Michael Tooley on abortion and infanticide

Michael Tooley’s justification of abortion rests upon:

  • a particular view of rights, and
  • a definition of personhood.

Tooley argues that the desire presupposed by the right to life is the desire to continue as a being with psychological states. Only a thinking self-conscious person with independent desires has such rights.

Here is a full text of this classic article and here is an excellent summary of his views and those of other protagonists.For a useful commentary laying out the logical structure of Tooley’s argument and a model of how we might take notes, see this link.

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