Item description for Three Approaches to Abortion: A Thoughtful and Compassionate Guide to Today's Most Controversial Issue by Peter Kreeft...
Overview An author and professor presents the objective logical arguments against abortion; the subjective, personal motives of the pro-life position; and how these two factors influence the dialog between the two sides of the abortion issue.
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Studio: Ignatius Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.05" Width: 5.24" Height: 0.46" Weight: 0.4 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 2003
Publisher Ignatius Press
ISBN 0898709156 ISBN13 9780898709155 UPC 008987091561
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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.
Peter Kreeft has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Three Approaches to Abortion: A Thoughtful and Compassionate Guide to Today's Most Controversial Issue?
Neither thoughtful nor compassionate Dec 15, 2005
Kreeft's idea of "compassion" seems to be that he does not think that people who support and exercise abortion rights are murderers; rather they are just very very stupid. The millions of people who think that this is a serious issue worth thinking about will see little "compassion" in Kreeft's studied ignorance of the numerous philosophical arguments in print about abortion.
Even the main title is deceptive; one might think that Kreeft is offering and comparing three *perspectives on* abortion, like "it's always wrong," "it's always right," and some intermediate view (or even, "why it's *really* wrong"). But actually what he offers are three different ways of saying that abortion rights supporters are, respectively
(1) stupid, because they don't know what human beings are. Here he ignores the long argued distinction between a human *body* (including fetuses, bodies in irreversible comas, etc.) and a human *person*. See for example the works of Mary Ann Warren, David Boonin, etc.
(2) wrong (for a variety of reasons, but essentially coming down to because Kreeft thinks that God says so, and that God will hurt you if you disagree with him), and
(3) stupid again (because Kreeft thinks only a self-contradicting relativist would disagree with him).
Kreeft frequently throws in unsubstantiated invective against U.S. culture and media, which he thinks is conspiring to silence his point of view. For example, on p.44 he claims that George Grant's book Grand Illusions (which Kreeft's text mispells as Grand Illusion), an "expose" of Mararet Sanger and Planned Parenthood, is censored by the American Library Association and cannot be found in U.S. public libraries. But a quick search of a national database (OCLC) reveals that at least 420 libraries, almost half of them public, own copies of Grant's book. For comparison, each Dilbert book by Scott Adams tends to be owned by between 600-1500 libraries. Adam's work is much funnier than Grant's, or Keeft's for that matter, and also deals with topics that millions of people deal with daily, instead of a major but not pervasive social institution, so 420 copies is pretty good in comparison. Incidentally, Grant's book accuses Margaret Sanger and PP of racism. She may indeed have much to answer for on this point, but given that on pp.202-203 Grant commends western imperialism for providing an umbrella for missionaries, claiming that non-christians everywhere had no "respect for innocent life...until the advent of the gospel" and that it was good for missionaries to "abolish heathen customs" of all sorts, replacing them with clearly superior Western customs, his attack on racism seems a bit hypocritical, and Kreeft's high praise for this work is suspicious.
On p132 Kreeft claims that "The Silent Scream" cannot be seen on television in the U.S. However if this is truly so, then the pro-choice conspiracy is vast indeed, reaching into the many catholic-owned and -oriented TV stations around the nation, and Kreeft should direct his complaints against them, not any "liberal media." If on the other hand they do show it on occasion, then Kreeft's claim is false.
Lies like this pervade the work. Kreeft's earlier work on this topic, The Unaborted Socrates, is at least occasionally humorous and has an interesting portrayal of a Socratic dialogue; it still ignores many serious arguments on the opposing side, assuming that all abortion supporters are relativists, but at least it makes fewer other gaffes. The current work cannot be recommended even to dedicated pro-lifers; they will find that this work simply preaches to the choir, and will not help them understand how to communicate their views to their opponents, or shed any light on why the rest of the world doesn't see things their way.
Fascinating, but a little misleading May 2, 2004
If there were a Peter Kreeft fan club, I'd be the president. Kreeft, a Catholic professor of philosophy at Boston College, has a brilliant command of logic. And he makes it accessible to the average reader.
"Three Approaches to Abortion" is divided into three parts. The first is Kreeft's main argument, his "Apple Argument Against Abortion" which argues in 15 steps from the premise that "we know what an apple is" to the conclusion that "abortion must be outlawed." The second section is an essay by Kreeft describing 15 motivations behind the pro-life movement. The third section is a delightful (imaginary) dialogue between a pro-lifer and a pro-choicer. In it, Kreeft refutes the 15 most common pro-choice arguments.
