Utilitarianism and abortion

References and Further Reading 1. Metaethics The term "meta" means after or beyond, and, consequently, the notion of metaethics involves a removed, or bird's eye view of the entire project of ethics. We may define metaethics as the study of the origin and meaning of ethical concepts.

Utilitarianism and abortion

Ancient Greece Ancient Greece was the birthplace of Western philosophical ethics. The ideas of Socrates c. The sudden flowering of philosophy during that period was rooted in the ethical thought of earlier centuries. In the poetic literature of the 7th and 6th centuries bce, there were, as in other culturesmoral precepts but no real attempts to formulate a coherent overall ethical position.

The Greeks were later to refer to the most prominent of these poets and early philosophers as the seven sagesand they are frequently quoted with respect by Plato and Aristotle. Knowledge of the thought of this period is limited, for often only fragments of original writings, along with later accounts of dubious accuracy, remain.

He appears to have written nothing at all, but he was the founder of a school of thought that touched on all aspects of life and that may have been a kind of philosophical and religious order. In ancient times the school was best known for its advocacy of vegetarianismwhich, like that of the Jains, was associated with the belief that after the death of the body, the human soul may take up residence in the body of an animal see reincarnation.

Pythagoreans continued to espouse this view for many centuries, and classical passages in the works of writers such as Ovid 43 bce—17 ce and Porphyry — opposing bloodshed and animal slaughter can be traced to Pythagoras.

Ethical responses to abortion

This term was used in the 5th century to refer to a class of professional teachers of rhetoric and argument. The Sophists promised their pupils success in political debate and increased influence in the affairs of the city. They were accused of being mercenaries who taught their students to win arguments by fair means or foul.

Aristotle said that Protagoras c. They regarded themselves as imparters of the cultural and intellectual qualities necessary for success, and their involvement with argument about practical affairs naturally led them to develop views about ethics. The recurrent theme in the views of the better-known Sophists, such as Protagoras, Antiphon c.

He argued that, while the particular content of the moral rules may vary, there must be rules of some kind if life is to be tolerable. Thus, Protagoras stated that the foundations of an ethical system needed nothing from the gods or from any special metaphysical realm beyond the ordinary world of the senses.

He explained that the concept of justice means nothing more than obedience to the laws of society, and, since these laws are made by the strongest political group in its own interest, justice represents nothing but the interest of the stronger.

Presumably he would then encourage his pupils to follow their own interests as best they could. It is not surprising that, with ideas of this sort in circulation, other thinkers should react by probing more deeply into ethics to see whether the potentially destructive conclusions of some of the Sophists could be resisted.

This reaction produced works that have served ever since as the cornerstone of the entire edifice of Western ethics. Yet, unlike other figures of comparable importance, such as the Buddha or Confucius, he did not tell his audience how they should live.

What Socrates taught was a method of inquiry. When the Sophists or their pupils boasted that they knew what justice, piety, temperance, or law was, Socrates would ask them to give an account, which he would then show was entirely inadequate.

For those who thought that adherence to the conventional moral code was more important than the cultivation of an inquiring mind, the charge was appropriate.

By conventional standards, Socrates was indeed corrupting the youth of Athens, though he himself considered the destruction of beliefs that could not stand up to criticism as a necessary preliminary to the search for true knowledge.

In this respect he differed from the Sophists, with their ethical relativism, for he thought that virtue is something that can be known and that the virtuous person is the one who knows what virtue is.The Moral Status of the Foetus: Philosophical Investigations into the Abortion issue The Nature of the Problem.

Click here for the current state of UK law on abortion. An embryo is defined as biological human life from 14 days to eight weeks. A level Ethics. Syllabuses will change for courses starting September , exams (AS ). More details will follow on this site.

Ethics. The field of ethics (or moral philosophy) involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior. Philosophers today usually divide ethical theories into three general subject areas: metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics.

Utilitarianism and abortion

A few weeks ago the blogosphere discovered Ayn Rand’s margin notes on a C.S. Lewis book.

Utilitarianism and abortion

They were everything I expected and more. Lewis would make an argument, and then Rand would write a stream of invective in the margin about how much she hated Lewis’ arguments and him personally. Abortion rights dogma can obscure human reason and harden the human heart so much that the same person who feels empathy for animal suffering can lack compassion for unborn children who experience lethal violence and excruciating pain in abortion.

Here's a quick and easy way for parish leaders to find Catholic social justice quotes for bulletins and other parish resources on a range of issues and teachings, including pro-life, faithful citizenship, international trade, aid and debt; global HIV/AIDS concerns, human cloning and climate change.

The Volokh Conspiracy - -