Etyka i przerywanie ciąży

Etyka 16:51-80 (1978)
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One of the most commonly adduced arguments in the discussions on abortion says that a foetus is a human being. The article presents three classical types of criteria used to establish what is a human being: the genetic criterion, the criterion referring to development of the foetus, and the criterion of being born from human parents. The article takes up the problem of the perspectives for establishing a definition of man. The author believes that the concept of men is an open concept and that philosophical analysis of this concept cannot provide normative solutions to the moral problem of abortion. This is not to say that the moral problem of the right evaluation of abortion cannot be rationally solved. But if it can be, a no definition can be adopted as a starting point. The problem: what is a human being? which is a problem of appropriate definition should be substituted by a prescriptive problem: what may we do with a conceived being of which we do not know whether it is a human being or not? The rationally supported principle of behavior is in these circumstances the principle of potentiality. This principle disapproves of breaking the potentiality of a being conceived by human parents. Acceptance of this principle does not preclude implementation of a conscious and rational population policy. It is permissible to destroy potentiality of one human being for the sake of potentiality of other human being – not yet conceived, unborn or living. The acceptance of this principle implies approval of some controversial philosophical assumptions. But on this ground the foregoing arguments cannot be disposed of.



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Zbigniew Szawarski
University of Warsaw (PhD)

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