Contemporary Moral Issues custom essay

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Suggested Topics

1. Beauchamp and Velleman more or less agree that certain instances of physician assisted suicide are morally right, but they take different (albeit tentative) attitudes about whether it is a good thing for places like Oregon and the Netherlands to legalize it. Is one of them right? Are they both wrong in some way? Argue for your view, whether or not one of them shares it, and explain where (at least) one goes wrong.

2. Thomson offers a powerful argument that abortion is not wrong in cases where the pregnant woman has been raped or is endangered by the pregnancy, but she offers much less argument?and most interpreters think a much weaker argument?that abortion is not wrong if the pregnancy resulted from careless sexual practices, or even a failure of birth control. Marquis argues that abortion is generally wrong, though his position is consistent with saying there are special cases, including danger to the pregnant woman and rape. Hursthouse is tough to interpret, but seems to hint that most women who have abortions are not fully virtuous, at least at the time of the abortion, barring cases like rape or dangerous pregnancy.
So, all three seem to grant certain exceptions, but they leave us with little reason to think abortion is morally fine if it results from carelessness or birth control failure. Is there reason to think it is (or can be) morally unobjectionable? If so, what reason? If not, think of the strongest argument you can that such an abortion could be morally fine and not contrary to virtue, and show that the argument fails.

3. Hursthouse takes virtue ethics to be better than deontology and consequentialism in part because it recognizes a wider range of morally important variables, including people?s emotional states, the social roles that do and might play, the differences between women?s situation and men?s, and so on. Her view seems at least somewhat at odds with Marquis? view, as she says abortion would be the right thing to do in some circumstances he seems not to permit. Given that both say there is something bad about abortion, what makes her say it is the right thing to do in some situations? What does she think Marquis is leaving out in his reasoning? Why would he say Hurstouse is wrong in these cases? Which of the two has the better argument (or do you think they both make bad mistakes)?

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