Totipotency, Twinning, and Ensoulment at Fertilization
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 2006 April; 31(2): 139-164
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 at fertilization. In this article I will address the problems which these capacities pose to such a theory and present an interpretation of the biological data which renders ensoulment at fertilization more plausible. I will then argue that not only is an ensoulment theory consistent with current biological data on the human embryo, but it may offer an explanation for the phenomencon of monozygotic twinning.
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Hershenov, David; Koch-Hershenov, Rose J. (2006-12)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. ...