Advertisement

Embryos, Four-Dimensionalism, and Moral Status

  • David B. HershenovEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 111)

Abstract

Philosophy journals have been full of discussions of Four-Dimensionalism in recent years. The rich resources of the Four-Dimensional metaphysics have been brought to bear upon many traditional philosophical problems. Alas, the implications of Four-Dimensionalism for bioethics have gone largely unexplored. Hud Hudson (1999, 2001) is the rare exception. Relying upon a Four-Dimensional metaphysics, he argues that there is little reason to identify the human embryonic animal and human person. He makes the intriguing claim that if abortion is wrong, then it isn’t because the human animal within its mother’s womb is a person. This he rightly claims “is a very significant result” for “an overwhelming amount of the literature on abortion and infanticide (as well as much of the public debate on these topics) seems to turn on the question of whether or not the human fetus is a person” (2001, p. 153).

Keywords

Thought Experiment Natural Kind Moral Status Human Person Temporal Part 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Brueckner, Anthony, and Chris Buford. 2008. The psychological approach to personal identity: Non-branching and the individuation of person stages. Dialogue 47: 377–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Damasio, Antonio. 1994. Descartes’ error: Emotion, reason and the human brain. New York, NY: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  3. Eberl, Jason. 2005. Aquinas’s account of human embryogenesis and recent interpretations. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30: 4 379–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. George, Robert P., and Christopher Tollefsen. 2008. Embryo: A defense of human life. New York, NY: Doubleday Press.Google Scholar
  5. Hershenov, David. Forthcoming. Four-dimensional animalism. In Essays on animalism, eds. Paul Snowdon and Steve Blatti. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Hershenov, David. 2009. Organisms and their bodies. Mind 118: 70, 803–809.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hudson, Hud. 1999. Temporal parts and moral personhood. Philosophical Studies 93: 299–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hudson, Hud. 2001. A materialist metaphysics of the human person. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Hudson, Hud. 2007. I am not an animal! In Persons: Human and divine, eds. Dean Zimmerman and Peter van Inwagen, 216–234. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Locke, John. 1975. In XXVII: An essay concerning human understanding, ed. Peter Nidditch, 328–348. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Marquis. Don. 1989. Why abortion is immoral. Journal of Philosophy 86:4 183–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Marquis, Don. 2004. Korcz’s objections to the future-of-value argument. Journal of Social Philosophy 35: 56–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. McMahan, Jeff. 2002. The ethics of killing: Problems at the margins of life. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Olson, Eric. 1997. The human animal: Identity without psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Olson, Eric. 2008. What are we? A study in personal ontology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Parfit, Derek. 1984. Reasons and persons. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Perry, John. 1975. The problem of personal identity. In Personal identity, ed. John Perry, 3–32. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  18. Sider, Ted. 2008. Temporal parts. In Contemporary debates in metaphysics, eds. Theodore Sider, John Hawthorne, and Dean Zimmerman, 241–262. London: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  19. Stone, Jim. 1987. Why potentiality matters. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 17: 4 816–831.Google Scholar
  20. Unger, Peter. 2000. The survival of the sentient. Philosophical perspectives, ed. James Tomberlin, 14: 328–345.Google Scholar
  21. Van Inwagen, Peter. 1990. Material beings. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of BuffaloBuffaloUSA

Personalised recommendations