The Violinist Analogy Debunked – A Response To Philosophy Tube On Abortion



in 1971 the philosopher Judith Jarvis Thompson wrote one of the most famous philosophy papers ever in which she asks us to consider a very weird scenario so imagines that it's a woman who wakes up and somehow this violinist who has some kind of need for dialysis or some kind of need to be attached to her body he is parasitic upon her and she wakes up and she's now connected to him if she removes him from herself he will perish and die why is she morally obligated to stay attached to him for let's say nine months what should she do and she and could we ever blame her if she wanted to detach that violinist from her so it's a really great question and analogies of a fine it doesn't have to be identical to be valid the question is is it an appropriate analogy and and a number of points I think it's actually not and firstly if I was standing on the street and a child walked past me someone else's kid and walked around the corner and something bad happens to them say they got hit by a car people would not hold me accountable why cuz it's not my kid that's just a stranger and however if it was my own child say it was a three year old and say III walked into a shop and just left my three-year-old out there you know cuz anyone gets things sorted and and I come back and she's been abducted mmm all something's happened to her rightly I'd be held accountable that's negligence negligence but is negligence because it's my own child and we all intuitively know and there's a there's a legal distinction between your obligations to your own child your offspring and your obligations to a stranger and one way in which this analogy breaks down is and I mean I don't know how how people sort of biology is but this isn't where babies come from they aren't randomly strapped to you overnight they're your offspring and that leads me onto I guess the second point there's a difference in relationship you know your own child you have certain obligations of duty of care and we've established already that it's a living human being they are already your child you have a duty of care but but that leads on to another point which is you know where do babies come from they don't come out of thin air and and and yes there there is the very difficult and thankfully at least in this country very rare comparatively case of rape you know where it is not the product of consensual sex but the overwhelming majority is the product of consent consensual sex that's where babies come from and so it's it's not like this this this thing has just straps you against your will nothing you did to to to make that a possibility or a likelihood babies come from sex and so a baby is a natural consequence of sex which is overwhelmingly consensual in the cases which which lead to abortion in this country and and that would lead again to another point which is the womb is the natural environment for a baby to develop him now the the analogy give me the violinist it's a very unnatural very strange scenario and which you know in in today's well we can imagine it may be happening you know science has moved on to such it to such an extent that yeah perhaps you know someone could keep someone else alive they've got a special blood type or whatever and so as I'm not saying that it couldn't exist I'm saying it's not really what pregnancy is like yes yeah that's artificial pregnancy is ever so natural it's where we all came from we all grew up in the earlier stages in that womb the natural place and so whilst and the violinist story talks about an unnatural way to keep someone alive at that personal cost and pregnancy is absolutely natural hmm and the unnatural thing to do is to break entry into the womb the place of safety and development for the for the youngest of our society and and kill them that's the unnatural thing hmm that is the invasion that's the intervention yes letting nature run its course is really very different

11 Replies to “The Violinist Analogy Debunked – A Response To Philosophy Tube On Abortion”

  1. All of these people in these comments are not good at processing arguments. They default to their own axioms and confuse their axioms as arguments.

    This video is great. Have a sub.

  2. I googled "response to ben" on my laptop in Jamaica. This was the top result. Good video but how did this video's hashtag beat Google's algorithm? 814 views leads mea to believe it was not intentional and maybe me posting this will encourage you to do it more but that's pretty impressive lol. Anywho, good response even though its not TECHNICALLY a response to ben

  3. This isn't a response to PhilosophyTube, doesn't involve Ben Shapiro and it isn't even a response to the violinist analogy. You're a parasite supposedly talking about a parasitical analogy. I'm sorry I upped your viewcount

  4. This video completely misses the point; PhilosophyTube says himself in his video that even if you profess that an embryo or an unborn foetus is human with a right to life, that is not an argument against abortion. You have a duty of care to your offspring, but if my child is sick and needs a blood transfusion or a new kidney– and I am the only viable donor– I shouldn't be forced by the state or by anyone to go through with any medical procedure like that if it's against my will. Even if I agree to donate an organ, I should have the legal right to change my mind because *It's my body.*
    Even if you have sex and willingly get pregnant, you should have the legal right to change your mind because you have a right to decide that you don't want to be pregnant anymore, just as I have a choice to decide I don't want to save someone's life with an organ donation, even if I previously agreed to. It's my body, I don't need a reason, I have a right to say "No, I don't want this to happen to me."

  5. This isn't a response to Philosophy Tube. You have completely left out the four minutes of PT's video (14:20–18:20) which contain the actual argument. It would have been more interesting to see a video that actually responded to Philosophy Tube rather than one that responded to a simplified version of it.

  6. so, let's a child needs a bone marrow transplant to survive, and the father of that child is the best possible match, but he doesn't want to give the transplant for whatever reason, should the state penalize that parent?

  7. Pregnancy is absolutely like being strapped down. Are you kidding me?? Morning sickness and postpartum depression are no fucking joke

  8. This is a very poor “debunking.” A fetus has no legal rights, but breathing, autonomous human beings DO. To say any person that has a fetus in their body is required to take care because it’s “their infant” is false, misogynistic and just intellectually lazy. I’d try again with some real arguments.

  9. Very gross and irresponsible misinterpretation of this analogy. To start with this analogy is specifically for pregnancy by rape and adjustment is noted to be needed to extend it to other cases of unwanted pregnancy, skimming over rape, casting it aside as not part of the "overwhelming majority" of cases does not make it cease to exist, and casting it aside when addressing an analogy intended specifically for that case is doubly irresponsible. The violinist in this analogy is not described as "parasitic" as you have suggested, to use that word is to, I think, purposely mislead the listener about the attitude towards the fetus behind the analogy. That the violinist is an unfortunate and blameless victim in this scenario is emphasised, therefore mirroring the moral standing of the fetus in unwanted pregnancy. That the violinist deserves to survive is unquestionably true, to detatch him and let him die would be a tragedy surely. The question is not whether the violinist is entitled to life or whether intervention resulting in his demise is "natural" but whether someone else (that is the society of music lovers, in this analogy representative of the state) are entitled to force someone to surrender their bodily autonomy for a period of time to allow him to survive. Therefore the question is not about duty of care or the naturalness of intervention in pregnancy but about whether the state should be allowed to force someone to stay pregnant for the sake of protecting the fetus. The analogy as interpreted by you is not a good analogy for abortion but the analogy as it actually occurs is. I would encourage anyone convinced by this argument to watch the actual video it responds to or better yet read the analogy as it is actually presented in the paper it originates from and reassess it's response, I think you will find it is far from debunked.

  10. If life is truly sacred, then the "intuitive and legal responsibility" which you cited should not matter, if after all you value life above "convenience."

    An analogy being "unnatural" is actually not an argument. A trolley problem being an "unnatural" scenario is not a counter to the answer one may give to the problem.

    Poor rebuttal.

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