Criminal Death of a Fetus
Webcast Q&A: 19 December 2010, Question 4
I answered a question on criminal death of a fetus on 19 December 2010. You can listen to or download the podcast of just this question below – or check out the whole episode of Philosophy in Action Radio.
Should a criminal who kills a pregnant woman (and her unborn child) be charged for two murders or one? Does it matter if she's obviously pregnant or not? (Perhaps it should only matter in the sentencing phase of the trial?) I've read your paper on the "personhood" movement and I agree that a person does not have rights until they're born, but it seems different in this situation. Where is my thinking flawed, or is it?
My Answer, In Brief: Rights are contextual absolutes, meaning that only apply in certain context, but that they apply fully in that context. Given nature of rights and nature of pregnancy, rights cannot apply to fetus but only to born infant.
- Duration: 7:37
- Download: MP3 Segment (2.6 MB)
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- The 'Personhood' Movement Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters that Rights Begin at Birth, Not Conception by Ari Armstrong and Diana Brickell, particularly the section Rights in Pregnancy, When does a fetus/infant become an individual? on Objectivist Answers, and Abortion Rights and Parental Obligations by Greg Perkins.
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About Philosophy in Action
I'm Dr. Diana Brickell. I'm a philosopher specializing in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase in paperback and Kindle. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."
My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on most Sunday mornings and some Thursday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Thursday evenings, I interview an expert guest or discuss a topic of interest.
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