Consciousness and the Moral Permissibility of Infanticide

Date of Original Version




Published In

Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol. 25, No. 1, 2008

Rights Management

All Rights Reserved

Abstract or Description

In this paper, we present a conditional argument for the moral permissibility of some kinds of infanticide. The argument is based on a certain view of consciousness and the claim that there is an intimate connection between consciousness and infanticide. In bare outline, the argument is this: it is impermissible to intentionally kill a creature only if the creature is conscious; it is reasonable to believe that there is some time at which human infants are not conscious; therefore, it is reasonable to believe that it is permissible to intentionally kill some human infants.