alexa Two kinds of potentiality: a critique of McGinn on the ethics of abortion.
Social & Political Sciences

Social & Political Sciences

Journal of Civil & Legal Sciences

Author(s): Jacquette D

Abstract Share this page

Abstract In Moral Literacy, or How to Do the Right Thing, Colin McGinn proposes a consequentialist solution to the abortion dilemma. McGinn interprets moral rights and moral interests as attributable only to actually sentient beings by virtue of their ability to experience pleasure or pain. McGinn argues against the moral rights of potentially conscious human fetuses, on the grounds that the unjoined ova and spermatoza of any fertile men and women are also potentially sentient, but we do not generally suppose that unjoined human genetic germ plasm has moral rights. I argue that McGinn's reply equivocates between two different senses of 'potential sentience.' I distinguish between strong and weak potentiality, or between naturally probably potentiality and merely logically possible potentiality. I agree that it is reasonable to deny that a weak or merely logically possible potentially sentient fetus that would result from any unjoined ovum and sperm has a moral right to life. But I claim that this fact does not diminish the plausibility of extending a moral right or potential moral right to life to a naturally probable potentially sentient fetus, which we have good reason to believe will actually become sentient in the natural course of things if nothing is done to prevent its normal development. I conclude that it is not merely the potentiality, but the strong potentiality of a healthy, normally developing fetus that is soon to acquire sentience, moral interests, and, on McGinn's own terms, a moral right to life, that continues to sustain the abortion controversy, even among those who also want respect a woman's right to reproductive self-determination.
This article was published in J Appl Philos and referenced in Journal of Civil & Legal Sciences

Relevant Expert PPTs

Relevant Speaker PPTs

Peer Reviewed Journals
Make the best use of Scientific Research and information from our 700 + peer reviewed, Open Access Journals
International Conferences 2017-18
Meet Inspiring Speakers and Experts at our 3000+ Global Annual Meetings

Contact Us

Agri, Food, Aqua and Veterinary Science Journals

Dr. Krish

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9040

Clinical and Biochemistry Journals

Datta A

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9037

Business & Management Journals


1-702-714-7001Extn: 9042

Chemical Engineering and Chemistry Journals

Gabriel Shaw

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9040

Earth & Environmental Sciences

Katie Wilson

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9042

Engineering Journals

James Franklin

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9042

General Science and Health care Journals

Andrea Jason

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9043

Genetics and Molecular Biology Journals

Anna Melissa

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9006

Immunology & Microbiology Journals

David Gorantl

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9014

Informatics Journals

Stephanie Skinner

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9039

Material Sciences Journals

Rachle Green

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9039

Mathematics and Physics Journals

Jim Willison

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9042

Medical Journals

Nimmi Anna

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9038

Neuroscience & Psychology Journals

Nathan T

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9041

Pharmaceutical Sciences Journals

John Behannon

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9007

Social & Political Science Journals

Steve Harry

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9042

© 2008-2017 OMICS International - Open Access Publisher. Best viewed in Mozilla Firefox | Google Chrome | Above IE 7.0 version