Topic: Applied Ethices ‘A defense of abortion’
Order Description
Required Reading: Thomson, J.J. (1971). ‘A defense of Abortion’ Philosophy and Public Affairs, vol.1, no. 1, pp. 47-66.
Judith Jarvis Thomson apparently believes that, at least in many cases, an abortion performed when the mother’s life is not threatened by the pregnancy would not be unjust. What does she need to do in order to establish this? Does she succeed?
Further explanation of this task:
You need to provide a satisfactory discussion of the answers to those questions. In order to do this you will need to understand the whole of Thomson’s article and the whole of the critical discussion of it in the Study Guide. But the question is not about the whole of Thomson’s case. You will need to identify those particular portions of Thomson’s case which are relevant to this question, and then critically examine those portions. You will be discussing whether the relevant arguments in Thomson’s article are good or bad.
The essay allows you to display your grasp of the philosophical discussion of the relevant topic. It requires you to show that you understand this discussion, and that you can critically assess it. (Note that this task is directed towards all three of the learning outcomes for this subject – i.e. it allows you to demonstrate that you grasp the basic philosophical techniques of analysis and argument that you are learning, that you have a basic understanding of the ethical theories being discussed, and that you can apply those skills and understanding in the discussion of the particular moral problems discussed.)
This task involves a number of distinct elements. They include the following:
(1) You need to identify the relevant argument that Thomson needs to provide, and you need to show why this argument is needed.
(2) You need to critically evaluate whether Thomson’s actual arguments succeed in doing what’s needed.
(3) You need to present your essay in a well organised discussion written in good clear English.
(Note in particular the need to distinguish what is relevant from what is irrelevant to this prescribed question.)

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