Tuesday, February 8, 2011

An Essay in Moral Theory

In the eye of this snow-covered winter, I would like to share some uber-duber, philosophy-to-the-very-core, moral theory, by a professor of philosophy, Judith Jarvis Thomson. It's worth noting that this essay was published in 1971, because otherwise it might sound like she's talking about right now.

I have posted a stellar (and seasonally appropriate) excerpt below as well as a link to the full article for those who would like to dig deeper:

"For what we have to keep in mind is that the mother and the unborn child are not like two tenants in a small house which has, by an unfortunate mistake, been rented to both: the mother owns the house...

If Jones has found and fastened on a certain coat, which he needs to keep him from freezing, but which Smith also needs to keep him from freezing, then it is not impartiality that says "I cannot choose between you" when Smith owns the coat. Women have said again and again "This body is my body!" and they have reason to feel angry, reason to feel that it has been like shouting into the wind. Smith, after all, is hardly likely to bless us if we say to him, "Of course it's your coat, anybody would grant that it is. But no one may choose between you and Jones who is to have it."

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