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Avoiding the Personhood Issue: Abortion, Identity, and Marquis's ‘Future‐Like‐Ours’ Argument

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One reason for the persistent appeal of Don Marquis' ‘future like ours’ argument (FLO) is that it seems to offer a way to approach the debate about the morality of abortion while sidestepping the difficult task of establishing whether the fetus is a person. This essay argues that in order to satisfactorily address both of the chief objections to FLO – the ‘identity objection’ and the ‘contraception objection’ – Marquis must take a controversial stand on what is most essential to being the kind of entity that an adult human being is. Such a stand amounts to a controversial account of personhood. To the extent that FLO's success depends on accepting such a controversial metaphysical view, one apparent attraction of FLO proves illusory.
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Keywords: Future Like Ours; abortion; contraception; ethics; personal identity; personhood

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2016

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