This is one of those head scratching moves that makes me think I must be missing something obvious, but I've seen in a few places lately people defending the claim that the fetus has intrinsic value (or is intrinsically valuable) because it is a potential person. It seems that the thought is that something is intrinsically valuable because it can become something else, but I would have thought that this would be a clear case of instrumental value. It's valuable as an instrument in the production of some other thing.
Yes, I realize that something can be both intrinsically and instrumentally valuable, but we're looking for a reason to say that the fetus has the first sort of value and while I'm not denying that it has that sort of value, it looks like we're looking for the explanation in the wrong sort of place.
Perhaps the thought is that the fetus is not an instrument to something that is intrinsically valuable because the fetus doesn't undergo substantial change in the production of a person? Still seems dubious.
Perhaps the thought is that the fetus is intrinsically valuable because there's something intrinsic to the fetus that is what drives the changes by which something of intrinsic value comes to be? Perhaps, but then it just seems like the fetus has instrumental value in large part because of its intrinsic makeup. Still not seeing the move to intrinsic value.
I think Jeff McMahan's view is that all you get out of potential F-hood is instrumental value and I sort of thought that was obvious, but I'm left scratching my head because a number of quite clever and intelligent people have been saying otherwise. Thoughts? [Not an invitation to tell me about how wonderful and valuable the fetus is apart from its status as a potential person. This is a question about the concept of potential F-hood, not a question about fetuses, really.]