Death a Necessary Path to Life A Heideggerian Approach

Death a Necessary Path to Life A Heideggerian Approach

 CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW

Down through the ages, death had been a matter of deep concern. In spite of its mysterious nature, its certainty has plunged man into searching to know what it is all about. Biologists, psychologists, many religions and above all, philosophers have reflected on death. Philosophers always come out with divergent opinions and views. Our subject matter is not left out in this regard. The extent of a philosopher’s interest and concern varies according to his thought pattern and the epoch .in, which he philosophizes.

To this end, we are going to give a general review of the concept of death according to some Philosophers, from the ancient times to the Contemporary era. Read More »

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Truth in Igbo Thought and Life

The Notion of Truth in Igbo Thought and Life A Philosophical Exposition

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1     THE NOTION OF TRUTH

The idea of truth is one of the central issues in Epistemology. Epistemology deals with knowledge and knowledge is only knowledge if it is true. This has made truth to stand as one of the cardinal criterion for knowledge. No knowledge is said to worth its salt if it is based on falsehood.

What then is truth? To answer this question is one of the most difficult things to do philosophically. Before Pilate asked, Jesus this question, Socrates, Plato and other Greek philosophers had thought about the question. Men are still seeking the answer. Read More »

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Human Existence in Soren Kierkegaard

The Meaning of Human Existence in Soren Kierkegaard

 CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

The development of metaphysical idealism by such philosophers as Fichte, Schelling and Hegel was taken to be a great fault by Jakob Friedrich Fries (1773-1843). He was of the opinion that philosophical trend ought to have continued in the Kantian tradition. His simple reason for this remains that “we must investigate the nature and laws and scope of knowledge before we can tackle problems about the object of knowledge”[1]. In this point, Fries shares affinity with the attitude of John Locke, the father of British empiricism.

Thus, Fries and his disciples became the earlier opponents and critics of metaphysical idealism. Another philosopher who joined in the criticism was Christian Hermann Weisse (1801-1866) who opined that Hegel had exaggerated the role of logic for trying to deduce reality from the abstract forms of Being. Immanuel Herman Fichte (1796-1879), son of the famous idealist on his own emphasized the individual human personality. He was strongly opposed to what he regarded as Hegel’s tendency to submerge the individual in the universal where personality, the end of creation that was assured of immortality, was presented as a moment in the life of universal spirit. Read More »

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Heidegger’s Doctrine of Authenticity in Nigerian Political System

The Relevance of Heidegger’s Doctrine of Authenticity in the Evolution of a True Nigerian Political System

 CHAPTER ONE

1.1 GENERAL INTRODUCTION.

While philosophy began with wonder and curiosity about the nature of the universe, it progressed uninterruptedly through the ancient and medieval periods and in fact, into the early modern era with its singular object: the search for the ultimate meaning of being. Hence, thinkers like Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Hegel, et cetera conceived being as the most abstract and universal concept. However, their inability to sustain the question of the meaning of being brought in the initial shortcoming of traditional metaphysics: the forgetfulness of being. More so, the Hegelian shift of the consideration of Being to an amazing speculative extreme in the notion of the Absolute Idealism alienated being from the territory of man and his concrete existential problems. Read More »

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Goodwill in Kant’s Categorical Imperative

The    Concept   of   Goodwill    in    Kant’s  Categorical Imperative

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

Living in a community, man looks forward to attaining good life which is the ultimate desire of every rational being. In order to achieve this singular objective, he embraces morality as one’s obligation and duty. Among rational beings, morality tends to take upper hand in their day to day activities with one another. Kant one of the proponents of this morality had been seen as an ethical formalist, to whom all judgments on the values of ends must be addressed. A brief glance on the meaning of ethics reveals very many questions about moral principles and morality in general. Throughout the philosophical epoch, philosophers’ opinions on the etymology of the word ethics have relegated it to diversified definition. Read More »

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Abortion and Dignity of Human Life: A Moral Consideration

Abortion and Dignity of Human Life: A Moral Consideration

CHAPTER THREE

3.0 MORALITY OF ABORTION.

Presently, people are never interested in discussing the moral implications of abortion owing to their claims that it is exclusively a matter for one’s conscience. But the existential fact and the fundamental evil of abortion lie on the intent to destroy the innocent foetus. “Therefore there is no justification for direct abortion, no matter the motive; hence every direct abortion is always an grace objective evil’’[1] in this chapter, the intent is to explore various arguments concerning abortion either for or against.

