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Flo Theory

In: Philosophy and Psychology

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Chapter 11 An Argument that Abortion is Wrong

In this essay, we see how Don Marquis argues against abortion by highlighting several different notions. The main crux of his argument however, is based on the Future Like Ours (FLO) theory, and Marquis uses this theory to prove that abortion, except in rare instances, is wrong.

To begin his argument, Marquis first highlights that it is necessary for him to address that killing is, as an act, assumed to be wrong- without trying to explain why so. Further, Marquis also provides instances where abortion may be morally permissible- such as when it is affected during the first 14 days after conception, when pregnancy occurs as a result of rape, or when the life of the “mother” or the fetus is at risk should the birth occur.

Under the stated assumption that killing is wrong because it “imposes on us the misfortune of a premature death”, Marquis tries to convince us that abortion is also wrong because it deprives the fetus of a future of value. Following his “considered judgment” argument, Marquis draws a parallel between an AIDS patient and a fetus to be aborted- with both subjects suffering a misfortune as they lose the ability to have a FLO. In his next argument, Marquis simply reiterates that killing is the “worst of crimes”, and as such, by killing the fetus and therefore depriving it of a FLO, we are doing something intrinsically wrong.

In the FLO appeal to cases argument, killing a person who is presumed to have no future (due to a medically terminal illness) is deemed to be different from killing a fetus- especially since if the fetus was not terminated, it would have been able to experience a FLO with time. Aborting a fetus would also mirror killing someone in a temporary state of unconsciousness; and these parallels therefore make up the third argument. In his final argument, Marquis draws the analogy...

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