Francesca Minerva and Alberto Giubilini wrote a paper entitled After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?. They were subsequently shocked that their argument in favor of infanticide instead of putting up for adoption led to death threats.
There is something deeply wrong in the state of modern, academic philosophy and ethics. The first problem is in making the argument. The second is in being so isolated from society that the reaction to the article surprises them.
Update: The journal article has been moved and now resides behind a paywall.
9 thoughts on “What’s the matter with you, can’t we advocate infanticide without angry blowback?”
You wonder how the Onion stays in business.
Actually if you advocate the USG abortion position, indeed why not? They’re simply being logical and consistent.
If you advocate the USG position on abortion – on demand the entire term – than why would you balk at infanticide?
SOX – I am L.C.
However I am against abortion – I’d allow it for force, incest, or up to a viable fetus. I arrived at this position by consideration and reason. The Catholic position on life was arrived at the same way. It’s not dogmatic – faith – like the Trinity for instance.
Simply that if Human Life is not sacred at any point, and that the taking of innocent life is murder then there are no limits.
And we’re seeing it.
It’s not hip for the Magisterium to advocate life begins from the point of conception, but the line was drawn there for a reason.
I think its hilarious that advocates of post natal abortion are outraged when they are the subject of their own principle. They should have understood it would be part of the price when they chose to pick up the burden of developing the “ethics” of eugenics from such moral giants as Margaret Sanger and Adolf Hitler.
What does offend the hell out of me is the arrogant ignorance of these twits calling themselves “ethicists.” The authors and the journal have thoroughly demonstrated that not only do they have no system of moral standards, they aren’t even capable of moral reasoning. (Or any reasoning. I doubt any of them could comprehend the logical flaw in the proposition “A pig is a dog is a boy.”)
It mystifies me that people alleged to be “educated” can’t seem to comprehend that we can value all human life equally and it begins at or shortly after conception, or human life is subordinate to their concept of “personhood” which begins at any arbitrary point one wants to choose and we can, as they have, exclude whomever we want. But if “personhood” is defined as beginning at an arbitrary point, then we all get to play the game of setting that point.
The people who responded to Francesca Minerva and Alberto Giubilini with threats had simply defined them out of personhood. (And I could easily make a better moral argument for that than the case these two dolts made for infanticide.)
I would guess that these two esteemed intellectuals are also vigorously opposed to the “barbaric” death penalty.
There really are only two internally consistent moral attitudes to have about abortion-on-demand:
Either :- a fetus is human, and to terminate a pregnancy is murder in the same way as unplugging a strangers heart-lung machine is murder.
a fetus is not yet human, and to terminate a pregnancy is not murder in the same way as removing a tapeworm is not murder.
The second stance begs the question then, at which point does the fetus become human? Viability is an asinine way to decide this, as your moral stance then depends on the level of medical technology. Sapience, or self-awareness, is a more rational stance, however as babies don’t exhibit self awareness immediately, this means “fourth trimester abortions” are morally permissible.
@sconzey: “Sapience, or self-awareness, is a more rational stance, however as babies don’t exhibit self awareness immediately, this means “fourth trimester abortions” are morally permissible.”
This is precisely the definition proposed by Peter Singer and largely adopted by the medical “ethics” community, and is what the pro-abortion movement and abortion industry means when they use the term “person.” It explicitly reject the concept of Ontogeny (ontogenesis or morphogenesis), the origin and the development of an organism. Taking that into account would result in recognition that babies and fetuses morally/ethically must be considered persons.
Taking both of those into consideration leads to an interesting point. One doesn’t exhibit self-awareness while sleeping, and thus loses the status of person. The notion that one will over time (upon waking) has to be disallowed since it is a temporal (ontogenetic) argument that opens the door to babies and fetuses becoming self-aware (achieving personhood) over time.
Thus, Singer has justified killing him in his sleep. He acknowledges that there is a minor problem here.
Jonathan Swift wrote a memorandum somewhat like this. But, we knew he was a satirist.
As Gospodin Wolfsberger points out: famous Princeton “philosopher” Peter Singer has reached the same conclusion in the past, and he also endorsed euthanasia of the elderly. OTOH, Singer thinks eating meat is immoral.
I have often called Singer the Andy Kaufman of academia. Kaufman, who was most famous for his role as Latka Gravis on 1980s sit-com “Taxi”, also had a night club shtick which was mostly directed toward annoying his audience, rather than amusing it.
As I said above, I just don’t see how the Onion can keep up their work anymore.
@John: Indeed. Although I’m a Christian, my views on abortion are — to my mind — simple consequences of the common belief that the killing of an innocent is wrong. Both because conception seems to be the least morally fuzzy line to draw between personhood and non-personhood, and also because of the temporal argument: if murder is wrong because it robs a person of the rest of their life, then abortion is wrong because it robs a person of their entire life.
With that said, I totally get that other people may have different moral axioms, and thus arrive at different conclusions. What annoys me is when people fail to be consistent in how they apply their moral axioms, c.f. the vegan pro-choicer.
The author of the paper is correct: it is the only logical, inescapable conclusion one can reach once the state accepts the idea of legal abortion.
If the lives of the most innocent among us—and who is more innocent than an infant?—may be discarded in the interests of utilitarianism, then human life itself is no longer sacred, and it is a mere matter of time until we discover the circumstances under which the state feels itself entitled to dispense with our own lives as well. If more people understood this one key idea, abortion would not be as passionately supported as it is: something in us is being killed as well.
This is a clarifying paper, and I’m glad that it’s seeing the light of day. Maybe it’ll get more people to reflect on the evil that is systematized abortion.
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