There’s no shortage of arguments in ivory-tower philosophy in favor of diminishing and devaluing human life, but one argument in particular has been exposed as hollow – perhaps not intentionally – by a famous actor.
James Franco of serious films (127 Hours, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and silly pot movies (Pineapple Express, Your Highness) co-hosts a philosophy interview series on YouTube with Eliot Michaelson, a philosophy lecturer at King’s College London.
They were interviewing Princeton philosopher Elizabeth Harman about her argument against the moral value of early human life – that there is “nothing morally bad about early abortion.”
The Washington Free Beacon excerpts a few exchanges from the interview. Harman gets weird right from the start:
So, James, when you were an early fetus, and Eliot, when you were an early fetus, all of us I think we already did have moral status then. But we had moral status in virtue of our futures. And future of fact that we were beginnings stages of persons.
When Franco and Michaelson ask her how you can judge someone in the present by her unknown future, Harman responds by saying that only fetuses that aren’t targeted for abortion will be “like the fetuses that became us” and have moral worth.
Franco asks her to confirm that she really means the “intention” of procuring an abortion “negates the ‘moral status'” of the child that will be destroyed.
Harman sputters along, having trouble avoiding an argument that sounds like “you have no worth unless someone tells you that you have worth”:
There’s nothing about [the early fetus’s] current state that would make it a member of the moral community. It’s derivative of its future that it gets to have moral status.
The Daily Wire points out Franco’s “facial expressions during Harman’s explanations only get more hilarious” as he sours on the credibility of her argument.