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life, embryo, zygote, abortion, beginning of human life, human

Timothy F Murphy
Some commentators argue that conception constitutes the onset of human personhood in a metaphysical sense. This threshold is usually invoked as the basis both for protecting zygotes and embryos from exposure to risks of death in clinical research and fertility medicine and for objecting to abortion, but it also has consequences for certain religious perspectives, including Catholicism whose doctrines directly engage questions of personhood and its meanings. Since more human zygotes and embryos are lost than survive to birth, conferral of personhood on them would mean - for those believing in personal immortality - that these persons constitute the majority of people living immortally despite having had only the shortest of earthly lives...
December 2012: Reproductive Biomedicine Online
Giuseppe Benagiano, Manuela Farris, Gedis Grudzinskas
Establishing the proportion of fertilized oocytes and early human embryos that proceed to term may help policy makers in their evaluation of when the life of a new human individual begins and in determining the nature of protection to be accorded to it. The rate of spontaneous abortions, although increasing with age, overall does not exceed 15%. However, abortion rates refer only to 'clinical pregnancy', whereas early embryonic loss is more common than generally believed. Evidence of such wastage comes from many sources...
December 2010: Reproductive Biomedicine Online
Yves Ménézo, Brian Dale, Marc Cohen
The genome of all cells is protected at all times by mechanisms collectively known as DNA repair activity (DRA). Such activity is particularly important at the beginning of human life, i.e. at fertilization, immediately after and at the very onset of embryonic development. DRA in early development is, by definition, of maternal origin: the transcripts stored during maturation, need to control the integrity of chromatin, at least until the maternal/zygotic transition at the 4- to 8-cell stage in the human embryo...
November 2010: Zygote: the Biology of Gametes and Early Embryos
David Hershenov, Rose J Koch-Hershenov
Catholic opponents of abortion and embryonic stem cell research usually base their position on a hylomorphic account of ensoulment at fertilization. They maintain that we each started out as one-cell ensouled organisms. Critics of this position argue that it is plagued by a number of intractable problems due to fission (twinning) and fusion. We're unconvinced that such objections to early ensoulment provide any reason to doubt the coherence of the hylomorphic account. However, we do maintain that a defense of ensoulment at fertilization must deny that we're essentially organisms...
December 2006: Christian Bioethics
Christopher Tollefsen
I discuss three topics. First, there is a philosophical connecting thread between several recent trends in the abortion discussion, namely, the issue of our animal nature, and physical embodiment. The philosophical name given to the position that you and I are essentially human animals is "animalism." In Section II of this paper, I argue that animalism provides a unifying theme to recent discussions of abortion. In Section III, I discuss what we do not find among recent trends in the abortion discussion, namely "the right to privacy...
January 2004: Christian Bioethics
Peter Kortiansky
Inspired by Patrick Lee's "A Christian Philosopher's View of Recent Directions in the Abortion Debate," this essay raises the question of how effective philosophical arguments can be in determining the moral status of legalized abortion. On one hand, Christian philosophers have been successful in explaining both the humanity and the personhood of the unborn child, as well as exposing the incoherence of those who would deny the unborn child's humanity or personhood. Nevertheless, in order to confront the pro-abortion position in its most radical form, a much more complex philosophical argument must be given...
January 2004: Christian Bioethics
Francis J Beckwith
The purpose of this essay is to offer support for the substance view of persons, the philosophical anthropology defended by Patrick Lee in his essay. In order to accomplish this the author (1) presents a brief definition of the substance view; (2) argues that the substance view has more explanatory power in accounting for why we believe that human persons are intrinsically valuable even when they are not functioning as such (e.g., when on is temporarily comatose), why human persons remain identical to themselves over time, and why it follows from these points that the unborn are human persons; and (3) responds to two arguments that attempt to establish the claim that the early human being is not a unified substance until at least fourteen days after conception...
January 2004: Christian Bioethics
Patrick Lee
From the standpoint of a Christian philosopher, heeding the teaching and exhortations of Pope John Paul II and previous popes, I examine three directions in which the recent philosophical debate has developed. In the last seven or eight years there has been 1) a renewed focus on the biological issue of when a human individual comes to be, 2) new arguments for the proposition that personhood is a characteristic acquired after birth, and 3) refinements of the early argument of Judith Thomson. Replying to these developments, I defend, on philosophical grounds, the pro-life position...
January 2004: Christian Bioethics
Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2004: National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly
W Wolbert
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2000: Human Reproduction and Genetic Ethics
J T Eberl
'When did I, a human person, begin to exist?' In developing an answer to this question, I utilize a Thomistic framework, which holds that the human person is a composite of a biological organism and an intellective soul. Eric Olson and Norman Ford both argue that beginning of an individual human biological organism occurs at the moment when implantation of the zygote in the uterus occurs and the 'primitive streak' begins to form. Prior to this point, there does not exist an individual human organism, but a cluster of biological cells which has the potential to split and develop as one or more separate human organisms (identical twinning)...
April 2000: Bioethics
W R Carter
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
January 1982: Mind; a Quarterly Review of Psychology and Philosophy
T H Milby
Opposition to abortion is based in part on the assumption that personhood is achieved at or shortly after fertilization of the egg. This interpretation of personhood arises from a contemporary application of the ancient doctrine of preformationism, a doctrine which holds that there is a preformed individual, in an ontological sense, within the developing entity. The assumption that the fertilized egg is unique in its capacity to develop into a human being is at least in part responsible for the opinions of those opposed to abortion...
1983: American Journal of Law & Medicine
K Dawson
The debate about the moral status of the embryo has gained new impetus because of the advances in reproductive technology that have made early human embryo experimentation a possibility, and because of the public concern that this arouses. Several philosophical arguments claiming that fertilisation is the event that accords moral status to the embryo were initially formulated in the context of the abortion debate. Were they formulated with sufficient precision to account for the scientific facts as we now understand them? Or do these arguments need modification? Aspects of three arguments for moral status being acquired at fertilisation are examined in relation to current scientific knowledge, highlighting the reasons why such arguments, at present, seem to provide an inadequate basis for the determination of moral status...
December 1987: Journal of Medical Ethics
C A Bedate, R C Cefalo
It is no longer possible to claim that the biological characteristics of the future adult are already determined at conception. After all, a zygote may develop into a hydatidiform mole rather than into a human being. The development of an individual human person is determined by genetically and non-genetically coded molecules within the embryo, together with the influence of the maternal environment. Consequently, it is an error to regard the zygote's chromosomal (and other) DNA as sufficient to determine the uniqueness of the future individual...
December 1989: Journal of Medicine and Philosophy
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