. Marquis’s argumentworks just as well if he refers to the future of the organism. He doesnot need to refer to the future of a person.

The third response, by Alastair Norcross, claims that Marquis’sexplanation implies that contraception is immoral in the samecircumstances as abortion. Marquis denied this on the grounds that“Nothing at all is denied such a future by contraception” (201),but Norcross responds that “a mereological sum of a sperm and anovum” is “a thing” that can lose its future.5 However, Marquis canjust rephrase his point. Even if a mereological sum is athing, it isnot an organism. The organism with the relevant future does notexist until the sperm fertilizes the ovum, so contraception does notdeny a future to that organism. The egg and the sperm might alsobe organisms, but abortion does not cause them the loss of a future,since these particular organisms would not exist after conceptionanyway. Neither is the same organism as the zygote after concep-tion, because the egg and sperm are different from each other, andthere is no reason to identify the zygote with one but not the other.In response, Norcross would probably ask why it matters whethersomething is the same organism, but the issue here is killing, andonly organisms can have a life or be killed, so any moral principle

A REPLY TO MARQUIS ON ABORTION 61

that restricts killing protects only organisms. Some opponents mightalso respond that Marquis’s explanation still implies the immoralityof those kinds of contraception that prevent a zygote from implant-ing or developing after conception. However, many people do notfind this implication counterintuitive, so this objection would be atbest inconclusive, at least for those people.

3. EQUIVOCATION

So far, then, it seems to me that Marquis is winning the debate. Nocritic has yet revealed a fatal flaw in his argument. However, thereis such a flaw. That, along with the philosophical interest and wide-spread distribution of his argument, makes it worthwhile to lookagain at Marquis’s argument.

In my view, the central flaw in Marquis’s argument is a fallacyof equivocation. When Marquis applies his proposed explanation toabortion (192), his basic argument is this:

(1) It is morally wrong except in extreme circumstances tocause anything the loss of a valuable future.

(2) Abortion causes a fetus the loss of a valuable future.

(3) Therefore, abortion is morally wrong except in extremecircumstances.

What does the term “loss” mean here? Losing a future is not likelosing one’s car keys, or even like losing money in the stock market.So, whatis the loss of a future? The answer is not clear, and Marquissays nothing to clarify his idea.6

We can begin to understand losses by looking at examples.Suppose the winner of a race will receive a valuable trophy that isnow held by an official. Lee and Kristin are the only racers, so Leewill win unless Kristin beats him; but Kristin wins the race. WhenKristin wins, does she cause Leethe loss of a valuable trophy? Onecould answer both “Yes” and “No” in different ways. Kristin’s actof winning the race causes Lee to lose the race and causes his loss ofthe race. Kristin thereby prevents Lee from gaining the trophy. Thisline of reasoning might make it seem that Kristin’s winning causesthelossof the trophy to Lee. In another way, however, it seems odd

62 WALTER SINNOTT-ARMSTRONG

to say that Kristin causes Lee anyloss of the trophy, because Leedoes not own the trophy, and he does not have any right either togain the trophy or to win the race.8 As the great sage Muddy Waterssaid, “You can’t lose what you ain’t never had.”

This suggests two ways to talk about losses. The first is neutralor non-moral:

(NL) An agent’s act causes theneutral loss of something valu-able to a loser if and only if (i) the agent does the act, and(ii) the loser does not gain or keep the valuable thing, but(iii) the loser would gain or keep the valuable thing if theagent did not do the act.9

Kristin’s act of winning the racedoescause thisneutralkind of lossto Lee of the trophy. Such neutral losses contrast with moral losses,which can be defined roughly like this:

(ML) An agent’s act causes themoral loss of something valu-able to a loser if and only if (i) the agent does the act, (ii)the loser does not gain or keep the valuable thing, (iii) theloser would gain or keep the valuable thing if the agent didnot do the act, (iv) the loser has a moral right to the meansnecessary for gaining or keeping that valuable thing, and(v) the agent does not have a moral right to those means.10

Kristin winning the race doesnot cause amoral loss to Lee, sinceLee did not own the trophy or have any right to gain the trophy orto win the race. Details might be controversial, but (NL) and (ML)represent two general approaches to losses.11

This distinction creates two ways to read Marquis’s argument(1)–(3). First suppose that the argument refers toneutral losses ason (NL). It is clear that (2) abortion causes a neutral loss of a futureto a fetus (assuming the fetus would live if the abortion were notperformed). Since Marquis calls this premise “obvious” (192), herehe seems to have neutral losses in mind. However, it is then lessclear that (1) it is morally wrong except in extreme circumstances tocause a neutral loss of a valuable future. If the term “loss” does notimply any moral right, it is not obviouswhy it is morally wrong tocause such a neutral loss.

