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ILS
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Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality Empty Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality

on Fri May 17, 2019 3:55 pm
One of the most common and robust pro-life arguments against abortion right now goes as follows:

1. Life begins at conception
2. Conscious sentient experience is valuable
3. Therefore, killing a life after conception that, some time in the future, will have a conscious sentient experience is immoral

This argument is often used to corner people. E.g: if someone is in a coma but may wake from that coma some time in the future, is it right to kill them? The answer is obviously no, they will experience consciousness again in the future, to kill them while they are unconscious therefore is immoral. Same as how you cannot just kill someone while they are asleep.

The arguments in favour of abortion think of morality in a different way. If the pro-life argument is a future or potential-based morality, the pro-abortion argument can come from a present-based morality. "It could be a conscious being in the future, but right now it's an unconscious bundle of cells and nerves and is therefore devoid of value." Using that logic, you could easily justify killing anyone in a state of unconsciousness - if their future potential is irrelevant, and the only thing that matters is whether they are conscious right now, you can start killing people who are in comas, asleep, suffer from various mental diseases/conditions and the list goes on.

My question is less to do with which one you think is right (it should hopefully seem obvious), but more a question of: how much further can we extend this idea of a future-based morality?

If our actions in the present affect the lives of others in the future, even those who do not yet "exist", then can we start to argue that we are morally responsible for what we do now even if it appears to have a neutral effect presently but extinguishes some kind of positive future potential? Do the things we destroy, which we perceive to be harmless, or perhaps the actions we neglect to take, snuff out a potential future-good? Should we be held to account for that?
LSDMB
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on Fri May 17, 2019 8:44 pm
Or the pro-choice side pushes some weird future morality preemptive euthanasia type argument. "Oh well the child will be miserable in life, I know this because of my omniscience, therefore let's kill it and call ourselves merciful." Sounds a lot like Thanos tbh.
PeraltaEagle45
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Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality Empty Re: Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality

on Fri May 17, 2019 9:30 pm
Because discussing abortion on a Star Wars debating website sounds like fun to me.
Haggis
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on Fri May 17, 2019 9:50 pm
SithArchaeologist wrote:Because discussing abortion on a Star Wars debating website sounds like fun to me.

This is the general discussion section, cheif. You can talk about other stuff here.
Trayvon
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on Fri May 17, 2019 10:07 pm
Hoes mad
LSDMB
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on Sat May 18, 2019 5:50 am
That moment when you realize what it comes down to is "What's more important, me not having to govern my own impulse towards short term gratification, or not terminating innocent human life... HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM TRICKY ONE"
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Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality Empty Re: Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality

on Sun May 19, 2019 3:59 pm
Don't understand OP's main argument.

There are two cases:

You are not aware of the consequences of your actions. In that case, how on earth can you be held accountable? A guy in 1000 AD might have lost his hammer which might have knocked over a rock which might have caused a landslide that might have buried one clan, that turned out to be the rival clan to the clan that ultimately would give a genocidal dictator to the world. So, the guy is responsible for a full blown genocide because he lost his hammer. Does that make any sense?

On the other hand, you are aware that this action leads to that consequence. How on earth are you not responsible? You contribute to global warming, you are guilty, assuming you are educated enough. Or any other action you take that is clear to cause damage later on.

Only way this doesn't become clear is choosing the lesser evil or the greater good. But those arguments have been had since time immemorial and are not specific to the question being asked on this thread
Sas
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Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality Empty Re: Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality

on Mon May 20, 2019 12:19 pm
@ILS wrote:One of the most common and robust pro-life arguments against abortion right now goes as follows:
1. Life begins at conception
2. Conscious sentient experience is valuable
3. Therefore, killing a life after conception that, some time in the future, will have a conscious sentient experience is immoral.

I know it's not the point of the thread, but I'm confused as to how that conclusion was drawn from those two statements.  If what is granted is that sentience--not necessarily life--is what is valuable, then what does it matter when life begins?  Sure, if my parents chose to abort me as a fetus, that would have robbed me of the opportunity to have a sentient experience.  However, if my parents chose not to conceive me in the first place, that would also have robbed me of that opportunity.  From the perspective of the potential-child, there is no difference.  To conclude that the former choice is immoral and not the latter, you would need more than just those two statements.
ILS
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on Mon May 20, 2019 2:56 pm
@Sas wrote:
@ILS wrote:One of the most common and robust pro-life arguments against abortion right now goes as follows:
1. Life begins at conception
2. Conscious sentient experience is valuable
3. Therefore, killing a life after conception that, some time in the future, will have a conscious sentient experience is immoral.

