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Philosophy and the Morality of Abortion

JOHN BAKER
Journal of Applied Philosophy
Vol. 2, No. 2 (1985), pp. 261-270
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24353453
Page Count: 10
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Philosophy and the Morality of Abortion
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Abstract

Abortion is a philosophically interesting issue because both sides seem so certain of their conclusions, yet the issue is at the same time clearly a derivative one. It is also highly political, and needs to be seen within the context of the growth of the women's movement. A philosophical overview of the issue in section 1 construes the central claims of the pro-choice and anti-abortion positions as moral and conceptual constructions, which extend everyday moral thinking into the area of abortion. It notes the interesting relation between such constructions and other arguments about abortion, and how this is responsible for their social and historical specificity. Section 2 defends the pro-choice position as a victory of moral sensitivity over linguistic guile. Section 3 situates the argument within the politics of feminism, and recognises the limited contribution which philosophy is able to make.

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