One or two? A Process View of pregnancy

Philosophical Studies 179 (5):1495-1521 (2022)
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How many individuals are present where we see a pregnant individual? Within a substance ontological framework, there are exactly two possible answers to this question. The standard answer—two individuals—is typically championed by scholars endorsing the predominant Containment View of pregnancy, according to which the foetus resides in the gestating organism like in a container. The alternative answer—one individual—has recently found support in the Parthood View, according to which the foetus is a part of the gestating organism. Here I propose a third answer: a pregnant individual is neither two individuals nor one individual but something in between one and two. This is because organisms are better understood as processes than as substances. With a special focus on the Parthood View, I explain why a Process View of pregnancy, according to which a pregnant individual is a bifurcating hypercomplex process, surpasses the substance ontological approaches.



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Anne Sophie Meincke (Spann)
University of Southampton

Citations of this work

Cogito, Ergo Sumus? The Pregnancy Problem in Descartes's Philosophy.Maja Sidzińska - 2023 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 13 (2).

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References found in this work

Material Beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
Ontological Dependence.Tuomas E. Tahko & E. J. Lowe - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology.Daniel J. Nicholson & John Dupré (eds.) - 2018 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
Material Beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Philosophy 67 (259):126-127.

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