Four Queries Concerning the Metaphysics of Early Human Embryogenesis
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 2008 April; 33(2): 140-157
In this essay, I attempt to provide answers to the following four queries concerning the metaphysics of early human embryogenesis. (1) Following its first cellular fission, is it coherent to claim that one and only one of two "blastomeric" twins of a human zygote is identical with that zygote? (2) Following the fusion of two human pre-embryos, is it coherent to claim that one and only one pre-fusion pre-embryo is identical with that postfusion pre-embryo? (3) Does a live human being come into existence only when its brain comes into existence? (4) At implantation, does a pre-embryo become a mere part of its mother? I argue that either if things have quidditative properties or if criterialism is false, then queries (1) and (2) can be answered in the affirmative; that in light of recent developments in theories of human death and in light of a more "functional" theory of brains, query (3) can be answered in the negative; and that plausible mereological principles require a negative answer to query (4).
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Howsepian, A.A. (1997-02)Michael Lockwood has recently concluded that it can be morally permissible to perform potentially damaging non-therapeutic experiments on live human (pre)embryos. The reasons he provides in support of this conclusion commit ...