<!DOCTYPE html><HTML lang="en"> <head><meta charset="utf-8"> <title>Flower (Michael J.) - Neuromaturation and the Moral Status of Human Fetal Life (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_21/PaperSummary_21987.htm">Neuromaturation and the Moral Status of Human Fetal Life</A></th></tr> <tr><th><A HREF = "../../Authors/F/Author_Flower (Michael J.).htm">Flower (Michael J.)</a></th></tr> <tr><th>Source: Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 1985 Aug;10(3):237-51</th></tr> <tr><th>Paper - Abstract</th></tr> </TABLE> </CENTER> <P><CENTER><TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=800><tr><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_21/PaperSummary_21987.htm">Paper Summary</A></td><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_21/PaperCitings_21987.htm">Books / Papers Citing this Paper</A></td><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_21/PapersToNotes_21987.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>Publisher s Abstract</U><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>The fetal human possesses an active central nervous system from at least the eighth week of development. Until mid-gestation the most significant center of activity is the brainstem. By the end of the first trimester, it appears that the brainstem could be acting as a rudimentary modulator of sensory information and motor activity. </li><li>What importance ought to be attached to such regulatory activity is uncertain. Some argue that it represents a level of integrated activity sufficient to bolster an argument for conferring some measure of standing at this point. </li><li>Our thinking about sentience is not advanced a great deal, as we as yet have no good way of talking about it at the brainstem level. </li><li>As for the neocortex, available evidence indicates that it does not become a functional part of the neuraxis until at least mid-gestation. It is not until then that the thalamus  the major gateway for sensory input to the <a name="1"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1013.htm">cerebrum</A><SUP>1</SUP>  makes its first afferent contacts with the neocortex.</li><li><b><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P21987_2">KIE</A></U><SUB>2</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P21987_2"></A></b>: A review is provided of what is known about the development of the central nervous system of the human <a name="2"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_71.htm">fetus</A><SUP>3</SUP>. Four processes are featured: <ol type="i"><li>The appearance of fetal motor activity; </li><li>Development of the neocortex; </li><li>Establishment of a connection between the neocortex and its major input channel, the thalamus; and </li><li>Maturation of the electrical activity of the brain. </ol>Very tentative observations are made concerning the implications of neuromaturational events for the development of fetal sentience and fetal pain. </li></ol></FONT><BR><U>Author s Introduction</U><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>The question "When does human life begin?" has become the well-known and controversial encapsulation of a central issue in the conflict over abortion the moral status of <a name="3"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_12/Notes_1243.htm">embryonic/fetal</A><SUP>4</SUP> life. </li><li>From one perspective the question as put is thought to frame the issue adequately. In this view personhood is a matter of natural objectivity; we are simply presented with the fact of full humanness or personhood  an intrinsic and scientifically discoverable property emerging during the course of a continuous ontogenetic process. </li><li>However, there is a problem with this notion of intrinsic personhood, and it is deciding which of several different suggested properties is the one "real" answer to when a particular and personal human life has begun. </li><li>Is it possession of the unique human genome achieved after fertilization, loss of <a name="4"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_12/Notes_1243.htm">embryonic</A><SUP>5</SUP> ability to twin (i.e. developmental individuality) roughly two weeks later, appearance of fetal motility at six to seven weeks of gestation, emergence of unmistakably human form a few weeks later still, first awareness, or birth? </li><li>In deciding, one must give reasons for one's choice and thereby necessarily introduce "extra-biological" dimensions as part of the choosing. As a result, the biological indicators come to serve as little more than the material referents for these reasons. </li><li>The recognition that reasoned choices among contending properties must be made has led many to focus precisely on those reasons, and to claim that the properties whereby we understand and value prenatal personhood are not those discoverable by science but those constituted within a social fabric, and most properly by those who are directly involved with the <a name="5"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_71.htm">fetus</A><SUP>6</SUP> before and after its birth (Solomon, 1983, p.220).</li></ol></FONT><hr><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><B>Comment: </B><ul type="disc"><li>Sub-title "Fetal personhood: an intrinsic property or a matter of multiple attributions?" </li><li>See <a name="W3783W"></a><A HREF = "http://www.violence.de/prescott/letters/MJFlower.pdf" TARGET = "_top">Link</A> </li></ul><BR><BR><HR><BR><U><B>In-Page Footnotes</U></B><a name="On-Page_Link_P21987_2"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P21987_2"><B>Footnote 2</B></A></U>: I don t know what this stands for!<BR><BR><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="2018-08-02T09:45" pubdate>02/08/2018 09:45:33</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>