Embryos, Four-Dimensionalism, and Moral Status

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


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).


Thought Experiment Natural Kind Moral Status Human Person Temporal Part 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of BuffaloBuffaloUSA

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