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Nine months

Nine months
Nine months

When did we begin to exist? Barry Smith and Berit Brogaard argue that a new human organism comes into existence neither earlier nor later than the moment of gastrulation: 16 days after conception. Several critics have responded that the onset of the organism must happen earlier; closer to conception. This article makes a radically different claim: if we accept Smith and Brogaard's ontological commitments, then human organisms start, on average, roughly nine months after conception. The main point of contention is whether the fetus is or is not part of the maternal organism. Smith and Brogaard argue that it is not; I demonstrate that it is. This claim in combination with Smith and Brogaard's own criteria commits to the view that human organisms begin, precisely, at birth.

embryo, fetal development, fetus, foster, metaphysics, ontology, substance
0360-5310
371–386
Kingma, Elselijn
24f1e065-3004-452c-868d-9aee3087bf63
Kingma, Elselijn
24f1e065-3004-452c-868d-9aee3087bf63

Kingma, Elselijn (2020) Nine months. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 45 (3), 371–386. (doi:10.1093/jmp/jhaa005).

Record type: Article

Abstract

When did we begin to exist? Barry Smith and Berit Brogaard argue that a new human organism comes into existence neither earlier nor later than the moment of gastrulation: 16 days after conception. Several critics have responded that the onset of the organism must happen earlier; closer to conception. This article makes a radically different claim: if we accept Smith and Brogaard's ontological commitments, then human organisms start, on average, roughly nine months after conception. The main point of contention is whether the fetus is or is not part of the maternal organism. Smith and Brogaard argue that it is not; I demonstrate that it is. This claim in combination with Smith and Brogaard's own criteria commits to the view that human organisms begin, precisely, at birth.

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Accepted/In Press date: 18 November 2018
Published date: 21 May 2020
Keywords: embryo, fetal development, fetus, foster, metaphysics, ontology, substance

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 426428
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/426428
ISSN: 0360-5310
PURE UUID: 38e59473-4eb6-4c1a-ac12-31d2acf85423

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 27 Nov 2018 17:30
Last modified: 25 Nov 2021 19:19

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