Who or What Are We?
Howsepian (A.A.)
Source: Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 45, No. 3 (Mar., 1992), pp. 483-502
Paper - Abstract

Paper Summary


Author’s Abstract

  1. In this essay I critically evaluate the ontological conception of what some embryologists are now calling the "human preembryo," as presently understood by Richard McCormick and Peter Van Inwagen.
  2. Both McCormick and van Inwagen imply that what is commonly referred to as the human preembryo could not be a human person. To wit, van Inwagen denies that there are any preembryos at all.
  3. Both of these philosophers base their conclusions primarily on the fact that, during the preembryonic gestational period, monozygotic twinning remains possible.
  4. I argue that given the conditions for being a person put forth by McCormick, and the conditions for being a composite material object suggested by van Inwagen, if what is commonly referred to as the human preembryo is neither a human person nor a material object, then neither are we.

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  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2017
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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