Friday, April 30, 2010

From an Amazon Review of Pro-Life 101

A redated post.

How would the discussion begin in response to a position like this? This is body autonomy with a vengeance. For this guy, the principle of body autonomy trumps the right to life.

1. I'm entitled to kill anything, and anyone, which is located inside my body, no matter what or who it is. If all the people in the whole world--innocent and guilty, unborn and already-born, great and small, rich and poor, smart and stupid--were assembled somewhere inside my body, along with Baby Jesus, Almighty God, and The Flying Spaghetti Monster, then I'd be entitled to holocaust 'em at will. That's part of the meaning of the word "my" in the phrase "my body".

2. If something or someone is living by means of my body's life-support functions, on food I eat and digest and on air I breathe, I'm entitled to stop that anytime. The life-support machine is part of my body, so it's mine to switch off.

3. If someone is getting ready to subject me to major medical/surgical trauma, I'm entitled to prevent that by killing the someone. You know, just as a man would be. Even if they're doing so unintentionally. It's not punishment; it's protection.

12 comments:

William said...

Our legal system would arrest and prosecute someone for acting this way if their consensual actions led to their eventually needing to take on on the role of host and protector for another.

At best, this might be used to support abortion if the pregnancy was from rape, but certainly not if the pregnancy was from a consensual act.

Josh said...

You could tell him the sword cuts both ways. If he grants that the hypothetical fetus inside his body were a person, and I think he does grant this, then that fetus also has a right to defend its body from destruction. And since it can't defend itself, we can be morally justified in providing for its defense. I don't think the principle he's advocating does the work he wants it to do.

Hector said...

1. So she believes moms can smoke crack abd drink booze while pregnant and while also intending on having the child? Has she been in the NICU and seen those children? How could anyone say that the mother was not morally responsible for her actions? Looking at crack babies and talking to the doctors about their struggles shows the immorality of it about as obvious as anything.

Also, Josh is correct. If the baby is a human, and all humans have a right to what happens to and in their body, then the baby has a right to protect itself. Since it cannot do so, we can.

I also wonder if this person thinks she can put a bomb inside her body and walk into a public building and cause it to expolde. If she says no, then she endorses this principle:

[P] You cannot do an action A with your human body if A takes the life of other human bodies.

Presumably she would respond to P by saying that this is only true for humans outside her body. But that seems arbitrary. Why cannot I draw up an equally arbitrary boundry marker, say, humans outside a ten foot radius of my body. How does a persons location necessarily determine if they can be killed or not? This is Hitleresk reasoning.

And, why couldn't I kill people in my house? Could I not kill all the people in my house? "That's part of the meaning of the word 'my' in the phrase 'my house'".

2. I deny 2. I actually think we have obligations to save the life of those hooked up to us if our body is the only means of life support we have. I even say to Judith Thompson that we would have an obligation to save the violinist, people would need to look after our families, jobs protected, etc. But even if my intuitions here are wrong, she is still wrong for other reasons cited.

3. Hmmm, so my four year old is entitled to kill me if I am trying to subject him to medical surgery that would save his life!?

Blip said...

"I'm entitled to kill anything, and anyone, which is located inside my body, no matter what or who it is. If all the people in the whole world--innocent and guilty, unborn and already-born, great and small, rich and poor, smart and stupid--were assembled somewhere inside my body, along with Baby Jesus, Almighty God, and The Flying Spaghetti Monster, then I'd be entitled to holocaust 'em at will."

This would make an interesting solution to the problem of evil. Why does so much bad stuff happen to people? Well, we are part of God's body, and God can do what he likes with his own body. So get used to it.

Vertigo said...

So then...

His wife has the right to kill him if he even so much as farts during intercourse?!

Victor Reppert said...

Maybe she's only entitled to cut off the part of him that is inside her body.

ZZMike said...

There's no arguing with minds frozen in ignorance, with minds transfixed with narcissism ("That's part of the meaning of the word "my" in the phrase "my body".).

"If someone is getting ready to subject me to major medical/surgical trauma, I'm entitled to prevent that by killing the someone."

Someone should remind him of that if he should ever be admittied to an ER with appendicitis.

Clayton said...

Have you looked inside the book? The book and the review were made for each other. On pp. 1, the abortion issue (which is confusingly taken to be an issue about elective abortions) is "not complex". The author writes, "There is only one question to resolve, not many. If pro-life advocates are right about the humanity of the unborn, elective abortion is a clear moral wrong. If, on the other hand, abortion does not take the life of an innocent human being, it requires no more justification than having your tooth pulled."

And so the author refutes Marquis' argument for the immorality of abortion and Vic's deer hunter argument. On pp. 1. Anyone care to read to pp. 2?

word verification: lessons

Victor Reppert said...

That's a world-class false dilemma, Clayton. I'm not a big Peter Singer fan who is overfond of making charges of speciesism. In this case, however.....

I thought animal rights was a complex moral issue. Apparently not.

Clayton said...

"That's a world-class false dilemma, Clayton."

Indeed! I'd be surprised if it wasn't a world-champion false dilemma. Either it's the world champion FD or there are no FDs!

(See, even that one isn't as impressive.)

Victor Reppert said...

Put it in your notebook for next time you teach informal logic.

DL said...

I would reply by declaring my organs to be on the outside of my body and the rest of the universe to be on the inside.