violinist argument

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

The argument was first used in the essay "A Defense of Abortion" by Judith Jarvis Thomson, first published in the Philosophy & Public Affairs journal in 1971.

Proper nounEdit

the violinist argument

  1. (philosophy) An argument for a woman's right to abortion that appeals to a thought experiment in which a person with a rare blood type is kidnapped and plugged into a famous unconscious violinist with a fatal kidney ailment; if the violinist is unplugged, he will die, but if he stays plugged into the kidnappee for nine months, he will recover from his ailment. The argument assumes that in this hypothetical scenario, the kidnappee has the right to unplug themselves from the violinist at any time even if this will cause his death, because the violinist does not have a right to the kidnappee's body.

SynonymsEdit