Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 42 (3):155-168 (2021)

Anna Smajdor
University of Oslo
Can discussion with members of the public show philosophers where they have gone wrong? Leslie Cannold argues that it can in her 1995 paper ‘Women, Ectogenesis and Ethical Theory’, which investigates the ways in which women reason about abortion and ectogenesis. In her study, Cannold interviewed female non-philosophers. She divided her participants into separate ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ groups and asked them to consider whether the availability of ectogenesis would change their views about the morality of dealing with an unwanted pregnancy. The women in Cannold’s study gave responses that did not map onto the dominant tropes in the philosophical literature. Yet Cannold did not attempt to reason with her participants, and her engagement with the philosophical literature is oddly limited, focussing only on the pro-choice perspective. In this paper, I explore the question of whether Cannold is correct that philosophers’ reasoning about abortion is lacking in some way. I suggest that there are alternative conclusions to be drawn from the data she gathered and that a critical approach is necessary when attempting to undertake philosophy informed by empirical data.
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DOI 10.1007/s11017-021-09549-w
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References found in this work BETA

Philosophy Without Intuitions.Herman Cappelen - 2012 - Oxford University Press UK.
A Defense of Abortion.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1971 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (1):47-66.
Experimental Philosophy.Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (eds.) - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
Why Abortion is Immoral.Don Marquis - 1989 - Journal of Philosophy 86 (4):183-202.

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