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Some comments on Dr Iglesias's paper, 'In vitro fertilisation: the major issues'.
  1. J M Mill


    In an article in an earlier edition of the Journal of Medical Ethics (1) Dr Iglesias bases her analysis upon the mediaeval interpretation of Platonic metaphysics and Aristotelian logic as given by Aquinas. Propositional forms are applied to the analysis of experience. This results in a very abstract analysis. The essential connection of events and their changing temporal relationships are ignored. The dichotomy between body and soul is a central concept. The unchanging elements in experience are assumed to be more real than the actual world of experienced process. Such a view makes the analysis of the temporal factors in experience impossible. Its abstractness is quite unsuitable for the analysis of the ontological structure and development of the neonate from fertilisation to birth. A N Whitehead made the notion of organism central to his philosophy. He refused to place human experience outside nature, or admit dualism. His philosophy of organism is an attempt to uncover the essential elements connecting human experience with the physical and biological sciences. Time, change and process are, in his view, more real than the static abstractions obtainable by the use of the fallacy of misplaced concreteness. Use of the latter negates the essential connectedness of events and the importance of temporarily and change (2). In this paper I argue that the embryo, being an organism, is not analysable in terms of thinghood. It is a process. To apply Aristotelian logical concepts to it is to distort the real nature of the datum.

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