Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Must read

I've tip-toed and stumbled around the knotty problem of morality and abortion before. It's a subject I feel reasonably strongly about yet, paradoxically, also uncertain. I haven't yet heard an argument that, instead of iterating and re-iterating the opposing points of view endlessly with extra ad hominem abuse, addressed the problem from a moral philosophy perspective.
And now I've found one in the pages of the New English Review: an article which addresses abortion in the light of the Dirty Shirt conundrum (at what point exactly does the clean shirt you put on in the morning become the dirty shirt you take off) and Xeno's paradox.
Either life is, on the one hand (a), a perfectly straight-forward phenomenon in terms of which things are what they seem, common-sense is our reliable guide, and the challenges of living, loving, begetting and sustaining ourselves is challenge enough, and the scientists and philosophers have invented a nightmarish world of the intellect in order ostensibly to “explain” it, characterised by an unintelligible construct like “infinity”, which has no paraphrasable meaning outside of the self-referencing world of mathematics, or, on the other, (b), life as we experience it is permanently mysterious, inexplicable and metaphysical, and our invented constructs are intelligible, consistent, logical, comforting and desirable. But the two worlds never cohere.
Huurah! An article that explains to me precisely why it is I'm unable to come to a firm conclusion on a matter of significance!


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