Crítica, Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía, Volume 14, number 41, August 1982
El problema moral del aborto
[Abortion as a Moral Problem]
Javier Esquivel
Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México


This article deals with the moral problem of abortion. First, the conception that morality consists in rules and principles is criticized on several grounds. Then, the conception of morality as the virtuous life is exposed.

Within this last conception a solution to the problem is presented. The general framework is that human beings feel love and concern for human life. Although historically there have been limits to this disposition, the so-called “species conscience” has been growing. The numbers of men considered as equals has increased and thus the moral conscience has evolved.

Morality is then a matter of conscience and of being aware. An example taken from a novel by Sartre shows how conscience and awareness operate in this sense. The author claims that self-knowledge and self-consciousness are the key solution for moral problems. The knowledge of motives and desires leads to a change in our actions. The main obstacle in this process is self-deception.

On these grounds abortion is an opportunity for getting in touch with our deepest motives and desires and for changing them in order to improve morally.


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