an in-between move

Cool kids read The Bellman.


Don't read this blog!

I mean, thanks for dropping by my little corner of the blogospheric backwaters, but the blog you should be reading is The Bellman. The stuff I post there is much, much less likely to be imbued with dormitive powers.


[German, from zwischen, intermediate + zug, move

Literally an "in-between move". A move in a tactical sequence is called a zwischenzug* when it does not relate directly to the tactical motif in operation. |source|

image copyright TWIC

From this position, black played a zwischenzug: 19…d5
(Linares 2002, 1-0)


about your blogger

David Rowland studies philosophy at the University of Illinois - Urbana / Champaign, where he's an active member of the Graduate Employees Organization. He used to play a lot of chess, but wasn't all that good. He has a blog. And email.



Hey look, metablogging!
Low hanging Google fruit
Scary stuff, continued
All the right moves
This just in
Practical intersubjectivity for the sophisticated ...
Patriotism and the flag
Scary stuff


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$zwichenzug$ sell-out zone





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Union Label

Direct Action
Gets the Goods!


some folks I know

Mark Dilley
a daily dose of architecture
Safety Neal
January Girl
mimi jingcha
Hop, Skip, Jump
ambivalent imbroglio
Brooke & Lian


some blogs I read

strip mining for whimsy
It's Matt's World
School of Blog
Fall of the State
Dru Blood
Echidne of the Snakes
Colossal Waste of Bandwidth
Running from the Thought Police
Bionic Octopus


some philosoblogs

Fake Barn Country
Freiheit und Wissen


some labor blogs

Confined Space
Working Life
Dispatches From the Trenches
Labor Blog
Eric Lee


some A-list blogs

This Modern World
Matthew Yglesias
Andrew Sullivan
Political Animal
The Volokh Conspiracy


some other links

Rule 33
This Week in Chess
War Nerd
National Priorities Project
Bible Gateway
Internet Archive
A Weekly Dose of Architecture
Orsinal: Morning Sunshine
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Safety Sign Builder
Get Your War On


some philosoblogging

Six views about reasons
Seidman on reflection and rationality
And another thing
Tiffany's argument for strong internalism
Internalism v. Externalism
What do internalists believe anyway?
Rationalism and internalism
The experimental method in philosophy
Advertising to children
On moral skepticism
A linguistic argument
More on Williams
Williams on reasons
General and particular
Normativity and morality
Political intuitions
What it is, what it was, and what it shall be
Objectivity and morality
Thinking revolution
Abortion and coercion
Moore on torture
On the phenomenology of deliberation
Even more Deliberation Day
more Deliberation Day
Deliberation Day run-down
He made a porch for the throne where he might judge, cont.
He made a porch for the throne where he might judge
Every shepherd is an abomination
Droppin' H-bombs
ad hominem

Sunday, July 18, 2004


Abortion and coercion

It's pretty clear that the Bush Administration's objection to China's efforts to curb population growth has more to do with opposition to abortion than it does to the fact that some of those abortions are coerced. All the same, it's also pretty clear that those of us who favor legalized abortion do so largely because we see the prohibition of abortion as a way of coercing women in matters relating to the control of their own bodies. Given that, it's hard to see how we could favor coerced abortion.

But, as sometimes happens in the real world, things aren't so simple.

The population explosion in China (as in other developing countries) is really serious. If population growth doesn't get under control, and I mean soon, then the world is going to become a much worse place to live. Moreover, it doesn't look like the problem is going to solve itself, since the rational thing for any individual in a developing nation to do is to have a large family.

So what we've got is a looming catastrophe that can only be averted by reducing birth rates in developing nations, but we can't rely on individuals to make the choices that would bring about that result.

This is what philosophers call a Collective Action Problem.

One thing I don't know is how coercive China's policy is. Do the police show up in the middle of the night and drag pregnant women off to abortion clinics? Or, do authorities just do a lot of pestering and threaten not to give the family a voucher for a larger apartment? Such news reports as I've seen suggest the latter, but all of the rhetoric I've heard suggests the former.

I guess it goes without saying that the preferred policy would be to up the incentives for not having children, or for not having more than one. The hope there would be that people would then choose to limit family size of their own free will. But that seems so obvious that I don't know why China wouldn't do it, unless merely economic incentives haven't proved to be sufficient to outweigh the preference for a large family.

In such a case we'd have a true moral dilemma. Allowing the population to continue to grow would be indefensible, but so would any of the policies that might solve the problem.

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