Some fellow tippling philosophers and myself are having an email exchange about psychology. It started with one of us writing an email lauding Daniel Kahneman’s work Thinking Fast and Slow (the bold is where he is quoting someone else).
Growing up in heathen headquarters (aka central Europe), I never met anyone in meatspace who thinks that a fertilized human egg is a “fully human person”. I’ve met many Catholics in my life so far, but none of them would agree with the notion of a zygote having full personhood (disagreeing with the majority of official Church doctrines is quite common for Catholics in first world countries). Since this view is virtually non-existent where I live, I never had to debate it with anyone and, to be honest, I never really thought about this issue until recently. The first time I participated in a discussion on this issue was on JW Wartick´s blog (Jonathan already mentioned the discussion that ensued on his blog in this post). While Jonathan was mostly raising philosophical issues in this discussion, I was focused on whether the personhood-starts-at-conception position is defensible based on a 21st century understanding of Biology, especially Embryology. I think that this position is necessarily incoherent, and I want to summarize my argument for that here.