A REPLY TO MARQUIS ON ABORTION 63

This problem is solved if Marquis refers tomoral losses as on(ML). To cause a moral loss is to violate the loser’s moral rightwhen the agent has no moral right to do so. This makes it clearerwhy (1) it is normally morally wrong to cause the moral loss of avaluable future. However, it is less clear that (2) abortion causes themoral loss of a future to a fetus. If the term “loss” implies a moralright, then we cannot determine whether abortion causes any loss tothe fetus until we determine whether the fetus has a moral right tothe necessary means to its future. It would beg the question in thiscontext to assume this controversial premise without any argument.Not only does Marquis not give us any argument for this claim, butalso it is hard to see how hecould give any such argument withoutrunning into all of the standard troubles which plague previous argu-ments against abortion (and which Marquis discusses forcefully inthe first part of his article).

Thus, each use of the term “loss” makes one premise clearly truebut leaves the other premise questionable. This seems to be a kindof equivocation. The point is not that readers cannot tell whetherMarquis refers to moral losses or to neutral losses. At most places inhis article, it is pretty clear that Marquis refers to neutral losses.Nonetheless, the terms in which the argument is formulated areambiguous in this context, and the force of the argument for manyreaders depends on a confusion between these two kinds of losses.That is how the argument commits the fallacy of equivocation.

4. THE BEST EXPLANATION

To respond to this charge, Marquis needs to show that the argumentworks when the ambiguity is removed and the term “loss” is used ina single way throughout. But then does it refer toneutral losses orto moral losses? Marquis cannot always refer tomoral losses, sincethen premise (2) would beg the question, as I just showed. The onlyviable alternative is for Marquis to stick toneutrallosses throughouthis argument. This use of the term “loss” makes it obvious that (2)abortion causes a loss of a valuable future, so all Marquis has to doto save his argument is to show that (1) it is morally wrong except inextreme circumstances to cause the neutral loss of a valuable future.He would probably claim that this is exactly what is supported byhis inference to the best explanation.

64 WALTER SINNOTT-ARMSTRONG

But does Marquis’s inference to the best explanation reallysupport principle (1) about neutral losses? Despite some qualms,I will grant for the sake of argument that this principle does explainour moral intuitions in his cases better than any alternative that hementions.12 Nonetheless, I will argue that another explanation iseven better.

Marquis claims that the explanation of why it is morally wrongto kill normal human adults and fetuses is that:

(NE) It is morally wrong except in extreme circumstances tocause anything theneutralloss of a valuable future.

It should come as no surprise that my alternative explanation is:

(ME) It is morally wrong except in extreme circumstances tocause anything the neutral loss of a valuable future whenthe loser has a moral right to the means necessary for thatvaluable future and the agent does not have a moral rightto that means.

This is equivalent to

(ME*) It is morally wrong except in extreme circumstances tocause anything themoral loss of a valuable future.

In comparing these alternatives, the first thing to notice is thatthey have exactly the same implications wherever the loserdoeshave a moral right and the agentdoes nothave a moral right to thenecessary means. Consequently, no moral intuitions in such casescan show that either of these explanations is better than the other.These explanations differ only when the loser doesnot have a rightto the means to its future or the agentdoeshave a right to that means.

