Belief that life is in itself sacred would demand an equal respect for all life, be it vegetable, insect or animal. Given that most of us would find that view intolerable, the next logical step is to claim that there is something about human, or advanced animal, life which gives it its sanctity. This cannot be the mere fact of it being human. It is rather that human life has certain features, such as sentience and capacity for pleasure and pain which make it valuable. But then, if a human life lacks these features, it lacks what gives it its value.
The notion that human life is of itself sacred is no more than an honourable but ill-founded fiction.
Dr JULIAN BAGGINI
Editor, The Philosophers' Magazine
London N4Reuse content