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  1. 03/23/2008 at 10:23 am

    I tried to read it…but I got bored after the first paragraph. Sorry.

  2. 03/23/2008 at 10:42 am

    Welcome to Oxford.And you call yourself a philosopher. Pffffft.

  3. 03/23/2008 at 10:45 am

    Don't worry, it wasn't your writing, although I left it intentionally vague so you might think that… ;)Most philosophical discussion of abortion bores me. 😉

  4. 03/23/2008 at 11:17 am

    Yeah. Most philosophical discussions about anything bore me nowadays. ;)I just felt like posting one of my papers.

  5. 03/23/2008 at 9:31 pm

    Awesome essay, bro. I really enjoyed it. So what is your take on the liberal position? You say that it is, to some extent, problematic; but why is it problematic? Because the distinction between a mass of cells and a human is blurry?

  6. 03/24/2008 at 9:16 am

    Yeah, I feel you. It's just so abstract…it's like it trivializes itself by taking itself so seriously.I need my philosophy to be grounded and real. 🙂

  7. 03/24/2008 at 11:22 am

    Yeah, it's difficult to say what I really think of philosophy. I have
    almost come to a Wittgensteinian conclusion in that philosophy is
    useful as a sort of therapy but is useful for little else. I will say
    this: studying philosophy will increase your intellectual skills more
    so than any other study. So it is sort of an intellectual and perhaps moral and perhaps spiritual therapy. As far as solving problems
    however, I tend to submit to the power of the skeptic. At the moment I
    would probably consider myself a moral, metaphysical, and
    epistemological skeptic. At the same time, I would agree with Bertrand Russell when he has said, "When one admits that nothing is certain, one must, I think, also add that some things are much more nearly certain than others." Of course this doesn't help very much because while we may be quite certain (or at least quite confident) about certain things in our everyday lives, philosophical considerations are not of that sort. Philosophy has, I think, at least shown the limits of the human mind and human rationality, if nothing else. With all this said, that doesn't really explain why I find many philosophical discussions boring. I don't think it is merely because it has been unable to answer some of the more profound problems. But then again, maybe it is. Actually, that probably is the reason: I have little confidence that philosophy can do what it has historically been thought that it could do.

  8. 03/24/2008 at 11:44 am

    It is problematic because it is difficult to say when a human gains full moral status. Many laypeople focus on whether or not embryos are humans and then the problem is: when does an embryo or fetus become human? That's not actually the problem. Human embryos and human fetuses are human. The question is: are human embryos and fetuses persons? The distinction between "humans" and "persons" is an important one unless of course we want to fall prey to the fallacy of specieism (holding one species more morally important than another simply in virtue of it being that particular species). So the question then is at what point along the developmental line of a human does it become a person with full moral status. We want to say human adults have full moral status such that it is wrong to kill them. We usually want to say children do as well. But as Ord (and my essay) show, we don't tend to think embryos have full moral status. But if embryos don't, but adult humans do, when does that human gain full moral status? At birth, when the baby starts moving (i.e. quickening), when it can survive outside the mother (i.e. viability)? But if we choose one of these, we must explain why these are not arbitrary points for gaining full moral status. Some, like Peter Singer, have argued that humans gain full moral status sometime after birth once they have become self-conscious, rational agents. And he defends his position quite well. But a side effect of his position is that it makes infanticide morally permissible at times. He accepts this consequence and argues that many great moral philosophers of the past–like the ancient Greeks–were accepting of infanticide and our reluctance to accept infanticide is merely a cultural taboo most likely caused by the influence of Christian ethics, which have dominated western culture for so long.

  9. 03/24/2008 at 11:47 am

    So you've developed a non-kitsch view of it then? I'd say many have come to the same conclusions about science. That it can't do what it has historically been expected of it.It's not going to solve the worlds problems because it abstracts itself away from those problems. That's why, as far as I'm concerned, existentialism is so awesome. Instead of looking at things from the third person view, it looks at the world through the first person view. The only view that is genuinely available to us, and the only view from which we have any hope of changing anything.

  10. 03/24/2008 at 12:42 pm

    Yeah, the only thing I remember about kitsch is something to do with bullshit. ;)Of course I never expected philosophy to solve the world's problems. And I still think the analytical method is the best way to do philosophy. It's very precise, clear, and efficient. But again, I have little confidence in its success. A very skeptical conclusion indeed. Of course I even hold my skepticism about the success of philosophy tentatively, showing how truly skeptical I tend to be.And I really enjoy existentialism. But I think I would much rather prefer to sit back, enjoy a drink, kill some time, and shoot the breeze than anything. Maybe I'm just a lazy son of a bitch.

  11. 05/08/2008 at 5:00 am

    finally got round to reading this. Now i know why Oxford let you in 🙂 very well written.Personally i don't like Ord's argument, the facts are interesting, but it doesn't seem to help with the actual discussion, as you said, the argument can be taken up coherently by conservatives, but that's dismissed because 'it's too extreme' – surely that's a subjective argument too?

  12. 05/08/2008 at 3:02 pm

    Hey moomoo, thanks for the compliment.The reason why I like Ord's argument is because it seems to clarify some of our intuitions. Like I said in the essay, his argument doesn't show a logical contradiction within the conservative claim. It merely shows us that if we accept that claim, we must also accept "The Scourge" as he calls it. But since many of us seem to intuitively dismiss the severity of the scourge, it tells us something about our own intuitions…that perhaps we don't, as a matter of fact, intuitively think embryos are persons. Of course this brings up the question of how much importance should be placed on our intuitions. But in any case, even if we try to set aside our intuitions and accept the conservative claim for one reason or another, we are still left with the nagging set of facts of spontaneous abortion that we must also accept. And it is here where our intuitions can become so strong that it seems simply absurd to set them aside.Although, as Marquis has shown, there are ways to adopt the position that abortion is wrong without accepting the conservative claim. Although I wound tend not to agree with his position that a loss of a future-like-ours is sufficient to make killing wrong.

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