Friday, December 05, 2008


#123: “whether people have a certain right is surely independent of whether we’re clever enough to know how to enforce it (e.g., the right not to be raped doesn’t wax and wane with our ability to enforce it),”

People will choose abortion whether or not it is illegal. So much so in fact that it is considered part of the argument.
People download music without paying for it. There are arguments that defend downloading as such but those arguments don’t work well. The best defense of downloading is not a defense so much as an acknowledgment of its ubiquity, and then the development of new ways of managing distribution that accommodate that fact.
The question of when to accommodate and when not has less to do with science or objective reason, or "truth" than with the self-definition of a society.
As Ronald Dworkin has pointed out that the vast majority of abortion opponents are not opposed in cases in rape or incest; and since logically there can be no moral distinction between a fetus conceived through consensual or coerced sexual activity, most of those who claim abortion is murder do not mean what they say (it’s a human trait to believe your own rhetoric). Their interest instead is in a government imposition of a code of moral seriousness. Should the state be permitted to impose in this way, in the context of our most intimate decisions?
And of course the US has the highest abortion rate of all economically advanced countries.

“utilitarianism can lead to all kinds of conclusions…”
In which case, it’s not very useful as a philosophy.
What’s the definition of utility? Once you answer that, utilitarianism could I suppose describe the logic of achieving a chosen goal. But then utilitarianism is no more than the philosophy of management.

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