A Defense of Abortion


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will be grading your papers with the following questions in mind: 1. Do you clearly state what you’re trying to accomplish in your paper? Is it obvious to the reader what your main thesis is? 2. Is the structure of your paper clear? For example, is it clear what parts of your paper are expository, and what parts are your own critical evluation?
will be grading your papers with the following questions in mind:
1. Do you clearly state what you’re trying to accomplish in your paper? Is it obvious to the reader what your main thesis is?
2. Is the structure of your paper clear? For example, is it clear what parts of your paper are expository, and what parts are your own critical evaluation?
3. Do you offer supporting arguments for the claims you make? Is it obvious to the reader what these arguments are? How good are they?
4. Do you present thoughtful counterexamples to the claims you are disputing? How well-developed is your critique?
5. Do you illustrate your claims with good examples? Do you explain your central notions? Do you say exactly what you mean?
6. Is your prose simple, easy to read, and easy to understand?
7. Do you present other philosophers’ views accurately and charitably?
Suggested Topics:
1. In her paper “A Defense of Abortion,” Judith Thompson outlines what Peter Singer dubs the “feminist argument” in favour of abortion. What is this argument? How does it go? Offer a critical evaluation of Thompson’s ingenious analogy. In your discussion be sure to interact with Singer’s rejection of Thompson’s argument on the grounds that it assumes a dubious theory of rights. (See his chapter Taking Life: Abortion.)
2. In his exchange with Tom Regan, Canadian philosopher, Jan Narveson, argues that animals don’t have rights “in their own right” (p. 443). Suppose, he says, “you wish to mistreat an animal…e.g., to whip it, or to stick electrodes into it, or to eat it. If it is my animal, there is no conceptual problem: I then have the right to insist that you refrain from doing those things to it. But what if it is yours? Then, it would seem, I do not” (p. 444). Offer a critical evaluation of Narveson’s position. Do you agree or disagree with his view? Why? Defend your own position on this case.
3. According to James Rachels, the case for the claim that “If voluntary euthanasia is [legally] accepted, then we will inevitably be pushed to accepting (some forms of) non-voluntary euthanasia as well” is neither damaging nor convincing (End of Life, pp. 179-180). Critically evaluate Rachels’ discussion.



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