The only appropriate answer is ‘no one’. The logical explanation of legal experts in Roe vs. Wade is full of glaring weaknesses. Each goal is part of a bigger whole, the human life, or to borrow a quote from Alasdair Macintyre “our individual narrative” (After Virtue 1984). And, if we assume as Thompson does then I do not think the theory of right action put forth by Hursthouse, and most virtue ethicists, can claim that abortion is permissible. I’ll just comment on this part because I feel we’re just getting closer to an impasse – haha. With that said, I’ve done a lot of research on different personhood arguments in the past but I haven’t come across the book you’ve linked. With regards to your last suggestion – I think that it would be a knock against virtue ethics if they would appealed to your suggestion as a way around dealing with the decision to abort. Judith Jarvis Thomson does for the sake of argument and my purpose was to engage with those that argue on those grounds. Thus, there is freedom of choice and there is no room for regrets. How am I forced to accept his views on moral agents if I adopt his virtue framework? Post was not sent - check your email addresses! 2 Therefore, abortion is morally permissible throughout the entire pregnancy. Darwall, Stephen. It is therefore important to protect hapless fetuses and babies in this country. The virtues of compassion and reasonableness could incline the mother to abort the pregnancy. A woman feels the living thing inside her. The abortion itself is not within a moral vacuum. deal with the case of abortion when other viable options are available? The egg is fertilized by a sperm cell and conception takes place. The rationale of the goal makes the action right. Well, if we grant that the fetus is a human being, then the virtuous person would care about protecting its right to life. The ability to choose is not based on her desires but in accordance to the pursuit of character and inner-peace. why hursthouse thinks that a virtue theorist will not be overly concerned with whether or not women have a right to an abortion ? There must equally be kind, noble, courageous people campaigning against abortion. I think we are at an impasse, though. SO, as it stands, we’re back to the initial question. According to Rosalind Hursthouse, an action is right (from a Virtue Ethical perspective)  if and only if it is what the virtuous agent would do in the same circumstances. The other issue is when does a soul enter into a body? The database is updated daily, so anyone can easily find a relevant essay example. I hope this made things a bit more clear (though I understand if I only made things more abstract as this is a multilayered and difficult topic). I think you are right here Justin. While ethics of care is thought by some to be antithetical to abortion rights, this article will argue the opposite. I’m more concerned with the argument put forth by Judith Jarvis Thompson. Did you cut down a tree, or did you stop the seeds’ potentiality of being a tree? Abstract. First I wanted to respond to your argument for autonomy. I think that you’ll be forced to grant that a majority of animals are people or that babies aren’t. Though I don’t think it is reasonable to grant a fetus the status of personhood since they don’t have a personality or conscious experience to value yet (that is, not until at least 4 or 5+ months in gestation, when consciousness forms via a cerebral cortex, the thalamo-cortical complex, etc. With regards to the perpetrator being virtuous or not, I guess it would depend on hy he was engaging in the action. There is no absolute right as the law stands for a woman to do what she likes with her own body and have abortion on demand. Thoughts? These include such things as education, wealth, free birth etc. Also, an appeal to what most people would do does not seem to be a good way to go about what we ought to do. So please feel free to chime in then as well. The goal must be the development of character and the appropriate inner state. http://www.amazon.ca/Right-Action-Virtue-Justin-Caouette/dp/3847340336, http://aaronsholymountain.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/on-an-argument-for-conservatism/, ‘A Philosopher’s Take’ Year in Review (2014) | A Philosopher's Take, https://lagevondissen.wordpress.com/2015/08/10/why-i-became-a-pro-choice-advocate/, Follow A Philosopher's Take on WordPress.com, Discovery and Invention Part I: Distinctions and Notations, Free Will: Why Sam Harris needs to read more Philosophy. In fact I think a virtue ethicist could justify eschewing such analysis all together. Non-Greeks are in! What’s your deadline? I’m more concerned with cases not related to rape, and, since most of us are not virtuous, a practical virtue ethic should guide us when dealing with how we should act next when the results of our previous “free” actions that are not ideal