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The moral significance of being born
  1. Neil Levy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Neil Levy, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia; neil.levy{at}


This paper is a response to Giubilini and Minerva's defence of infanticide. I argue that any account of moral worth or moral rights that depends on the intrinsic properties of individuals alone is committed to agreeing with Giubilini and Minerva that birth cannot by itself make a moral difference to the moral worth of the infant. However, I argue that moral worth need not depend on intrinsic properties alone. It might also depend on relational and social properties. I claim that the in principle availability of neonates to participate in scaffolded interactions with carers might plausibly be seen as contributing to their moral worth.

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