I know it's not the point of the thread, but I'm confused as to how that conclusion was drawn from those two statements.  If what is granted is that sentience--not necessarily life--is what is valuable, then what does it matter when life begins?  Sure, if my parents chose to abort me as a fetus, that would have robbed me of the opportunity to have a sentient experience.  However, if my parents chose not to conceive me in the first place, that would also have robbed me of that opportunity.  From the perspective of the potential-child, there is no difference.  To conclude that the former choice is immoral and not the latter, you would need more than just those two statements.
There's a few things that need to be unpacked here.

1. It matters where life begins because there is a difference between giving something then taking it away, and not giving something in the first place. A potential human being is not being "robbed" of their life by never being conceived in the first place, but once the zygote is autonomously growing and developing, it is now a life, and the only way to stop it from growing and being born is to kill or "abort" it.

2. If we are looking at it from the perspective of the child, then imagine you had been aborted. Me personally, I'd much rather have been alive than been aborted because I enjoy living and have a desire to live, even through immense suffering, as most human beings do. But for me to have that perspective I need to be conceived in the first place. In order to terminate my potential, you need to create it in the first place.
Rohirrim
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Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality Empty Re: Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality

on Mon May 20, 2019 3:49 pm
@ILS wrote:There's a few things that need to be unpacked here.

1. It matters where life begins because there is a difference between giving something then taking it away, and not giving something in the first place. A potential human being is not being "robbed" of their life by never being conceived in the first place, but once the zygote is autonomously growing and developing, it is now a life, and the only way to stop it from growing and being born is to kill or "abort" it.

2. If we are looking at it from the perspective of the child, then imagine you had been aborted. Me personally, I'd much rather have been alive than been aborted because I enjoy living and have a desire to live, even through immense suffering, as most human beings do. But for me to have that perspective I need to be conceived in the first place. In order to terminate my potential, you need to create it in the first place.

I mean, antibiotics may "rob" bacteria of their life, but using them is not immoral since bacteria are not sentient. Even if you, a sentient being, were not in danger of death, you're justified to use antibiotics just to improve the quality of your life. Same argument should apply to zygotes, for they are also nonsentient.
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Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality Empty Re: Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality

on Mon May 20, 2019 6:01 pm
The difference is the bacteria will never become sentient, but the zygote will in nine months. And just because someone is temporarily not sentient, i.e sleeping or in a coma, it does not make it okay to kill them (so goes the argument).
Rohirrim
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Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality Empty Re: Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality

on Mon May 20, 2019 6:35 pm
Yeah, but someone in a temporary coma had conscience and self-awareness (some are reported to retain this to an extent while in a coma), hopes, dreams, family and friends. Not the same as a zygote or an embryo still to develop a neural system and not having had any sentient experience or interaction with the world.
ILS
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Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality Empty Re: Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality

on Mon May 20, 2019 6:48 pm
Are you saying that someone's right to life is to some extent contingent on them having hopes, dreams, family and friends? Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality 4037459623 If so I fear for many of our members here.

The only part of that argument I actually sympathise with is that they were previously conscious, self-aware and have an interest in living, whereas a fetus has never had that. They don't have anything to lose yet, except for their life and their future (not that you can really put that terribly lightly).

The problem becomes then, what then makes it immoral to kill a baby that has been born? Other than the instinctive feeling that it's wrong to harm children? Babies are not really what I'd call "self aware", they have no hopes or dreams and if they do have family and friends (because it is entirely possible they don't), they are not yet at the stage where they particularly care.

At the end of the day I think a lot of this is pretty subjective, but the most internally consistent stance is to say abortion is straight up wrong. And erring on the side of not killing/ending life opposed to erring on the side of saying killing/ending life is fine, IMO, tends to be more moral.
Rohirrim
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Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality Empty Re: Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality

on Mon May 20, 2019 7:18 pm
@ILS wrote:Are you saying that someone's right to life is to some extent contingent on them having hopes, dreams, family and friends? Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality 4037459623 If so I fear for many of our members here.
Allow me to clarify, the crucial part for me is sentience. For example, I wouldn't deem immoral to end someone's life after brain death. All those other things are simply examples of what a person in a coma may also lose if killed, and what their families/friends would lose.  

