A 2017 Nature report was widely touted as hailing the arrival of the artificial womb. But the scientists involved claim their technology is merely an improvement in neonatal care. This raises an under-considered question: what differentiates neonatal incubation from artificial womb technology? Considering the nature of gestation—or metaphysics of pregnancy—(a) identifies more profound differences between fetuses and neonates/babies than their location (in or outside the maternal body) alone: fetuses and neonates have different physiological and physical characteristics; (b) characterizes birth as (...) a physiological, mereological and topological transformation as well as a (morally relevant) change of location; and (c) delivers a clear distinction between neonatal incubation and ectogestation: the former supports neonatal physiology; the latter preserves fetal physiology. This allows a detailed conceptual classification of ectogenetive and ectogestative technologies according to which the 2017 system is not just improved neonatal incubation, but genuine ectogestation. But it is not an artificial womb, which is a term that is better put to rest. The analysis reveals that any ethical discussion involving ectogestation must always involve considerations of possible risks to the mother as well as her autonomy and rights. It also adds a third and potentially important dimension to debates in reproductive ethics: the physiological transition from fetus/gestateling to baby/neonate. (shrink)
Anti-exceptionalism about logic takes logic to be, as the name suggests, unexceptional. Rather, in naturalist fashion, the anti-exceptionalist takes logic to be continuous with science, and considers logical theories to be adoptable and revisable accordingly. On the other hand, the Adoption Problem aims to show that there is something special about logic that sets it apart from scientific theories, such that it cannot be adopted in the way the anti-exceptionalist proposes. In this paper I assess the damage the Adoption Problem (...) causes for anti-exceptionalism, and show that it is also problematic for exceptionalist positions too. My diagnosis of why the Adoption Problem affects both positions is that the self-governance of basic logical rules of inference prevents them from being adoptable, regardless of whether logic is exceptional or not. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that pluralism at the level of logical systems requires a certain monism at the meta-logical level, and so, in a sense, there cannot be pluralism all the way down. The adequate alternative logical systems bottom out in a shared basic meta-logic, and as such, logical pluralism is limited. I argue that the content of this basic meta-logic must include the analogue of logical rules Modus Ponens and Universal Instantiation. I show this through a detailed analysis (...) of the ‘adoption problem’, which manifests something special about MP and UI. It appears that MP and UI underwrite the very nature of a logical rule of inference, due to all rules of inference being conditional and universal in their structure. As such, all logical rules presuppose MP and UI, making MP and UI self-governing, basic, unadoptable, and required in the meta-logic for the adequacy of any logical system. (shrink)
Ectogenesis, or “artificial womb technology,” has been heralded by some, such as prominent feminist Shulamith Firestone, as a way to liberate women. In this chapter, we challenge this view by offering an alternative analysis of the technology as relying upon and perpetuating a problematic model of pregnancy which, rather than liberating women, serves to devalue them. We look to metaphysics as the abstract study of reality to elucidate how the entities in a pregnancy are related to one another. We consider (...) two models of the metaphysics of pregnancy: (1) the Parthood Model, whereby the fetus is a part of what/who gestates it; and (2) and the Fetal Container Model, whereby the gestator is a container for the fetus. We suggest that under the assumption of the Fetal Container Model, we are more likely to think that any container will suffice for gestation, even an artificial one. In contrast, under the assumption of the Parthood Model, we are less likely to treat the gestator as interchangeable or replaceable, given the parthood relationship between gestator and fetus. This chapter argues that ectogenesis is conceptually linked to the Fetal Container Model and advocates a more cautious approach in promoting ectogenesis as a tool for women’s liberation. (shrink)
Scientific realism holds that the terms in our scientific theories refer and that we should believe in their existence. This presupposes a certain understanding of quantification, namely that it is ontologically committing, which I challenge in this paper. I argue that the ontological loading of the quantifiers is smuggled in through restricting the domains of quantification, without which it is clear to see that quantifiers are ontologically neutral. Once we remove domain restrictions, domains of quantification can include non-existent things, as (...) they do in scientific theorizing. Scientific realism would therefore require redefining without presupposing a view of ontologically committing quantification. (shrink)
