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 Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment... 
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Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:13 am
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New post Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Of Conception?


Can it be said that the human foetus, at least in the early stages after conception, satisfies fully all the requirements in the scholastic definition of 'person'?

J. K.


Excerpted from John Canon McCarthy, Problems in Theology, Vol. I, 1956.

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On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.

- St. Robert Bellarmine


Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:53 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Yes.


Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:45 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
AMWills wrote:
Yes.


Such decisiveness and with brevity. No narcisstic traits here. You can join the other thread in comfort...

Now, re your answer. Any reasons for it? Or just disagreeing with St. Thomas to poke me? Isn't that an Odd job? :D

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On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.

- St. Robert Bellarmine


Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:59 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Katie wrote:
AMWills wrote:
Yes.

Now, re your answer. Any reasons for it? Or just disagreeing with St. Thomas to poke me? Isn't that an Odd job? :D


Just after a reaction...and trying to fill your bar :-)


Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:23 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
AMW,

I appreciate your patronage in my bar. You are well-behaved and what more can a girl ask?

I am of the view of mediate animation as opposed to immediate animation being fully aware that I am going against the grain today. Which I don't claim makes it any more right but rather leaves me open to much disagreement. Don't forget, I always know the answers to these questions I pose. :wink:

_________________
On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.

- St. Robert Bellarmine


Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:47 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
No.


Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:37 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
What's a "person"?


Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:39 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Oldavid wrote:
What's a "person"?


A person is an individual substance of rational nature.

In the case of identical twins at least it would appear necessary to postpone their rationality until the second instant.


Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:47 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
John Daly wrote:
Oldavid wrote:
What's a "person"?


A person is an individual substance of rational nature.

In the case of identical twins at least it would appear necessary to postpone their rationality until the second instant.

Mmmm.
But that doesn't mean much to a silly old agrarian pragmatist like me.

I mean... does a person have to have a person-ality?


Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:19 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
John Daly wrote:
Oldavid wrote:
What's a "person"?


A person is an individual substance of rational nature.


Ah, so a very rare being indeed.

:)

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Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:38 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
AMWills wrote:
Yes.

Ah well! AMWills. I dont know if I've formally introduced myself or not...... but this is internet and you can easily check up on me by just looking back. I suppose I could do the same,,, but I'm old and tired and can barely be disturbed from slumber even by the rattling of multitudinous sabres.

Anyhow*, even if just to save me from further provoking the hostess into an apoplexy I hope you will stay around, your directness is refreshing.

Don't be afraid of John... he's only a man after all.


Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:34 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
John Lane wrote:
John Daly wrote:
Oldavid wrote:
What's a "person"?


A person is an individual substance of rational nature.


Ah, so a very rare being indeed.

:)

Yair! Not like us, eh?


Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:39 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Oldavid wrote:
Yair! Not like us, eh?


Yep. You can think. I collect thinkers. :)

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Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:53 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
John Lane wrote:
Oldavid wrote:
Yair! Not like us, eh?


Yep. You can think. I collect thinkers. :)

So there's m' destiny! Spread out on a piece of white paper, a pin through m' guts, an exhibit for the grandchildren to marvel at!
8)


Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:13 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
John Daly wrote:
Oldavid wrote:
What's a "person"?


A person is an individual substance of rational nature.

In the case of identical twins at least it would appear necessary to postpone their rationality until the second instant.


I have an interesting piece on this which I will post when I next get a decent moment.

_________________
On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.

- St. Robert Bellarmine


Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:17 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Oldavid wrote:
So there's m' destiny! Spread out on a piece of white paper, a pin through m' guts, an exhibit for the grandchildren to marvel at!
8)


Well, that's up to you. I only skewer them if and when they try and leave. I much prefer a live collection.

Come to think of it, I think I may have to stick a large pin through the middle of Jim Larrabee. He's disappeared to California and won't come back...

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Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:25 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
John Lane wrote:
No.


Oh.


Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:19 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Oldavid wrote:
AMWills wrote:
Yes.

Ah well! AMWills. I dont know if I've formally introduced myself or not...... but this is internet and you can easily check up on me by just looking back. I suppose I could do the same,,, but I'm old and tired and can barely be disturbed from slumber even by the rattling of multitudinous sabres.

Anyhow*, even if just to save me from further provoking the hostess into an apoplexy I hope you will stay around, your directness is refreshing.

Don't be afraid of John... he's only a man after all.


Hello Old!

Thanks for the welcome. I did intend to stay around and enjoy your good company, but what on earth happened to the bar? :shock:


Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:28 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
AMWills wrote:
John Lane wrote:
No.


Oh.



Don't be thrown off by that. He doesn't have the answer book. Unless of course, he is on your infallible list. :D

_________________
On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.

- St. Robert Bellarmine


Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:30 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
AMWills wrote:
Oldavid wrote:
AMWills wrote:
Yes.

Ah well! AMWills. I dont know if I've formally introduced myself or not...... but this is internet and you can easily check up on me by just looking back. I suppose I could do the same,,, but I'm old and tired and can barely be disturbed from slumber even by the rattling of multitudinous sabres.

Anyhow*, even if just to save me from further provoking the hostess into an apoplexy I hope you will stay around, your directness is refreshing.

Don't be afraid of John... he's only a man after all.


Hello Old!

Thanks for the welcome. I did intend to stay around and enjoy your good company, but what on earth happened to the bar? :shock:


I don't know. I think the forum owner thinks by changing the venue I mightn't find my way back in. :) But I'm too clever for him. Who knows where we will find ourselves tomorrow! At least one gets to get around a bit without actually having to go far.

_________________
On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.

- St. Robert Bellarmine


Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:36 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Katie wrote:
AMWills wrote:
John Lane wrote:
No.


Oh.



Don't be thrown off by that. He doesn't have the answer book. Unless of course, he is on your infallible list. :D


I'm not thrown off. Just trying to work out how to continue a one word conversation with him :-) Infallible? Only when he speaks ex-amoeba on matters of plaice and corals.


Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:36 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
AMWills wrote:

I'm not thrown off. Just trying to work out how to continue a one word conversation with him :-) Infallible? Only when he speaks ex-amoeba on matters of plaice and corals.


Oh my! That is so funny! Is that your original wit or have you been plaicerising?

_________________
On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.

- St. Robert Bellarmine


Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:45 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
AMWills wrote:
John Lane wrote:
No.
Oh.

Ah! don't worry about him Amwillsy... he's way more likely to be wrong than you and I are!

Hmmm. It looks as though some of you have been posting posts that I didn't know about.

I think I shall have to inform the forum owner that this is quite unacceptable.


Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:05 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Yes, I've gone viral. Check out the Intro thread.

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On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.

- St. Robert Bellarmine


Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:18 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Katie wrote:
This is not a Men's only Tea Room, so please tell your Ladies to come along and visit the Tea Rooms with their offerings. We hold to the same rules of etiquette as the other Forums of course.

I think the forum owner thinks by changing the venue I mightn't find my way back in. :) But I'm too clever for him. Who knows where we will find ourselves tomorrow! At least one gets to get around a bit without actually having to go far.

Maybe he just wants to loose anyone that might argue with him.

C'mon AMWillsy! We're not finished with him yet!
Scones are out the back of the Bar.


Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:03 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Reply:

According to scholastic teaching the nature of a being is its essence considered as the source or principle of its activity. When an individual nature is complete in itself, that is, when it subsists in itself and is not communicated to or does not coalesce with any other being, it is called, in scholastic terminology, a suppositum. Actiones sunt suppositorum is a familiar axiom of the schools. It means that supposita are the ultimate source and subject of all activity; that all actions must be predicated of or attributed to supposita. When the suppositum, the complete and incommunicable individual nature, is endowed with reason or intelligence we have what is technically described as a person. Hence the accepted scholastic definition of a person is an individual and incommunicable substance or being of a rational nature.[1] The human person is a composite unified being constituted by the substantial union of body and soul. The union results in a single nature. A complete individual nature cannot be actuated by more than one substantial form. Hence the rational soul is the one and only substantial form of the living human body in all its activities and manifestations.[2]

It is generally accepted nowadays that the human embryo, immediately on its formation by the union of the male and female elements of conception, is endowed with a rational soul.[3] This is the theory of immediate animation. If this theory be true, then it is obvious that the human embryo, from the first moment of its existence as a living entity, fulfils the scholastic definition of a ‘person.’ From the very beginning of its life the newly-formed being in the fertilized ovum is individualized and completed as a separate incommunicable rational nature or person by the infusion into it by God of its substantial form, the human soul.

We have said that this theory of immediate animation is generally accepted by present-day writers. We do not propose to repeat here all the proofs advanced in favour of the theory.[4] But we should point out that it is perfectly in accordance with scholastic teaching to hold that the rational soul is, from the very beginning, the principle of life and development of the living nucleus formed at the moment of human conception. That a new living being is formed when the ovum is fertilized is undeniable. It is equally undeniable that this new being grows and develops in virtue of a spontaneous and intrinsic principle of life and that its development is along unified, constant and teleological lines. There is no evidence of any break of continuity, change of direction or substantial diversity in the process. Such an uninterrupted and fixed course of progress and development seems to point clearly to a single, unified and unaltered principle of life right from the beginning.[5] This single principle must be the rational soul, since even those who reject the theory of immediate animation cannot and do not deny that the soul is the principle of embryonic life from a fairly early stage.

Some few modern writers[6] hold the theory of mediate animation. They say that the human embryo is not immediately animated at conception by a rational soul but only after a certain stage of development has been reached. The defenders of this theory postulate a succession of embryonic forms or souls—vegetative, sensitive, rational—in the development of the new life formed at the moment of human conception. Though we have referred to modern defenders, the theory of mediate animation is very ancient. It is found in the writings of Aristotle and was accepted by St. Thomas. But the modern exposition of the theory differs at some points from that given by St. Thomas.[7]

In the very early stages of development there is evidence only of vegetative life in the human embryo. At a somewhat later stage indications of sensation and sensitive life appear. But this is not a sufficient ground for postulating the existence of a succession of embryonic souls. In the developed human being the rational soul is the single principle of all life— vegetative and sensitive as well as rational. Surely, then, the rational soul may be the principle of vegetative and sensitive life in the developing embryo?[8] There is no difficulty or contradiction here. Cardinal Mercier, who is, incidentally, a defender of the mediate animation theory, wrote : [9] Il est possible sans doute . . . que dés le priricipe Ia vie de l’embryon vienne d’une âme raisonnable.’ If, as the mediate animationists suggest, there must be evidence of sensitive life before a sensitive soul may be attributed to the human embryo, why must we not wait until there is evidence of rational life and activity before postulating the presence of a rational soul? There is no indication of rational activity in the embryonic stage of foetal development. Nor is there such an indication at any time in the prenatal period, or indeed, for a while after. Yet the defenders of the mediate animation theory admit that the human foetus is endowed with a rational soul long before birth. This admission is, of course, correct as far as it goes, but it does not fit logically into the usual exposition of the theory of mediate animation. The fact obviously is that the absence of rational activity is no argument against the presence of the rational soul. The human embryo can be described as a person, a rational being, if it has the radical power of reason and intelligence, even though this power may be undeveloped or in abeyance. In the early stages the embryo has not the external shape or species of a human being. But, again, this is not a valid proof that the embryo is not initially endowed with a human soul. If it were a valid proof, would it not be logical to hold also that the ostenta referred to in canon 748[10] do not possess a rational soul?

