Item description for The Unaborted Socrates: A Dramatic Debate on the Issues Surrounding Abortion by Peter Kreeft...
Overview A rejuvenated Socrates appears in modern Athens and with three worthy opponents--a doctor, a philosopher, and a psychologist--investigates the arguments surrounding abortion. Logic joins humor as Socrates challenges the standard rhetoric and passion of the contemporary debate.
Publishers Description Is abortion a woman's right? When does human life begin? Should we legislate morality? What would happen if the Socrates of old suddenly appeared in modern Athens? Peter Kreeft imagines the dialog that might ensue with three worthy opponents--a doctor, a philosopher and a psychologist--about the arguments surrounding abortion. Kreeft uses Socratic technique to strip away the emotional issues and get to the heart of the rational objections to abortion. Logic joins humor as Socrates challenges the standard rhetoric and passion of the contemporary debate.
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Studio: IVP Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.15" Width: 5.54" Height: 0.46" Weight: 0.4 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 2000
Publisher IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN 0877848106 ISBN13 9780877848103
Availability 0 units.
More About Peter Kreeft
Peter J. Kreeft (Ph.D., Fordham University) was born in 1937 and is professor of philosophy at Boston College where he has taught since 1965. A popular lecturer, he has also taught at many other colleges, seminaries and educational institutions in the eastern United States. Kreeft has written more than fifty books, including The Best Things in Life, The Journey, How to Win the Culture War and, with Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Unaborted Socrates: A Dramatic Debate on the Issues Surrounding Abortion?
A Hard Read Sep 25, 2006
This is one of those books that will surprise you in many ways. It was not what I was expecting - of course I did not have the subtitle, only the main title at that time. I was expecting a book on philosophy from Peter Kreeft, a professor of Philosophy. But it was three debates on issues surrounding abortion lead by Socrates.
The format is three discussions led by Socorates with three groups of people. The first is with a Dr. Rex Herrod (King Herrod) held in a hospital in Athens in the present time. The second is again with Dr. Rex but also with his friend, a philosopher, Professor Atilla Tarian (Atilla the Hun) who is an ethicist, and it is held at a Philosophy convention. The final is in a Psychiatric ward with "Pop" Syke, (Pop Psychology) the psychologist.
Each debate is written as a mini morality play, like those of classical Greek plays. Each is written as a dialogue and written somewhat tongue in cheek, filled with puns and word plays.
This book was not an easy read, in that the material it deals with is very difficult and very controversial. It raises many questions that most people on both sides of the abortion debate probably do not think about. It is easy to read in that it was written in an easy style and flows nicely.
The main focus of all three debates is when does life begin, and who will speak for the most helpless, the unborn. This is a tough read but one that will not leave the reader unchanged.
A thought provoking read on an important topic Jul 4, 2006
Though parts of this book struck me as cheesy, an abortionist named Dr. Rex Herrod for instance. I think that Peter Kreeft has crafted a good analysis of the arguments around abortion, presenting a fair picture both sides of the argument. It's a short and enjoyable read. Kreeft can be accused at times of using cheesy dialog, but at least his writing remains unbiased and logical.
2 points for Socrates, zero for Keeft Dec 10, 2005
Keeft does a fair job in parts of making Socrates "come alive" on a contemporary issue; that is, he replicates his style in many respects, and conveys much of both the humor, sarcasm, and earnestness with which Socrates argued. There is of course little reason to think the content of his argument is at all related to what the historical Socrates would have believed. This is a relatively minor point. However as an introduction to or serious treatment of arguments about abortions, this work is a travesty.
In the first section "Socrates" debates an abortionist who confessess immediately that he has no idea whether the fetus is a person or not, and does not have a clear definition of a person which he attempts to defend. Unsuprisingly Socrates trashes this position, but this will have little effect upon anyone who has thought seriously about the obvious fact that rational capacity is what most adult humans (including those sleeping, vegging out, or in temporary comas) have, and which human bodies which are brain dead or which have not yet developed brains do not.
In part two Socrates debates a "philosopher" whom we learn right away is a defender of "relativism and utilitarianism." Now either Kreeft is unaware that relativism and utilitarianism are incompatible philosophies, or he naively believes that other people, including real philosophers who defend abortion, are unaware of this. In either case he's wrong on fundamental points, and hence again it is no surprise both that "Socrates" can demolish this "opinion" and also that this has absolutely nothing to do with any serious philosophical defenses of abortion.
