Persons, Moral Worth, and Embryos

A Critical Analysis of Pro-Choice Arguments

  • Stephen Napier

Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 111)

Also part of the Catholic Studies in Bioethics book sub series (CSBE, volume 111)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Philosophical Considerations

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 17-17
    2. Alexander R. Pruss
      Pages 19-42
    3. Anselm Winfried Müller
      Pages 85-100
    4. Mathew Lu
      Pages 101-123
    5. David B. Hershenov
      Pages 125-144
    6. David W. Fagerberg
      Pages 145-161
    7. Christopher Tollefsen
      Pages 163-184
  3. Scientific Considerations

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 185-185
    2. A.A. Howsepian
      Pages 187-210
    3. Maureen L. Condic
      Pages 211-235
  4. Perspectives from Law and Political Philosophy

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 237-237
    2. David Thunder
      Pages 239-253
    3. Helen M. Alvaré
      Pages 255-279
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 281-283

About this book


“Bioethicists have achieved consensus on two ideas pertaining to beginning of life issues: (1) persons are those beings capable of higher-order cognition, or self-consciousness, and (2) it is impermissible to kill only persons. As a consequence, a consensus is reached regarding the permissibility of both destroying human embryos for research purposes and abortion. The present collection aims to interact critically with this consensus. Authors address various aspects of this ‘orthodoxy’. Issues discussed include: theories of personhood and in particular the role of thought experiments used in support of such theories; the notion of an intrinsic potential and the moral relevance of having one; new formulations of the virtue argument against abortion rights; four-dimensionalism and abortion; the notion of moral status and who (or what) has it; scientific accounts of what a human being is, as well as addressing empirical evidence of fetal consciousness; and analysis of the public policy implications given the epistemic status of pro-choice arguments. Given the issues discussed and that the arguments in critical focus are fairly new, the collection provides a novel, comprehensive, and rigorous analysis of contemporary pro-choice arguments.”


Abortion Abortion rights Abortion – ethical aspects Embryonic stem-cell research – ethical aspects Metaphysics Moral Epistemology Ontology Pro -choice Pro-life

Editors and affiliations

  • Stephen Napier
    • 1
  1. 1.National Catholic Bioethics CenterPhiladelphiaUSA

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