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Arguments about AbortionPersonhood, Morality, and Law$
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Kate Greasley

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198766780

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198766780.001.0001

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Gradualism and Human Embodiment

Gradualism and Human Embodiment

(p.147) 7 Gradualism and Human Embodiment
Arguments about Abortion

Kate Greasley

Oxford University Press

This chapter restates the reasons arguments for believing that our concept of a person has chiefly to do with a cluster of sophisticated cognitive and emotional capacities, and the perennial problem that not all human beings post birth possess all of those characteristics. It argues that some rejections of the so-called ‘developmental’ (capacities-based) view of personhood’s conditions use the wrong test for conceptual salience—that is, they wrongly hold that every constitutive feature of personhood must also be an essential feature of all persons. It also seeks to explain why fetuses, which do not possess any of the core capacities definitive of persons, can nevertheless be owed increasing moral respect as they develop throughout gestation on account of their burgeoning human embodiment.

Keywords:   fetal personhood, moral status, human fetus, gestation, abortion, moral respect, human embodiment

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