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
Date Written: September 27, 2019
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: Suggested Citation