Before turning to those crucial cases, however, it is useful toconsider other values. Recall the race between Kristin and Lee.Kristin causes Lee the neutral loss of a valuable trophy, but her actis not morally wrong, because Lee has no moral right to win therace or to gain the trophy. In contrast, suppose that Lee shows up forthe race without any shoes, and Kristin happened to bring an extrapair that fits Lee. Lee will win if Kristin loans him her shoes, butKristin will win if she refuses to loan him her shoes. It would be

A REPLY TO MARQUIS ON ABORTION 65

nice for Kristin to loan Lee her shoes, but, since Lee has no rightto the shoes, and Kristin does, it does not seem morally wrong forKristin to refuse to loan Lee her shoes, or for Kristin then to win therace and the trophy. In contrast, suppose Lee brings his own runningshoes, but Kristin steals them and she wins the race. These shoesare Lee’s means of winning, he has a right to use them, and Kristindoes not have any right to take them. In this case, Kristin does causea moral loss to Lee of the trophy (as well as of the shoes). Moregenerally, the difference between taking and stealing can be seenas an instance of the difference between causing a neutral loss andcausing a moral (or legal) loss. Such cases suggest that the bestexplanation of these cases is not that it is morally wrong to causethe neutral loss of a valuable thing, but is instead that it is morallywrong to cause the neutral loss of a valuable thing when the loserdoes have and the depriver does not have a right to the necessarymeans to that valuable thing.

An opponent might respond that this case is irrelevant becausewhat is lost is not a whole future. However, an explanation is better,because more coherent, if it avoids using different principles forlosses of different kinds of values (without an adequate reason touse different principles). Thus, if my proposed explanation is betterin the case of a valuable trophy, that makes (ME) better than (NE)in the case of a valuable future.

Moreover, (ME) also seems better than (NE) in cases where awhole future is at stake.13 For example, suppose Adam will diewithout a certain medicine. Beth has a milder case of the disease,so she needs the same medicine only to prevent her from being sickfor nine months, from some risks of complications, and from longer-term adverse effects on career, feelings, etc. However, Beth owns theonly dose of the medicine. She obtained it fairly and did not promiseit to anyone. If Adam asks Beth to give him her medicine, would itbe morally wrong for Beth to refuse? I don’t think so.

It doesn’t even matter if Adam has Beth’s medicine in his phys-ical possession. Suppose that Beth plans to take her medicine aftereating in a restaurant. She puts her medicine into the pocket of a coaton a rack, but she mistakenly puts it into Adam’s coat. When Bethcomes for her medicine, Adam has already found it, and he refusesto return it to Beth. In these circumstances, is it morally permissible

66 WALTER SINNOTT-ARMSTRONG

for Beth to take the medicine from Adam, or to get the police totake it? I think so. It would benicer for Beth to let Adam have themedicine, but Beth isnot morally requiredto give it to Adam, andit would not be morallywrong for Beth to take her medicine fromAdam. The reason is clear: the medicine is Beth’s property, so shehas a right to decide who uses it, and Adam has no right to it unlessshe gives it to him or he gets that right in some other way.

Nonetheless, Beth’s act of taking her medicine from Adamcauses Adam a neutral loss of a valuable future. Thus, (NE) impliesthat it is morally wrong for Beth to take her own medicine fromAdam. In contrast, (ME) implies that it wouldnot be morally wrongfor Beth to take her medicine from Adam, since she does have andhe does not have a right to her medicine.14 Thus, (ME) is a betterexplanation than (NE) of the moral wrongness in such cases.

The implications for abortion should be obvious. To stay alive,a fetus needs a place to grow, as well as blood and other fluids fornourishment, but what it needs belong to the pregnant woman andnot to the fetus. Thus, (ME) doesnot imply that abortion wouldbe morally wrong in circumstances where the fetus lacks a rightto the womb and blood that are necessary for its future. Just asit is not morally wrong to prevent a doctor from taking blood orbone marrow out of a woman without her permission even to savesomeone else’s life, so it is not morally wrong to stop a fetus fromusing its mother’s blood and womb, unless it somehow gains themoral right to those means to its life. Thus, if (ME) or anything likeit provides the best explanation, then Marquis’s kind of argumentcannot show that abortion is immoral in general.

5. RESPONSES

Of course, many responses are possible. One might respond that afetus usuallydoeshave a moral right to the means to life, since itsmother gave it that right when she voluntarily engaged in the sex thatled to her pregnancy (assuming that she was not raped). I will notaddress the complex issue of responsibility here. My point for nowis just that the fetus needs to somehow get that moral right to themeans to its future in order for (ME) to apply and to make abortionmorally wrong.