@ILS wrote:The only part of that argument I actually sympathise with is that they were previously conscious, self-aware and have an interest in living, whereas a fetus has never had that. They don't have anything to lose yet, except for their life and their future (not that you can really put that terribly lightly).

The problem becomes then, what then makes it immoral to kill a baby that has been born? Other than the instinctive feeling that it's wrong to harm children? Babies are not really what I'd call "self aware", they have no hopes or dreams and if they do have family and friends (because it is entirely possible they don't), they are not yet at the stage where they particularly care.
Babies do have a functioning brain and sentient experience, so yes it would be immoral to kill them.

@ILS wrote:At the end of the day I think a lot of this is pretty subjective, but the most internally consistent stance is to say abortion is straight up wrong. And erring on the side of not killing/ending life opposed to erring on the side of saying killing/ending life is fine, IMO, tends to be more moral.
So you wouldn't use antibiotics to kill nonsentient beings in order to improve your quality of life?
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on Mon May 20, 2019 9:33 pm
So if the crucial part is sentience, and not what they have to lose in the event of death, then what is the harm in killing someone who is in a coma and currently not sentient? You will say "well they will become sentient again", but then a developing fetus will become sentient as well. In a matter of months. The question then becomes, why does it matter if we deprive a being of future sentience it has not yet gotten the chance to experience but will experience if left to their natural processes (or in the coma case, when they emerge from their condition).

"Babies do have a functioning brain and sentient experience, so yes it would be immoral to kill them." - Found the vegan.

I have no problem "killing" bacteria, plants, in other words, things that do not and will never have a central nervous system, brain, sentience, consciousness and so on. I'm not a Jain. I also have no problem taking a life to save a life, e.g I would be in full support of an abortion if having the child meant putting the mother's life in danger.
Rohirrim
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on Mon May 20, 2019 9:48 pm
@ILS wrote:So if the crucial part is sentience, and not what they have to lose in the event of death, then what is the harm in killing someone who is in a coma and currently not sentient? You will say "well they will become sentient again", but then a developing fetus will become sentient as well. In a matter of months.
There's a difference between a fetus becoming sentient in the future and an already sentient person who is in a process of recovery from a coma. A fetus loses nothing if killed, meanwhile a person in a temporary coma loses all previous sentient experience and interaction with the world, and it's a loss for his/her family and friends too (not that this is the crucial part, but it's still important). Not to mention there are reports of patients who have shown some level of conciousness while in a coma.

EDIT: I realize now you thought I meant current sentience. I was using the term in a broader sense, including the patient's personal history.
Sas
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on Tue May 21, 2019 10:08 am
@ILS wrote:1. It matters where life begins because there is a difference between giving something then taking it away, and not giving something in the first place.

Would you mind elaborating on why you think it is different?

@ILS wrote:A potential human being is not being "robbed" of their life by never being conceived in the first place,

Obviously.  We weren't discussing whether or not the child is being robbed of their life, though.  We were discussing whether or not the potential for a sentient experience is being denied, and contraception and abortion achieve that equally.

@ILS wrote:but once the zygote is autonomously growing and developing, it is now a life, and the only way to stop it from growing and being born is to kill or "abort" it.

So what if it is killed?  You're assigning intrinsic value to the fact that the zygote is alive, even though "life is valuable" was not one of the two basic assumptions you outlined.

@ILS wrote:2. If we are looking at it from the perspective of the child, then imagine you had been aborted.

I already did!

@Sas wrote:Sure, if my parents chose to abort me as a fetus, that would have robbed me of the opportunity to have a sentient experience.  However, if my parents chose not to conceive me in the first place, that would also have robbed me of that opportunity.  From the perspective of the potential-child, there is no difference.




@ILS wrote:Me personally, I'd much rather have been alive than been aborted because I enjoy living and have a desire to live, even through immense suffering, as most human beings do. But for me to have that perspective I need to be conceived in the first place.

No, to have that perspective, you need to be sentient.  That which is not sentient cannot have a perspective on anything.  Just being conceived is not enough.

@ILS wrote:In order to terminate my potential, you need to create itme in the first place.

No, I don't believe that is how potential works.
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on Tue May 21, 2019 7:26 pm
Are you saying that someone's right to life is to some extent contingent on them having hopes, dreams, family and friends? If so I fear for many of our members here.

