This is an exploratory paper, the kind of thing to which philosophers often give a title beginning with the word “towards,” as in, “Towards a Theory of the Ethical Significance of Concepts of Life Span and Life Stage.” We give titles like this when we think we may be on to something interesting but can so far only gesture at what it means. This paper is part of a larger ongoing project, and it is programmatic at best. Throughout much of this work. I have felt, I believe with justification, that there is relatively little philosophical background for what I am trying to do.
In her classic paper, “A Defense of Abortion,” Judith Jarvis Thomson suggests that if human pregnancy lasted only one hour, or conversely, if it lasted nine years, then our views about the morality of abortion would justifiably change from what they are now.