95

A toddler can (with a minimal amount of assistance) continue living and developing on its own. Setting aside that you underestimate the cognitive capacities of infants, an infant is a fully formed and biologically functional entity. A fetus is not; it cannot breathe, consume food, or perform any of the necessary biological functions for survival outside the ...


27

There's no one answer to your question, because this is a live debate, and different thinkers have very different moral intuitions about it. Traditional Catholic theology represents perhaps the position most to the end of one extreme, that the fetus should be treated as a full person (regardless of its actual ontological status) from the very moment of ...


19

First, a toddler is a child in the technical sense approximately between 12-36 months year old. If you're looking for a counter argument to your specific wording: Some would say you can abort a foetus because it has no sense of personal identity, it can feel no pain and its death will have a net positive effect. But could you not make this argument for a ...


19

The teacher's goal when asking is not merely to obtain a correct answer (spoiler alert, because they already know the answer), but for the students to demonstrate knowledge, in order to make sure the lesson is assimilated. By merely parroting the question, the student demonstrates no knowledge. Also, "the derivative of f is the derivative of f" is ...


17

The unstated assumption is that the person asking the question is asking for an answer that is in the simplest form. "What is 2+2?" could better be expressed as "What natural number is equal to 2+2?". The answer 4 is simpler than the description 2+2. "What is the derivative of the function x?" means, "What function, ...


16

Short Answer When you use talk about "expressions" and "objects" to which they refer, you are in the domain of semiotics, linguistics, and the philosophy of language. Semioticians talk about symbol, reference, and referent. Analytical philosophers tend to talk in terms of sense and reference. In computer science, there are variables that ...


10

My friend, you stopped where things get really interesting. The result of the process you described is a human consciousness whose substratum is a computer program instead of a bodily organ. Much more importantly, you did the transformation in a way that preserved what I call the continuity of consciousness. Let's assume that this computer program is ...


10

To answer the question in the title, the matter of abortion revolves around two aspects: the killing of a developing human and the capacity to which a pregnant woman has bodily autonomy. So a moral decision on abortion must consider the dilemma of bodily autonomy and feticide. On the other hand infanticide involves only the killing of an infant. So, the ...


9

James was not the first one to realize that central "I" or "consciousness" as an entity is not in any way helpful in explaining the will, or any other mental faculties. It is just a homunculus in the head that moves all the problems along, with no explanatory power, and potential for infinite regress: what is the central "I" of the central "I"? The only ...


9

The question of personal identity falls under the general heading of metaphysics, and so one answer to your question(s) is: We study the question of personal identity for whatever reason we study metaphysics. Below are 4 other reasons why someone should study the question of personal identity: The legal definition of what is a person and is not has ...


9

I'll offer an emphatic answer by Philip K. Dick. Wikipedia claims without corroboration that it is a response to the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade. In his chilling story "The Pre-Persons"1 Dick illustrates his opinion that there is no ethical difference between aborting fetuses and killing children. A critic noted: But even wry smiles fade ...


7

You're looking for the ship of Theseus: The ship of Theseus, also known as Theseus's paradox, is a paradox that raises the question of whether an object which has had all its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object. The paradox is most notably recorded by Plutarch in Life of Theseus from the late 1st century. Plutarch asked whether a ...


7

Did Heraclitus believe in the identity of opposites? I do not think so. He is popularly quoted as having said, No man ever steps in the same river twice. But what he actually said is quite different, We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not. This points to a very different point of view; it is not the case that opposites ...


7

Language is about communication, not formal logic. Most of the time, a question is asked to gain information. Usually, the information desired is about the subject of the question (e.g. “When's the train gonna get here?” is requesting information about the train), though sometimes the asker might want indirect information (e.g. whether the askee knows the ...


6

You could be interested in reading the IV chapter of The view from Nowhere, by Thomas Nagel, since it's all about this topic. His arguments are related to the issue of a subjective/objective view, but they are hard to summarize. A long quote could give you the flavor of his answer: [...] The thought “I am TN [Thomas Nagel]” presents a similar problem, ...


6

Welcome to SE Philosophy! This is what is known in philosophy as a question of identity and is related to the metaphysical discipline of ontology, or the study of what is. In essence, identity is the question of what 'is' is, and is a source of much debate. Are equality and equivalence the same thing?. Questions of identity related to personhood and the ...


6

The statement "The ball is red" can be rewritten with subject-predicate form: "Red(ball)" where "Red( )" is a predicate (a property predicated of something) and "ball" is the subject (an object of which the "redness" is predicated). In this form, there is no "is". This is the background for the assertion that, in statements like that above, "is" is not a ...


6

Ice is H2O in solid state, and steam is H2O in gaseous state, so neither is H2O simpliciter and necessarily (or even actually) the other. The correct versions will be "the material of ice is necessarily H2O", "the material of steam is necessarily H2O", and "the material of steam is necessarily the material of ice". While "...


5

Obviously you can't differentiate things that do not exist, given that there is nothing to differentiate. However you can differentiate descriptions. (1) "Ectoplasm" was supposed to be a substance or spiritual energy "exteriorized" by mediums. (2) "Phlogiston" was supposed to be a fire-like element called phlogiston, contained within combustible bodies ...


5

It's an incredibly unhelpful thought experiment because it is far from clear that someone with a severed corpus callosum is actually "one person" in the cognitive sense that we normally mean. (Also, nobody has actually severed all the basal connections. Also, there is no reason to believe two half-brains of different people would be compatible in any ...


5

Philosophy makes a distinction between the identity of material objects* (and immaterial objects if those are thought to exist) and what is called "personal identity." From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's article Personal Identity: Personal identity deals with philosophical questions that arise about ourselves by virtue of our being ...


5

There's some great philosophy written on this topic (see Thomson). Suffice to say, even if you assume that a fetus is a child, a pregnant person still has the right to terminate the pregnancy. The difference is in how the two bodies relate to each other, and the mechanics of how support is provided. Put simply: No one can force you to donate blood. However,...


5

where is the philosophical line here? There is no such line post-conception. Human life is initiated at conception, and only disease, injury, natural and innate responses to inviability can terminate the life from progressing and growing in utero. Voluntarily invoking such termination constitutes elective abortion. The fact that the child is dependent on ...


5

Well, I think we do have to consider the elephant in the room, here: do you want to keep these people as friends, are are you willing to sacrifice their friendship for the sake of your principles? Because that seems to be the dilemma you are facing. People who have reached the point where they want to be addressed with alternate pronouns are going to be ...


5

It is not wrong to state that P is P, but it is implicitly assumed so, according to Aristotle's law of identity. So, in case of having such type of question, "What is P?", an answer of the form "P is P" is not necessary. One can assume that being it not the expected answer, in most cases the answer will probably be wrong. Remark that it ...


5

This answer is based primarily on pragmatics, a field in the intersection of linguistics and philosophy of language. You are right that the answer "2+2" to the question "what does 2+2 equal" is correct. The issue is that such a tautological answer does not help the other speaker, and so violates our basic assumptions about how a ...


4

The sentence "I am here now" does have some peculiar properties, at least insofar as it contains indexical expressions, which themselves are somewhat peculiar. Within the philosophy of language, the proper semantic treatment of indexicals is an area of live debate. The Basics First off, what's an indexical expression? An indexical expression is, roughly, ...


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