Quantifier variance faces a number of difficulties. In this paper we first formulate the view as holding that the meanings of the quantifiers may vary, and that languages using different quantifiers may be charitably translated into each other. We then object to the view on the basis of four claims: (i) quantifiers cannot vary their meaning extensionally by changing the domain of quantification; (ii) quantifiers cannot vary their meaning intensionally without collapsing into logical pluralism; (iii) quantifier variance is not an (...) ontological doctrine; (iv) quantifier variance is not compatible with charitable translation and as such is internally inconsistent. In light of these troubles, we recommend the dissolution of quantifier variance and suggest that the view be laid to rest. (shrink)
One of the central questions in the metaphysics of pregnancy is this: Is the foetus a part of the mother? In this paper I aim not to answer this question, but rather to raise methodological concerns regarding how to approach answering it. I will outline how various areas attempt to answer whether the foetus is a part of the mother so as to demonstrate the methodological problems that each faces. My positive suggestion will be to adopt a method of reflective (...) equilibrium. The aim of this is to ensure that pregnancy be included in the tribunal of experience that our theories are held up against such that our theories can accommodate what we say about pregnancy, whilst also ensuring that what we say about pregnancy be theoretically informed. That way, we rethink pregnancy in light of our theories as well as rethinking our theories in light of pregnancy. (shrink)
As with most other areas of reproduction, surrogacy is highly regulated. But the legislation and policies on surrogacy are written in such ways that make large (and possibly mistaken) assumptions about the metaphysical relationship between the mother and the fetus – whether the fetus is a part of, or contained by, the mother. It is the purpose of this chapter to highlight these assumptions, and to demonstrate the impact that alternative metaphysical views can have on our conceptualization of surrogacy. With (...) that in mind, I recommend that our public policies on surrogacy be at least neutral or otherwise responsive to metaphysics rather than presupposing it, such that the regulation and legislation of surrogacy will be metaphysically informed. (shrink)
The Metaphysics of Nothing This article is about nothing. It is not the case that there is no thing that the article is about; nevertheless, the article does indeed explore the absence of referents as well as referring to absence. Nothing is said to have many extraordinary properties, but in predicating anything of nothingness we … Continue reading The Metaphysics of Nothing →.
This article is about nothing. Does that mean it is about something, namely, ‘nothing’? Or is there quite literally no thing that this article is about? Follow the dialogue between characters discussing the nature of non-existence and absences to find out! Along the way there will be tongue twisters, contradictions, paradoxes and riddles, ready to challenge our preconceptions of reality as we embark into the mysterious realm of nothingness.
Yablo suggests a ‘hostage crisis’ occurs when an unproblematic statement ϕ entails, and is therefore hostage to, a problematic statement ψ. Yablo proposes a technical solution to this kind of problem by diminishing ϕ to ϕ*, where ϕ* does not entail ψ and thus is not hostage to it. I argue that Yablo’s proposal is unnecessary because the original, undiminished ϕ does not in fact entail ψ. This is what Yablo calls a ‘defiant’ position. I defend defiance by arguing that (...) ϕ and ψ are of different metaphysical weights, which I show through an analysis of their use of quantification. (shrink)
Consider the following two metaphysical questions about pregnancy: (1) When does a new organism of a certain kind start to exist? (2) What is the mereological and topological relationship between the pregnant organism and with what it is pregnant? Despite assumptions made in the literature, I take these questions to be independent of each other, such that an answer to one does not provide an answer to the other. I argue that the way to connect them is via a maximality (...) principle that prevents one organism being a proper part of another organism of the same kind. That being said, such a maximality principle need not be held, and may not apply in the case of pregnancy. The aims of this paper are thus to distinguish and connect these metaphysical questions, in order to outline a taxonomy of rival mereotopological models of pregnancy that result from the various combinations of their answers. (shrink)
Women are underrepresented in philosophy. And pregnancy is under-researched in philosophy. Can a connection be made between the two? I will argue that whilst the counterfactual of ‘had women historically been better represented in philosophy then pregnancy would have been too’ may be true, it is not necessarily the case that we can now, in the present day, expect (or desire) a correlation. In order to understand the gap between these two areas of underrepresentation, one need only adopt a non- (...) essentialist understanding of women so as to recognise that not all women experience pregnancy or are interested in pregnancy (philosophically or otherwise). Nevertheless, given the historical silence(ing) of women in philosophy on the topic of pregnancy, it is important now to redress that imbalance by tackling both issues of underrepresentation simultaneously. To demonstrate further I refer to the difference between representational diversity and substantive diversity (which is related to the more commonly known distinction between descriptive representation and substantive representation). This will be the topic of the first section of the paper. Then, in the