• T Clark
    13.3k
    Just on a basic level, laws against public defecation or laws against exhibitionist public sexual acts are, by definition, restrictions on that sort of thing. But I think they're plenty supportable.Count Timothy von Icarus

    That's a silly example. [irony]I have no problem with restrictions on abortion requiring them to be done indoors. [/irony] If someone told you you can't defecate or have sex at all, you'd be upset.
  • T Clark
    13.3k
    #1 is false as an absolute moral principle, and true if relative to various factors in the circumstance.Bob Ross

    In my first post I made it clear that your "absolute moral principle" is not relevant as far as I'm concerned. What is relevant is your willingness to apply that principle as the basis of laws to restrict women's ability to have abortions.

    #2 is an incorrect formulation of my position: I never said that the well-being of the fetus is more important than the pregnant woman’s. In fact, I sided with pro-choice in the matter of rape (for reasons already expounded in the OP).Bob Ross

    In the OP, you wrote:

    a woman who consensually has sex is culpable (along with the man, of course) for the condition of the new life (in the event that she becomes pregnant). Amending the situation entails, by my lights, that what is the most feasible and reasonable means of amending the situation (viz., protecting and saving the life in this case) must be taken. This means that one cannot abort in this situation, as that is the antithesis of amending the situation of the condition of that new life.Bob Ross

    Where does this "culpability" idea come from. The right word is "responsibility." If I am responsible for fulfilling some obligation but can't because of risk to my health, I am making the decision that my health is more important than the obligation. Your position that women whose lives are at risk from their pregnancy should not be able to have abortion is a claim that the health of the women is less important than the life of the fetus.

    And that's the bottom line. Your whole argument rests on the claim that the life of the fetus is more important than the women's life, health, and personal autonomy. I don't agree with that claim.
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Hello T Clark,

    In my first post I made it clear that your "absolute moral principle" is not relevant as far as I'm concerned. What is relevant is your willingness to apply that principle as the basis of laws to restrict women's ability to have abortions.

    I already noted that I am saying that it should be translated into law. So simply substitute “absolute legal principle” for “absolute moral principle”.

    In the OP, you wrote:

    In what you quoted of me, I never said nor does it imply that the life and well-being of the fetus is more important than the pregnant woman. What I said in that quote is that culpability, as a principle, by my lights, implies that in the situation of consensual sex the woman’s health now is less priority than the fetus (because she is cuplable for that person’s condition): this is not the same thing as claiming that the fetus’ life is more important than the woman—for one is an absolute judgment about one trumping the other, and the other is constrained to a particular context.

    Where does this "culpability" idea come from.

    Morally and legally it is found everywhere in society. If I am culpable for the condition of another life, then I am obligated to remediate the situation (and cannot simply unconsent) (e.g., car crash, battery, etc.).

    The right word is "responsibility."

    I don’t think that quite captures it, because one could have responsibilities that they are not technically culpable for. For example, someone could argue that a rape victim is responsible for taking care of the fetus, but is not culpable for its condition.

    If I am responsible for fulfilling some obligation but can't because of risk to my health, I am making the decision that my health is more important than the obligation

    Not in the case that you are culpable for the condition of another life. For example, if you are not feeling well, you are driving, and you accidentally hit someone with your car (of no fault of their own); then you cannot continue driving in order to go to your appointment at the doctor’s office: you are obligated to stop and attend to that person that you caused injury to.

    In the case that you are not at risk of any significant, unwanted bodily modifications and it wasn’t your fault when you hit that person with your car, I would say you still need to stop and help them. But, since you are not culpable for their condition, you could speed off if your health it at severe risk if you were to wait (to get to that doctor’s appointment).

    Your position that women whose lives are at risk from their pregnancy should not be able to have abortion is a claim that the health of the women is less important than the life of the fetus.

    in the case of (1) consensual sex which (2) makes the woman (and man) culpable for the condition of that new life: yes. Not in other circumstances.

    This is why you are straw manning my argument when you say:

    Your whole argument rests on the claim that the life of the fetus is more important than the women's life, health, and personal autonomy.

    You are making claims that I never made by expanding the context to every pregnancy situation; which I never made.
  • T Clark
    13.3k
    I already noted that I am saying that it should be translated into law. So simply substitute “absolute legal principle” for “absolute moral principle”.Bob Ross

    And, as I wrote, I disagree with that too.