Furthermore, in this reflection, every argument hinges directly or indirectly on morality or legality of abortion. In other words, arguments for abortion are put up either to establish the fact that abortion should be legally permissible or that it is morally justifiable. On the other hand, arguments against abortion seek to prove the moral or legal impermissibility of abortion. But we must not fail to observe that there is a dichotomy between the views that abortion is immoral and that abortion is moral or that it is legal. However, the grounds for or against the legality of abortion are most often established on the grounds for or against its morality.

ARGUMENT FOR ABORTION

Many attempt have been made by a lot of people to justify the morality of abortion. Arguments have also been put forward to support the legality of abortion. Very pertinent to observe is the fact that some of these arguments in support of abortion have moderation per say, in the sense that for some abortion is not morally permissible after the third trimester [at about seven- eight months]

Nevertheless, owing to the limitedness of this discourse, I wish to limit myself to the three arguments, which form the mainstay of the major proponents of the pro abortionists. They are women’s right, Humanists and population control arguments. Other arguments are minor ones, which seeks to support or refute the arguments therein.

3.1.1 INDIVIDUAL’S RIGHT AND FREEDOM

Argument like this in support of abortion is based on freedom and rights especially that of women. The right is dependent on three main aspects of women’s lives, the women’s privacy, autonomy and mental health against any legal restrictions of abortion.

In the defense of right to privacy and autonomy the proponents of this arguments hold that it is exclusively the right of the mother to choose whatever she considers fit for her body without constraint or coercion. Thus C. Ekwutosi states:

It is claimed that the continued presence of the foetus within the womb is completely dependent on the discretion of the pregnant women, for the woman has right to determine her own life. The feotus has no rights. And even if it has, the right of the mother takes precedence[2]

In addition the contenders hold equally that women have right to mental health as a means of life sustenance. From their point of view, abortion is a therapy for mental health support and rejuvenation especially when the pregnancy is unwanted.

Furthering this position, women have right to terminate pregnancies for any purpose since such a right lies in the confinement of right over one’s body and health. The advocates of abortion hold that direct abortion is not only reasonable but also necessary when the mother is very ill and her life is in serious danger because of the pregnancy. In this situation, the offspring becomes unwanted as such is considered as a disease to be diagnosed, the preborn becomes an unjust aggressor and is therefore morally justifiable that the mother should in self- defense have the pregnancy diagnosed. And the diagnosis is abortion. Consequently, Warren Hern observed;

‘It appears that ‘unwantedness’ may be regarded as a major complications of pregnancy, with surgical intervention in the form of abortion as the indicated treatment…in fact a woman seeking an abortion is making a circumstantial self definition of pregnancy as an illness for which she considers the appropriate treatment to be abortion’’[3]

But is it right to think that the womb and all it contains belong to the woman as part and parcel of her body as such she has the right to deal with it any how? I think it will be monstrous to say that because foetus is not like any other cell organ or tissue in the body

it is not a living  organism. But it is a human organism biologically separate from the mother composite of a 50 percent from the mother and a 50 percent from the father. Therefore, it holds no sway to maintain that foetus is a being part of the mother alone.

3.1.2 ECONOMIC ARGUMENTS

For the humanists, abortion is the right option if the preborn is going to be a handicap or a liability to the family. So abortion becomes a way out, a means of eradicating economic problem if a child (foetus) were to create an economic burden to the family and society at large. “ Humanists regard abortion as better than bringing unwanted babies to the world”[4] Thus if an unborn is going to be severely handicapped, the parents are permitted to make a choice, either to abort or allow the baby to live. Hence for the humanists, “an individual has a right to a sound physical and mental constitution and thus … the failure to prevent the birth of a child known to be defective is a violation of that child’s rights.”[5]

For them, this is a good means of checking abortion; but does this argument hold water? Anyway we shall talk on that later.

