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Thomson

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A Defense of Abortion

1. What is the standard argument against abortion that Thomson is responding to? Write out all the premises of the argument.

2. What is the point of the acorn and the oak tree example?

3. What is the example of the famous violinist supposed to show? Which premise in Thomson’s argument is this in response to?

4. If we grant that a fetus is a person and thus has a right to life, why can’t we allow for abortions in cases of rape or incest?

5. What is the “extreme view”?

6. What are the arguments for the extreme view that Thomson considers?

7. How does Thomson show that the 2nd of the arguments (p. 91) is unsound?

8. What is Thomson’s argument against the extreme view?

9. One response to Thomson’s argument against the extreme view is to weaken the extreme view. What’s the weakened version of the extreme view?

10. How does the Jones, Smith and the coat example show that even the weakened version of the extreme view must be false?

11. According to Thomson, a fetus, when it is the product of rape, does not have a right to his would-be mother’s body. Explain.

12. According to Thomson, a fetus, even when it is the product of consensual sex, does not have a right to his would-be mother’s body either. Explain.

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