    In what you quoted of me, I never said nor does it imply that the life and well-being of the fetus is more important than the pregnant woman. What I said in that quote is that culpability, as a principle, by my lights, implies that in the situation of consensual sex the woman’s health now is less priority than the fetus (because she is cuplable for that person’s condition): this is not the same thing as claiming that the fetus’ life is more important than the woman—for one is an absolute judgment about one trumping the other, and the other is constrained to a particular context.Bob Ross

    As I noted, there are many things I am responsible for that I might not be able to meet others expectations for. If I make a commitment to be someplace but then get sick, it is reasonable for me to cancel the commitment based on the judgment that my health is more important than being where I am expected to be. The situation you describe is analogous. If I am responsible for a pregnancy and you decide I have to go through with it even if it risks my health, you are deciding that the fetus' life is more important than my health. So, when you write "I never said nor does it imply that the life and well-being of the fetus is more important than the pregnant woman," you're wrong.
  • Agree-to-Disagree
    423
    I don't find this a particularly compelling argument. If we agree that it's morally correct to prevent women from having abortions, which of course I don't, then the fact that they're putting themselves at risk is their responsibility, not ours.T Clark

    Women would be putting themselves at risk BECAUSE we are preventing them from getting legal abortions. The women don't make their decisions in a vacuum. Society should not ignore the problems that are caused by the laws that it creates.

    Regardless of the morals of the situation, making abortion illegal causes some women to put themselves at risk. This means that their family, friends, workmates, and society in general, are paying a price because the law exists.
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    If I make a commitment to be someplace but then get sick, it is reasonable for me to cancel the commitment based on the judgment that my health is more important than being where I am expected to be. The situation you describe is analogous.

    Not in the case that you are culpable for the condition of another life. For example, if you are not feeling well, you are driving, and you accidentally hit someone with your car (of no fault of their own); then you cannot continue driving in order to go to your appointment at the doctor’s office: you are obligated to stop and attend to that person that you caused injury to.

    In the case that you are not at risk of any significant, unwanted bodily modifications and it wasn’t your fault when you hit that person with your car, I would say you still need to stop and help them. But, since you are not culpable for their condition, you could speed off if your health it at severe risk if you were to wait (to get to that doctor’s appointment).
    Bob Ross

    If I am responsible for a pregnancy and you decide I have to go through with it even if it risks my health, you are deciding that the fetus' life is more important than my health.

    in the case of (1) consensual sex which (2) makes the woman (and man) culpable for the condition of that new life: yes. Not in other circumstances.Bob Ross
  • T Clark
    13.3k
    Regardless of the morals of the situation, making abortion illegal causes some women to put themselves at risk. This means that their family, friends, workmates, and society in general, are paying a price because the law exists.Agree-to-Disagree

    I think you are looking at this from a different perspective than I am. I'm pretty tightly focused on responding to the points that @Bob Ross made.
  • T Clark
    13.3k


    I still don't know what his idea of culpability means in this context. People aren't to blame for getting pregnant, they are responsible for their actions and their consequences.

    Clearly you and I aren't going to come to any agreement on this when you don't even recognize that you are making a judgment that the fetus' interests are more important than the woman's.
  • 180 Proof
    14.8k
    By ‘panpsychism’, are you referring to idealism? If so, then I think Spinoza can very easily be interpreted as an idealist.Bob Ross
    I do not see how Spinozism (i.e. dual-aspect monism + modal-ontological determinism) is consistent with panpsychism / idealism.

    I would like to hear more about your irreductivist approach to explanation.
    I've no idea to what you are referring or how the above is relevant to anything I've stated.

    ... could you elaborate on your theory of explanation here?
    I've not alluded to any "theory of explanation". Interpretively describing higher-order concepts or theoretical (or formal) discourses is what we/I do when we/I philosophize; I've not endeavored to "explain" anything.
  • Benkei
    7.4k
    Just on a basic level, laws against public defecation or laws against exhibitionist public sexual acts are, by definition, restrictions on that sort of thing.Count Timothy von Icarus

    That's not a limitation of physical integrity. It merely tells you where not to do it. Just find a place where you can do it. We can prohibit people from eating on the train but we cannot deny them eating tout court.
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    I still don't know what his idea of culpability means in this context. People aren't to blame for getting pregnant, they are responsible for their actions and their consequences.

    The woman (and man) are to blame for the condition of this new life, which is fragile and needing of nourishment and care; because they decided to engage in an act which reasonably can be inferred to result in a pregnancy. How are they, under your view, not to blame for getting pregnant?

    Clearly you and I aren't going to come to any agreement on this when you don't even recognize that you are making a judgment that the fetus' interests are more important than the woman's.

