Sixteen days

Barry Smith, Berit Brogaard

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


When does a human being begin to exist? We argue that it is possible, through a combination of biological fact and philosophical analysis, to provide a definitive answer to this question. We lay down a set of conditions for being a human being, and we determine when, in the course of normal fetal development, these conditions are first satisfied. Issues dealt with along the way include: modes of substance-formation, twinning, the nature of the intra-uterine environment, and the nature of the relation between fetus and mother (connection, parthood, dependence).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-78
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Medicine and Philosophy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Embryo
  • Fetal development
  • Fetus
  • Foster
  • Ontology
  • Substance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Philosophy


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