What is thomson’s example, and what does she mean for it to show?

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Nov 19, 2022


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In Part I of “On The Moral and Legal Status of Abortion,” (in Canvas files) Mary Anne Warren argues that Judith Jarvis Thomson’s ‘violinist’ example, presented by Thomson in “A Defense of Abortion”, (also in the Canvas files) can at best show that abortion is morally permissible in cases of pregnancy due to rape. Assignment: Write an essay in which you answer the following questions (Doing so in the order asked will almost surely make the optimal organization of the essay.) 1. What is Thomson’s example, and what does she mean for it to show? (What is the point of the example?) 2. Why does Warren think Thomson’s case only shows that abortion is morally permissible in cases of pregnancy due to rape? How is her example of the music lovers’ society supposed to show that Thomson’s case (or a case like it) could not be plausibly used to defend abortion in the case of normal unwanted pregnancy (Warren, p. 51)? 3. Thomson later presents an example of ‘people seeds’, to address concerns like Warren’s. (Please don’t say ‘to address Warren’s concern,’ though – Warren’s paper (obviously) came later.) Some people may be inclined to think one of the following: Assuming a fetus is a person with a right to life: (a) Warren’s case is analogous to normal non-rape pregnancy, and so shows that abortion in
such cases is not permissible; (b) Thomson’s people seed case (where the seeds are understood in the relevant way) is
analogous to normal non-rape pregnancy, and so shows that abortion in such cases is
always permissible. Obviously, not both of these arguments can be sound, since the conclusions contradict each other. For EACH of these two arguments, offer a plausible reply. (Remember – replies to an argument by analogy take one of two forms: they can argue that the cases are not analogous (similar in all relevant respects), or they can argue that the other premise – that which makes a claim about what is true in the ‘analogy’ case – is not true (or not justified, or not clearly true


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