Full text
Olberding, Amy. A Sensible Confucian Perspective on Abortion
2015, Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 14 (2):235-253.
Expand entry
Added by: Chris Blake-Turner
Abstract: Confucian resources for moral discourse and public policy concerning abortion have potential to broaden the prevailing forms of debate in Western societies. However, what form a Confucian contribution might take is itself debatable. This essay provides a critique of Philip J. Ivanhoe's recent proposal for a Confucian account of abortion. I contend that Ivanhoe's approach is neither particularly Confucian, nor viable as effective and humane public policy. Affirmatively, I argue that a Confucian approach to abortion will assiduously root moral consideration and public policy in evidence-based strategies that recognize the complexity of the phenomena of unplanned pregnancy and abortion. What most distinguishes a Confucian approach, I argue, is a refusal to treat abortion as a moral dilemma that stands free of the myriad social conditions and societal inequities in which empirical evidence shows it situates.

Comment: This paper could be usefully coupled with the Ivanhoe paper it criticizes, but it does a good job of summarizing that view and so can also stand on its own. It's an especially useful example of how to apply Confucian principles to a vexed contemporary moral issue. It also provides a good model of a Confucian-inspired philosopher criticizing another on grounds internal to that tradition, which can be used to dispel the thought that Confucian particularism leads to an "anything goes" approach to moral problems.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share by Email
Can’t find it?
Contribute the texts you think should be here and we’ll add them soon!