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Stem Cell DialoguesA Philosophical and Scientific Inquiry Into Medical Frontiers$
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Sheldon Krimsky

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231167482

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231167482.001.0001

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Was My Birth Embryo Me?

Was My Birth Embryo Me?

Chapter:
(p.155) Dialogue 22 Was My Birth Embryo Me?
Source:
Stem Cell Dialogues
Author(s):

Sheldon Krimsky

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231167482.003.0022

In this dialogue, Dr. Rebecca Franklin is having a conversation with neuropsychologist Jacob Spencer and French philosopher-phenomenologist and metaphysician Antoinette Picard regarding the concept of human identity, when human identity emerges in development, and whether human identity encompasses the one-celled embryo from which a person develops. A number of philosophers have linked self-identity to our brain or mental states. John Locke believed in mind-body dualism—that two fundamentally distinct substances make up a person. Our identity, according to Locke, is linked to the human mind and the continuity of its memory states. Here Franklin, Spencer, and Picard discuss whether a person's self-identity and connection with his or her fetus of origin follow a biological or a psychological paradigm. They also consider how people view the embryo in the uterus through the continuity of DNA.

Keywords:   human identity, development, one-celled embryo, self-identity, John Locke, mind-body dualism, fetus, uterus, DNA

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