Summary of Marquis, “Why Abortion Is Immoral”
In this article, Marquis argues that abortion is immoral with his “future-like-ours” argument. Marquis compares his argument with several other arguments regarding abortion; including the discontinuation and desire accounts.
1. What makes killing wrong?
Marquis begins section II by discussing many possible explanations one may give for the immorality of killing one another.
- Explanation 1: Brutalization. The first argument Marquis presents is simply that killing our own “brutalizes” the killer. However, Marquis refutes this explanation by arguing that to kill, one must be accustomed to the performance extremely immoral acts. Thus, the brutalization caused by murder does not provide an explanation for why killing is immoral.
- Explanation 2: The loss others feel. Marquis then turns his attention to the idea that killing is wrong because of the loss that those who know the victim feel when that person is killed. However, Marquis argues against this by arguing that killing a hermit, who is isolated, would still be immoral even though there is no one to feel a loss by this hermit’s murder.
- Explanation 3: Effect on the victim. Marquis then turns to what he argues is the true reason that killing is immoral; it’s effect on the victim. Marquis argues that those who are killed experience the greatest loss that one can experience; the loss of their future. This argument becomes Marquis’ main argument in the paper which he refers to as the “future-like-ours” argument.