- This is an important paper from the perspective of personal identity, and is something I intend to write on extensively1.
- Philosophical questions2 about pregnancy include that of the title of this Paper:
- Is there a baby growing inside the mother – a bun in the oven – or is the “growing thing” a baby-part of the mother.
- Does the mother eat for two, or is there just one slightly larger thing being fed?
- Does the mother have complete autonomy over her body, so that it’s her choice to abort her baby-part?
- Even though considerable progress has been made in the reproductive sciences, these remain philosophical questions.
- In what follows, Finn will use the term “foetus3” for whatever the mother is pregnant with from conception to birth4. The discussion will include all placental mammals – so including hippos but not kangaroos.
- This paper is interested in the maternal organism but not the paternal organism, important though he might be.
- So, there are two obvious models for the relation between the maternal organism and the foetus:-
- The Parthood Model: the foetus is part of the maternal organism, just like the maternal organism’s organs or limbs.
- The Container Model: the foetus is a distinct organism in its own right which is carried by the maternal organism.
- Which model is correct?
- Does it change during pregnancy?
- 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 foetus has profound moral and legal implications for our practices during pregnancy.
- Finn cites "Kingma (Elselijn) - Were You Part of Your Mother?", “forthcoming5” in Mind, as defending the parthood model. This is that the foetus is a proper part6 of the maternal organism, like any other organ or limb.
- Sub-title: "Does the mother contain the foetus or is it a part of her? On the metaphysics of pregnancy, and its ethical implications."
- See Link
- I’ve now started, so will remove this comment in due course.
- Sadly NOT asked by Bridget Jones!
- Thus avoiding the intricacies of the developmental process and the names of the intermediate stages.
- So I won’t see it on JSTOR for years.
- However, it will be worth viewing the YouTube lecture, however, which presumably covers the same ground.
- Some philosophers deny that undetached proper parts exist.
- That is, they deny what Van Inwagen calls in "Van Inwagen (Peter) - The Doctrine of Arbitrary Undetached Parts" the DAUP (Doctrine of Arbitrary Undetached Parts), though I don’t like the “Arbitrary” in this. Some undetached parts don’t seem to be “arbitrary”.
- I discuss this under the head of mereology.
- I don’t know how important this objection is for the case at hand. The binary choice is between whether the foetus is a separate being “or not”.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)