Elselijn Kingma
University of Southampton
What is the metaphysical relationship between the fetus/embryo and the pregnant organism? In this paper I apply a substance metaphysics view developed by Barry Smith and Berit Brogaard to argue, on the basis of topological connectedness, that fetuses/embryos are Lady-Parts: part of the maternal organism up until birth. This leaves two options. Either mammalian organisms begin at birth, or we revise our conception of organisms such that mammalian organisms can be part of other mammals. 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. 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.
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DOI 10.1017/s1358246118000115
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References found in this work BETA

What Are We?Eric Olson - 2007 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (5-6):37-55.
Fiat and Bona Fide Boundaries.Barry Smith & Achille C. Varzi - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60 (2):401-420.
Sixteen Days.Barry Smith & Berit Brogaard - 2003 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 28 (1):45 – 78.
Sameness and Substance.Helen Morris Cartwright & David Wiggins - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):597.
The Niche.Barry Smith & Achille C. Varzi - 1999 - Noûs 33 (2):214-238.

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Citations of this work BETA

Were You a Part of Your Mother?Elselijn Kingma - 2019 - Mind 128 (511):609-646.
Nine Months.Elselijn Kingma - 2020 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 45 (3):371-386.
Organisms, activity, and being: on the substance of process ontology.Christopher J. Austin - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (2):1-21.
Metaphysics and Social Justice.Aaron M. Griffith - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (6).

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