First, Thomson claims that the right to live does not include the right to be given the means necessary for survival. If the right to live entails the right to those means, one is not justified in preventing the violinist from the on-going use of one’s kidneys. The right to the on-going use of the kidneys necessarily implies that the violinist’s right to his means for survival always trumps the right to another person’s body. Thomson refuses this and claims that "the fact that for continued life that violinist needs the continued use of your kidneys does not establish that he has a right to be given the continued use of your kidneys" (Thomson 1984, 179). She argues that everybody has a right of how his own body is used. That is, the violinist has no right to use another person’s body without her permission. Therefore, one is morally justified in not giving the violinist the use of one’s own kidneys.
Many of us feel that there are clear obligations we have as human beings, such as to care for our children, and to not commit murder. Duty theories base morality on specific, foundational principles of obligation. These theories are sometimes called deontological, from the Greek word deon, or duty, in view of the foundational nature of our duty or obligation. They are also sometimes called nonconsequentialist since these principles are obligatory, irrespective of the consequences that might follow from our actions. For example, it is wrong to not care for our children even if it results in some great benefit, such as financial savings. There are four central duty theories.
A third duty-based theory is that by Kant, which emphasizes a single principle of duty. Influenced by Pufendorf, Kant agreed that we have moral duties to oneself and others, such as developing one's talents, and keeping our promises to others. However, Kant argued that there is a more foundational principle of duty that encompasses our particular duties. It is a single, self-evident principle of reason that he calls the "categorical imperative." A categorical imperative, he argued, is fundamentally different from hypothetical imperatives that hinge on some personal desire that we have, for example, "If you want to get a good job, then you ought to go to college." By contrast, a categorical imperative simply mandates an action, irrespective of one's personal desires, such as "You ought to do X." Kant gives at least four versions of the categorical imperative, but one is especially direct: Treat people as an end, and never as a means to an end. That is, we should always treat people with dignity, and never use them as mere instruments. For Kant, we treat people as an end whenever our actions toward someone reflect the inherent value of that person. Donating to charity, for example, is morally correct since this acknowledges the inherent value of the recipient. By contrast, we treat someone as a means to an end whenever we treat that person as a tool to achieve something else. It is wrong, for example, to steal my neighbor's car since I would be treating her as a means to my own happiness. The categorical imperative also regulates the morality of actions that affect us individually. Suicide, for example, would be wrong since I would be treating my life as a means to the alleviation of my misery. Kant believes that the morality of all actions can be determined by appealing to this single principle of duty.
The most obvious argument is his Poker Analogy Argument. It goes something like this: (1) Deception in poker is morally permissible, perhaps morally required. (2) Business is like poker. (3) Therefore, deception in business is morally permissible. Now, obviously, this argument is overly simplified, and certain modifications should be made. In poker, there are certain things that are not allowed; you could be in some serious trouble if it were found out what you were doing. So, for example, the introduction of winning cards slid into the mix would not be tolerated. As such, we can grant that such sliding would not be morally permissible. Similarly, any kind of business practice that would be considered sliding according to Carr's analogy would also not be permissible.
A Defense of Abortion - Wikipedia
In summary, we should consider whether or not the three branches are as distinct as we might think that they are. Of course, the principle questions of each are distinct, and as such, each branch is in fact distinct. But it appears that in doing applied ethics one must (or less strongly, may) endeavor into the other two branches. Suppose that one wants to come to the conclusion that our current treatment of non-human animals, more specifically our treatment of chickens in their mass production in chicken warehouses, is morally impermissible. Then, if one stayed away from consequentialist theories, they would have either a deontological or virtue-based theory to approach this issue. Supposing they dismissed virtue-theory (on normative ethical grounds), they would then approach the issue from deontology. Suppose further, they chose a rights-based theory. Then they would have to defend the existence of rights, or at least appeal to a defense of rights found within the literature. What reasons do we have to think that rights exist? This then looks like a metaethical question. As such, even before being able to appeal to the issue of whether we’re doing right by chickens in our manufactured slaughtering of them, we have to do some normative ethics and metaethics. Yes, the three branches are distinct, but they are also related.
Overview of the essay The violinist
Let us start with abortion. Instead of asking 'Is abortion morally permissible?' a better question will be 'Under what conditions is an abortion morally permissible?'. In looking at the conditions surrounding a particular abortion, we are able to get a better understanding of all of the possibly morally relevant considerations in determining permissibility/impermissibility. Now, this does not exclude the possibility of a position where all abortions are morally wrong. It's just that we have to start with the conditions, and then proceed from there.
Free abortion Essays and Papers
Up until just 40 or so years ago, the conventional wisdom, at least displayed in the academic literature, was that just so long as a fetus is a person (or counts morally), it would be morally wrong to abort it. Judith Thomson challenged the received wisdom by positing a number of cases that would show, at least as she argued, that even with a fetus being a person, with all of the rights we would confer to any other person, it would still be permissible to abort, under certain conditions (Thomson, 1971). So, for example, with her Violinist Case, it's permissible for a pregnant woman to abort a fetus under the circumstances that she was raped, even with the granting that the aborted fetus is a full-fledged person. Three remarks should be made here. First, there are those who have questioned whether her case actually establishes this very important conclusion. Second, it should be recognized that it's not completely clear what all of the points Thomson is making with her Violinist Case. Is she saying something fundamentally about the morality of abortion? Or is she saying something fundamentally about the nature and structure of moral rights? Or both? Minimally, we should be sensitive to the fact that Thomson is saying something important, even if false, about the nature of moral rights. Third, and this is very important, Thomson's Violinist Case, if successful, only shows the permissibility of abortion in cases where the pregnant woman was raped, where conception occurred due to non-consensual sex. But what about consensual sex?