Fission and Confusion
Koch-Hershenov, Rose J.
Christian Bioethics 2006 December; 12(3): 237-254
Catholic opponents of abortion and embryonic stem cell research usually base their position on a hylomorphic account of ensoulment at fertilization. They maintain that we each started out as one-cell ensouled organisms. Critics of this position argue that it is plagued by a number of intractable problems due to fission (twinning) and fusion. We're unconvinced that such objections to early ensoulment provide any reason to doubt the coherence of the hylomorphic account. However, we do maintain that a defense of ensoulment at fertilization must deny that we're essentially organisms.
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Koch-Hershenov, Rose (2006-04)From fertilization to approximately the sixteenth day of development, human embryonic cells are said to have the capacities of totipotency and monozygotic twinning, both of which are problematic to a theory of ensoulment ...