Since 1973 the practice of infanticide for some severely handicapped newborns has been receiving more open discussion and defence in the literature on medical ethics. A recent and important argument for the permissibility of infanticide relies crucially on a particular concept of personhood that excludes the theological. This paper attempts to show that the dispute between the proponents of infanticide and their religious opponents cannot be resolved because one side's perspective on the infant is shaped by a metaphysics that is emphatically rejected by the other. In such a situation philosophical argument is powerless to bring about a resolution because there can be no refutation of one side by the other.
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