What matters, and why?

Let’s do a thought experiment. Suppose a 24 hour period during which every heterosexual copulation on the planet resulted in conception and then, 48 hours later, spontaneous abortion. Would that be a tragedy?

Then suppose a 24 hour period during which every infant born between 48 and 72 hours earlier, died. Would that be a tragedy?

It seems to me that people who think an embryo is just as important as a neonate would answer yes to the first. But what I wonder is, why? Why would that be a tragedy? More particularly, to whom would it be a tragedy? Can something be a tragedy to no one and still be a tragedy?

The problem is that no one would know about the first event. (Bracket people who are trying to conceive and fail on this particular occasion, for the sake of argument, because that’s a separate issue.) No one would know it had happened, including, obviously, the microscopic cluster of cells it happened to. If no one knows about it, and it has no effect on the outside world (thus being unlike a tree falling in the forest unheard by any humans), in what sense can it be a tragedy?

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