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Utilitarianism and Kantianism applied to abortion.

User Thread
 40yrs • F •
Noesis is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
Utilitarianism and Kantianism applied to abortion.
I am taking an Honors Philosophy course in Ethics. Half of the students in my class are not doing very well; and they decided to start a study group. I am doing perfectly fine in the class myself; however, someone requested that I be present. I have a long midday break and I was curious to see what others had to say about the subjects, because I think exchanging ideas and brainstorming never hurt anybody. Nonetheless, we didn't get much studying done, as the entire thing consisted of children bickering about how dumb they thought the course was.
Thus, I thought I might have some better luck at an actual discussion here.

The discussion topic was abortion, and how we might evaluate it from a Utilitarian and a Kantian approach.

The best I can come up with off the top of my head is that the Kantian need for duty would call for a mother to protect her child at all costs, in addition to the duty to uphold the sanctity of human life. As far as Utilitarianism goes, If you are aiming for the greatest amount of happiness, than you don't want a child to be born into a life that will be full of suffering; and ultimately if the procedure is done early enough, than the child has not yet developed a capacity to feel pain, while meanwhile the mother is very much alive, and might very well suffer as a result of having the child.

(This is not a trick question. Yes, I am well aware of the debate regarding if the theories ever actually solve anything, and how nothing can ever really be settled or resolved. Yet, that is not the point of the query)

What does everyone think? and can they come up with any decent pro-choice arguments for both theories?

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 34yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that fireangel is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
One thing I want to point out regarding your assessment of the Kantian view is that you are assuming that the unborn child is just that, a child. You're assuming that it is a fully rational being, rationality being what gives humans inherent worth, and is the reason we have a duty to other human beings.

Some would argue that unborn children are not in fact human beings yet, and that they do not possess rationality, and therefore we have no moral obligations to them, thus fully justifying abortion.

In the case of abortion, Kantian ethics requires that we distinguish at what point a fetus becomes, and is considered a human being. At that time that you determine a fetus to be a human it becomes wrong to perform the abortion because then you are indeed disrespecting another rational being, and you are not treating them as an end in themselves.

This is of course only concerning the formula of an end in itself conception of Kant's Categorical Imperative. Not sure if giving you one half of a half of what you need helps but hopefully its given you something to think about?

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Utilitarianism and Kantianism applied to abortion.
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