It would follow from the theory of mediate animation that the human embryo is not a person in the scholastic sense until it has reached the stage of development at which the rational soul is infused.

Anima rationalis probabiliter infunditur tantum quando foetus radicalem omnino mutationem subit et externam acquirit speciem hominis quod fit versus finem tertii mensis : tune utique adest ratio cur dicatur animari anima rationali.[11]

In this theory, then, the deliberate expulsion, from the mother’s womb, of the human embryo, before the end of the third month of pregnancy, would not be the crime of homicide. This expulsion, however, as the defenders of the mediate animation theory hasten to assure us, is intrinsically and gravely sinful.[12] It is, they say, the destruction of a living being which is homo in potentia and, indeed, in potentia propinquissima.

As we have indicated earlier, we hold strongly for the theory of immediate animation. But, of course, we cannot claim any finality for our judgment. And we should add that, whichever theory be held, the principle of the inviolability of the life of the human embryo must be preserved intact. In a public address[13] Pope Pius XII said: ‘Innocent human life, in whatsoever condition it is found, is withdrawn, from the very first moment of its existence from any direct deliberate attack. This is a fundamental right of the human person which is of universal value in the Christian conception of life; hence as valid for the life still hidden in the womb of the mother as for the life already born and developing independently of her; as much opposed to direct abortion as to the direct killing of the child before, during and after its birth. Whatever foundation there may be for the distinction between these various phases of the development of life still unborn in profane and ecclesiastical law and in certain civil and penal consequences, all these cases involve a grave and unlawful attack upon the inviolability of human life.’

[1]Cf. Maher, Psychology, p. 521; cf. p. 343.
[2]Cf. Definition of the Council of Vienna, Denzinger-Umberg, Ench. Symb., n. 481
[3]Cf. Beraza, De Deo Creante, n. 1041.
[4]Cf. I. E. Record, xl (1932), pp. 449-60.
[5]Cf. Pujiula, Do Medicina Pastorali, n. 98.
[6]Cf. Merkelbach, Quaestiones de Embryologia, pp. 66—7.
[7]Cf. Messenger, Evolution and Theology, p. 88.
[8] ‘Entia non sunt multiplicanda sine necessitate.’
[9] Cours de Philosophie, Psychologie, ii, p. 336.
[10] Monstra et ostenta semper baptizentur saltem sub conditione.’
[11] Merkelbach, op. cit., p. 67.
[12] Cf. Merkelbach, Quaestiones de Embryologia, ii, p. 27.
[13] Address to ‘The Family Front,’ 26 November, 1951. Translation is from Catholic Documents, vi, p. 29.

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On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.

- St. Robert Bellarmine


Sat Aug 04, 2012 11:23 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Yair. That's what I was going to say, but with a few subtle blows at the mediate animation idea... all expressed in the idiom of Oddments.

Will have to be an exercise for later, though.

Maybe Amwills will begin it?


Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:35 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Ok Old, your wish is my command! I’ll start:

Quote:
Of Conception?
Can it be said that the human foetus, at least in the early stages after conception, satisfies fully all the requirements in the scholastic definition of 'person'?


Yes. This can be said with regard to Our Lord who was fully endowed with reason from the moment of conception. :wink:


Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:50 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
AMWills wrote:
Ok Old, your wish is my command! I’ll start:

Quote:
Of Conception?
Can it be said that the human foetus, at least in the early stages after conception, satisfies fully all the requirements in the scholastic definition of 'person'?


Yes. This can be said with regard to Our Lord who was fully endowed with reason from the moment of conception. :wink:

Woohoo! Good on you Amwills! We can make a feast of a scrap out of this if Katie's broom and rolling pin can be purloined and "lost".

Err. Who says that a "person" has to be "fully endowed with reason"? That would put the demented and others whose faculties are somewhat impaired at a considerable risk of being "not persons", wouldn't it?

Anyhow, I'm a bit cautious about implying that She and Him weren't "like us in all things but sin".

