Jane English and the Analogy of the Hypnotized Attackers

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Paper #2: Jane English and the Analogy of
the Hypnotized Attackers

Mario P. Martinez

November 6,1997

For our next paper I plan on discussing
abortion as a social issue. I want to do this in
the form of a critical paper This seems to be a
very sticky subject and is one of the topics we
had in our class that was very interesting to me
with a lot of room for interpretation as to when
it is or is not o.k. to abort the fetus if it
should ever be done at all. The argument I plan to
discuss is Jane English's analogy of the
hypnotized attackers which was not one of our
readings, but one I came across in some research I
did for this upcoming paper. This analogy has to
do with a mad scientist who abducts people,
hypnotizes them and has them attack innocent
passerbys. A major part of the analogy is
realizing that these people who are attacking
innocents are themselves innocent and would not be
committing the acts of violence that they are
guilty of if they were not hypnotized and were
able to act on their own volition. They are acting
on the will of the mad scientist. He is the only
bad person in this whole scenario. The innocent
hypnotized attackers are representative of the
fetus and the helpless attackee is representative
of the woman or women who are victims of the
unwanted pregnancy. The analogy is to determine
the measure of force that can that can be used by
the attacker to protect one'sself from the
undesired attack of an undesirable pregnancy
depending on what kind of damage the pregnancy may
cause. I think that this analogy does a good job
in deciding how to deal with the burden of
pregnancy during more than just the moment of
attack. Her narrative can grasp or deal with a
lot of possible situations.

Jane English argues that if a fetus is a
person, abortion is still justifiable in many
cases and if a fetus is not a person, killing it
is still wrong in many cases (pg. 4). When I
first read this , or heard, this passage I felt
that it was fairly wishy- washy. I felt that her
argument really did not have a stand, but how can
you when you are not truly pro- choice or
pro-life. She seems to be saying that there must
be a good reason to end a life and not just for
the sheer convenience of it. I completely agree.
Also, with this argument came the concept of
personhood. This concept seems to be what liberals
and
conservatives are trying to define because it can
be stated at that exact moment when a fetus
becomes a person and therefore when abortion
becomes murder, so this would help decide how far
up to term when a fetus can be aborted, if at all.
Further can be added to this, such as the morality
of even killing a non- person, but we will not get
into that now. To deal with this argument Jane
English came up with the analogy of the hypnotized
attacker. In this analogy a mad scientist abducts
innocent people, hypnotizes them to do his evil
bidding, which in this case is to spring from
concealed places and attack other innocents (pg.
5). In this analogy it must be understood that the
innocent hypnotized attacker is the fetus. The
innocent attackee is the mother to be. The mad
scientist who plants the seed of dementia into the
hypnotized attacker can only be the father, but
that really has no bearing on the analogy. Now,
this is just the introduction. Now we deal with
the concept of self defense, because if you are
being attacked by these crazed innocents then it
is safe to say that you have every right to defend
yourself even if the person you may have to stop
by violent force is innocent and would not want to
hurt or attack you ordinarily. You would even have
the right to kill this person if necessary to save
yourself from serious injury. Remember that you
are not the malicious one and even the attacker is
not attacking out of malice, only the mad
scientist is malignant. But now we want to know
how violent you should act to...
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