<!DOCTYPE html><HTML lang="en"> <head><meta charset="utf-8"> <title>Anscombe (G.E.M.) - Were You a Zygote? (Theo Todman's Book Collection - Paper Abstracts) </title> <link href="../../TheosStyle.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"><link rel="shortcut icon" href="../../TT_ICO.png" /></head> <BODY> <CENTER> <div id="header"><HR><h1>Theo Todman's Web Page - Paper Abstracts</h1><HR></div><A name="Top"></A> <TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950> <tr><th><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_12/PaperSummary_12817.htm">Were You a Zygote?</A></th></tr> <tr><th><A HREF = "../../Authors/A/Author_Anscombe (G.E.M.).htm">Anscombe (G.E.M.)</a></th></tr> <tr><th>Source: Anscombe (G.E.M) - Human Life, Action and Ethics</th></tr> <tr><th>Paper - Abstract</th></tr> </TABLE> </CENTER> <P><CENTER><TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=800><tr><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_12/PaperSummary_12817.htm">Paper Summary</A></td><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_12/PaperCitings_12817.htm">Books / Papers Citing this Paper</A></td><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_12/PapersToNotes_12817.htm">Notes Citing this Paper</A></td><td><A HREF="#ColourConventions">Text Colour-Conventions</a></td></tr></TABLE></CENTER></P> <hr><P><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><u>Notes</u><ol type="I"><li><u>Section I</u><ul type="disc"><li>The <a name="1"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>1</SUP> is an exception to the usual procedure whereby a new cell comes into existence from the division of an old cell, since it is formed from sperm & ovum. </li><li>Textbooks claim that this is the beginning of a new human individual, thereby forgetting about identical <a name="2"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1173.htm">twins</A><SUP>2</SUP>. </li><li>These arise from the cleavage of the <a name="3"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>3</SUP> into two cell-clusters before thirteen days gestation. There are still < 10<sup>4</sup> cells at this stage whereas the human adult has of the order of 10<sup>14</sup> cells. </li><li>If you are an identical twin, then if you were once a <a name="4"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>4</SUP>, then you and your twin were once jointly that <a name="5"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>5</SUP>. </li><li>The <a name="6"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>6</SUP> is alive, a human thing, a new beginning of human life and not a part of a human being. </li><li>There is an objection to saying that the <a name="7"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>7</SUP> is <u>a</u> <em>human being</em>  a whole new human entity . This is because what we mean by this is a <em>man</em> (Mensch, homo, )  a <em>human</em> (as English lacks the term). Anscombe s "<a name="8"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1173.htm">Twinning</A><SUP>8</SUP>" argument  we are to imagine <a name="9"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1173.htm">twins</A><SUP>9</SUP> B & C resulting from <a name="10"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>10</SUP> A, with <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P12817_11">neither B nor C being identical to A</A></U><SUB>11</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P12817_11"></A>  runs as follows, We have to choose one of:- <ol type="1"><li>A, not yet divided, was already two, so was already a pair of humans, B & C.</li><li>A was just one human, but became two by another growing out of it. </li><li>A was just one human, but became two by division as an amoeba does. </li><li>A was neither a human, nor a pair of humans, but (only) a  whole human substantial entity . </li></ol> </li><li>Anscombe now considers these options:- <ol type="1"><li><b>Already two</b>: <ul type="square"><li>There is no evidence for the first option in humans. She cites <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P12817_12">Prof. Jerome Lejeune</A></U><SUB>12</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P12817_12"></A>. It seems that in some species of armadillo the egg always splits into four  so <a name="11"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1173.htm">twinning</A><SUP>13</SUP> is genetically-imprinted and we could tell  from the moment of conception  that <a name="12"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1173.htm">twinning</A><SUP>14</SUP> is about to occur; but, there is no evidence of this in human beings. </li><li>However, as this is an open questions, Anscombe notes that certain philosophical worries concerning the  <FONT COLOR = "800080">odd logical status of the <a name="13"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>15</SUP>  this <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P12817_16">human entity which is an individual substance, not part of one, and not <u>a</u> human</A></U><SUB>16</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P12817_16"></A></FONT> would disappear were it to be proved true. </li></ul></li><li><b>Budding</b>: <ul type="square"><li>Would again be acceptable for <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P12817_17">not raising awkward conceptual issues</A></U><SUB>17</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P12817_17"></A>. </li><li>But, again, there is no evidence in its favour. </li></ul></li><li><b>Division</b>: <ul type="square"><li>Anscombe is  disposed to dismiss this (option) out of hand , but admits it requires discussion. </li><li>In the case of the amoeba, there s no disputing that we start with one amoeba and end up with two. </li><li>But, in the case of human <a name="14"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1173.htm">twinning</A><SUP>18</SUP>, it s precisely the point at issue whether we start off with a human.