    I have clarified that the fetus' life is more important than the woman's life in the case that she is culpable for their condition (i.e., consensually had sex). I do not think that the fetus' life is always more important than the woman's life. Within the context of consensual sex, it seems as though you also disagree with me here--as you envision the woman's health as always more important than the fetus': even in the case that the woman is to blame for that fetus' condition. We could start there if you would like.
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    I would like to hear more about your irreductivist approach to explanation.

    I've no idea to what you are referring or how the above is relevant to anything I've stated.

    Dual-aspect monism is just property dualism--isn't it? If so, then it is a irreductionist account, which is a theory of explanation. Perhaps I am misunderstanding what 'dual-aspect' means in your use of 'monism'.

    I do not see how Spinozism (i.e. dual-aspect monism + modal-ontological determinism) is consistent with panpsychism / idealism.

    This is more of a side-note, but when I read Spinoza's Ethics, I thought he was an idealist; but I could be wrong.

    What is modal-ontological determinism? Could you please elaborate?
  • T Clark
    13.3k


    I find this kind of discussion of morality frustrating. I don't think it gets to the heart of how morality works for normal people in their everyday lives and I don't find it's arguments convincing. You and I are not going to come to any agreement. We've already started repeating our arguments and not saying anything new, so I vote we leave it there.
  • 180 Proof
    14.8k
    I am misunderstanding what 'dual-aspect' means in your use of 'monism'.Bob Ross
    From my study of Spinoza, by "dual-aspect" I understand there to be (at least) two complementary ways to attribute predicates – physical & mental – to any entity which exhaustively describes its functioning.

    What is modal-ontological determinism?
    This is my shorthand for Spinoza's description of substance (i.e. natura naturans) that, among other things, consists in necessary causal relations and is unbounded (i.e. not an effect of or affected by any external causes – other substances – because it is infinite in extent).
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Hello 180 Proof,

    From my study of Spinoza, by "dual-aspect" I understand there to be (at least) two complementary ways to attribute predicates – physical & mental – to any entity which exhaustively describes its functioning.

    How is this not property dualism?

    This is my shorthand for Spinoza's description of substance (i.e. natura naturans) that, among other things, consists in necessary causal relations and is unbounded (i.e. not an effect of or affected by any external causes – other substances – because it is infinite in extent).

    Oh, I see. Are you, then, a necessitarian?
  • LuckyR
    451
    The woman (and man) are to blame for the condition of this new life, which is fragile and needing of nourishment and care; because they decided to engage in an act which reasonably can be inferred to result in a pregnancy. How are they, under your view, not to blame for getting pregnant?

    I have clarified that the fetus' life is more important than the woman's life in the case that she is culpable for their condition (i.e., consensually had sex). I do not think that the fetus' life is always more important than the woman's life. Within the context of consensual sex, it seems as though you also disagree with me here--as you envision the woman's health as always more important than the fetus': even in the case that the woman is to blame for that fetus' condition. We could start there if you would like


    Actually the competing interests are the woman's bodily autonomy (not importance) vs the fetus' right to exist. Autonomy exists equally as a concept regardless of the type of relationship between the woman and her sexual partner.
  • L'éléphant
    1.5k
    I'm not posting here to argue for or against abortion. I want to just explain something that's irreconcilable about pro-abortion and anti-abortion societies.

    When someone announces the pregnancy, her whole circle celebrates: there's formal announcement, there's gender-reveal (shown in theaters, no less), there's baby shower-- when I was a kid I thought they literally bathe the pregnant woman in front of the guests) then there's the birth, and finally the christening where food and gifts are used to celebrate this important occasion. Following this, a lot of legal rights accrue to the baby: the mother could be prosecuted for drug use while pregnant, the baby has the right to be taken care of and not neglected, and of course, if the baby dies at the hands of the parents or any member of their society, there's homicide or infanticide.

    Meanwhile, within the same society, the pregnant woman can decide to terminate the pregnancy without any reason required. Because in the pro-choice stance, it doesn't matter whether the fetus growing inside is the woman's own flesh and blood. She is not held accountable morally to spare the fetus just because it's her own blood. This is what it means by her-body-her-choice. The fetus has no right to use the woman's body to grow to full viability. At any given point during the pregnancy, the fetus doesn't count as an entity. Note that if you're one of the guests in a baby shower, you're celebrating the woman, not the fetus inside the womb.

    Then here comes another puzzling thing. Suppose a woman decides to terminate the pregnancy and made an appointment with a doctor two weeks from now. Suppose that an intruder attacks the woman and kills her and the baby before the appointment. The state can then charge the intruder with double homicide -- never mind that the woman doesn't' want the baby and is about to terminate it. Depending on what country or state in the US you're in, killing a pregnant woman is double homicide.
  • LuckyR
    451
    I'm not posting here to argue for or against abortion. I want to just explain something that's irreconcilable about pro-abortion and anti-abortion societies.