or virtuous(finding yourself pregnant when you didn’t want to be or something like that). Interesting discussion, much of which relies on perspective and assumption. why Hursthouse thinks that a virtue theorist will not emphasize the question of whether or not a fetus is a person? It was not intended to be a deep discussion about the considerations that you have mentioned, as interesting as they are. If the principles of virtue ethics are applied to this situation then the woman has to determine if abortion leads to character or a state of well-being that she will not regret for the rest of her life. Morality and Virtue: An Assessment of Some Recent Work in Virtue Ethics. If I get pregnant, and get an abortion in a few months, am I not acting as a virtuous person would act? Chapter 23: Active and Passive Euthanasia . This argument makes sense when a pregnancy threatens the life of a pregnant woman. Virtue Ethics and Abortion . This is why I find VE to be superior to other leading theories. To give it moral weight at that stage might invite giving moral weight to, at the least, animals like fish or tadpoles. There are mainly 2 views towards abortion. And; (C) How does the act in question relate to (A) and/or (B) ? Therefore, our actions can directly affect the narratives of others and vice versa. I’ve considered the virtue of humility and a few others when I was researching this as part of my M.A thesis. Though, I think it’s quite clear that it is a “life” (I haven’t argued for any of that here). and does an inanimate body constitute a person? In other words, flourishing is defined in terms of embodying the virtues. It goes like this: Imagine you dig a hole, and plant a tree seed. NJ: Enslow Publishers, 2008. “If one thinks that the fetus is not deserving of moral consideration or does not have any moral worth that’s one thing and a very different sort of debate…What Virtues would be adhered to in order to claim that abortion is the right choose when compared to competing alternatives”. That’s a tough one. I tend to agree with your argument. The Aristotlean view of human reproduction (erroneously) postulated that there was a fully formed human being in the seminal fluid. Aristotle was clearly wrong with regards to women and lots of other stuff.. Women were considered subject to father’s/husband’s authority. The promotion of caring relationships requires both the support and * Jonathan Herring, Professor Law, University of Oxford. I begin by outlining virtue ethics in comparison to the two other dominant approaches in normative ethics. So, if we take the above definitions of virtue as a starting point we can see that virtue ethics, as opposed to deontology or utilitarianism, is an approach that focuses on motives and moral character (virtue) and is concerned with living well in order to flourish. A clear strength of Utilitarianism when discussing abortion is that there is no absolute value placed on human life, meaning it avoids moral questions about when human life begins. With recognition has come critici … I recommend a book by Chinua Achebe called “Things Fall Apart”. Lu, Mathew, "Abortion and Virtue Ethics" (2011).Philosophy Faculty Publications. It has been made clear that abortion is a polarizing issue. When we do look at the particular cases I think the VEthicist is hard pressed to find justification to abort rather than other available options. 🙂 ). In fact that moral blindness is such a sad comment on his moral theory. Virtue ethics like many other ethical theories, tries to answer the questions: (A) How should one live? I’ll have to think about it more. I would argue that within Virtue Ethics, abortion could be seen as the right action for a number of reasons. Enlighten me. Aren’t we just a larger version? This is especially true for those who cannot fight for themselves. She decides to have an abortion based on the fact that she does not want to cause her child to suffer if she gives birth to it. It is a mean between two vices, one of excess and one of deficiency. It also seems irresponsible to not care what is alive and what isn’t…. . Again, (A1) is incomplete as well. Ethical Concept in "Blood Diamonds" film by Edward Zwick, Roe vs Wade Ruling - the Result of the Supreme Court, Abortion Principles - Case of George and Linda, The Problems of Abortion in Modern Society, Strengths and Weaknesses in Utilitarianism Theory, Compare and contrast analysis socio-political and moral agenda of abortion. I’d love to hear some of your thoughts when I post on abortion more generally. It seems to me that at least most run-of-the-mill abortions would be seen as wrong in the eyes of the Virtue Ethicist. Like the egg, removing it on purpose once it has attached to the wall is not the same as committing an immoral act of murder. Unfortunately, your browser is too old to work on this site. However, it could be argued that christian virtues