Anyway, gotten myself into a debate with abortion. In short, the main argument now is functionalism versus essense, whether or not functionalilty equals essence or whether essence dictates function. Being an Essencist (?) I take the anti-abortion stance, while the other person is a functionalist, and takes the pro-abortion stance. Right now, I'm a loss how to coherently respond to this:
(By the way this person is an atheist who nonetheless believes murder is wrong. Where we disagree is whether abortion kills a person. The more non-religion-specific the coutnerarguments I can get, the better)
If you guys need context, ask away.As I said, the criterion is FUNCTIONALITY, not FUNCTION. FUNCTIONALITY can be defined as the capability of something, to function.
People who who still have functioning brains ALWAYS display brain activity, as minimal as it may be, during prolonged comas, dreamless sleep, unconsciousness, drug induced sleep, sometimes enough to retain memories such as voices, or the doctor who does their pupil check, and most of the time enough for them to retain the capability to walk, talk, think, rationalize and function like human beings once they wake up. Braindead people don't ever wake up from being brain dead, the term braindead is used when the brain is damaged beyond repair. If my brain was ever damaged so, I would expect my family to pull the plug on me so that I don't uselessly suck on resources until the damage reaches my vital functions coordination center and finishes the job, or in the case that doesn't happen, until my body finally gives up, which is inevitable in all cases of brain death.
A car that is turned off, can be turned on again. A car that has been damaged beyond repair, can't. Hence a car that is turned off is still a car, while the damaged car is scrap. A car in the midst of being built is just materials that are coming together nicely into a car, but it is not a car yet. Same goes for humans, a braindead person is a corpse, and a fetus is just cells coming together to form a person, but it is not a person yet. It does not feel, it does not think, it does not rationalize, it does nothing but suck on resources and it is uncapable to do anything else.
So, let me rephrase my definition. A person is a self aware living being with the capability (not the potential) to think, rationalize, and feel emotions. A 3 month old fetus does not yet possess the capability to do that. The guy in the dreamless sleep, the guy in the drugged stupor, the guy with in a temporary coma, and such, retain the capability to think, and in the case of the dreamless sleep there's a lot more brain activity going on there than you realize. Those people, though not thinking at the moment, are still functional, they're just not functioning. The fetus is not functional as a person because it is not capable of functioning like a person.