- When did we begin to exist? Barry Smith & Berit Brogaard ("Smith (Barry) & Brogaard (Berit) - Sixteen Days", 2003) argue that a new human organism comes into existence neither earlier nor later than the moment of gastrulation: 16 days after conception. Several critics have responded that the onset of the organism must happen earlier; closer to conception.
- This paper makes a radically different claim: if we accept Smith & Brogaard’s ontological commitments, then human organisms start, on average, roughly nine months after conception.
- The main point of contention is whether the fetus is or is not part of the maternal organism. Smith & Brogaard argue that it is not; I demonstrate that it is. This claim in combination with Smith & Brogaard’s own criteria commits to the view that human organisms begin, precisely, at birth.
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