More so, the humanists believe that abortion is a means of fostering human dignity by preventing human suffering that will result from a preborn that that is physically, mentally etc deformed. For them, it is therefore morally right and should be legally permissible to terminate the life of a disfigured preborn (deformed) than allowing him/her to a life full of misery and uncomfortably. Another serious argument in a way is based on social aspect of the parents. For instance, if a child is conceived through incest or rape, the child, which is unwanted, cannot but create unwanted social image, therefore the best option is to terminate the baby and save the parents form embarrassments.

METHOD OF CHECKING POPULATION

Abortion is seen as a good method of checking population growth. Due to increase in the global population, many country have suffered hunger, overcrowding and environmental pollution; thus making abortion illegal would contribute to the eradication of the above problems. Hence the difficulties experienced by parents and children as a result of over-population will definitely lead to an increase in the social ills, immorality, lack of basic needs, lack of sufficient education etc. as such abortion can serve as a means of moderation. To further strengthen this argument, they uphold that the lower birth rates brought about by abortion result in fewer people competing for the jobs that are available, hence reducing unemployment, many get educated, creating labour shortage that drew up the wages especially for the low earn workers. Therefore, for them abortion is less vulnerable than these social ills, as such abortion for them becomes a veritable instrument for checking population and should be allowed legally.

OTHER ARGUMENTS AGAINST ABORTION

Abortions being a human act with an intent to kill an unblemished life; is condemned by many people especially by the prolifers. Therefore for them, they uphold two main tenets; that foetus has the right to live and that abortion is a threat to this right. Thus, the need to expose the loopholes that are evident in their arguments.

3.2.1    ARGUMENT ON THE RIGHT OF THE FOETUS

This argument is based on the fact that the foetus is a living organism. Right from the moment the ovum is fertilized, the life begins neither that of the father nor of the mother, it is rather the life of a new living human organism with his own growth. For some proponents human life begins when an embryo is no longer capable of forming twins, that is about 10 to 12 days after fertilization. Hence, the amount of right ascribed to the foetus at any stage of its development depends on the view held about the inception of human life in the course of pregnancy. Nevertheless, the conventional stand of this argument holds:

As a human being…it (the foetus) possesses an unalienable right to life. The age or condition of this human being does not militate against its right[6].

The argument here is that life begins at conception. And according to Dr. Le Jeune the very first cell of the fertilized egg is “the most specialized cell under the sun. No other cell will ever again have the same instructions in the life of the individual being created. Hence, the right to life at any stage of its parental development should not be played with. Otherwise the agent becomes guilty of an immortal act, if the action is directly done as an end in itself.

3.2.2. DOMINO ARGUMENT

The proponents of this argument abhor abortion on the ground of its comparison with other morally contemptible acts, which, though not of greater moral evil than abortion, are not permissible. It moves thus: if abortion is permitted, then why are homicide, infanticide, genocide and all other inhumane practices the same level with abortion not morally permissible? This argument asserts that abortion is immoral and condemns it on the ground of having the same moral status with its fellow despicable acts; because the mass destruction of unborn babies is a mass destruction of human life (being).

3.2.3.       OTHER ARGUMENTS AGAINST ABORTION

Some other arguments against abortion came in to refute some arguments on the ground. For instance, the issue that abortion is a veritable means of checking population growth is dismissed as unrealistic. It is observed that poverty may be a contributing factor to the situation, but abortion as human act is also found amidst or among those who enjoy better economic security. So “abortion in this case is more a way of avoiding responsibility and making oneself much more comfortable”[7]. Equally, annihilating life is not the best method of checking population growth. I think it is a kind of using bad means in trying to attain a good end.

Furthermore, one of the arguments against abortion is based on the women’s health argument that it defies the clinical reality of pregnancy as a threat to mother’s life. On this Bernard Nathanson, A reformed abortionist has this to say;

“The situation where the mother’s life is at stake, were she is to continue with pregnancy, is no longer a clinical reality. Given the state of modern medicine, we can now managed any pregnant woman with any medical affliction successfully, to the natural conclusion of the pregnancy: the birth of a healthy child”[8]

Another minor argument against abortion concerns the direct killing of the foetus in order to treat a cancerous mother or womb. In this case, the principle of double effect is most applicable. Hence, Dr. Mrs. Wilke says:

