Abortion, Feminism, and 'Traditional' Moral Philosophy

Forthcoming in de Campos, Herring, and Philips eds. Philosophical Foundations of Medical Law (OUP, 2019)

14 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2019

See all articles by Kate Greasley

Kate Greasley

University of Oxford, Faculty of Law

Date Written: September 27, 2019

Abstract

Feminist approaches to the ethics of abortion have in places been quite critical of the methodology employed by mainstream philosophical treatments of the abortion problem. In particular, they impugn the latter’s reliance on abstract theorising and general principles, advising that only a focus on the particular and concrete details of real-life ethical problems such as abortion can direct us toward the moral truth of the matter. This article attempts to defend so-called traditional abortion ethics from such criticisms. More fully, it sets out to explain and vindicate the aim of mainstream abortion ethics to discern and apply more general moral principles to the particular case of abortion, as well as the centrality of foetal moral status to many of those accounts. It also works toward showing that mainstream and feminist ethical treatments of abortion are more aligned in both their methods and their claims than might first appear.

Keywords: Abortion; feminism; philosophy; general principles

Suggested Citation

Greasley, Kate, Abortion, Feminism, and 'Traditional' Moral Philosophy (September 27, 2019). Forthcoming in de Campos, Herring, and Philips eds. Philosophical Foundations of Medical Law (OUP, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3460535 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3460535

Kate Greasley (Contact Author)

University of Oxford, Faculty of Law ( email )

St Cross Building
St Cross Rd
Oxford, OX1 3UL
United Kingdom

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