Leeds University Library

Module Reading List

Ethical Issues at the Beginning of Life, 2017/18, Semester 1
Professor Chris Megone
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue
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The Sanctity of Life

Required Reading

Dworkin, Ronald. 'What is Sacred? ', in his Life's Dominion (London: Harper Collins, 1993).

Glover, Jonathan. 'The Sanctity of Life' in Kuhse and Singer (eds.), Bioethics, ( Oxford: Blackwell, 2006).

Further Reading

Arneson, R.J., 'What, If Anything, Renders All Humans Morally Equal? ' in Singer and his critics , D. Jamieson (ed.), (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999) pp. 103–127.

Warren, Mary A. Moral status : obligations to persons and other living things , (Oxford: Oxford University Pres, 1997).

The Right to Life and Moral Personhood

Required Reading

Tooley, Michael. 'Abortion and Infanticide', in Kuhse and Singer (eds.), Bioethics, , (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006). 

Hursthouse, Rosalind. ‘Trying to prove the foetus does not matter’, in her Beginning Lives , (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992).

Further Reading

Anscombe, Elizabeth. 'Were you a Zygote? ', A. Phillips Griffiths (ed.) Philosophy and practice , (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985).

Bassen, Paul ‘Present Sakes and Future Prospects: the Status of Early Abortion’, Philosophy & public affairs , 1982.

Boonin, David. A defense of abortion , (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).

Coope, Christopher, Worth and welfare in the controversy over abortion (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006).

Dworkin, Ronald. Life's Dominion , (London: Harper Collins, 1993).

Foot, Philippa ‘The Problem of Abortion and the Doctrine of the Double Effect’, in her Virtues and vices , (Oxford: Blackwell, 1978).

Ford, Norman . When did I begin? : conception of the human individual in history, philosophy and science , (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), Ch.2.

Galvao, Pedro. 'Boonin on the future-like-ours argument against abortion', Bioethics , 2007, 21:6, 324-28.

Harman, E., 1999, “Creation Ethics: The Moral Status of Early Fetuses and the Ethics of Abortion,” Philosophy & public affairs. , 28: 310–324.

Hursthouse, Rosalind. Beginning lives , (Oxford: Blackwell, 1987), Chapters 5 and 6.

Hursthouse, Rosalind. 'Virtue, Theory and Abortion', Philosophy & public affairs , 20/3 (1991) 223-246.

Jackson, Jennifer. 'Toleration in the Abortion Debate', Ethics in reproductive medicine .

Jackson, Jennifer. Ethics in medicine (Cambridge: Polity, 2006), ch. 10

Kenny, Anthony. 'Abortion and the Taking of Human Life', in his Reason and religion : essays in philosophical theology , (Oxford: Blackwell, 1987).

Kittay, E. F., 2005, 'At the Margins of Personhood,' Ethics. , 116: 100–31.

Lang, Gerald. 'Nudging the Responsibility Objection', Journal of applied philosophy , 25:1, (2008), 56-70.

Little, M., 2008, 'Abortion and the Margins of Personhood,' Rutgers Law Journal , 39: 331–348.

McMahan, Jeff. The ethics of killing : killing at the margins of life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), Chapter. 4

McMahan, Jeff. 'Paradoxes of Abortion and Prenatal Injury', Ethics. , 116 (2006), 625-655.

Murray, Thomas H and L Caplan, Arthur (eds.) Which babies shall live? : humanistic dimensions of the care of imperiled newborns , (Clifton NJ: Humana, 1985).

Quinn, Warren. 'Abortion, Identity and Loss', Philosophy & public affairs , 13/1 (1984), 24-54.

Sher, George. 'Hare, Abortion and the Golden Rule', Philosophy & public affairs , 6/2 (1977), 185-90.

Steinbock, Bonnie. Life Before Birth : the moral and legal status of embryos and fetuses , (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).

Tooley, Michael. Abortion and Infanticide , (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983).

Tupa, Antony. 'Killing, Letting Die, and the Morality of Abortion', Journal of applied philosophy , 26.1 (2009), 1-26.

Warren, Mary Ann. 'On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion', in James E. White (ed.) Contemporary moral problems , Fourth Edition (St Paul, Minn: West Publishing Co., 1994).

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Abortion and Potentiality Arguments

Required Reading

Marquis, Don. 'Why Abortion is Immoral', in Kuhse and Singer (eds.), Bioethics, , (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), pp. 51-62.

Further Reading

Oderberg, David. Moral theory: a non-consequentialist approach (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000). Chapter 4, esp. 4.4.

Singer, Peter. 'Taking Life: the Embryo and the Fetus', in Practical ethics (3rd Edition) , (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), Chapter 6. Available as an eBook from the University library.

Fisher, John Andrew. 'Why Potentiality Does Not Matter – A Reply to Stone', Canadian journal of philosophy. 24/2 (1994), 261-180.