second and third sections of the paper I will explore the underrepresentation and misrepresentation of women in philosophy, regarding not only the lack of women numerically speaking but also how women, as a general ‘kind’, are (misogynistically) described in philosophy historically. I will then apply the same treatment to pregnancy in the fourth and fifth sections of the paper, exploring both its underrepresentation as a topic of philosophical endeavour and misrepresentation within society at large. The analysis contains a review of the literature, and cites statistical quantitative data and qualitative grounded interviews, to provide evidence for my claims. I will end by hypothesising about the relationship between these under- and mis- representations, and will provide musings on the future for women and pregnancy in philosophy. (shrink)
This paper reflects on metametaphysics and as such develops a metametameta-physical view: that quietist metametaphysics requires dialetheism, and in turn a paraconsistent logic. I demonstrate this using Carnap’s metametaphysical position in his 'Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology' as an example, with regard to how it exhibits self-reference and results in inconsistency. I show how applying Carnap’s position to itself produces a dilemma, both horns of which lead to a contradiction. Such inconsistency commonly arises from meta-theories with global scope, as the 'meta' (...) approach aims to transcend the scope of that which it is theorizing about, whilst the global nature will place itself back within the scope of that which it is theorizing about, which together result in the theory referring to itself whilst refuting itself. I argue that any global metametaphysical theory that draws a limit to thought will face self-reference problems leading to contradictory realms. My conclusion is conditional: If we want to meta-philosophize in such a way and treat quietist meta-theories as being true, then we need to be dialetheist and utilize a paraconsistent logic in order to accommodate the contradictions that result from such theorizing. (shrink)
This paper is a response to Lewis’ ‘Humean Supervenience Debugged’ . Lewis was in the business of defending Humean Supervenience, and the project seemed successful until the case of chance. Lewis thus originally named chance the ‘big bad bug’ for Humean Supervenience until the aforementioned paper in which he claims victory. Here I argue that he was unsuccessful and that Humean Supervenience remains bugged by chance. I will show how this bug remains due to a misdiagnosis of where the problem (...) lies with regard to undermining. First, I define Humean Supervenience and chance, and state the bug in its original form, then secondly I describe Lewis’ attempt to remove the bug. Thirdly, I explain why the bug persists, despite Lewis’ efforts, and show the real source of the undermining problem to be due to the circularity of Humean Supervenient style accounts of chance. Finally I describe the situation this leaves chance in, and show how the incompatibility of chance and Humean Supervenience is evidence for the nonexistence of chance. I conclude that it is the circularity of the formation of Humean Supervenient laws of chance which continue to bug Humean Supervenience, leaving it untenable and resulting in little chance for chance. (shrink)
Žene su nedovoljno zastupljene u filozofiji, a trudnoća je nedovoljno istražena u filozofiji. Može li se uspostaviti veza između ta dva fenomena? Tvrdit ću da, iako je kontrafaktična tvrdnja "da su žene bile povijesno bolje zastupljene u filozofiji, trudnoća bi bila također zastupljena" možda istinita, to ne znači nužno da sada, u sadašnjosti, možemo očekivati (ili poželjeti) da postoji korelacija. Kako bismo shvatili jaz između ovih dvaju područja nedovoljne zastupljenosti, dovoljno je usvojiti ne-esencijalističko shvaćanje žena kako bismo prepoznali da neke (...) žene ne doživljavaju trudnoću ili nisu zainteresirane za trudnoću (filozofski ili na drugi način). Ipak, s obzirom na povijesno šutnju o trudnoći u filozofiji koju su proživljavale žene, važno je sada ispraviti tu neravnotežu istovremeno obrađujući obje teme nedovoljne zastupljenosti. Kako bih to dalje dokazala, upućujem na razliku između reprezentativne raznolikosti i suštinske raznolikosti (što je povezano s poznatijom razlikom između deskriptivne reprezentacije i suštinske reprezentacije). To će biti tema prvog dijela rada. Zatim, u drugom i trećem dijelu rada, istražit ću nedovoljnu zastupljenost i pogrešno predstavljanje žena u filozofiji, ne samo u smislu nedovoljnog broja žena, već i u smislu načina na koji su žene, kao opći "rod", (mizogino) opisivane u filozofiji kroz povijest. Isti postupak primijenit ću na trudnoću u četvrtom i petom dijelu rada, istražujući kako se tretira kao tema filozofskog istraživanja te kako je pogrešno predstavljena u društvu općenito. Kako bi se pružili dokazi za moje tvrdnje, analiza sadrži pregled literature i navodi statističke kvantitativne podatke i kvalitativno utemeljene intervjue. Završit ću hipotezom o odnosu između ovih nedovoljnih i pogrešnih predstavljanja, te ću ponuditi razmišljanja o budućnosti za žene i trudnoću u filozofiji. (shrink)
Every one of us has had some interaction with pregnancy, having been pregnant ourselves or having been the result of someone else's pregnancy. Pregnancy is a source of fascinating philosophical issues, yet has been historically underexplored. In this article, I examine why this might be, and propose how to proceed in the investigation within the context of philosophizing today.