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Ben Bayer: Abortion and Objectivism

This is an excellent tweet thread by philosopher Ben Bayer at the Ayn Rand Institute:

You may wonder why I decided to write a lot about abortion. As a man the issue doesn’t affect me in a directly personal way, though there are women I care about for whom it’s important. But my interest is mostly intellectual fascination. 1/

Abortion is an issue on which Objectivism’s distinctive views in almost every single branch of philosophy converge to yield its distinctive position. 2/

Metaphysics: There is only natural reality, no supernatural God. Hence there is no God who ensouls the fetus and assigns it rights, or who demands women to sacrifice for his commandments. 3/

Epistemology: Reason is our only means of knowledge. Hence faith or emotions don’t tell us that the fetus has rights in case we feel disgusted about the idea of abortion, or in case we feel warm and fuzzy thinking about newborn babies. 4/

Ethics: Morality is about pursuing your happiness and living, not about sacrificing your happiness for others. Hence a woman is acting nobly by deciding against having children in favor of her career or whatever other positive value she chooses. 5/

Politics: Individuals need rights as conditions for the possibility of pursuing their happiness in a social context of other individuals doing the same. Hence rights apply only to actual individuals who coexist separately in society. They don’t apply to unindividuated fetuses. 6/

Those are at least the essentials. The abortion controversy is an excellent case study for exploring the implications of Objectivist philosophy. You can’t really understand its major positions without seeing the obvious implications for the abortion debate. 7/7

See also his essay, Ayn Rand’s Radical Case for Abortion Rights.

 

 

 

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