You write: “Let’s start with the assertion that each of Thomson’s thought experiments are … stranger than the last. It seems to me that the people seed item is an exact analogy of contraception for recreational sex, nothing strange about it, unless of course you have already committed yourself to the concept of the fetus as a person.”

You’re arguing in bad faith. Thomson, her supporters, philosophers who are “pro-choice,” et. al. — What do all these people have in common? They all agree that philosophical thought experiments are “strange” in the way I’ve suggested. Nothing negative follows from me calling them strange. I identify them that way because regular readers who aren’t readers of professional philosophy might be thrown off by the weirdness of these examples. In normal, everyday conversation, someone will use an example to illustrate a point, but the example will be more or less tethered to reality. Philosophical thought experiments are not. The fact that you made hay out of this indicates you’re not engaging seriously with the article.

You write: “As others have pointed out, asserting that the Marquis argument doesn’t rely on the fetus being a person is nothing short of bewildering.”

Let me try to spell it for you, doctor. You seem to be having a hard time understanding Marquis’ reason for sidestepping personhood.

As I mentioned in the article, typically, an everyday encounter between a “pro-lifer” and a “pro-choicer” will result in a protracted back-and-forth devoted entirely to settling the question of whether the fetus is a person. By talking about a future of value, a future like ours, Marquis sidesteps the personhood question. Think about it this way: Once Marquis identifies the wrong-making feature of killing as depriving someone of their future of value, and applies that to a fetus, it doesn’t make sense to bring up personhood in response to him.

If someone says to Marquis: “You’re wrong. Because personhood!”, then Marquis can say: “Wait, why are you even bringing that up? I talked about beings who have futures like these. Whether these are persons or not is beside the point. What is your answer to my claim that what makes killing a being like this wrong is the same thing that makes killing a fetus wrong?”

You write:

“Value to whom then? An inanimate object cannot be conscious of it’s own value and the consciousness of non-human organisms, if it is thought to exist at all, is always made subordinate to that of humans, even by the most ardent animal rights activist who asserts their right to decide an animal’s future. The value can only be to the adult humans who wish to either protect it or to deny it’s future.”

You’re confusing a “valuing of the future” with a “future of value.” To presently possess a future of value need not require that I presently experience all of that value. If I am killed, someone can accurately remark: “This was so wrong. Think of all the projects he would have loved to take on!” Notice that this construes the wrongness of the act of killing me as stemming from the loss of something that hasn’t even happened yet (notice the phrasing: “the projects he would have loved”). You can say the same thing about fetuses.

Editor in Chief of Arc Digital

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store