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Lady Parts: The metaphysics of pregnancy

Lady Parts: The metaphysics of pregnancy
Lady Parts: The metaphysics of pregnancy
What is the metaphysical relationship between the fetus/embryo and the pregnant organism? In this paper I apply a substance metaphysics view developed by Barry Smith and Berit Brogaard to argue, on the basis of topological connectedness, that fetuses/embryos are Lady-Parts: part of the maternal organism up until birth. This leaves two options. Either mammalian organisms begin at birth, or we revise our conception of organisms such that mammalian organisms can be part of other mammals. The first option has some advantages: it is numerically neat; aligns with an intuitive picture of organisms as physically distinct individuals; and ties ‘coming into existence’ to a suitably recognisable and important event: birth. But it denies that the fetus survives birth, or that human organisms existed prior to their birth. The second option allows us to recognise that human organisms exist prior to and survive their birth, but at a cost: it leaves the question of when an organism comes into existence unanswered, and demands potentially far-reaching conceptual revision across a range of domains.
165-187
Kingma, Elselijn
24f1e065-3004-452c-868d-9aee3087bf63
Kingma, Elselijn
24f1e065-3004-452c-868d-9aee3087bf63

Kingma, Elselijn (2018) Lady Parts: The metaphysics of pregnancy. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement, 82, 165-187. (doi:10.1017/S1358246118000115).

Record type: Article

Abstract

What is the metaphysical relationship between the fetus/embryo and the pregnant organism? In this paper I apply a substance metaphysics view developed by Barry Smith and Berit Brogaard to argue, on the basis of topological connectedness, that fetuses/embryos are Lady-Parts: part of the maternal organism up until birth. This leaves two options. Either mammalian organisms begin at birth, or we revise our conception of organisms such that mammalian organisms can be part of other mammals. The first option has some advantages: it is numerically neat; aligns with an intuitive picture of organisms as physically distinct individuals; and ties ‘coming into existence’ to a suitably recognisable and important event: birth. But it denies that the fetus survives birth, or that human organisms existed prior to their birth. The second option allows us to recognise that human organisms exist prior to and survive their birth, but at a cost: it leaves the question of when an organism comes into existence unanswered, and demands potentially far-reaching conceptual revision across a range of domains.

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Accepted/In Press date: 23 November 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 3 July 2018
Published date: July 2018

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Local EPrints ID: 422373
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/422373
PURE UUID: 3210d290-59ff-4199-95c9-7ed0b579275b

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Date deposited: 23 Jul 2018 16:30
Last modified: 21 Nov 2021 12:51

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