Little People: Higher-Order Capacities and the Argument from Potential
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If the arguments of Chapters 2 and Chapters 3 are sound, then even human infants, fetuses, embryos, and zygotes have the typical human capacities that are sufficient to generate serious moral status. This conclusion was reached by arguing that, as an adult human organism undergoes temporary changes that are more and more serious, the order of the capacities we must appeal to in generating serious moral status gets higher and higher. We eventually reach a point where the adult in the middle of a temporary change has an order of capacities that is just as high as the order of capacities possessed by the most undeveloped human organisms.