Were You a Part of Your Mother?

Mind 128 (511):609-646 (2019)

Abstract

Is the mammalian embryo/fetus a part of the organism that gestates it? According to the containment view, the fetus is not a part of, but merely contained within or surrounded by, the gestating organism. According to the parthood view, the fetus is a part of the gestating organism. This paper proceeds in two stages. First, I argue that the containment view is the received view; that it is generally assumed without good reason; and that it needs substantial support if it is to be taken seriously. Second, I argue that the parthood view derives considerable support from a range of biological and physiological considerations. I tentatively conclude in favour of the parthood view, and end by identifying some of the interesting questions it raises.

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Elselijn Kingma
University of Southampton

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