P E R S O N S
the central argument 1.
The fetus is a person.
If (1), the fetus has a right to life.
If the fetus has a right to life, abortion is prima facie wrong.
[So] Abortion is prima facie wrong.
the species criterion The Species Criterion: Something is a person iff it is a homo sapien.
commonsense personhood T he characteristics that come at least implicitly to mind when we hear or use such words as ‘person’, ‘people’, and the personal pronouns. (F&L, p.201)
the modified species criterion The Modified Species Criterion: Something is a person iff it is a member of a species generally characterized by C
the modified species criterion T he major difficulty… is that it requires further explanation why C should determine moral personhood when applied to classes of creatures rather than to individual cases… Just because opposable thumbs are a characteristic of Homo sapiens, it does not follow that this or that particular Homo sapiens has opposable thumbs. There appears to be no reason for regarding right-possession any differently, in this regard, from thumb-possession. (F&L, p.205)
the potential possession criterion The Potential Possession Criterion: Something is a person iff it either actually or potentially possess C.
the potential possession criterion I t is a logical error, some have charged, to deduce actual rights from merely potential (but not yet actual) qualification for those rights. What follows from potential qualification, it is said, is potential, not actual, rights… “A potential president of the United States is not on that account Commander-and-Chief.” (F&L, p.206)
the potential possession criterion P otential possession of C confers not a right, but only a claim, to life, but that claim keeps growing stronger, requiring ever stronger reasons to override it, until that point when C is actually possessed, by which time it has become a full right to life. (F&L, p.207)
the actual possession criterion The Actual Possession Criterion: Something is a person iff it actually possesses C.
summary The Species Criterion The Modified Species Criterion The Actual Possession Criterion The Strict Potentiality Criterion