Potential and foetal value
The argument from potential has been hard to assess because the versions presented by friends and those presented by enemies have born very little resemblance to each other. I here try to improve this situation by attempting to bring both versions into enforced contact. To this end, I sketch a more entailed analysis of the modern concept of potential than any hitherto attempted. As one would expect, arguments from potential couched in terms of that notion are evident non-starters. I then ask how the modern notion of potential needs to be supplemented in order to produce a more convincing argument. I then enquire whether the supplementations utilised in the most distinguished recent presentations of the argument have anything better than an ad hoc role to play in contemporary metaphysics. I conclude that the rehabilitation of the argument is unlikely; in any event, the onus of proof seems to be on the friend of that argument to show that is uncontrived. Finally, I argue that the (modern) notion of potential has an important role to play in an plausible account of foetal value.
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