A REPLY TO MARQUIS ON ABORTION 67

A second response might be that causing lossesis sometimesmorally wrong, even when the loser doesnot have a moral right tothe necessary means to avoid loss. This happens when third partiesare wronged or when the loss is insignificant or grossly dispropor-tionate to any gain. For example, if Beth needs her medicine only toprevent one short, mild headache, but Adam needs it to save his life,then it seems morally wrong for Beth to refuse to give her medicineto Adam.15 If so, (ML) and (ME) need to be complicated somewhat.Even if so, however, to apply this concession to abortion, one wouldneed to argue that the loss to the pregnant woman and others is sosmall or so disproportionate to the loss to the fetus that it is morallywrong to cause the latter in order to prevent the former, despitethe disparity in rights. This would require a new argument, and theexamples of Beth’s medicine and of taking blood or bone marrowwithout consent suggest that such an argument will founder on thefact that unwanted pregnancy and birth usually do not cause onlyminor losses.

Opponents of abortion also might deny my intuitions. They mightclaim that itwould be morally wrong for Beth to take her medicinefrom Adam when Adam needs it to stay alive and Beth needs itonly to prevent nine months of illness and so on, and for one torefuse to donate blood or bone marrow when this is needed to savea life. I find this implausible, but it is hard to know what more to saywhen intuitions clash in this way. Still, we can say that it isat leastnot obvious that it would be morally wrong for Beth to take hermedicine from Adam or for one to refuse to donate one’s neededblood or bone marrow. Thus, Marquis hasat leastnot shown that(NE) provides the best explanation of the moral wrongness of killingor that abortion is immoral.

A fourth response might be that (ME) fails as an explanationbecause (ME) citesmoral properties. Marquis seems to demandan explanation in non-moral terms when he writes, “The pointof the analysis is to establish whichnatural property ultimatelyexplains the wrongness of the killing, given that it is wrong.” (190;my emphasis) However, Marquis does not follow his own restric-tion. His explanation refers to “thevalue of its future” (192; myemphasis), and values are no more natural than rights.

68 WALTER SINNOTT-ARMSTRONG

(ME) still might seem circular in a way that (NE) is not, because(ME) cites moral rights to explain moral wrongness, and moralrights are themselves normally explained in terms of moral wrong-ness. This charge cannot be made against Marquis’s reference tovalues. And I grant that it would be circular to say that it would bemorally wrong to kill something because that thing has a right notto be killed. However, this isnot what (ME) says. (ME) explainsthe wrongness of killing in terms of a moral right to themeansto a valuable future, which, in the case of abortion, includes thepregnant woman’s womb and blood. That right can be explained interms of rights to decide what is done with that womb and blood.For example, the pregnant woman can sell or donate her blood toa blood bank, but nobody else can. She can consent to the surgicalremoval of her womb, but nobody else can (while she is competent).Thus, these rights can be explained and justified without referring toabortion or killing. (ME) is then useful as an explanation becauseit shows how this right fits into a more general moral structure thatapplies to many otherwise unrelated situations.

Nonetheless, some opponents, including Marquis, still mightinsist on removingall moral terms from any explanation or moralwrongness. This is hard, but not impossible. My notion of a rightin (ME), like his notion of value in (NE), could in theory bereplaced by a naturalistic description of the non-moral base onwhich moral rights supervene. Any such naturalistic replacement,however, would depend on a particular, substantive theory of moralrights, which is bound to be controversial. Since my points donot depend on any particular substantive theory, I do not need toreplace the moral terms in (ME) with particular naturalistic terms. Ican remain neutral among defensible substantive theories of moralrights, because any substantive theory would be inadequate if it didnot imply that Beth has a right to her medicine and that a womanhas a right to her blood and womb, so any defensible substantivetheory of rights would make (ME) or its naturalistic replacementinto a better explanation than (NE).

A very persistent opponent still might not believe that any suchreplacement is even possible. These doubts can be relieved some-what by suggesting very briefly and schematically how one natur-alistic replacement could work. Consider a rule-consequentialist

A REPLY TO MARQUIS ON ABORTION 69

account of moral rights on which one has a moral right to somethingif and only if society is better off when a rule against certain inter-ferences with certain people’s use of similar things is entrenchedinto the moral attitudes and practices of almost all members of thatsociety. Then (ME) can be restated as:

(ME**) It is morally wrong except in extreme circumstances tocause anything the neutral loss of a valuable future whendoing so violates a rule whose entrenchment benefitssociety and which concerns the use of something thatis a necessary means to that valuable future.