Surgery is done or treatment is given to prevent the death of the mother. The death of the baby, if it occurs, would be an unfortunate and undeserved secondary effect. If at all possible, the baby should be saved.[9]

Minor anti-abortion argument refutes the humanist’s arguments concerning terminating the life of the foetus base on the basis of mental disability (or any foreseen serious deformity) and “unwanted ness”. This serves as it were the pains of regrettable existence, keeps the parents from unnecessary burdens and hence fosters human dignity. A counter anti-abortion argument holds that “people with most awful handicaps can lead happy, creative and fulfilled life.”[10] Therefore, we can rightly say that deformity does not deprive the foetus of its uniqueness and humanness and neither does it exclude divine providence from its existence. Consequently, it is morally unjustifiable to destroy the life of preborn because of medical predicament. Finally, another argument defines abortion as an expression of irresponsibility. An occasional rebuttal often on behalf of abortion is that parents are not responsible for pregnancy if they did not intend it. Nevertheless, responsibility for the consequences of one’s action is not limited to intended outcome. Unintended, unwanted pregnancy due to consensual sex may be likened to a lost gamble or an accident, if its possibility was poorly understood. When liberties are in conflict, the rights of the party that brought about the conflict – intentionally or not – give way. It is therefore morally wrong to terminate the life of the foetus in self-defense when pregnancy is a consequent (through unintended) of consensual sex.

Furthermore, a more balanced argument is insurmountably require to explain the moral status of abortion as a human act. But to do so , one must not fail to address properly the life status of the foetus, its rights and how to evaluate the possible conflicts of such right with women’s (mothers) rights in abortion discourse. At this point we shall go to another chapter.

CHAPTER FOUR

4.0       DEFINING THE FEATURES OF THE FOETUS

What is very evident to the senses is the fact that the major philosophical problem concerning abortion is the discernment of who a human being is, and when actually does life start. This is very important and true because any conclusion on the morality of abortion presupposes a reasonable knowledge of the nature of the proborn. So that a transparent study of pre-born’s features satisfies, only if it involves the different facets of human expedition. Be it as it may, I am at this chapter to expatiate the various features of the foetus so as to define it’s rights.

4.1       THE FOETU IS A LIVING ORGANISM

The controversy swirling about the sub-topic can be explained by the fact that different people use different standards of measurement in defining “human life”. Biologically, there is only one set of facts that human individual life’s begins at the completion of the union of his father’s sperm and his mother’s ovum. As such foetus has full life just like a full-grown human being. This is of course the point of departure in the argument concerning abortion. For many, the life of foetus can be liken to that of some parts of person’s body; and yet others, to a mere potential human being, which can cease to exist before realizing its humanness. As such they ascribe partial humanness and personhood to the foetus. Consequently, it is  very pertinent to explore the extent of humanness and personhood of the pre-born in order to get at the focus of this chapter.

 4.1.1   FOETUS IS A HUMAN BEING

The very objective question in arguments concerning abortion is, ‘when does human life begin’? To answer this question, I think it will be better to go to the substratum to ascertain whether or not foetus is a human being, so that when eventually the origin of human life is traced, the pre-born will invariably share in that.

First, what differentiates man from other animals is the rationality. Thus, for Aristotle human being is define as “animal rationalis” a rational animal. Man is the only animal that makes use of his reasoning; implicitly the composite nature of man is brought to light here. This definition is widely accepted among the philosophers as fundamental and existential truth. This is the substratum upon which many philosophers after Aristotle built their own definitions about human being. Nevertheless, some philosophical theories like idealism dualism, materialism reductionism etc. project one aspect of man at the detriment of the other. However, nature of man as composite being posits the union of mind/soul and body in the being of man. Therefore, any balanced analysis of man as a human being takes into account the two aspects of man that is indivisible. Making allusion to Aristotle’s hylemorphism

Ipso facto, biological as well as metaphysical explanations are very crucial in this regard. Biologically speaking human life begins with the successful fusion of male and female gametes (sperm and Ovum). After this union, what follows are the various stages of metamorphosis submitted at the fertilization. Scientific inquiries has this to prove according to J and B Wilke, that

…Individual life biologically speaking begins at the completion of the union of his/her father’s sperm and his mother’s ovum, a process called “conception” “fertilization” or “fecundation.15

In the fusion of the gametes, there is a kind of unification or contributions of (DNA) Deoxyribonucleic Acids; So that the new zygote that is formed possesses that. The DNA contains all information, which cannot be got elsewhere concerns an individual. (that is the genetic information about the cell). And, DNA is the genetic information make up of every living species, the foetus we are talking about has that of human being. Just as J.N Ekennia rightly pinpointed: “ any organism that has the DNA of humans should be regarded as human being at least in active potency”16 since fertilized human zygote is in active potency in the sense that it has the requisite human DNA programming for further biological development in the process of becoming a human being.

