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Infanticide and moral consistency
  1. Jeff McMahan
  1. Correspondence to Professor Jeff McMahan, Department of Philosophy, Rutgers, 1 Seminary Place, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA; mcmahan{at}


The aim of this essay is to show that there are no easy options for those who are disturbed by the suggestion that infanticide may on occasion be morally permissible. The belief that infanticide is always wrong is doubtfully compatible with a range of widely shared moral beliefs that underlie various commonly accepted practices. Any set of beliefs about the morality of abortion, infanticide and the killing of animals that is internally consistent and even minimally credible will therefore unavoidably contain some beliefs that are counterintuitive.

  • Philosophical Ethics
  • Abortion
  • Quality/Value of Life/Personhood
  • Embryos and Fetuses

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