Monday, May 31, 2010
The clarification for Rick: I posted Cathy's dotCommonweal analysis not because I endorsed it, but because I thought it would help us MOJers think more carefully about the Phoenix case. The same reason, as it happens, you posted John O'Callaghan's analysis: not because you endorsed it but because you thought it would help us MOJers think more carefully about the Phoenix case.
Now, the invitation to John O'Callaghan: namely, to respond to these two quick ruminations on your clarifying analysis:
1. Given what you (John) say in your analysis: What KIND of action would it have been had the
physician removed the fetus from the mother not by dismembering it, and
thereby killing it, but by Caesarean section, and then providing for the
comfort of the fetus in every possible way until, inevitably, the fetus died
(because delivered months before viability)?
And how should we analyze the morality of *that* action? In context, would that have been an instance of
self-defense, appropriately analyzed under the DDE?
2. Now, let’s move on to an action that, unlike the C-section described above, is a different KIND of action, namely, an act of intentional killing: e.g., a navy seal steals his way on to an enemy boat in the middle of the night and slits the throat of a sentry so that he can continue with his assignment. How should we analyze the morality of that action? Some would say that the sentry is in context not an “innocent” human being and the intentional killing of the sentry is therefore not the intentional killing of an innocent human being. But what is it that makes one in context not “innocent”? Imagine an instance of self-defense—or, as in some of your own examples, an instance of other-defense—in which the aggressor is delusional. We can all agree that the aggressor’s being delusional is probative of his moral culpability, but if it is not also probative of his “innocence”—if he is nonetheless in context not innocent—then in the Arizona case why isn't it the case that the fetus is in context not innocent either? And if in context not innocent, then how is the situation of the fetus different, in a morally relevant way or ways, from the situation of the delusional aggressor?
Thanks much, John,for helping us all think more carefully about this heart-wrenching case.