Ipso facto, the biological explanation of the humanness of the foetus hinges on the fact that all the basic information about man as we said above or the basic human characterization of the individual is formed and stored at fertilization through the conspicuous union of Deoxyribonucleic Acids. And since DNA does not change substantially, but reproduces through cell divisions, in the course of different stages of metamorphosis, which every individual undertakes as he / she grows.

Nothing else can fundamentally explain the human qualities, which every individual experiences later in his life.

On this Wisser as J.N Ekennia quoted here said,

The genetic identity of living human being is irrevocably fixed with the union of two pronuclei from the egg and sperm cells. The unique genetically distinct existence of human life is established with this step. The genetic sex of this individual is irrevocably fixed at this time…

17Ekwutosi in a bid to highlight the humanness of the foetus says that the moment ovum is fertilized life begins.

It would never be made human if it were not human already… Right from fertilization the adventure of a human life begins, and each of its capacities requires time-a rather lengthy time-to find its place and to be in a position to act.18

Metaphysically speaking, every existent has an essence (quidity). As such, for the zygote to be fully human being, ensoulment must necessary be an irrevocable process. This ontological view denies any humanness to the biologically composed zygote accepts a soul lives in it as the essence. Then, the problem, which is perennial, is that there is no agreement regarding the time of ensoulment in the course of prenatal development. At this some would say, ensoulment takes place right from fertilization. Socrates was said in Plata’s Phaedo, to have described soul as “the very thing that brings the body to life and which does not leave a human being until its last death”19 Bringing the idea of Aristotle’s hylemorphism of matter existing independent of the form, one rightly say that body cannot exist outside the soul, which confirms and animates it. Nevertheless, this view of Aristotle which St. Aquinas later developed, was that the animation of the body by the soul takes place at the stages; vegetative, sensitively and intellectively in a respective manner. According to Aristotle and then Aquinas, it is the last animation that specifies distinctively the human nature of an individual as a person. Consequently, for Aquinas ensoulment, and personhood do not coincide with fertilization, but occur later than latter. This not withstanding, the argument, which I consider logical and real in my view, is built on the basis of that human life begins at fertilization. From the biological ground established above, human life begins from the chromosomal donation by the male and female gametes in the process of fertilization. And since there can be no existent without the ontological combination of matter and form, the human life could not either exist without the animation of the soul. The soul is nothing other than human soul. This is the human being, whose nature began at fertilization and stretches in a continuum through the developmental stages of the same individual without any substantial change till death, when the soul might have left the body. It is only death that transforms or brings a substantial change to this process seen as a continuum. Death here implies an irreversible separation of soul and body. Then to show that the zygote is already ensouled, it cannot implant if it dies before getting to the uterus. But as long as it (zygote) remains alive, it naturally develops to maturity as a human person, not into any other existent. Therefore foetus is a human being in act we potency. This so because the potentiality of its humanness is not a substantial or ontological lack of realization since

nothing new (substantially) will be added from the time of union of sperm and egg until death of the old man or woman. The only changes are growth and development….20

4.1.2   FOETUS IS A HUMAN PERSON

In the annals of history as well as in the field of philosophy, there has never been any univocal concept of “person”. The concept of changes depending mainly on the type of interest attached to the human family and priorities upheld of human values. This difference in the conception of “person” is also cultural, as it is historical.

Historically, the concept has evolved through three noticeable, though not fully distinctive, stages. They are; understanding in terms of membership to a human community, in relation to the role or part played in a community and self-consciousness.

