This paper starts from three assumptions: that we are essentially human organisms, that we start to exist at conception, and that we retain our identity throughout our lives. The identity claim provides the background to argue that it is irrational for a person to claim that it would be impermissible to kill her now but permissible to have killed her at an earlier age. The notion of “full moral status” as an ascertainable property is questioned and shown to be dependent on previously accepted moral norms. It is concluded that the exclusion of the very young from the scope of the norm of common morality that prohibits the killing of the innocent amounts to discrimination on the basis of age.


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pp. 311-320
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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