Bun or bump?
Finn (Suki)
Source: Aeon, 27 July, 2017
Paper - Abstract

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  1. This is an important paper from the perspective of personal identity, and is something I intend to write on extensively1.
  2. Philosophical questions2 about pregnancy3 include that of the title of this Paper:
    1. Is there a baby growing inside the mother – a bun in the oven – or is the “growing thing” a baby-part of the mother.
    2. Does the mother eat for two, or is there just one slightly larger thing being fed?
    3. Does the mother have complete autonomy over her body, so that it’s her choice to abort4 her baby-part?
  3. Even though considerable progress has been made in the reproductive sciences, these remain philosophical questions.
  4. In what follows, Finn will use the term “foetus5” for whatever the mother is pregnant6 with from conception to birth7. The discussion will include all placental mammals – so including hippos but not kangaroos.
  5. This paper is interested in the maternal organism but not the paternal organism, important though he might be.
  6. So, there are two obvious models for the relation between the maternal organism and the foetus8:-
    1. The Parthood Model: the foetus9 is part of the maternal organism, just like the maternal organism’s organs or limbs.
    2. The Container Model: the foetus10 is a distinct organism in its own right which is carried by the maternal organism.
  7. Questions:
    • Which model is correct?
    • Does it change during pregnancy11?
  8. Claims:
    • This isn’t a matter of choice or language. There is a fact of the matter to be discovered.
    • The metaphysical relation between the maternal organism and the foetus12 has profound moral and legal implications for our practices during pregnancy13.
  9. Finn cites "Kingma (Elselijn) - Were You Part of Your Mother?", “forthcoming14” in Mind, as defending the parthood model. This is that the foetus15 is a proper part16 of the maternal organism, like any other organ or limb.


In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Footnote 2: Footnote 7: Footnote 14: Footnote 16:

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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