Firstly, a person is understood as a legitimate member of the community or a citizen of the nation. It was from this perspective that the slaves were denied of personhood in the ancient tradition “since they had no legal rights”.21

At this joint, one can foresee the modern tendency of denying the personhood of the foetus or deformed individuals in certain cultures, just because they lacked social or community acceptance, in an extension of this conception of “personhood”. But since the criteria for accepting one as a member of the community or of ascribing legitimate rights to one varies with culture, history, and time, acceptance in a human community is not a justifiable criterion for personhood.

Secondly, concerning the part or role-played by an individual in the community, it does not hold water. Since like the first, it is only the individual acceptable to the community whose role in the community could modify his/her personhood. Furthermore, this of course has a reductionist tendency. One initially accepted as a member of the family or community and as such defined as a person can accidentally cease to be a person if suddenly he/she becomes deformed or disfigured. Additionally, this conception is defective and illogical, since it conceives personhood as that which accords degrees (degree, which is proportional to the roles individual play in the community) to the same individual at different stages in life. This means that a boy who marries becomes more a person by adding the role to other roles he played in the community before the wedlock.

Thirdly, here the concept of “person” lays more emphasis on self-consciousness. Just in the light of Heideggellian’s thought the proponents of this criterion of personhood state that person is one who is conscious of his thoughts/actions and takes responsibility for them. Following this line of thought then, foetus is not a person since, he/she is not self-conscious.

Philosophically, many definitions of this concept “person” have been propounded, even though philosophers do not agree generally on the meaning of that term .A medieval philosopher, Boethius propounded an interesting definition concerning personhood, which has attracted the attention of many philosophers a long the ages. He opined, “a person is an individual substance of a rational nature”.22(Persona est. substantia individual rationalis nationalis) This implies that accident cannot constitute a person but an individual substance. And by ‘substance’ he meant concrete existent not genus. And by ‘rational nature’ he meant that it is only human person can one attribute intellectual to. With this Boethius attracted many followers.

William of Ockham, says that the human person, “is the total being of man, not the rational form or soul alone”23

The emphasis here is on the composite nature of man. Hence he maintains; “the human soul in the state of separation from the body after death is not a person”.24 Frankly speaking, for most of the Christians, personhood is strictly ontological as such a necessary characterization of human nature.

It is never “a quality to be worn outside the substance of the human nature”25 or a quality to be acquired from the society. On another note, most of the modern and contemporary thinkers paid attention to self-consciousness as the central element of their definitions of “person”. Somebody like Descartes, the father of modern philosophy in Europe, showed this in his “cogito ergo sum”26 think, therefore, I exist. For him the human person tends to become a self-enclosed consciousness, which is only contingently linked to its bodies. Leibniz defines a person as “that which conserves the consciousness, or reflective inward feeling of what it is: thus it is rendered liable to reward and punishment”27 For the British empiricist, John Locke “a person is a thinking, intelligent being that has reason and reflection, can consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing in different times and places “28 Kant holds “that which is conscious of itself at different times is in so far a person”.29 These are all reductionist views of “person”, which tend to emphasize the rational at the expense of the physical.

Contemporary philosophers add subsistence, free choice of action, responsibility and relatedness to other beings in the environment to stress the self-awareness in their definition of a person. Keikegaard for instance, defines personhood in terms of individual freedom. Heideggar and Jasper stress not only self-consciousness but also the consciousness of the existence of the things around him/her.

Judging from the diverse concepts of “person” how then can one attribute personhood to the foetus? Apart from intermediate views of the medieval philosophers that hold that “persons are psychophysical substances, which are necessary embodied”30 other conceptions most likely deny the personhood of the foetus. This made an erudite scholar Peter Singer to argue that the foetus does not satisfy the criterion for personhood. He said,

…human being (as persons) typically posses not only a capacity for sentience, but also such higher mental capacities as self-awareness, and rationality. They are also highly social beings, capable except in pathological cases of love, nurturance, co-operation. ………31

Given that the foetus is not yet reasoning, self aware, capable of love, nurturance and moral reciprocity, where is the moral quality which should define the basic moral rights of the foetus? To answer this question, one should observe that this is not an indubitable truth about the concept of person since there is no univocal criterion for personhood of the foetus. Consequently, it would be very naïve if one obliterates completely, the personhood of foetus, judging from one condition. Therefore;

as long as no substantial mutation takes place after conception and as long as the foetus progress in actualizing its entire fixed component to maturity… it is a person in active potency.32