Given that Katie has had the temerity to post that recent picture of me, I must say that I admire your courage... wouldn't like a scone, would you?


Sun Aug 05, 2012 12:35 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Oldavid wrote:

Anyhow, I'm a bit cautious about implying that She and Him weren't "like us in all things but sin".



I don't understand what you are saying here, Odd? Please expand.

K.

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On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.

- St. Robert Bellarmine


Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:06 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Katie wrote:
I don't understand what you are saying here, Odd? Please expand.

A fair question..

Willsy wrote:
Yes. This can be said with regard to Our Lord who was fully endowed with reason from the moment of conception.

Seems to imply that Jesus might be the only one so endowed; which would, in turn, imply that He was not like us... as Uncle Paul said. Or it could imply that we're all "fully endowed with reason from the moment of conception" which does not appear to be the case- even for a normal post natal infant, let alone a fresh zygote.

(I'm not picking on you, Willsy... just trying to brighten up this drab old Fresh Scone with a lively Chesterian-style dispute. C'mon, we can lick 'm once we get our act together).


Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:42 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Willsy seems a little shy, so I'll provoke the question further... perhaps someone will choke on their scone or mail.

I recon that whoever proposed this question was trying to trick us with a "wrong if yes; wrong if no" sort of catch.

That Katie!... She might look like everyone's favourite mum... but she's got a cruel streak.

You see, Willsy, they were deliberately and maliciously trying to get us confused about "persons" and "humans" so that whatever you say could get you a ruler-on-the-knuckles, or a broom-about-your-ears.

So then! Neither you nor I are going to let some Medieval definition of "person" be an excuse for murdering babies (however small or immature) or elderly (no matter how incapacitated).

Stand up, Willsy! There's a whole world of people who don't know about la-de-da philosophy and religion but who have the same origin and potential destiny.


Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:32 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Oldavid wrote:
I recon that whoever proposed this question was trying to trick us with a "wrong if yes; wrong if no" sort of catch.


No, not all at. Do you always apply the worst motives possible? (broom, swish) What kind of forum do you think this is anyway. (swish) The question was proposed as a "right" if yes; "right" if no. It was a win, win for all. There's a hint for you for future questions. I will attribute your fuzzy thinking and misinterpretation to... too much time spent in a pub in Meekatharra? :shock:

Quote:
That Katie!... She might look like everyone's favourite mum... but she's got a cruel streak.


True. But I've not exposed it yet. I'm waiting for an opportune moment. I'm certain you will provide it and then.. duck.

Quote:
So then! Neither you nor I are going to let some Medieval definition of "person" be an excuse for murdering babies (however small or immature) or elderly (no matter how incapacitated).


Is this definition what you are taking exception to?

"Hence the accepted scholastic definition of a person is an individual and incommunicable substance or being of a rational nature. The human person is a composite unified being constituted by the substantial union of body and soul. The union results in a single nature. A complete individual nature cannot be actuated by more than one substantial form. Hence the rational soul is the one and only substantial form of the living human body in all its activities and manifestations."

Or the mediate animation theory? Which if so, does not make excuse for murdering babies.

"In this theory, then, the deliberate expulsion, from the mother’s womb, of the human embryo, before the end of the third month of pregnancy, would not be the crime of homicide. This expulsion, however, as the defenders of the mediate animation theory hasten to assure us, is intrinsically and gravely sinful.[12] It is, they say, the destruction of a living being which is homo in potentia and, indeed, in potentia propinquissima."

Or is it, as I suspect, that you are just pulling my leg?

Now my question is, does the mediate animation theory allow for 40+ years (you are over 40 aren't you?) before one is "an individual and incommunicable substance or being of a rational nature?" This would explain a good deal in some cases.

_________________
On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.

- St. Robert Bellarmine


Fri Aug 10, 2012 8:18 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Oldavid wrote:
Willsy seems a little shy, so I'll provoke the question further... perhaps someone will choke on their scone or mail.