    When someone announces the pregnancy, her whole circle celebrates: there's formal announcement, there's gender-reveal (shown in theaters, no less), there's baby shower-- when I was a kid I thought they literally bathe the pregnant woman in front of the guests) then there's the birth, and finally the christening where food and gifts are used to celebrate this important occasion. Following this, a lot of legal rights accrue to the baby: the mother could be prosecuted for drug use while pregnant, the baby has the right to be taken care of and not neglected, and of course, if the baby dies at the hands of the parents or any member of their society, there's homicide or infanticide.

    Meanwhile, within the same society, the pregnant woman can decide to terminate the pregnancy without any reason required. Because in the pro-choice stance, it doesn't matter whether the fetus growing inside is the woman's own flesh and blood. She is not held accountable morally to spare the fetus just because it's her own blood. This is what it means by her-body-her-choice. The fetus has no right to use the woman's body to grow to full viability. At any given point during the pregnancy, the fetus doesn't count as an entity. Note that if you're one of the guests in a baby shower, you're celebrating the woman, not the fetus inside the womb.

    Then here comes another puzzling thing. Suppose a woman decides to terminate the pregnancy and made an appointment with a doctor two weeks from now. Suppose that an intruder attacks the woman and kills her and the baby before the appointment. The state can then charge the intruder with double homicide -- never mind that the woman doesn't' want the baby and is about to terminate it. Depending on what country or state in the US you're in, killing a pregnant woman is double homicide


    Not a puzzle. A woman's bodily autonomy does not transfer to a murderer. Just as a person headed up the stairs to throw themselves off of the roof and is killed by a murderer, no one is "puzzled" by the state charging the perpetrator.
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Actually the competing interests are the woman's bodily autonomy (not importance) vs the fetus' right to exist. Autonomy exists equally as a concept regardless of the type of relationship between the woman and her sexual partner.

    I disagree with pinning bodily autonomy (i.e., consent) vs. right to life principles against each other as absolute principles; as they are not, and in one instance it could be that consent matters more than the right to life and in another it could be vice-versa. It is not productive nor correct to use either of these principles in an absolute manner.

    For me, culpability is a principle which, when applied, determines the woman's right to consent as outweighed by the woman's obligation to amend the condition she has put this life in (albeit a new life). She, when consensually having sex, gives up, in the event that she gets pregnant, any relevant consideration of consent.

    However, when she is not culpable, it becomes a question of consent vs. the de facto duty to rescue, which is going to revolve around the potential risk/severity of unwanted bodily modifications of the rescuer.
  • L'éléphant
    1.5k
    Not a puzzle. A woman's bodily autonomy does not transfer to a murderer.LuckyR
    But the definition of a fetus by the state changes depending on who terminates the life of the fetus.

    If it's a woman's action that terminates the fetus, then that's legal. But if it's another person, it's homicide. The fetus has two ways of legal existence, concurrently.
  • 180 Proof
    14.8k
    How is this not property dualism?Bob Ross
    Dual-aspect monism is ontological whereas property dualism is epistemological; I prefer the latter but I think its more precise to characterize Spinoza by the former.

    Are you, then, a necessitarian?
    Spinoza certainly is. I'm a compatibilist and contingentarian.
  • LuckyR
    451
    But the definition of a fetus by the state changes depending on who terminates the life of the fetus.

    If it's a woman's action that terminates the fetus, then that's legal. But if it's another person, it's homicide. The fetus has two ways of legal existence, concurrently


    Which is likely of interest in the Legality Forum, here in the Philosophy Forum the adult woman had autonomy over her body and thus could consent to medical procedures on her body (as men can as well). The implications to other entities of her medical decision were hers and her doctors to consider, not the state.
  • LuckyR
    451
    I disagree with pinning bodily autonomy (i.e., consent) vs. right to life principles against each other as absolute principles; as they are not, andin one instance it could be that consent matters more than the right to life and in another it could be vice-versa. It is not productive nor correct to use either of these principles in an absolute manner.

    For me, culpability is a principle which, when applied, determines the woman's right to consent as outweighed by the woman's obligation to amend the condition she has put this life in (albeit a new life). She, when consensually having sex, gives up, in the event that she gets pregnant, any relevant consideration of consent.

