A Defense of Abortion

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, 2003 - Medical - 350 pages
2 Reviews
The central thesis of philosopher David Boonin is that the moral case against abortion can be shown to be unsuccessful on terms that critics of abortion can and do accept. Critically examining a wide array of arguments that have attempted to establish that every human fetus has a right to life, Boonin posits that all of these arguments fail on their own terms. He then argues that even if the fetus does have a right to life, abortion can still be shown to be morally permissible on the critic of abortion's own terms. Finally, Boonin considers a number of arguments against abortion that do not depend on the claim that the fetus has a right to life, including those based on the golden rule, considerations of uncertainty and a commitment to certain feminist principles, and asserts that these positions, too, are ultimately unsuccessful. The result is the most thorough and detailed case for the moral permissibility of abortion that has yet been written. David Boonin is professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado. He is the author of Thomas Hobbes and the Science of Moral Virtue (Cambridge, 1994).
  

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: A Defense of Abortion (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Public Policy)

User Review  - Clinton Wilcox - Goodreads

I'm staunchly pro-life. Even given that, it was a joy to read this book. This is hands-down the best defense of abortion currently available. If you wish to keep up-to-date on the abortion issue, and ... Read full review

Review: A Defense of Abortion (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Public Policy)

User Review  - Erik Z - Goodreads

David Boonin's book "A Defense of Abortion" is a book written for people who seek to understand the philosophical arguments for and against abortion. To some, the book might appear overly technical ... Read full review

Contents

Framing the Debate
1
11 The Question
3
112 Three Objections
6
12 The Method
9
122 Reflective Equilibrium and Abortion
13
13 The Arguments
14
132 NonRightsBased Arguments
18
The Conception Criterion
19
435 Rejecting the Second Claim
164
44 The Responsibility Objection
167
441 Two Senses of Responsibility
168
442 The Significance of the Distinction
172
443 Three Objections
175
45 The Killing versus Letting Die Objection
188
452 Letting the Fetus Die
193
453 Killing the Fetus
199

21 The Parsimony Argument
20
22 The Species Essence Argument
23
23 The Kindred Species Argument
26
24 The Sanctity of Human Life Argument
27
25 The Slippery Slope Argument
33
26 The Potentiality Argument
45
27 The Essential Property Argument
49
28 The FutureLikeOurs Argument
56
281 The Argument
57
282 The Challenge
62
283 Occurrent versus Dispositional Desires
64
284 Actual versus Ideal Desires
70
285 Implications
79
29 The Probability Argument
85
Postconception Criteria
91
31 Implantation
92
32 External Human Form
95
33 Actual Fetal Movement
97
34 Perceived Fetal Movement Quickening
98
351 The Brain
99
352 The Cerebral Cortex
102
353 The Initial Brain Activity Criterion
104
354 The Symmetry Argument
112
36 Organized Cortical Brain Activity
115
362 Rival Arguments
116
363 The Modified FutureLikeOurs Argument
122
364 The Gray Area
127
37 Viability
129
The Good Samaritan Argument
133
41 The Argument
135
42 The Weirdness Objection
139
43 The Tacit Consent Objection
148
432 The Significance of the Objection
150
433 The Objections Two Claims
153
434 Rejecting the First Claim
154
454 Two Objections
204
46 The Intending versus Foreseeing Objection
212
462 Intentionally Letting the Fetus Die
215
463 Intentionally Killing the Fetus
221
47 The Stranger versus Offspring Objection
227
48 The Adult versus Infant Objection
234
49 The Different Burdens Objection
236
41O The Organ Ownership Objection
242
411 The Child Support Objection
246
412 The Extraction Versus Abortion Objection
254
413 The ThirdParty Objection
260
414 The Feminist Objection
262
4141 The Ignoring Patriarchy Version
263
4142 The Selfishness Version
265
415 The Duty to Save the Violinist Objection
266
4151 The Conscription Version
267
4152 The Involuntary Samaritan Version
268
4153 The Justification versus Excuse Version
269
4154 The Consequentialist Version
271
416 The Compensation Objection
273
417 The Inconsistency Objection
274
418 Some Puzzles Resolved
276
NonRightsBased Arguments
282
51 The Golden Rule Argument
283
511 Hares Version
284
512 Genslers Version
289
52 The Culture of Death Argument
298
53 The ProLife Feminist Argument
300
54 The Uncertainty Argument
310
541 Three Versions of the Argument
312
542 Three Objections
314
Bibliography
325
Index
345
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2003)

David Boonin is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado. He is the author of Thomas Hobbes and the Science of Moral Virtue (1994) and the prize-winning books A Defense of Abortion (2002) and The Problem of Punishment (2009), all of which were published by Cambridge University Press. He is also the author of a number of articles on issues in applied ethics and the co-editor of the popular applied ethics textbook What's Wrong? (2009).

Bibliographic information