Abortion and the Right to not be Pregnant

In Allyn Fives & Keith Breen (eds.), Philosophy and Political Engagement: Reflection in the Public Sphere. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 57-77 (2016)
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In this paper I defend Judith Jarvis Thomson's 'Good Samaritan Argument' (otherwise known as the 'feminist argument') for the permissibility of abortion, first advanced in her important, ground-breaking article 'A Defense of Abortion' (1971), against objections from Joseph Mahon (1979, 1984). I also highlight two problems with Thomson's argument as presented, and offer remedies for both of these problems. The article begins with a short history of the importance of the article to the development of practical ethics. Not alone did it put the topic of the abortion on the philosophical map, but it made 'practical ethics' in the late 1960s feminist, also.

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James Mahon
Lehman College (CUNY)


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