Many details need to be spelled out, but I hope that (ME**) isclear enough to illustrate one way to avoid any direct reference tomoral rights in (ME). I am not claiming that this particular rule-consequentialist theory of rights is adequate, but this example atleast shows the possibility of avoiding any apparent circularity in(ME).

Marquis has one move left. He explicitly warned that he “willassume, but not argue” that “whether or not abortion is morallypermissible stands or falls on whether or not a fetus is the sort ofbeing whose life it is seriously wrong to end” (183). Marquis mightrespond that my criticisms do not deny that fetuses are this “sort ofbeing”. In a way, this is correct. To defend abortion on my account,it is enough that the fetus lacks the right to the means necessary forits life, including the mother’s blood and womb. I do not and neednot deny that fetuses are the sort of being thatcanbe given the rightto the means to life and to the necessary means to life. Indeed, Ineed not deny that the fetushasa right to life or that it is seriouslywrong for some people in some circumstances to kill a fetus.16 WhatI do deny is that Marquis has shown that it is “seriously wrong” fora pregnant woman to end the life of a fetus by getting an abortion.Even if my points concern only an exception to a general rule againstkilling, this exceptionis the rule in abortion. Marquis admits thatkilling can be justified in extreme circumstances, but he claims tohave shown why “morally permissible abortions will be rare indeed”(194). The exception for which I argue will hold in almost all casesof abortion, at least if the pregnant woman did not give the fetus the

70 WALTER SINNOTT-ARMSTRONG

right to use her blood and womb. My argument thereby shows thatmorally permissible abortions will be common indeed.

6. CONCLUSION

Overall, then, Marquis’s argument fails to show that abortion isimmoral to the extent that he claimed. To save his argument,Marquis would need to show that a fetus has a moral right tothe means it needs to gain its future or that the woman lacks amoral right to control her blood and womb or else that the pregnantwoman’s loss is so minor or so grossly disproportionate to the fetus’sloss that it would be morally wrong for her to refuse to let it use herbody, despite the disparity in rights. Such issues are controversial,and one of Marquis’s main goals was to sidestep them. What I havetried to show is that he cannot really avoid them in the end.

NOTES

∗ I am very grateful for helpful comments by Ann Bumpus, Sarah Buss,Bob Fogelin, Bernard Gert, Don Hubin, Steve Jacobson, Don Marquis, AlastairNorcross, Stefan Sencerz, Suzanne Uniacke, and audiences at the AustralianNational University, the University of Wollongong, and the Central Divison ofthe American Philosophical Association.1 Don Marquis, “Why Abortion is Immoral,”Journal of Philosophy86, 4 (April1989): 183–202. All page references in the text are to this article.2 The qualification “in normal circumstances” indicates that killing normal adultsas ageneralkind of act is morally wrong onlyprima facie, but aparticular act ofkilling a normal adult in normal circumstances where there is no special reason tokill is still morally wrong overall. Moral wrongness needs to be explained at bothlevels.3 Ann Cudd, “Sensationalized Philosophy: A Reply to Marquis’s ‘Why Abortionis Immoral,’ ” Journal of Philosophy87, 5 (May 1990): 262.4 Peter K. McInerney, “Does a Fetus Already Have a Future-Like-Ours?”Journalof Philosophy87, 5 (May 1990): 264–268.5 Alastair Norcross, “Killing, Abortion, and Contraception: A Reply to Marquis,”Journal of Philosophy87, 5 (May 1990): 271–272. On pp. 275–276, Norcrossdoes discuss whether a fetus has a right to its future. This issue is closely relatedto my concerns, and I am indebted to his remarks, but I focus on the right to thenecessary means to its future rather than on the right to its future. See my notes14 and 16.6 Marquis sometimes writes of being “deprived” of a future (190), but “deprive”

