Actor James Franco has started co-hosting a new YouTube series called "Philosophy Time" where he invites academics in philosophy and ethics on to talk about their views. In a recent episode, he talks to Liz Harman of Princeton University, who holds a very liberal (and confusing) view of the ethics of abortion.
"What I think is actually among early fetuses there are two very different kinds of beings. 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," she says.
The unborn is "a very different kind of entity," she continues. "That’s something that doesn’t have a future as a person and it doesn’t have moral status.”
However, Franco challenges her confused reasoning.
“So what you’re saying is if the fetus is never destined to become a person, it doesn’t have ‘moral status’? If a woman decides to have an abortion with an early fetus, just that act or that intention negates the ‘moral status’ of that early fetus just because if she goes out and has an abortion, it’s pretty certain that it’s not going to become a person?"
"My view isn't that if you do abort, abortion is OK, but if you don't abort, abortion would have been wrong. But what it turns out is that it's a contingent matter that you have moral status. You actually have moral status but you might not have counted morally at all if you had you been aborted. You would have existed, but you just would have had this very short existence in which you wouldn't have mattered morally."
Franco is clearly perplexed by Harman's view.
It seems many of the viewers are just as confused by her reasoning.
"Absolutely delusional. Entirely irrelevant whether it will or will not have a future. As well as being indeterminable. As well as the argument itself determining the premise. As well as being an obvious false dichotomy. This lady should not be allowed in academia," one person commented.
Check out the fascinating conversation below!