Lady Parts: The Metaphysics of Pregnancy
Kingma (Elselijn)
Source: Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements, Volume 82 (Metaphysics) - July 2018, pp. 165-187
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. What is the metaphysical relationship between the fetus / embryo and the pregnant organism? In this paper I apply a substance metaphysics view developed by "Smith (Barry) & Brogaard (Berit) - Sixteen Days" to argue, on the basis of topological connectedness1, that Foetuses / embryos are Lady-Parts: part of the maternal organism up until birth.
  2. This leaves two options.
    1. Either mammalian organisms begin at birth, or
    2. we revise our conception of organisms such that mammalian organisms can be part of other mammals.
  3. The first option has some advantages: it is numerically neat; aligns with an intuitive picture of organisms as physically distinct individuals; and ties ‘coming into existence’ to a suitably recognisable and important event: birth. But it denies that the fetus survives birth, or that human organisms existed prior to their birth.
  4. The second option allows us to recognise that human organisms exist prior to and survive their birth, but at a cost: it leaves the question of when an organism comes into existence unanswered, and demands potentially far-reaching conceptual revision across a range of domains.

    → Terminology (foster and gravida)
  1. Smith and Brogaard on the metaphysics of organisms
    → 1.1 Substance formation and start of the organism
    → 1.2 The tenant–niche claim
    → 1.3 Testing the ‘tenant–niche’ claim: boundaries
    → 1.4 Interim Conclusion: the part–whole claim
  2. Metaphysics of Organisms: Beginning at Birth
    → 2.1 Attractions
  3. Revised Metaphysics: Organisms as Persisting Organism-Parts
    → 3.1 Revising Smith and Brogaard’s account
    → 3.2 Counting Problems
    → 3.3 Distinguishing organs and fosters
    → 3.4 When do fosters begin?
  4. Conclusion

  1. "Anscombe (G.E.M.) - Were You a Zygote?", Anscombe
  2. "Haber (Matt) - Colonies Are Individuals: Revisiting the Superorganism Revival", Haber
  3. "Harris (John) - Clones, Genes and Immortality: Ethics and Genetics", Harris
  4. "Kingma (Elselijn) - Nine months", Kingma
  5. "Kingma (Elselijn) - Were You Part of Your Mother?", Kingma
  6. "Koslicki (Kathrin) - Substance, Independence and Unity", Koslicki
  7. "McMahan (Jeff) - The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life", McMahan
  8. "Oderberg (David) - The Metaphysical Status of the Embryo: Some Arguments Revisited", Oderberg
  9. "Olson (Eric) - The Human Animal - Personal Identity Without Psychology", Olson
  10. "Olson (Eric) - What are We? A Study of Personal Ontology", Olson
  11. "Smith (Barry) & Brogaard (Berit) - Sixteen Days", Smith & Brogaard
  12. "Smith (Barry) & Varzi (Achille) - Fiat and Bona Fide Boundaries", Smith & Varzi
  13. "Smith (Barry) & Varzi (Achille) - The Niche", Smith & Varzi
  14. "Toner (Patrick) - Independence accounts of substance and substantial parts", Toner
  15. "Shoemaker (Sydney) - Time Without Change", Wiggins
  16. "Wilson (Robert A.) & Barker (Matthew) - The Biological Notion of Individual", Wilson & Barker


Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2021
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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