Personhood Begins at Conception. Stephen Schwarz. Liberal Pro-choice View. The liberal prochoice view consists of two thesis: 1) That killing human beings is morally permissible. 2) That the fetus is not a person. The Conservative Prolife View.
1) That killing human beings is morally
2) That the fetus is not a person.
1) Killing a person is morally wrong.
2) The fetus is a person.
3) Therefore, abortions are morally wrong.
The pro-choice view denies premise 2.
However, they agree with premise 1.
3) Self-motivated Activity
4) Capacity to Communicate
5) Presence of self-concepts and self-awareness
A – A normal adult sound asleep (Present Immediate Capacity)
B – A normal adult in a coma (from which he will recover) (Latent-1 Capacity)
C – A normal newborn baby (Latent-2 Capacity)
D – A normal baby soon to be born (Latent-2 Capacity)
E – A fetus at 7 weeks (Latent-2 Capacity)
F – A zygote (Latent-2 Capacity)
1) Continuity – The continuity argument fails to demonstrate that the nature or essence of the being that traverses the different stages is the same during the various stages. “Same” seems to be used in two different ways as referring to one being and as referring the same kind of being, thus committing the fallacy of equivocation.
2) The zygote has the physical basis for the basic inherent capacity to function as a person. This argument begs the question. It is a truism that the zygote contains the potential to develop the basic physical structure necessary to function as a person (notice that this is second-order potentiality). This claim is true by definition. The question remains whether this kind of being, that has only second-order potentiality (the potential to develop the physical structure that will eventually permit it to have the capacities of a person) can be considered a person at this stage of development?
3) Continuity Again. Schwarz argues that there is a continuity among the following stages of development: (J) to do, (K) the capacity to do, (L) the capacity to learn to do, and (M) the capacity to acquire the physical nature to have the capacity to learn to do and to do.
Critique: This argument once again begs the question. The zygote is identical with stage (M) and a child is identical with stage (L). However, the question remains whether a being that only has a capacity to acquire the organs and equipment that will give him a further potential to learn to function as a person is a person. The question remains whether being (M) and (J) are essentially different. It seems to me that they are.