In this book Boonin is primarily interested in establishing a negative case for the moral permissibility of abortion by showing that the arguments made against it by its critics all fail. But Boonin does not have his eye set on doing that alone. In fact, he is also interested in showing that these arguments can be defeated on grounds that the critics of abortion accept. To this end, Boonin goes over a very large number of such arguments, organized around three themes, and shows how they all fail. This is a very impressive book.
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Francis J. This article is a critical review of David Boonin's book, A Defense of Abortion Cambridge University Press, , a significant contribution to the literature on this subject and arguably the most important monograph on abortion published in the past twenty years.
Boonin's defense of abortion consists almost exclusively of sophisticated critiques of a wide variety of pro-life arguments, including ones that are rarely defended by pro-life advocates.
This article offers a brief presentation of the book's contents with extended assessments of those arguments of Boonin's that are his unique contributions to the abortion debate and with which the author disagrees: 1 Boonin's critique of the conception criterion and his defense of organized cortical brain activity as the acquired property that imparts to the fetus a right to life; 2 Boonin's defense of J. Thomson's violinist argument and his distinction between responsibility for existence and responsibility for neediness and its application to pregnancy.
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Volume Article Contents Abstract. Baylor University. Address correspondence to: Francis J. Beckwith, M. Oxford Academic. Google Scholar. Cite Cite Francis J. Select Format Select format. Permissions Icon Permissions. Abstract This article is a critical review of David Boonin's book, A Defense of Abortion Cambridge University Press, , a significant contribution to the literature on this subject and arguably the most important monograph on abortion published in the past twenty years.
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This was a difficult book to write for two reasons. One is that the subject with which it is concerned raises a number of philosophical questions that have no simple answers. In this sense, writing the book was intellectually difficult. It is, of course, a commonplace to observe that the moral problem of abortion is a difficult one. But it is a platitude that nonetheless merits repeating: Even though people say it all the time, relatively few people seem actually to believe it.
A Defense of Abortion
A Defense of Abortion. The central thesis of philosopher David Boonin is that the moral case against abortion can be shown to be unsuccessful on terms that critics of abortion can and do accept. Critically examining a wide array of arguments that have attempted to establish that every human fetus has a right to life, Boonin posits that all of these arguments fail on their own terms. He then argues that even if the fetus does have a right to life, abortion can still be shown to be morally permissible on the critic of abortion's own terms. Finally, Boonin considers a number of arguments against abortion that do not depend on the claim that the fetus has a right to life, including those based on the golden rule, considerations of uncertainty and a commitment to certain feminist principles, and asserts that these positions, too, are ultimately unsuccessful. The result is the most thorough and detailed case for the moral permissibility of abortion that has yet been written. David Boonin is professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado.