He states that an organism possess a serious right to life only if it possess the concept of self as a continuing subject of experiences and other mental states, and believes that it itself is a continuing entity p. Furthermore, he argues that there are certain requirements to meet this claim. To say one only has a right to life if it possesses a concept of self as a continuing subject is a bold statement. If claiming a fetus does not have a right to life because they do not possess a concept of self, then what about an human who is suffering from a disease that makes them …show more content… The final stage in Tooleys argument is that the desires one can have are limited by the concepts it possess.
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Main question that needs to be answered to defend the claim: What properties must a thing posses to have a serious right to life? It will be seen that this condition is not satisfied by human fetuses and infants and thus that they do not have a right to life. In contrast, it may turn out that our treatment of adult members of other species — cats, dogs, polar bears — is morally indefensible.
For it is quite possible that such animals do possess properties that endow them with a right to life. The problem the liberal faces is essentially that of specifying a cutoff point which is not arbitrary: at what stage in the development of a human being doe it cease to be morally permissible to destroy it?
In such cases it is reasonable to suspect one is dealing with a taboo. This suggests that newborn kittens may have a right not to be tortured without having a serious right to life.
Kitten argument: If an entity wants something thing, it would be wrong for others to deprive him of it. So, it would be wrong to cause pain to a kitten.
Kittens do not want to live. So, it would not be wrong to kill a kitten. Surely this is a wild contention. However, the obligations in questions are conditional ones, being dependent upon the existence of certain desires of the individual to whom the right is ascribed. Thus if an individual asks one to destroy something to which has a right, one does not violate his right to that thing if one proceeds to destroy it. Then since one cannot desire that a certain proposition be true unless one understands it, and since one cannot understand it without possessing the concepts involved in it, it follows that the desires one can have are limited by the concepts one possesses.
How does this square with his Kitten argument? Why is it so important for him to talk about desires in terms of propositional attitudes? What is at stake? Is there a plausible alternative?
Moreoever, an entity cannot desire that it itself continue existing as a subject of experiences and other mental states unless it believes that it is now such a subject.
Suppose at some future time a chemical were to be discovered which when injected into the brain of a kitten would cause the kitten to develop into a cat possessing the brain of a the sort possessed by humans, and consequently into a cat having all the psychological capabilities characteristic of adult humans.
Such cats would be able to think, to use language, and so on. Now it would surely be morally indefensible in such a situation to ascribe a serous right to life to members of the species Homo sapiens without also ascribing it to cats that have undergone such a process of development: there would be no morally significant differences.
Secondly, it would not be seriously wrong to refrain from injecting a newborn kitten with the special chemical, and to kill it instead. The fact that one could initiate a causal process that would transform a kitten into an entity that would eventually possess properties such that anything possessing them ipso facto has a serious right to life does not mean that the kitten has a serious right to life even before it has been subjected to the process of injection and transformation.
The possibility of transforming kittens into persons will not make it any more wrong to kill newborn kittens than it is now. Suppose a kitten is accidentally injected with the chemical.
As long as it has not yet developed those properties that in themselves endow something with a right to life, there cannot be anything wrong with interfering with the causal process and preventing the development of the properties in question. So it is not wrong to initiate such a causal process. Let A be an action that initiates process C, and B be an action involving a minimal expenditure of energy that stops process C before outcome E occurs. Assume further that actions A and B do not have any other consequences, and that E is the only morally significant outcome of the process.
Then there is no moral difference between intentionally performing the action B and intentionally refraining from performing action A, assuming identical motivation in both cases. However this goes against traditional wisdom positive vs negative duties , where it is though worse to kill someone than merely let someone die by not giving them charity. The Jones Smith counterexample: Compare the following: 1 Jones sees that Smith will be killed by a bomb unless he warns him.
Surely not. This shows the mistake of drawing a distinction between positive duties and negative duties and holding that the latter impose stricter obligations than the former.
Tooley's immodest proposal: Abortion and Infanticide.
If this is correct, then I do not now have a desire to live. Find it on Scholar. An organism has a right ihfanticide life only if it possesses the concept of a self as a continuing subject of experiences and other mental states, and believes that it is itself such a continuing entity. Ethical Veganism, Virtue, and Greatness of the Soul. The SCR specifies a necessary condition for personhood. Xiaofei Liu — — Utilitas 24 1: If an organism potentially possesses P, then the organism has a right to life now. Fiona Woollard — — Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 3: Assume that A and B do not have any other consequences, and that E is the only morally significant outcome of process C.
Michael Tooley Abortion And Infanticide Summary
Abortion and Infanticide - Potentiality Principle
Abortion and Infanticide