    However, when she is not culpable, it becomes a question of consent vs. the de facto duty to rescue, which is going to revolve around the potential risk/severity of unwanted bodily modifications of the rescuer


    I don't disagree with your bolded statement as written, I would just add: matters to whom? Sounds like you're supposing the government, I'm siding with women with the advice of their medical professionals. I have no problem if an individual woman decides that her fetus' right to exist is of more value to her than her right to bodily autonomy.

    Your opinion that the type of relationship between a woman and her partner raises or lowers her right to bodily autonomy is an unpopular one that I happen not to share, though I'm sure a significant minority of folks would buy into it. What are your thoughts on the obligation of the medical community to use public health resources on treating the effects of smoking? Is the "culpability" of the patient in creating their medical problem germane in that instance?
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Hello 180 Proof,

    Dual-aspect monism is ontological whereas property dualism is epistemological; I prefer the latter but I think its more precise to characterize Spinoza by the former.

    I see: I have never heard of dual-aspect monism before. It sounds like substance dualism, but clearly is not: what is the difference? How can there by ontologically two types of existences within one type of overall existence?
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Hello LuckyR,

    I don't disagree with your bolded statement as written, I would just add: matters to whom?

    It matters for morally and legally weighing what should or should not be legal with respect to abortion.

    Sounds like you're supposing the government, I'm siding with women with the advice of their medical professionals. I have no problem if an individual woman decides that her fetus' right to exist is of more value to her than her right to bodily autonomy.

    If she had consensual sex, then she doesn’t have a say, as, like any other case of culpability of the condition of someone else, she is obligated to remediate the condition in which she has put this new life.

    I am not arguing that bodily autonomy and right to life are two irreconcilable principles with respect to each other (when in conflict) (and that the woman can thusly just decide).

    Your opinion that the type of relationship between a woman and her partner raises or lowers her right to bodily autonomy is an unpopular one that I happen not to share, though I'm sure a significant minority of folks would buy into it.

    It isn’t per se about the relationship she has with her partner: it is whether she willingly partook in an action that is reasonably anticipated to bring a new life into the world. I can’t just hit you with my car and drive away: I am culpable for your condition: I don’t just get to decide whether to help you or not: to let you perhaps die or live.

    What are your thoughts on the obligation of the medical community to use public health resources on treating the effects of smoking? Is the "culpability" of the patient in creating their medical problem germane in that instance?

    Firstly, it is disanalogous to abortion, as this issue is not about a person being culpable for the condition of another life.

    Secondly, it just depends on several factors whether I would agree. Right now, where I live, I would say no. If we were to fix the health care system and perhaps a part of that is to have some sort of universal health care, then maybe.
  • LuckyR
    451


    So is having sex while using Birth Control "an action that is reasonably anticipated to bring a new life into the world"? Most lay persons would say "no", using Birth Control is the opposite of your phrasing.

    Of course every method of BC has a failure rate, so if you're intellectually honest you'd be OK with abortion in cases of failed Birth Control, right?
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Hello LuckyR,

    So is having sex while using Birth Control "an action that is reasonably anticipated to bring a new life into the world"? Most lay persons would say "no", using Birth Control is the opposite of your phrasing.

    This is a good point that I had not thought about before; however, you aren’t going to like my refurbishment (of my view) here (;

    I would say that you are right insofar as I cannot say that the obligation to not abort (in the case of consensual sex) is contingent in any manner on ‘reasonably anticipated’ consequences of ones actions. For example, if this were true (that I could make them contingent), then I should never go driving, because there is a small percentage chance, even with taking all the precautions, that I could injure someone in a manner that would be my fault. Likewise, there is a small percentage chance that people having sex while taking every precautionary measures (like contraceptives) will conceive.

    My resolution is to say that the obligation to sustain that life (of which their condition one is culpable for) is contingent solely on one’s culpability and not ‘reasonable inferences’ pertaining to the consequences of ones actions. Thusly, in the case of driving, I am accepting that there is a chance that I may be at fault for another person’s injuries (due to, let’s say, a car crash or something) and, in that event, I cannot appeal to the fact that I took a lot of precautionary measures to prevent injuring people with my care to get out of the obligation to help this person that I am, in fact, culpable for their injuries. Same thing is true, I would say, for consensual sex: appealing to all of the precautionary measures they took to prevent conception does not exempt them from their obligation to sustain that new life, since they are culpable for it.

    I appreciate your insight here, as that was a good question LuckyR!
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Hello 180 Proof,

    I see, so do you believe that there is an unknown substance, and mind and matter are derivatives of that substance?
  • 180 Proof
    14.8k
    No. I have strong affinities for Spinoza's dual-aspect ontology (though pragmatically I prefer property dualism) and so l'm neither a neutral monist nor a Kantian empiricist.
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