Human Exceptionalism

Mother Commits Serial Infanticide: Under Personhood Theory, What’s the Problem?

A murder trial is all the rage in France:  A French woman repeatedly killed her newborn babies.  From the story:

Véronique Courjault, by her own admission, smothered the two babies after giving birth to them secretly in Seoul, the first in 2002 and the second in 2003. She also has acknowledged killing a newborn and burning the body in her garden after a first secret pregnancy in 1999, before the couple left France.

Jean-Louis Courjault, French prosecutors ruled, was never aware of his wife’s pregnancies, or her lonely deliveries in the family bathtub and the subsequent slayings of three infants. After a long investigation, he was not charged, leaving unanswered how he could have failed to notice his wife’s condition. He has attended her trial with the goal, he told reporters, of offering all the support he can.

Peter Singer and other personhood theorists claim that infanticide–assuming it is painless–isn’t immoral or wrong because the child, not being self aware over time or unable to yet value his or her own life, is not a “person.”  If that is so, they can be treated as mere objects that can be killed if that suits the interests of the family.  Thus, it seems to me, that Peter Singer should testify for the defense, since, in his view, killing a baby is no more wrong than killing a fish.  Yes, he has explicitly written that:

Since neither a newborn infant nor a fish is a person, the wrongness of killing such beings is not as wrong as killing a person.

(Cite: Peter Singer, Rethinking Life and Death: The Collapse of Our Traditional Ethics, p. 220.)

No, Peter Singer isn’t responsible for these murders. But these murders illustratethe immorality of Peter Singer’s “moral philosophy.”

Most Popular

The Capital Note

Palantir’s Eye-Popping Rally

Welcome to the Capital Note, a newsletter about business, finance and economics. On the menu today: Palantir shares skyrocket, a giant of labor economics passes away, Slack in acquisition talks with Salesforce, and Yellen’s plans for Treasury-Fed cooperation. The Palantir Bump: Politics or Product? Palantir, ... Read More
The Capital Note

Palantir’s Eye-Popping Rally

Welcome to the Capital Note, a newsletter about business, finance and economics. On the menu today: Palantir shares skyrocket, a giant of labor economics passes away, Slack in acquisition talks with Salesforce, and Yellen’s plans for Treasury-Fed cooperation. The Palantir Bump: Politics or Product? Palantir, ... Read More
White House

Implications of the Flynn Pardon

President Trump granted a pardon to Michael Flynn, his former national-security adviser, today. Flynn had pled guilty to lying to FBI agents about conversations, during the 2016 transition, with the Russian ambassador about sanctions. Flynn’s pardon should bring to an end one gross violation of the ... Read More
White House

Implications of the Flynn Pardon

President Trump granted a pardon to Michael Flynn, his former national-security adviser, today. Flynn had pled guilty to lying to FBI agents about conversations, during the 2016 transition, with the Russian ambassador about sanctions. Flynn’s pardon should bring to an end one gross violation of the ... Read More

The Rural Way

Almost every national Election Night reveals the same old red/blue map. The country geographically is a sea of red. The coasts and small areas along the southern border and around the Great Lakes remain blue atolls. Yet when the maps are recalibrated for population rather than area, the blue areas blow up, ... Read More

The Rural Way

Almost every national Election Night reveals the same old red/blue map. The country geographically is a sea of red. The coasts and small areas along the southern border and around the Great Lakes remain blue atolls. Yet when the maps are recalibrated for population rather than area, the blue areas blow up, ... Read More
The Economy

The New York Times Sells Envy

A product always sure to sell, even on Thanksgiving, and especially amid a pandemic, is envy. So I can hardly blame New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo for capitalizing on a bull market. Lamenting that the portfolios of America’s richest men and women have made a quicker recovery from the ... Read More
The Economy

The New York Times Sells Envy

A product always sure to sell, even on Thanksgiving, and especially amid a pandemic, is envy. So I can hardly blame New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo for capitalizing on a bull market. Lamenting that the portfolios of America’s richest men and women have made a quicker recovery from the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Welcoming the Old Guard

After a primary campaign riven by debates over radical policies championed by progressive factions within the Democratic Party -- and indeed a general election that saw many incumbent Democrats threatened or defeated because of voters’ uneasiness with progressivism -- the incoming administration and Congress ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Welcoming the Old Guard

After a primary campaign riven by debates over radical policies championed by progressive factions within the Democratic Party -- and indeed a general election that saw many incumbent Democrats threatened or defeated because of voters’ uneasiness with progressivism -- the incoming administration and Congress ... Read More
Elections

To ‘Steal’ an Election

Dan has a good article on the homepage, the main point of which is that the system worked, since Trump’s efforts to reverse the election failed. Certainly I agree with him about that. But he also finds charges that Trump tried to “steal” the election “overheated.” Since I made such a claim myself, I ... Read More
Elections

To ‘Steal’ an Election

Dan has a good article on the homepage, the main point of which is that the system worked, since Trump’s efforts to reverse the election failed. Certainly I agree with him about that. But he also finds charges that Trump tried to “steal” the election “overheated.” Since I made such a claim myself, I ... Read More