</li><li>What account could we give of it becoming two humans?</li><li>Neither of the two resulting <a name="15"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygotes</A><SUP>19</SUP> can be identified as the (supposed) original human as they can t <em>both</em> be so, as they are not identical to one another.</li><li>We might say  she claims  that each <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P12817_20"><em>had</em> been</A></U><SUB>20</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P12817_20"></A> the same human as the <a name="16"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>21</SUP>, and therefore the same human as the other  though they are not the same human now. </li><li>But what happened to this original <a name="17"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>22</SUP>  did it cease to be, like a parent amoeba?</li><li>Anscombe repeats the assertion that the present non-identity of B and C does not <em>prove</em> that they were not <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P12817_23">once identical to A</A></U><SUB>23</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P12817_23"></A> and hence to one another. </li><li>Nor  she seems to say  does it prove that they <em>may</em> have been identical to A. </li><li>Indeed, before A split  whether A be a <a name="18"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>24</SUP> or an amoeba  <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P12817_25">neither B nor C existed</A></U><SUB>25</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P12817_25"></A>. </li><li>Should we say that any cell  such as an amoeba  that divides does not cease to exist, but continues on as two rather than one  and continues to exist in (or as) its multitude of simultaneous descendants?</li><li>She makes an analogy between Adam and the amoeba  we are sometimes said <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P12817_26">all to be Adam</A></U><SUB>26</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P12817_26"></A>; yet, Adam died, but the amoeba did not die. </li><li>Anscombe <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P12817_27">sees a dis-analogy</A></U><SUB>27</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P12817_27"></A> between  or at least rejects the analogy between  the case of the amoeba and the human <a name="19"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>28</SUP>:- <ol type="i"><li>Basically, the key difference is that by the time the <a name="20"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>29</SUP> is multi-celled, there s a distinction to be drawn between the cells and what they <a name="21"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_62.htm">constitute</A><SUP>30</SUP>; but, this is not the case with the amoeba for which a single cell just <em>is</em> the amoeba. </li><li>So, while neither the <a name="22"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>31</SUP> nor the amoeba <a name="23"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_67.htm">die</A><SUP>32</SUP> (strictly-speaking) when division occurs  they both just cease to be  what continues on has a different connection to what went before in the two cases. <BR>&rarr; What follows amoeba division is more amoebas  a continuation of amoeba life. <BR>&rarr; What follows <a name="24"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>33</SUP> division is two new humans (eventually, at least). </li><li>So, while it s true that the cells of the <a name="25"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1173.htm">twins</A><SUP>34</SUP> are descended from just one cell, the two new humans (thought of as such) are not. </li><li>One cluster of cells persists as two clusters of cells  which are its descendants  but even if the <a name="26"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>35</SUP> pre-division <em>had been</em> a human, it would not persist as two new humans. </ol> </li></ul></li><li><b>Non-human</b>: <ul type="square"><li>This seems to be Anscombe s preferred option, but she has no more to say on it. </li></ul> </li></ol> </li></ul> </li><li><u>Section II</u><ul type="disc"><li>Can we say that I was once the sperm and egg that came to form the <a name="27"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>36</SUP> from which I developed?</li><li>The objection to this idea is that the sperm and egg were separate substances until they came to form one cell. </li><li>Cells are not usually substances  only parts thereof. The reason Anscombe gives as proof is that of cell differentiation once division proceeds (a sufficient way). The purpose of this process is the production of a structured living organism organised to use the differentiated cells. The kind to which the organism belongs determines the differentiation, assuming it proceeds normally. </li><li>Anscombe makes a couple of comments the relevance of which I m uncertain, though presumably they are in support of the above  proof :- <ol type="i"><li>Textbooks of genetics everywhere assume  the norms of health and reproduction of undefective specimens of a kind guide research. </li><li>In such books  syndromes don t apply to  normally or successfully operating physiques or powers . </li></ol></li><li>So, if a <a name="28"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>37</SUP> is not already a human, its development cannot be because of its membership of the species. It is that of the individuals from whence the gametes came, and also of the individual(s) into which it will develop if it does so normally. </li><li>Anscombe draws a distinction between  a human substance and  <em>a</em> human . <ol type="i"><li>A <a name="29"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>38</SUP> is the start of a new human substance.