About the third section, where Socrates debates a pop psychologist who thinks that feelings are more important than truth, there's little more to say, and the conclusions drawn are obvious. If Keeft's point is that it is easy to knock down straw men, then he has accomplished something, but this is hardly news. If his goal was to argue that the *actual* arguments given by *actual* philosophers or medical professionals on this issue are incorrect, he has missed his target by a mile. Socrates/Kreeft spends most of his time showing that all of the supposed "arguments" for abortion are moot or seriously weakened if the fetus is a person. This is challenged by a few philosophers like Judith Jarvis Thomson or Jane English, whose arguments are simply ignored here. But even if we conceded the point, this simply emphasizes how useless the whole dialogue was because he *never* considers a serious argument that the fetus is, while human, *not* a person, though there are many in the philosophical literature which he could have drawn from here. Don Marquis, John Noonan, and Sidney Callahan have much more serious pro-life arguments in their widely-anthologized articles, which also try to seriously engage actual pro-choice arguments rather than simply ignore them in hopes that nobody will notice, and I would recommend their works over Kreeft's rather fluffy treatment.
Can't Believe It's Not Socrates Sep 10, 2005
Kreeft does a good job of capturing the character of Socrates as it has been recorded in the books that are believed to be actual accounts of conversations with him. Kreeft's Socrates helps modern men thoroughly examine the issues of abortion in a logical manner. The book also has humor that fans of the straightforward Socrates reasoning will especially enjoy.
Another pros and cons list Jun 24, 2005
Overall, I think this book is a fair representation of the issue. The book is a debate among four characters, written like a Socratic dialogue. At the end everybody still basically believes in what they already brought to the table with little or any, change. The question at hand is: Is abortion right or wrong, do circumstances change that answer, and if so, why? All that aside, the four characters: Socrates- your typical gadfly Rex Herod- an abortion doctor Atila Tarian-a utilitarian philosopher who is pro-choice Pop Syke- a psychologist that tries to discredit Socrates via psychoanalysis
Cons: 1) I am by no means a feminist like some other critics, but I agree that having a woman in this dialogue would be appropriate. In fact, as Kreeft mentions in the book, that men tend to be more pro-choice than women. Most, if not all of the active pro-lifers I know are women! So having a woman here could really only strengthen the argument. Also, just for fairness, adding a pro-choice woman might help. 2) This is just one issue, where try as we might, logic often breaks down. Emotions and subjectivity always enter the discussion, despite our loftiest philosophical intentions.
Pros: 1) I think it defines the real heart of the issue well: Either you believe that a fetus constitutes human life or you do not. Women's rights are important, and women do have the right to go through with this procedure in most countries; what critics must understand is that the morality, and not legality, of this action is the premise of the book. 2) A spinoff of 1, the book demonstrates that morality and legality are not the exact same thing in our country, yet suggests that in a more idealistic sense they probably should be. This argument is right out of Republic, where wisdom and virtue are not very optional. 3) There are 3 people arguing the position that Kreeft dislikes, and only one arguing the alternative. I think most of the best arguments for the "pro-choice" position are articulated within the book (women's rights, democracy cannot legislate morality, fetus is not truly human). If this book was written by a pro-choice apologist, I would expect these arguments to prevail. However, this is not the case and thus people should expect to see counterarguments that are well prepared and delivered. Depending on your stance, this could be a pro or a con. 4) The book is true to life as opponents attack Socrates by calling him a man without compassion; since Roe v. Wade, both sides have often viewed the other as merciless. 5) I don't know why critics say that women's rights is a non-issue in this unfolding argument. Women and their stake in this issue is the main argument of the third and forth characters introduced, Tarian and Syke. I could see how people would dislike the idea that the personhood of the fetus, and not the mother's rights, is the central factor in deciding abortion. However, Kreeft makes a case, a rather strong one, for that being the central issue on the morality of abortion. 6) Again I would like to reiterate that the book brings up a fascinating philosophical question: Just because it is legal, does that make it moral? Should the laws of a country represent moral truths? If so, what would that mean for abortion laws if abortion is immoral?
I've just come to expect 1-star ratings from some of the critics of Kreeft. I might add that as I read their criticisms they don't sound like those of someone who actually read the book. The book covers the major rhetoric that has occurred since Roe v. Wade. I like Kreeft, and thus have a bias that I admit. Nonetheless, I hope my opinion has been helpful to you.