Not shy, just too much work and not enough leisure for pleasure activities such as choking on scones at the Royal Mail in Meekatharra!

Quote:
That Katie!... She might look like everyone's favourite mum... but she's got a cruel streak.


Yes, looks can be very deceiving!

Quote:
You see, Willsy, they were deliberately and maliciously trying to get us confused about "persons" and "humans" so that whatever you say could get you a ruler-on-the-knuckles, or a broom-about-your-ears.


Old, what am I going to do? I must confess I know some “persons” who only look human. Those deceiving looks again, you know!

Quote:
So then! Neither you nor I are going to let some Medieval definition of "person" be an excuse for murdering babies (however small or immature) or elderly (no matter how incapacitated).

Stand up, Willsy! There's a whole world of people who don't know about la-de-da philosophy and religion but who have the same origin and potential destiny.


Willsy, standing up, at attention, Sir! All with the same origin and potential destiny, agreed! A person or a potential person in embryo, that is the question! Either way, if killed, they have both been robbed of their chance at Heaven.


Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:08 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Ah, good on you Willsy!
I was beginning to think that this was to be another of those purely academic exercises where the meaning was to be left lurking somewhere in a pile of big words.


Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:05 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
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But we should point out that it is perfectly in accordance with scholastic teaching to hold that the rational soul is, from the very beginning, the principle of life and development of the living nucleus formed at the moment of human conception. That a new living being is formed when the ovum is fertilized is undeniable. It is equally undeniable that this new being grows and develops in virtue of a spontaneous and intrinsic principle of life and that its development is along unified, constant and teleological lines. There is no evidence of any break of continuity, change of direction or substantial diversity in the process.


But there would be no evidence of any break if ensoulment took place at some point after conception.

Quote:
In the developed human being the rational soul is the single principle of all life— vegetative and sensitive as well as rational.


True. But the following conclusion does not logically follow:

Quote:
Surely, then, the rational soul may be the principle of vegetative and sensitive life in the developing embryo?[8]


Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:06 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Quote:
A person or a potential person in embryo, that is the question! Either way, if killed, they have both been robbed of their chance at Heaven.


It might even be argued that the destruction of an embryo that is homo in potentia is, in some sense, worse, since although both have been denied heaven, a person has been denied existence, and one would prefer existence to non-existence even if one ends up in limbo (a place of purely natural happiness) and not heaven.


Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:16 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Dom Pook wrote:

It might even be argued that the destruction of an embryo that is homo in potentia is, in some sense, worse, since although both have been denied heaven, a person has been denied existence, and one would prefer existence to non-existence even if one ends up in limbo (a place of purely natural happiness) and not heaven.




First things first. Welcome, Dom!

Interesting argument.

Evil is the absence of a due good and not just any good. But as you point out, a good is absent. But was it due? Existence is better than non-existence but I thought this only applies when speaking of those who exist. How does this apply to the category of the non-existent?

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On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.

- St. Robert Bellarmine


Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Dom Pook wrote:
Quote:
A person or a potential person in embryo, that is the question! Either way, if killed, they have both been robbed of their chance at Heaven.


It might even be argued that the destruction of an embryo that is homo in potentia is, in some sense, worse, since although both have been denied heaven, a person has been denied existence, and one would prefer existence to non-existence even if one ends up in limbo (a place of purely natural happiness) and not heaven.

Pleased to meet you, Dom Pook. Take a place anywhere you like (which, of course, will be wherever Katie directs you).

My aim is to make Katie's elegant establishment into a venue for vigorous debates and rowdy disputes that will ultimately translate lofty theological ideas into the vernacular.

If you see Katie scowling at you, be very afraid... her bite is much worse than her bark. However, any injuries to the ego thus aquired should be worn with pride... like battle scars.