</li><li><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P12817_39">I was that zygote</A></U><SUB>39</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P12817_39"></A>.</li><li>That <a name="30"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>40</SUP> was the beginning of the human being that I am. </li><li>If the human substance that I am did indeed begin with the <a name="31"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>41</SUP>, then it was possible for me to exist then without being <em>a</em> human. I was simply  something human . </li><li>She claims that <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P12817_42">one can become two</A></U><SUB>42</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P12817_42"></A>, but that <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P12817_43">two cannot become one</A></U><SUB>43</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P12817_43"></A>. </li></ol></li><li>Anscombe continues her  fusion analogy by considering two <a name="32"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1171.htm">lumps of clay</A><SUP>44</SUP>:- <ol type="i"><li>Two lumps of clay can become one; the one lump had been two, but became one by the two being pressed together leading to the removal of a boundary. </li><li>But this isn t the case when the sperm and egg become a <a name="33"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>45</SUP>. The <a name="34"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>46</SUP> wasn t previously two cells, by analogy with the once lump having previously been two lumps. </li><li>The reason is that there is no substantial change in the case of the clay. </li><li>But in the case of the <a name="35"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>47</SUP>, a new organism  with a new genetic makeup  comes into existence, ready become a new member or members of the species of its parents. </li><li>The lives of the sperm and egg are over, replaced by the new life of a new individual  the <a name="36"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>48</SUP>. </li></ol> </li><li>Anscombe <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P12817_49">claims that</A></U><SUB>49</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P12817_49"></A>  life=existence . <ol type="i"><li>In starting to live, the <a name="37"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>50</SUP> has started to exist. </li><li>Materially, it was the two former cells, but not so in form and existence. </li><li>In form it is a new kind from its predecessors, which weren t organisms just needing nutrition to grow into a certain pattern.</li><li>In existence, its life (or <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P12817_51">its being alive</A></U><SUB>51</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P12817_51"></A>) is not their life. </li></ol></li><li>But, the division of the <a name="38"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>52</SUP> into <a name="39"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1173.htm">twins</A><SUP>53</SUP> <em>is</em>  Anscombe claims  like the division of a lump of clay into two lumps:- <ol type="i"><li>The life is split in two only insofar as a living thing is split in two. </li><li>But after the split we can t say we have two animals. </li><li>We can only say we have two materially distinct carriers of life (both of) <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P12817_54">which</A></U><SUB>54</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P12817_54"></A> started with the formation of the <a name="40"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</A><SUP>55</SUP>. </li></ol> </li></ul> </li></ol><hr><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><B>Comment: </B><BR><BR>Originally a lecture given to the RIP in 1982.<BR><BR><HR><BR><U><B>In-Page Footnotes</U></B><a name="On-Page_Link_P12817_11"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P12817_11"><B>Footnote 11</B></A></U>: Is this taken as obvious, a premise, or the conclusion? <a name="On-Page_Link_P12817_12"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P12817_12"><B>Footnote 12</B></A></U>: <ul type="disc"><li>See <a name="W3810W"></a><A HREF = "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%A9r%C3%B4me_Lejeune" TARGET = "_top">Prof. Jerome Lejeune</A>.<BR> </li><li>Obviously any scientific opinion from someone who died in 1994, and was making this suggestion in 1972 (ie. 10 years before Anscombe was writing in 1982) will be  dated . </li><li>Lejeune was also a Catholic anti-abortionist so likely to be amicable to Anscombe s views  though I think she is usually rigorously fair. </li><li>He features at the start of <a name="53"></a>"<A HREF = "../../Abstracts/Abstract_12/Abstract_12818.htm">Anscombe (G.E.M.) - Embryos and Final Causes</A>". </li></ul> <a name="On-Page_Link_P12817_16"></A><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P12817_16"><B>Footnote 16</B></A></U>: This is option 4. <a name="On-Page_Link_P12817_17"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P12817_17"><B>Footnote 17</B></A></U>: <ul type="disc"><li>Anscombe doesn t spell this out.</li><li>However, it s easy to see why the problem disappears. </li><li>If  budding occurs, then the twin is logically distinct from its  parent , from which it arises essentially by asexual reproduction. </li><li>The  parent <a name="41"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</a> persists, but loses part of its matter which forms a new, numerically distinct, individual. </li><li>It is thus a case of asymmetric <a name="42"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_33.htm">fission</a>. </li></ul><a name="On-Page_Link_P12817_20"></A><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P12817_20"><B>Footnote 20</B></A></U>: <ul type="disc"><li>How is this supposed to work?