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09/07/2019

Immanuel Kant against abortion?

QUESTION
Immanuel Kant against abortion?
I have an essay to write and was wandering someone could give me just 4 points as to why i agree with why Immanuel Kant the philosopher is against Abortion i have a thesis, thank you

ANSWER
The question hinges on whether, for Kant, a fetus is worthy of moral consideration. Kant says that we are only morally responsible for other RATIONAL beings. A fetus, however, is not yet a rational being.

The word “yet” might be the key term here. A defender of Kant might say that a baby has the “potential” to become a rational being, and that it is in fact the very nature of a fetus to develop into one. So, we could say this: Kant would be against abortion because a fetus has the potential to become a rational being.

If you are a serious Kantian, though, this reasoning does not work, because it is an appeal to consequences. For Kant, an action is right or wrong in and of itself WITHOUT any appeal to consequences. This is what separates him from Mill and the utilitarian thinkers. You cannot be a Kantian and justify your actions on the basis of some perceived future event (namely, the event of the baby becoming a rational being).

So, I do not see any way you can be a Kantian and be against abortion—unless you can demonstrate somehow that a fetus is ALREADY a rational being. That, I think, is impossible.

It’s much easier to defend abortion if you are a utilitarian thinker.

That’s my two cents.