There is no doubt that "Three Approaches to Abortion" is a great read and a welcome contribution to the pro-life cause. Kreeft portrays the book as "thoughtful and compassionate" and says right in the preface that the book is meant to be read by pro-choicers.
I found in this book an abundance of thoughtfulness but, unfortunately, a lack of compassion. He makes great points throughout the book -- inspiring many "Eureka!" moments in me -- but I think he lets his moral disgust with abortion get the best of him.
Particularly in section 2 (which he admittedly calls a "pro-life motivational map") as well as in a brief "historical postscript" to section 1, Kreeft's logical arguments give way to polemical attacks against the "culture of death." Which I totally agree with! My only problem is that they'd probably serve to offend any pro-choicers and confuse any atheists who may read the book.
It's unfortunate, because Kreeft is a great, great writer and philosopher. If you're pro-life, don't miss "Three Approaches to Abortion"! If you're pro-choice, buy the book and skip section 2.
Arguments for Life Feb 14, 2003
This is not the first book the well-known and prolific American philosopher has written on the subject of abortion. In 1983 he wrote The Unaborted Socrates: A Dramatic Debate on the Issues Surrounding Abortion (Inter-varsity Press). Indeed, abortion featured partially in other works, such as A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews With an Absolutist (Ignatius Press, 1999).
But as Kreeft says, abortion continues to be "the most divisive public issue of our time". Thus another look at the subject is in order.
This volume, as the title indicates, is divided into three main sections. The first offers a philosophical argument against abortion. The second affirms pro-lifers as to why the debate is important and why they must continue in the battle. The third deals with objections from the pro-abortion side.
Part one of this book makes the philosophical case against abortion. Philosophical argumentation can be quite technical and convoluted, involving multiple steps, seeking the validity of an argument or the soundness of a premise. And Kreeft is a philosopher. But most people are not. Thus it is the task of Kreeft to take relatively complex concepts in logic and philosophy and make them understandable to the common reader. This he does quite well.
Generally any philosophical argument takes some amount of time to elaborate. Kreeft's 15 points take some 30 pages to unfold. But the are easy to understand and flow easily one to the other. Professional philosophers may demure, saying the argument is too simplistic, makes too many assumptions, or is not carefully nuanced enough. Possibly, yes. But Kreeft does seek to cover all the bases, and he deliberately has chosen not to go down the technical path.
The fifteen steps perhaps can be boiled down to several propositions: -human rights are based on the condition of human reality (the nature of who we are) -morality is based on higher law, or metaphysics -metaphysics, not might, should determine morality -morality (rights) should extend to all persons, not just some -if we are unsure if the unborn are persons, then we should not abort them
If that does not seem like much of an argument, read the 30 pages and see how he carefully weaves his case together.
Part two of the book is meant to rally the troops to not give up on this vital issue. It makes clear why the debate is so important, and how it in many ways impacts of so many other crucial issues. Many areas, such as family, society, sexuality, human meaning and purpose, and even human survival, are impacted by the way we think about, and legislate on, abortion. If we give up on defending the rights of the unborn, we have given way a huge amount of moral ground. To surrender here opens up all kinds of other abuses of human rights.
Part three of the book takes on many of the common objections raised by the pro-abortion camp. It comes in the form of a dialogue between Kreeft and an opponent, a format Kreeft has successfully used in many of his earlier books. Engaging, witty and intellectually cogent, the argument made provides much useful information to the pro-life side.
The overall effect of these three sections is a strongly and tightly argued case for the protection of unborn life, and a refutation of many of the pro-abortion positions. While the book is written for people in both camps, one assumes it will mainly be read by like-minded thinkers. However, those on the other side who want to approach the issue with an open mind will find much to think about here, and perhaps even a few may find themselves changing their minds.
Ridiculous Jan 23, 2003
It's impossible for this author to write about and understand something he's never been through.
The argueements presented in this book are less than valid and the writing it self is weak. I gave this book away to a pro-life friend of mine, and told her that she may like it (cause I certainly didn't). She later came to me and said, "You know, just because I am Pro-life does not mean I will automatically like everything written by a pro-lifer."
An intellectual war on abortion! Dec 23, 2002
Kreeft believes that ideas really are powerful things and he certainly proves it in this book. By using logic and with a firm grasp on language Kreeft molds an argument stronger than most others against abortion. In fact, he is still waiting for someone to refute his "apple" argument.
If you want to find the logical basis of opposition to abortion, then you will find none better than within these pages. Kreeft is a masterful apologist and proves without a doubt that abortion is the greatest evil mankind has ever thrust upon itself...so far.