are really either vices of deficiency or excess when seen through Aristotle, who is after all the father of virtue ethics and ethics in general (that is big of me to say because I am a big Plato fanboy). Neuroscience and Free Will: New study debunks Libet's interpretation, Book Release: The Moral Psychology of Compassion. Similarly, a seasoned moral agent will make moral evaluations more likely to accord with the verdict of history. There are also those who contend that rape victims who got pregnant as a result of the sexual assault must also have the right to abortion. Hursthouse's 'Normative Virtue Ethics' prescribes the following: An action is right iff it is what a virtuous agent would characteristically (i.e. In other words a child has to be born first before he or she can enjoy the same rights as others. Unlike deontological and co… Ancient greeks might then see the anti abortion position based on vices that are counter productive to building a strong character (Paging Mr. Nietzsche, Mr. Nietzsche…white courtesy phone please). Murder must not be taken lightly especially when viewed from the perspective of a hapless human being trapped in the womb of a woman who can decide that this unborn child is an inconvenience that must be discarded. If that involves donating their time, even if for 9 months, then that person would do so. We will write a custom Essay on Abortion and Virtue Ethics specifically for you for only $16.05 $11/page. If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda. Clearly not the first. Ethics of Abortion 1933 Words | 8 Pages. Robert Roberts has done some excellent work on particular virtues and how to tell which ones are at play. So protecting equal rights for all human beings could be seen as a virtue in itself (which requires work and isn’t by any means going to be the easiest approach, nor is it a position that would inevitably result from consequentialism). Your privacy is extremely important to us. Because it focuses on one’s character, why they chose to perform the action, and doesn’t focus primarily on the outcome of that action (consequentialism) or some arbitrary rule (deontology). It still misses the entire point of my initial post though. I think the civilizations of antiquity and ancient greece in particular would not see any disconnect here between virtue and abortion. Will the environment the child is raised in, if the woman isn’t allowed to abort, be an environment that is conducive to fostering the child’s own virtues? Any further ideas as to what virtues to act by in this case are welcomed. I must admit, I’d need to read more about virtue ethics. @ Cindie: Hursthouse doesn’t take a stand on whether or not the fetus is a person. (I feel like I should add I’m not a virtue ethicist. Abstract My goal here is to consider what contemporary virtue ethics can say about the problem of abortion. After conversing with a fellow colleague about some of what is mentioned here (I appreciated that quick discussion earlier this morning) I’d like to clarify my position a bit. Of course, by the time of Aquinas virtues had become christian virtues of things like faith and love and mercy and charity…etc. It must be pointed out that abortion after the third trimester of pregnancy is illegal. I begin by comparing virtue ethics to the two other dominant approaches in normative ethics and then consider what some important virtue ethicists have said about abortion, especially Rosalind Hursthouse. But, I’d love to hear an argument for why I cannot deny that he is wrong about who counts as a moral agent while still accepting his moral theory? December 6, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/abortion-and-virtue-ethics/. Life has value dead things? The value in this comparison is it makes it clear a person of average maturity and moral competence should be able to figure out when it’s permissible and when it’s not. The bone of contention centers on the meaning of human life because once it has been established, one can determine whether abortion is murder or another medical procedure. That discussion will have to wait for a later post 🙂. The feelings are suppressed but the mind has a way of dealing with the stress and manifests itself into different forms of symptoms (Lee, p.25). Aren’t we a clump of cells? First, if we consider and grant the argument from bodily autonomy, then it is clear that a woman would have the right to abort her pregnancy since she has no obligation to donate her body to another human being. What about karmic blueprints and sacred contracts? The State also has the option to make the procedure illegal in the final trimester. While I am by no means an ethicist or philosopher, I do think I’m a thinker, not a linear thinker, but rather a pandemic thinker. , 44 ) UK legislation is framed in such a thing as a “ run-of-the-mill ”.. 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