J Value Inquiry (2017) 51:593–609 DOI 10.1007/s10790-017-9597-6 Elizabeth Foreman Published online: 7 June 2017 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017 1 Section 1: The Problem One of our most fundamental moral intuitions is that people are owed a certain kind of regard (and must be treated in certain ways) simply because they are the kinds of beings that they are. Although this intuition is widespread, its justiﬁcation becomes shaky when we consider certain so-called borderline cases, in which the reasons we might give to justify this intuition don’t seem to hold. For example, consider the case of a young woman being kept alive in an irreversible vegetative state. It is obvious that a woman like this lacks most of the features of normal adult human beings – she is not self-conscious, she is not engaged with her surroundings, she exhibits no higher rational functioning. The woman lacks precisely those features that we think are importantly human (those that make up a robust sort of rationality), and these features are arguably the ones that we think generate a lot of our moral obligations towards her. Although cases like this one raise many moral issues, consider the fact that there are some
The Journal of Value Inquiry – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 7, 2017
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