When Most People Begin

John Finnis

in Intention and Identity

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199580064
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729386 | DOI:
When Most People Begin

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With the possible exception of identical twins, people begin at their conception — neither earlier nor later. The counter-position of Aquinas, and the counter-arguments of Joseph Donceel and Norman Ford, are unacceptable. The facts about twinning are further evidence of the conceptual difficulty of articulating a position such as Ford's, in which thousands of supposedly distinct individuals are taken to form one at a stage selected only because of size or bodily orientation. But sometimes a genetically human zygote lacks the epigenetic primordia for developing a brain and such a zygote is not a human being.

Keywords: zygote; twinning; Norman Ford; Joseph Donceel; epigenetic primordia; conception; Anscombe; Eric Olson

Chapter.  3112 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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