When Did I Begin?: Conception of the Human Individual in History, Philosophy and Science
When Did I Begin? investigates the theoretical, moral, and biological issues surrounding the debate over the beginning of human life. With the continuing controversy over the use of in vitro fertilization techniques and experimentation with human embryos, these issues have been forced into the arena of public debate. Following a detailed analysis of the history of the question, Reverend Ford argues that a human individual could not begin before definitive individuation occurs with the appearance of the primitive streak about two weeks after fertilization. This, he argues, is when it becomes finally known whether one or more human individuals are to form from a single egg. Thus, he questions the idea that the fertilized egg itself could be regarded as the beginning of the development of the human individual. The author also differs sharply, however, from those who would delay the beginning of the human person until the brain is formed, or until birth or the onset of conscious states.
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activities acts actual adult already animal appear Aristotle become begins believe biological birth blastocyst blastomeres blood body capacity cause cells chromosomes Committee complete conception constitution continues cytoplasm definitive derived determined developmental differentiation distinct early embryo established evidence existence experience explain expressed facts female fertilization fetus final formation functions genetic give given growth human embryo human individual human person identical identical twinning implantation individual human living individual male Mary Warnock material matter meaning moral mouse nature necessary normal occurs once ontological identity ontological individual organs origin ovum philosophical placenta possible potential present Press primitive streak principle produce question rational soul reason refer regard relation reproduction respect result semen sense separate single soul specific sperm stage suggest term theory things tissues unity University various whole womb zygote