What is a Human Conscious Experience and Do All Conscious Humans Have It?: A Reply to Destiny’s View of Personhood

Over the summer, the Whatever Podcast hosted two debates on YouTube with streamer and political commentator Destiny defending the abortion-choice position. His first debate featured Live Action’s Lila Rose and Students for Life’s Kristan Hawkins defending the pro-life position, and his second debate was with pro-life apologist Trent Horn. In both debates, Destiny’s position seemed to be the following:

What we value in human beings is their capability for human consciousness. This is what determines whether or not a biological human is a human person—someone with moral value who has rights and to whom we have obligations. Without some capacity for human consciousness, there is no “someone” who has rights, and therefore, they cannot be harmed in any morally relevant way.

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

Now, according to this view, we declare someone dead when they no longer have a capacity for human consciousness in the future. So Destiny makes a symmetry argument, saying that if someone stops being a person when they no longer have the capacity for human consciousness and future human conscious experiences, then something starts being a human being once it has an actual capacity for human consciousness and human conscious experience. In other words, something is a person beginning with the moment human conscious experience is possible up until the moment it no longer has the capacity for human conscious experience. A fetus that does not have the actual capacity for human consciousness and has not had a human conscious experience is not a person. The fetus only has its first human conscious experience and gains an actual capacity for human consciousness, and subsequently a right to life, at around 20–24 weeks when the proper “parts” are developed from which human consciousness (by argument) emerges.

Is Consent to Sex Consent to Pregnancy? A Reply to Boonin’s Argument from Social Conventions

The Case of McFall v Shimp

If you have engaged in the abortion debate at all, you have definitely come across certain arguments for abortion known as bodily-rights arguments. These arguments attempt to demonstrate that abortion is permissible even if an unborn child is a human person with a right to life.

Estimated reading time: 14 minutes