So now, down to business.
Quote:
It might even be argued that the destruction of an embryo that is homo in potentia is, in some sense, worse, since although both have been denied heaven, a person has been denied existence,

I am not at all comfortable with the idea that one "fades" into (and, presumably, out of) "humanity" or "humanness" by degrees or gradation, as is implied by "homo in potentia".

I'll just leave it there for now and see what happens.


Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:10 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Oldavid wrote:

My aim is to make Katie's elegant establishment into a venue for vigorous debates and rowdy disputes that will ultimately translate lofty theological ideas into the vernacular.



Well, you'd have to comprehend the lofty ideas in the first place, wouldn't you? :lol: Sorry Old, but you asked for that! :wink:

Yours,
Katie!

_________________
On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.

- St. Robert Bellarmine


Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:17 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Katie wrote:
Well, you'd have to comprehend the lofty ideas in the first place, wouldn't you? :lol: Sorry Old, but you asked for that! :wink:

Yours,
Katie!

Not me!
I'm just the infuriating interjector that says "Yair, but...".


Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:05 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Infuriating never. You are just a teddy bear in a grizzly bear suit.

_________________
On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.

- St. Robert Bellarmine


Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:31 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Katie wrote:
Infuriating never. You are just a teddy bear in a grizzly bear suit.

Heh!
Maybe an impish malevolent teddy bear cleverly disguised as a domesticated friendly grizzly.

Katie! This is not working!

Could you get me a cute, cuddly pussycat suit?


Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:13 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Thanks for the welcome Katie.

Just for clarification, I do not wish to imply the acting of killing an homo in potentia embryo is, or might be, worse than killing an embryo that is a person (I don’t believe it is), but I am looking at both cases from the aspect of the embryos themselves, and then only from a certain angle. But on reflection I think there are a number of difficulties with the argument that didn’t occur to me at the time of writing it.


Katie wrote:
Evil is the absence of a due good and not just any good. But as you point out, a good is absent. But was it due?


It would seem to me if God wills the good, then it must be due.

Katie wrote:
Existence is better than non-existence but I thought this only applies when speaking of those who exist. How does this apply to the category of the non-existent?


When speaking of the non-existent as preferring existence to non-existence were they to exist, which is probably not a good way of arguing. But we could say God wills the existence of some that will never exist, couldn’t we?


Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:45 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Oldavid wrote:
Pleased to meet you, Dom Pook


Pleased to meet you too Oldavid. And thanks for your advice!


Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:50 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Dom Pook wrote:

When speaking of the non-existent as preferring existence to non-existence were they to exist, which is probably not a good way of arguing. But we could say God wills the existence of some that will never exist, couldn’t we?


Hi Dom,

I am not good at arguing. You will discover this soon (well, you have already) enough. :)

Does God will the existence of some that will never exist? Well, I don't know. Probably another well versed in these things would know the answer. It does sound odd to me, though. Until I know or have further information, I think for now that if God wills someone to exist, then He has done that from all eternity and that this person will indeed exist and that the doing of man could not frustrate His will in something so fundamental as existence itself. I am open to correction if I am wrong, which happens all too often!

What is your reasoning for thinking as you do?

BTW, I didn't take from your earlier words that you were lessening the gravity of the killing of person for one moment.

_________________
On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.

- St. Robert Bellarmine


Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:26 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Dom Pook wrote:
Oldavid wrote:
Pleased to meet you, Dom Pook


Pleased to meet you too Oldavid. And thanks for your advice!


I am glad you are pleased to meet my forum troublemaker. OldD is many things, all good... but whatever you do, don't take his advice! He is just miffed because I won't let him run this forum that way that he would like...and he didn't get any scones. :P

_________________
On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.

- St. Robert Bellarmine


Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:30 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Oldavid wrote:
Katie! This is not working!

Could you get me a cute, cuddly pussycat suit?


No problem.

Image

_________________
On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.

- St. Robert Bellarmine


Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:49 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Katie wrote:
Hi Dom,

I am not good at arguing. You will discover this soon .

