Your Mother Should Know: Pregnancy, the Ethics of Abortion and Knowledge through Acquaintance of Moral Value

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 103 (3):471-492 (2022)
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An important strand in the debate on abortion focuses on the moral status of fetuses. Knowledge of the moral value of fetuses is needed to assess fetuses’ moral status. As Errol Lord argues, acquaintance plays a key role in moral and aesthetic knowledge. Many pregnant persons have acquaintance with their fetus that provides privileged access to knowledge about that fetus’ moral value. This knowledge is (a) very difficult to acquire without being pregnant and (b) relevant for assessing the moral status of fetuses. This has implications for public debate on abortion and the research methods of philosophers working on abortion.

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Fiona Woollard
University of Southampton


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