Friday, March 7, 2008

The week after spring break

Today we discussed some initial arguments against abortion, arguments from fetuses being biologically human, having unique genetic codes, being biologically alive, being human beings (see below), and fetuses being (biologically human) persons.

There is a bit more to say about personhood: we need to observe that being biologically human is neither logically sufficient nor necessary for being a person.

And we will discuss arguments from potential. These arguments (and the others) clearly have implications for embryo research, stem cells, and some of the other issues we've looked at recently.
For Monday when we return, here's what and who is on desk. And there are OPS writing assignments due on ALL the readings, so that we are all well prepared!

MONDAY AFTER SPRING BREAK

Lawrence will be presenting Marquis's arguments on abortion. I have you a xerox of an article by Marquis. I've left additional copies in my box. It's also available here somewhere. An OPS writing assignment is due on Marquis that day.

WEDNESDAY AFTER SPRING BREAK

Darryl will present Judith Thompson's article on abortion. I have you a xerox of an article by Marquis. I've left additional copies in my box. It's also available here somewhere. An OPS writing assignment is due on Thompson that day.

FRIDAY

Jamal will present Pence Ch. 4 on abortion. An OPS writing assignment is due on Pence that day.


On "human beings":

Today we attempted to figure out what "beings" are or what it is for something (a being?) to be a "being," so that we could try to figure out whether fetus are human beings, i.e., (on one way of unpacking that term), beings that are biologically human. (Another idea would be that human beings are beings that are human, in the sense of being persons, but since persons are clearly beings, that would be a redundant way of understanding the term).

I guess I am in favor of a pretty broad understanding of what "beings" are; I'm ok calling just about any existing entity a "being." I suspect however, that this really is too broad. While I haven't settled this issue, here are few definitions from an online dictionary:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/being

be·ing [bee-ing] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun
1.the fact of existing; existence (as opposed to nonexistence).
2.conscious, mortal existence; life: Our being is as an instantaneous flash of light in the midst of eternal night.
3.substance or nature: of such a being as to arouse fear.
4.something that exists: inanimate beings.
5.a living thing: strange, exotic beings that live in the depths of the sea.
6.a human being; person: the most beautiful being you could imagine.
7.(initial capital letter) God.
8.Philosophy.
a.that which has actuality either materially or in idea.
b.absolute existence in a complete or perfect state, lacking no essential characteristic; essence.
–conjunction
9.Nonstandard. since; because; considering that (often fol. by as, as how, or that): Being it's midnight, let's go home. Being as how you cooked supper, I'll do the dishes.

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