Dom,
Allow me to translate this. It means:
"I don't need to be good at arguing because I have a monopoly on the rolling pin and broom".


Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:54 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Oldavid wrote:
John Daly wrote:
Oldavid wrote:
What's a "person"?


A person is an individual substance of rational nature.

In the case of identical twins at least it would appear necessary to postpone their rationality until the second instant.

Mmmm.
But that doesn't mean much to a silly old agrarian pragmatist like me.

I mean... does a person have to have a person-ality?

Dom wrote:
When speaking of the non-existent as preferring existence to non-existence were they to exist, which is probably not a good way of arguing. But we could say God wills the existence of some that will never exist, couldn’t we?

Oh! come on, you blokes! I don't even know what we're talking about!

We've gone straight from a (I think) rather dodgy definition of "person" to God willing something-or-other.

Us pussy-bears are not good at mental gymnastics.


Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:17 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
See. I can't even work your quote thingy.


Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:19 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Wassamatta? You all scared of a teddy bear dressed up as a pussycat?


Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:45 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Ha, of course not. Just been off the job lately. Don't worry, I'll be back. OR do worry, I should say. :)

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On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.

- St. Robert Bellarmine


Sun Aug 19, 2012 8:38 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
I am trembling in anticipation........................................................... (or is it fear?)!


Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:53 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Back on the job...

Image

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On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.

- St. Robert Bellarmine


Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:46 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Yair! but! is the human foetus a person from the first moment?


Sat Aug 25, 2012 1:06 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Oldavid wrote:
Yair! but! is the human foetus a person from the first moment?


Actually, shouldn't the question be is the human embryo a person from the first moment of conception?


Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:05 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Oldavid wrote:
We've gone straight from a (I think) rather dodgy definition of "person" to God willing something-or-other.


Oldavid, I don’t see that I have used the term person in a sense that is contrary to Boethius' definition.


Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:08 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Katie wrote:
Does God will the existence of some that will never exist? Well, I don't know. Probably another well versed in these things would know the answer. It does sound odd to me, though. Until I know or have further information, I think for now that if God wills someone to exist, then He has done that from all eternity and that this person will indeed exist and that the doing of man could not frustrate His will in something so fundamental as existence itself. I am open to correction if I am wrong, which happens all too often!

What is your reasoning for thinking as you do?


The killing of an embryo is an evil.
An evil is an absence of a due good.
God wills the due good.
Embryos are killed.

Therefore there is a due good that God wills that is both due and absent.

The question then is, what is the due good that is absent in the killing of an embryo where ensoulment has not taken place?


Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:19 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Dom Pook wrote:
Oldavid wrote:
We've gone straight from a (I think) rather dodgy definition of "person" to God willing something-or-other.


Oldavid, I don’t see that I have used the term person in a sense that is contrary to Boethius' definition.

I didn't mean to seem to be ignoring you, Dom. I just haven't had much opportunity recently.

Consistent with my usual irreverence I'm pretty indifferent to whose definition it might be but I like to know what it means, whoever said it.

Getting back to my question: Does a person have to have a person-ality; or, more particularly, is something without a "tangible" personality (like an embryo) not a person? Not a "rational substance"?

I will contend that at the very instant that the life of the mother and the life of the father fuse into a new life (talking humans here) the new life is entirely human with a human soul with all the possibilities of development simply awaiting that development. Right from the moment of conception that being is a human.... no possibility of being a mushroom or a mouse.

Just as a new-born baby may grow up to be a powerful athlete or a delicate composer, then become a sicky bed-ridden old man who's lost his mind, I will maintain that it's the same being right from the first moment of conception to death.

As far as how those that are cut off early in life (for whatever cause) fit in to the economy of Creation and Salvation... I don't know. I've never seen any hints of how they might fit the Plan, but I am supremely confident that there is a Plan.


Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:00 am
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