Again, since a single stream of consciousness – continuity of character and all that relate to it conspicuously link each individual human person in a continuum from the point of conception to the point of demise, it is absolutely not possible to pinpoint the particular stage in human development at which the individual becomes a person. In the face of these differences and controversies about human personhood, one important value of the foetus, which out weighs many other values, is this fact

… the quality of life that the unborn could look forward to after birth, the probable impact of that birth on the welfare of the already existing family…the conscience of the potential mother33

So the personhood attributed to the foetus, which defend it moral rights, is not only the potential qualities, which need only time and nurture to manifest if uninterrupted but also the active quality of changing the mood, emotion at the moment of its conception. Personhood is a quality, which belongs inherently to the human being. It is given with human nature. At every stage of life from the beginning to the end whatever the criterion,  ‘person’ is in every man.

 FOETUS’S RIGHT VIZ-A-VIZ WOMEN’S RIGHT

The puzzles encountered in the issues or arguments concerning abortion and related issues were briefly there withheld so as to expatiate first the exact right due to foetus. So far then, from the features of the pre-born, thus investigated, the foetus is a living organism (being) a human and a person, at least in active potency. Its personal right to life fully depends on the future it anticipates. Its destruction implies the death of a future, which owes a lot to the humanity in general. That is why B. Nathanson posited that, “abortion must be seen as the interruption of a process which would otherwise have produced a citizen of the world…”34 Be it as it may, the personhood of the foetus having been established, at least in the sense of active potency, it is very important to note that nature prepares the mother to protect the minor at the moment of its dependence.

Any deliberate attempt to expose it to danger of death is no less evil than endangering the life of a mature human being. So, the foetus naturally deserves the protection of the mother. This of course is a moral duty and as such the mother is morally bound by his conscience to observe the natural law.

However, in as much as the women deserve the right to life, autonomy, privacy and mental health, they do not have the moral right to deliberately eliminate the life of another human being in the name of preserving their own life or right. Just as St. Thomas observed, one’s freedom stops where another’s begins. Thus, the right to life of the pre-born ranks higher than the right to autonomy, mental health, and privacy of the mother. In anyway, women are free to defend their right to autonomy, mental health and privacy so long as they do not interfere with the right of the foetus to life. This leads us to the last chapter, which is more of evaluation.

ABORTION AND DIGNITY OF HUMAN LIFE: A MORAL CONSIDERATION

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[1]  C.Ekwutosi, Op. cit, P. 3.

[2] ibid P.3.

[3] W. Hern, Abortion Practice, (Quoted in B. Clowes, Facts of life. An Authoritative Guide to life and family Issues Virginia. HLI 2001). P. 185.

[4] J. Benshoof, Reasserting Women’s Right (Quoted in B. Cloves, Op cit.) P. 78

[5] G.M.Atkinson …et al (eds), Genetic Counseling, the church and law, (St Louis, The Pope John (xxiii) medical – moral Research and education center, 1980), P.102.

[6] J.P. Kenny, Principles of Medical Ethics (2nd Edition) England (England: Newman Press 1962), P.197.

[7] C. Ekwutosi, Abortion the bane of the modern world (Provitae Newsletter Maiden Edition, 2000), P.3.

[8] J.R. Kenny, Principles Of Medical Ethics (2nd Edition),( England: Newman Press, 1962), P.197.

[9] J.C. Wilke, Abortion, Question and Answer,(Hayes Publishing Company inc.6304 Hamilton Avenue Cincinnati, Ohio 45224, 2001) P.146.

[10] J. Jenkins, Op. cit., pg. 95

15 J & Wilke, Op cit. P. 63.

16 J. N. Ekennia, Bio-medical Ethnics: Issues, Trends & Problem; (Nigeria: Barloz publishers Inc., 2003), P.149-150.

17 Ibid P. 13

18 C. Ekwutosi Op cit. P.2.

19 J. N. Ekennia op. cit. P. 21

20 J. & B Wilke, Op. cit. P. 64

21A. C. Danto, Persons, in P. Edwards (ed) The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (vol 6: London: Collier Macmillan Publishers, 1967), P.110.