</li><li>Maybe see the next footnote. </li></ul> <a name="On-Page_Link_P12817_23"></A><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P12817_23"><B>Footnote 23</B></A></U>: <ul type="disc"><li>This seems to endorse heterodox accounts of the logic of identity over time. </li><li>Presumably, the suggestion is <a name="43"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_88.htm">occasional identity</a>.</li><li>Anscombe was married to <a name="54"></a><A HREF = "../../Authors/G/Author_Geach (Peter).htm">Peter Geach</A>, a famous supporter of <a name="44"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_96.htm">Relative Identity</a>. </li></ul><a name="On-Page_Link_P12817_25"></A><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P12817_25"><B>Footnote 25</B></A></U>: This seems to ignore the possibility of <a name="45"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_42.htm">perdurantism</a>. <a name="On-Page_Link_P12817_26"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P12817_26"><B>Footnote 26</B></A></U>: <ul type="disc"><li>What purpose does this doubtful analogy serve? </li><li>Does she  or those who use this figure of speech  think there was a real Adam? </li><li>Does this matter for her argument?</li></ul> <a name="On-Page_Link_P12817_27"></A><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P12817_27"><B>Footnote 27</B></A></U>: <ul type="disc"><li>I think I understand her argument, but have completely re-stated it.</li><li>But, re-reading it, it may not be right. </li><li>I ll try to fix this after reviewing the entire paper. </li></ul> <a name="On-Page_Link_P12817_39"></A><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P12817_39"><B>Footnote 39</B></A></U>: <ul type="disc"><li>Anscombe has this as a conditional, but I think she accepts this statement as a major premise. </li><li>If this is a correct interpretation, then her answer to the Essay s title  Were you a <a name="46"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</a>? is  yes . </li><li>But she denies that I was then an individual human being ( <em>a</em> human ). </li></ul> <a name="On-Page_Link_P12817_42"></A><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P12817_42"><B>Footnote 42</B></A></U>: <ul type="disc"><li>This is <a name="47"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_33.htm">fission</a>, in this case <a name="48"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1173.htm">twinning</a>.</li><li>But the point of contention is whether either fission-product can be identical to the pre-fission entity. </li><li>Looking at the parallel with fusion, it looks as though she <u>does</u> believe this to be possible. </li></ul> <a name="On-Page_Link_P12817_43"></A><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P12817_43"><B>Footnote 43</B></A></U>: <ul type="disc"><li>So, she denies that <a name="49"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_34.htm">fusion</a> is possible. </li></ul> <a name="On-Page_Link_P12817_49"></A><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P12817_49"><B>Footnote 49</B></A></U>: <ul type="disc"><li>This seems a bit blunt, not to say a conceptual confusion, so this bald statement needs unpacking. </li><li>As a Catholic, Anscombe can t hold that  life is a biological concept, since God (or Christ) is said to have life most abundantly. </li><li>So, maybe she s just saying that the aspect of life she has in mind is (the beginning of) existence. </li></ul><a name="On-Page_Link_P12817_51"></A><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P12817_51"><B>Footnote 51</B></A></U>: <ul type="disc"><li>Again this is rather succinct. </li><li>Does she mean that the three lives are numerically or qualitatively distinct? </li><li>Both statements are likely true. </li></ul> <a name="On-Page_Link_P12817_54"></A><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P12817_54"><B>Footnote 54</B></A></U>: <ul type="disc"><li>Presumably it s the  carrying of life  rather than the life itself  that started with the <a name="50"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</a>.</li><li>Since, there was one life formed when the <a name="51"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1174.htm">zygote</a> was formed, and</li><li>This one life was terminated when the two new lives of the <a name="52"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1173.htm">twins</a> took its place. </li></ul> <FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><HR></P><a name="ColourConventions"></a><p><b>Text Colour Conventions (see <A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1025.htm">disclaimer</a>)</b></p><OL TYPE="1"><LI><FONT COLOR = "0000FF">Blue</FONT>: Text by me; &copy; Theo Todman, 2018</li><LI><FONT COLOR = "800080">Mauve</FONT>: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); &copy; the author(s)</li></OL> <BR><HR><BR><CENTER> <TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950> <TR><TD WIDTH="30%">&copy; Theo Todman, June 2007 - August 2018.</TD> <TD WIDTH="40%">Please address any comments on this page to <A HREF="mailto:theo@theotodman.com">theo@theotodman.com</A>.</TD> <TD WIDTH="30%">File output: <time datetime="2018-08-02T07:50" pubdate>02/08/2018 07:50:17</time> <br><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1010.htm">Website Maintenance Dashboard</A></TD></TR> <TD WIDTH="30%"><A HREF="#Top">Return to Top of this Page</A></TD> <TD WIDTH="40%"><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1140.htm">Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page</A></TD> <TD WIDTH="30%"><A HREF="../../index.htm">Return to Theo Todman's Home Page</A></TD> </TR></TABLE></CENTER><HR> </BODY> </HTML>