Lmfao.
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on Tue May 21, 2019 8:13 pm
Would you mind elaborating on why you think it is different?
Is it not obvious why it is different? Once conceived, a fetus when left to its natural processes will become a fully developed human being. It is now something separate from man and woman. Using birth control to prevent sperm from fertilising an egg is different because you are not stopping an autonomous being from living, you are taking measures to make sure you do not create that being in the first place.


Obviously.  We weren't discussing whether or not the child is being robbed of their life, though.  We were discussing whether or not the potential for a sentient experience is being denied, and contraception and abortion achieve that equally.
Well no, it's hardly obvious when your original claim that I responded to was "Sure, if my parents chose to abort me as a fetus, that would have robbed me of the opportunity to have a sentient experience.  However, if my parents chose not to conceive me in the first place, that would also have robbed me of that opportunity."

You stated that insofar as a being is being robbed of their life, there is no difference between abortion and birth control. I stated there is a difference, you asked me to elaborate on why, and in this post I did that. Now you have backtracked and said that yes, using birth control is "obviously" not robbing a child of their life. I'm glad we agree.

So what if it is killed?  You're assigning intrinsic value to the fact that the zygote is alive, even though "life is valuable" was not one of the two basic assumptions you outlined.
The "so what" is that it is, in a short amount of time, going to be sentient. You're taking part of my sentence out of its original context to make it seem as if I'm placing value on the fact it is a "life" when I was clearly using the term "life" to simply point out that it is an autonomous being capable of developing sentience, opposed to the cum inside my wank sock.

No, to have that perspective, you need to be sentient.  That which is not sentient cannot have a perspective on anything.  Just being conceived is not enough.
I don't understand why you phrase this section as if it contradicts what I said? It is a fact that to have a perspective on anything, it is necessary to be conceived. Or do you believe it's possible to have a perspective without ever being conceived?

Again, you're straying from your original point. You said "from the perspective of the potential-child." I take it as a given that something which is only potential, and not actualised, doesn't have a perspective on anything. So this is ultimately a thought experiment where we're saying "What would a fully developed human being think about a possible scenario where they had been aborted." And in almost every case, people prefer to have lived than to have not lived.

No, I don't believe that is how potential works.
By definition, what I said is how it works. In order to "terminate" anything, it first needs to exist, yes? A fertilised egg will begin to develop autonomously and if left to its natural processes, will be born. To stop that from happening, you need to kill it. Are you "terminating" anything by using birth control? Not really, no, because there is nothing yet that exists for you to terminate. You terminate the possibility that something could exist for you to terminate.

This is devolving into semantics, which is actually more fun than the abortion debate itself.
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on Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:29 am
I just skimmed over this convo so I might be misreading something, but I agree with Sas (on the general philosophy of morality, not necessarily abortion).

Would you consider it fundamentally less-bad for me to steal your money before you receive it than to let you get a dollar of it and then cut off the rest before it arrives? Because wanting someone to *first* exist before their futures matter is like saying that there has to be a "tripwire" where the baby exists for a nanosecond and then its future matters, which seems rather arbitrary. It also assumes a continuous concept of a "self" where the baby is part of some identity that continues to its death, which doesn't seem to be the case (see: Ship of Theseus thought experiment).
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Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality Empty Re: Future-Based Morality vs Present-Based Morality

on Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:09 pm
I'm pro-abortion within limits. And my reasoning is quite simple, in the case of rape and in the event the fetus does not have a brain you should be allowed to abort. On more "normal" cases I would say that before the fetus begins developing a nervous system it is immoral to abort it, as its just a clump of cells. So I do think abortion should be legalized, within limits (IE:Before the fetus starts developing a nervous system). The only other reason where I think it should be allowed if is you're unable to properly raise the child, be it mentally or economically, if you can't have kids. Don't have them. As well if the mother's live is in danger.
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on Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:40 pm
I find it interesting that now adays the argument of whether abortion is morally acceptable is only argued with sentience. However it used to be accepted that human life in of itself was valuable and that it was immoral to kill humans without a very good reason. It's almost as if pro choice advocates changed the name of the game to make it easier to win support.
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on Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:47 pm
@KingofBlades wrote:I find it interesting that now adays the argument of whether abortion is morally acceptable is only argued with sentience. However it used to be accepted that human life in of itself was valuable and that it was immoral to kill humans without a very good reason. It's almost as if pro choice advocates changed the name of the game to make it easier to win support.
You don't believe the reasons I listed are good?
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