22 F. Copleston, A History of Philosophy Vol. 11(Logical Positivism and Existentialism London: Continuum, 2003) P.103.

23 Ibid Vol. 13 (Later medieval Renaissance Philosophy London continuum, 2003) P. 103.

24 Ibid

25 Ibid, Vol. 11: (Logical Positivism And ExistentialismLondon: Continuum), P. 104

26 J.Omeregbe, A simplified History of Western Philosophy, Vol II, (JoJe Educational research and      publisher limited Lagos). P.9.

27 A.C Danto, op.cit, P.111

28 B. Garret, Persons in E.Craig (ed) Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, vol 7, (London: Routledge, 1998), P.319.

29 A.C Danto, Loc. cit

30 B. Carret, Op.cit P 320

31 P. Singer (ed) A Companion to ethics, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd. 1991), P. 310.

32 J. N. Ekennia, Op cit. P. 29.

33 V.R Mollenkotl, Respecting the moral Agency of women, (quoted in B.Clowes, The fact of life: An Authoritative guide to life & family issue, virginity HLI, 2001), P.167

 

34 B. Nathanson, New England Journal of Medicine, (Quoted in B. Nathanson, The Hand of God; Canada: Life Cycle Book Ltd, 1996), P.175.

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Plato’s Class Distinction: The Backdrop of Contemporary Education

Plato’s Class Distinction: The Backdrop of Contemporary Education

CHAPTER TWO

 VIEWS ON CLASS DISTINCTION

2.1     Aristotle’s View.

Aristotle was a member of Plato’s Academy where for over twenty years he was in constant intellectual intercourse with Plato until the latter’s death in 348BC. Most of his philosophical thoughts had their background in Plato’s philosophy. Like Plato, he never failed to share the Greek view of the city state as the centre of life.[1] The state in his view exists for the supreme good of man. It is only in the state that man can live the good life in any full sense and since the good life is man’s natural end, the state must be a natural society. He described the existence of the state as the coming together of several families to form a village. When several villages join together, the state comes into existence. This joining together of families and villages is necessitated by the needs of man which are to be met through coexistence with others. Read More »

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Friendship of Unequals in Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics

Friendship of Unequals in Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics vis-a-vis Godfatherism in Nigerian Politics

CHAPTER TWO

2.1. Concept of Friendship in Aristotle

Friendship as a virtue is indispensable and most necessary for living. No one would choose to live without friends, even if he had all other goods. Friendship is from the Greek word, ‘philia’. It designates the bond that gives different people something in common. The social aspects of man imply that a man is a man because of other men. Thus, there is no isolated or individualistic existence. Little wonder why Aristotle said, “He who is unable to live with his fellow man or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself must be either a beast or a god”[1] Read More »

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Superman in Nietzsche’s Moral Philosophy

The Concept of Superman in Nietzsche’s Moral Philosophy

 

INTRODUCTION

Nietzsche is not a system builder but aims more at provoking thought. From his point of view, man is a potential being in a continuous movement towards his actualization. This superman is synonymous with Aristotle’s “magnanimous man.”[1]

However, Nietzsche sees the Christian God as the sole barricade to the actualization of the superman. According to Nietzsche, “whoever must be a creator of values should first of all be a destroyer of values.”[2] Therefore, for him to construct new values, he first of all went into destructive act. He says that we must first of all inquire on the Read More »

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Nietzsche’s Philosophical Writings: Moral Decadence

The Moral Decadence in Nietzsche’s Philosophical Writings (A Critical Approach)

 CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

Thesis statement

From the foregoing, one obvious way in which to gain an understanding of this complex phenomenon of modern atheism is to study its history, the roots which gave rise to it, and the positions against which it has been reacting, the factors which have called forth the problems. Everywhere its challenge is being felt, and even those who still believe in God strongly are sometimes bewildered and confused by the rising tide of unbelief. They may wonder whether their destiny is to be that of a mere remnant, while the great masses of mankind swing forward into a new era that will be devoid of faith in God. But, history has it that there was a time when it was self-evident enough that no sense could be made either of man or of the world in which he lived without reference to supernatural or transcendent reality and this is the acknowledgement of God’s existence. Indeed, only one who is a fool could say in his heart “there is no God”. Read More »

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