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Discussing infanticide

Jeremy Bentham, protesting against the cruelty of inflicting the death penalty on mothers who kill their newborn infants, described infanticide as the killing of a being ‘who has ceased to be, before knowing what existence is.’ He also pointed out that is an offence ‘of a nature not to give the slig... Full description

Journal Title: Journal of Medical Ethics 1 May 2013, Vol.39(5), p.260
Main Author: Singer, Peter
Format: Electronic Article Electronic Article
Language: English
Subjects:
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and Institute of Medical Ethics
ID: ISSN: 0306-6800 ; E-ISSN: 1473-4257 ; DOI: 10.1136/medethics-2012-100853 ; PMID: 23637423
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recordid: bmj_journals10.1136/medethics-2012-100853
title: Discussing infanticide
format: Article
creator:
  • Singer, Peter
subjects:
  • Abortion
ispartof: Journal of Medical Ethics, 1 May 2013, Vol.39(5), p.260
description: Jeremy Bentham, protesting against the cruelty of inflicting the death penalty on mothers who kill their newborn infants, described infanticide as the killing of a being ‘who has ceased to be, before knowing what existence is.’ He also pointed out that is an offence ‘of a nature not to give the slightest inquietude to the most timid imagination,’ for all those who come to learn of the offence are themselves too old to be threatened by it.1 These points still hold true, and also apply to abortion. They do not, of course, enable one to conclude that there is nothing wrong with either abortion or infanticide, but they do suggest a plausible ground for thinking that these acts should not be thought of as morally equivalent to the murder of beings who are capable of ‘knowing what existence is’ and of learning that beings like them can be, and sometimes are, killed.
language: eng
source:
identifier: ISSN: 0306-6800 ; E-ISSN: 1473-4257 ; DOI: 10.1136/medethics-2012-100853 ; PMID: 23637423
fulltext: fulltext
issn:
  • 03066800
  • 14734257
  • 0306-6800
  • 1473-4257
url: Link


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descriptionJeremy Bentham, protesting against the cruelty of inflicting the death penalty on mothers who kill their newborn infants, described infanticide as the killing of a being ‘who has ceased to be, before knowing what existence is.’ He also pointed out that is an offence ‘of a nature not to give the slightest inquietude to the most timid imagination,’ for all those who come to learn of the offence are themselves too old to be threatened by it.1 These points still hold true, and also apply to abortion. They do not, of course, enable one to conclude that there is nothing wrong with either abortion or infanticide, but they do suggest a plausible ground for thinking that these acts should not be thought of as morally equivalent to the murder of beings who are capable of ‘knowing what existence is’ and of learning that beings like them can be, and sometimes are, killed.
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abstractJeremy Bentham, protesting against the cruelty of inflicting the death penalty on mothers who kill their newborn infants, described infanticide as the killing of a being ‘who has ceased to be, before knowing what existence is.’ He also pointed out that is an offence ‘of a nature not to give the slightest inquietude to the most timid imagination,’ for all those who come to learn of the offence are themselves too old to be threatened by it.1 These points still hold true, and also apply to abortion. They do not, of course, enable one to conclude that there is nothing wrong with either abortion or infanticide, but they do suggest a plausible ground for thinking that these acts should not be thought of as morally equivalent to the murder of beings who are capable of ‘knowing what existence is’ and of learning that beings like them can be, and sometimes are, killed.
pubBMJ Publishing Group Ltd and Institute of Medical Ethics
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date2013-05-01