Harman, Elizabeth. 'The Potentiality Problem', Philosophical studies. 114/1-2 (2003), 173-198.

Megone, Chris. 'Potentiality and Persons: An Aristotelian Perspective', in Mark Kuczewski and Ronald Polansky (eds.), Bioethics : ancient themes in contemporary issues , (Boston: MIT Press, 2000).

Stone, Jim. 'Why Potentiality Matters', Canadian journal of philosophy. , 17/4 (1987), 815-830.

Stone, Jim. “Why Potentiality Still Matters”, Canadian journal of philosophy. , 24/2 (1994), 281-294

Jacquette, Dale. 'Two kinds of potentiality: a Crtique of McGinn on the Ethics of Abortion',  Journal of applied philosophy. , 18.1 (2001), 79-86.

Burgess, J. A. 'Potential and Foetal Value', Journal of applied philosophy. , 27:2 (2010), 140-153.

Camosy, Charles. 'Common Ground on Surgical Abortion? - Engaging Peter Singer on the Moral Status of Potential Persons', Journal of medicine and philosophy. , 33, (2008), 577-593.

Abortion and Rights Arguments

Required Reading

Thomson, Judith Jarvis. 'A Defense of Abortion' , Philosophy and Public Affairs , 1/1 (1972): 47-66.

Further Reading

Jim Stone (1983), ‘Abortion and the Control of Human Bodies’, The journal of value inquiry. 17 (1983).

John Finnis (1973), ‘The Rights and Wrongs of Abortion: A Reply to Judith Thomson’, Philosophy & public affairs. vol, 2

Brody, Baruch. 'Thomson on Abortion', Philosophy & public affairs. , 1/3 (1972), 335-34.

Purdy, Laura, M. 'Are Pregnant Women Fetal Containers? ' in Bioethics, pp. 65-76.

Silverstein, Harry. ‘A Woman’s ‘Responsibility’ for the Fetus’, Social theory and practice. , 1987, 13, 103-19.

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Non-Identity Problem and Wrongful Birth

Required Reading

Parfit, Derek. 'The Non-Identity Problem' (Chapter 16) in Reasons and persons , (Oxford University Press, 1984).

Further Reading

Woodward, James. "The non-identity problem." Ethics. 96, no. 4 (1986): 804-831.

Parfit, Derek, 'Rights, Interests, and Possible People', in Bioethics, , pp. 108-112.

Roberts, M. A., "The Nonidentity Problem", Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy [electronic resource]. (Fall 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .


Fertility Treatment and Reproductive Rights

Required Reading

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ‘Parenthood and Procreation’, sections 2, 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3. Available Online .

David Archard (2004) ‘Wrongful Life’ Philosophy. 79, sections III and IV only (414-420).

Dan Brock (2005), ‘Shaping Future Children’ The journal of political philosophy. 13, sections I and II (379-384).

Further Reading

Vic Larcher (2007), ‘Ethical Issues in Respect of Children Born After Assisted Reproductive Technologies’ Archives of disease in childhood. 92:670-71

Mianna Lotz (2009), ‘Procreative reasons relevance: on the moral significance of why we have children’ Bioethics 23.5: 291-299.

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Feminist Perspectives on Reproductive Autonomy

Required Reading

Victoria Seavilleklein, 'Challenging the Rhetoric of Choice in Prenatal Screening', Bioethics , 23/1 (2009): 68-77.

Laura M. Purdy, 'Are Pregnant Women Fetal Containers? ', Bioethics , 4/4 (1990): 273-291.

Further Reading

Purdy, Laura M., 'Genetics and Reproductive Risk: Can Having Children be Immoral? ' in Bioethics , pp. 115-121.

Asch, Adrienne, 'Prenatal Diagnosis and Selective Abortion: A Challenge to Practice and Policy' in Bioethics, pp. 122-136.

Sherwin, Susan, 1992, No longer patient : feminist ethics and health care, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, chapters 5 and 6.

Laura M. Purdy. Reproducing persons : issues in feminist bioethics , (Cornell University Press, 1996).

John Robertson, ‘The Right to Procreate and in Utero Fetal Therapy’, Zeitschrift für Rechtsmedizin = Journal of legal medicine. 3(3), 1982, 355.

Robertson, John, 1996, “Genetic selection of offspring characteristics”, Boston University Law Review 76: 301–61.

Tremain, Shelley, 2006, “Reproductive freedom, self-regulation, and the government of impairment in utero”, Hypatia. A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 21(1): 35–53.

Kukla, Rebecca, 2005a, “The limits of lines: negotiating hard medical choices”, APA Newsletter on Philosophy of Medicine 5(1), 13–19. http://www.apaonline.org/? medicine_newsletter

Kukla, Rebecca, 2008, “Measuring Mothering”, International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 1(1): 67–90.

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Parts IV-VI ofA companion to bioethics, H. Kuhse and P. Singer (eds.) (Malden: Blackwell, 2009).

This list was last updated on 04/02/2014