A REPLY TO MARQUIS ON ABORTION 71

is no clearer than “cause a loss”, since the former would presumably be explainedin terms of the latter. (The moral connotations of “deprive” might even be clearer.)The notion of “cause” is also unclear in this context for much the same reasons,but I will focus on the term “loss” for simplicity.7 This might seem disanalogous to abortion because only the fetus can have itsvaluable future, whereas any runner can win the trophy. However, nobody elsecan feel Lee’s feelings, but my point applies even if we refer to Lee losing thepleasure that he would feel if he received the valuable trophy.8 Lee does have aprivilege in Hohfeld’s sense of winning the race, assuming Lee has no duty not towin the race and it would not be wrong for him to win the race. However, Lee hasno claim against Kristin that she not win the race or not interfere with his winningthe race by beating him. Such Hohfeldian claims are what I call “rights” here andelsewhere.9 Problems of overdetermination infect (iii) if someone else would prevent thevictim from having the valuable thing even if this agent did not do the act thatactually causes the loss. However, these problems do not affect my point here.10 I include both (iv) and (v), rather than their disjunction or one without the other,because the conjunction weakens my later claims, especially (ME). In order todiscuss abortion, I do not need to take any stand on cases where neither the agentnor the loser has a right to a means to life, or where both the agent and the loserhave a right to a means to life, if such cases are possible.11 The moral approach to losses and the role of rights in determining whatcounts as a loss or as depriving are discussed by Bernard Gert,Morality (NewYork; Oxford University Press, 1988), pp. 111–116. Gert argues that one doesnot deprive or cause a loss to the next person in line if one buys the last bag ofpopcorn or the last ticket to a football game (or to a Muddy Waters concert). I amdeeply indebted to Gert’s discussion here.12 I think that the desire account, which Marquis rejects, could be defendedby including future desires and dispositional desires, but I will not develop thatdefense here.13 Because fetuses are not guilty, I will focus on cases where the loser is notguilty. Nonetheless, the alternative explanations can also be tested by applyingthem to self-defense when killing an attacker is necessary to prevent the attackerfrom killing the defender. Such killing causes a neutral loss of a valuable future,but it does not seem morally wrong. Marquis can try to explain this by pointingout that a valuable future is also saved, but it also does not seem morally wrongto kill two attackers when this is necessary to save one life. The reason seems tobe that both attackers have no right to do what they are trying to do. Thus, (ME)seems better than (NE) at explaining moral judgments about self-defense.14 Adam might have a moral right to his future insofar as it would be morallywrong for Beth or some third party to kill Adam in ways other than by taking hermedicine when killing is not necessary to get her medicine. See note 16.15 This seems to be denied by Judith Jarvis Thomson, “A Defense of Abortion,”Philosophy and Public Affairsvol. 1, no. 1 (Fall 1971): 47–66, Section 5. It shouldbe clear to anyone who knows Thomson’s article that many of my claims are just

72 WALTER SINNOTT-ARMSTRONG

applications of Thomson’s views to Marquis’s argument. However, in allowingthat it might be morally wrong to cause a neutral loss for a grossly dispropor-tionate gain, I avoid Thomson’s apparent commitment to the absoluteness ofproperty rights or rights to control one’s body.16 If one accepts that a fetus is the kind of being that can have moral rights, onemight want to claim that a fetus has a moral right against third parties not to killit, when they are not acting as agents of the pregnant woman, and when killingit is not necessary to protect the pregnant woman’s rights (as might become thecase after viability). Even if this is granted, however, we can still say that the fetushas no right against the mother that she not cause it the neutral loss of a valuablefuture by getting an abortion before viability.

Department of PhilosophyDartmouth CollegeHanover, NH 03755-3592USA

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Payment Prоcess

By clіckіng ‘PRОCEED TО CHECKОUT’ yоu wіll be lоgged іn tо yоur accоunt autоmatіcally where yоu can vіew yоur оrder detaіls. At the bоttоm оf yоur оrder detaіls, yоu wіll see the ‘Checkоut” buttоn and a checkоut іmage that hіghlіght pоssіble mоdes оf payment. Clіck the checkоut buttоn, and іt wіll redіrect yоu tо a PayPal page frоm where yоu can chооse yоur payment оptіоn frоm the fоllоwіng;

  1. Pay wіth my PayPal accоunt‘– select thіs оptіоn іf yоu have a PayPal accоunt.
  2. Pay wіth a debіt оr credіt card’ or ‘Guest Checkout’ – select thіs оptіоn tо pay usіng yоur debіt оr credіt card іf yоu dоn’t have a PayPal accоunt.
  3. Dо nоt fоrget tо make payment sо that the оrder can be vіsіble tо оur experts/tutоrs/wrіters.

Regards,

Custоmer Suppоrt

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