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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 ...


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 ...


6

What you have in mind is the principle of the identity of indiscernibles: the idea that no two different things can have the exact same properties. The SEP entry I've linked to above has a nice bibliography at the end. This principle entails your claim that no two things can ever be identical: if a and b are identical (i.e., if they have the same properties)...


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 ...


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

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

Your neurons are constantly turning over their component molecules, changing synapses in response to input patterns, and so on. You are, at a neuronal level, not exactly yourself after a matter of minutes, much less decades. Given that you postulate an exact algorithmic copy implemented in a different way, and therefore that computer-you is more like real-...


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

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 ...


4

Your question is based on a physical reductionist model of consciousness; this is a model that very few philosophers subscribe to, as it entails all kinds of difficult consequences. For a good view of the problems of physical reductionism, see Raymond Tallis's recent book Aping Mankind which does a nice job of refuting these theories. If we eliminate the ...


4

As someone with a mathematical background, you might appreciate that there's a difficulty in expressing the concept no two things are identical. In the way in which we use the word 'two' here, it's tautological — we mean to imply objects which are distinct from one another, in which case they are ipso facto not identical. When we talk about having objects ...


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, ...


4

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,...


4

This remains a subjective debate and it is impossible to draw a clear line, due to the paradox of the heap (also known as the sorites paradox) If a heap of sand is reduced by a single grain at a time, at what exact point does it cease to be considered a heap? Similarly, if it is not morally acceptable to kill a toddler, is it acceptable to kill it when ...


4

Mathematical facts are timeless. They are discovered by axioms that happen to be chosen from the intuition of the mathematician. A physical object, produced from the same factory, identical in all physical characteristics is necessarily distinguished by the fact that They are made of fermions that cannot occupy the same quantum state Things are more of ...


3

I was surprised to learn that this one (from the "Related" sidebar), regarding philosophical zombies, is actually used in published philosophical works as a refutation of physicalism (David Chalmers is a name mentioned there). My dismissal of it would be that claiming, "Zombies are physically identical to us but lack consciousness, therefore physicalism is ...


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