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  • Cited by 11
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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Ward, Thomas M. 2016. John Buridan and Thomas Aquinas on Hylomorphism and the Beginning of Life. Res Philosophica, Vol. 93, Issue. 1, p. 27.

    Beckwith, Francis J. 2015. Or we can be philosophers: a response to Barbara Forrest. Synthese, Vol. 192, Issue. S1, p. 3.

    Eberl, Jason T. 2015. A Thomistic defense of whole-brain death. The Linacre Quarterly, Vol. 82, Issue. 3, p. 235.

    Floyd, Shawn 2015. Substantial Goodness and Nascent Human Life. HEC Forum, Vol. 27, Issue. 3, p. 229.

    Silva, José Filipe 2015. Potentially Human? Aquinas on Aristotle on Human Generation. British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Vol. 23, Issue. 1, p. 3.

    Rankin, Mark 2013. Can One Be Two?. Monash Bioethics Review, Vol. 31, Issue. 2, p. 37.

    2013. Aquinas and the Supreme Court.


    Daly, Conrad C. 2006. The Sound of Science: The Power to Bless or to Burn. Southern Medical Journal, Vol. 99, Issue. 12, p. 1416.

    MEYER, JOHN R. 2006. EMBRYONIC PERSONHOOD, HUMAN NATURE, AND RATIONAL ENSOULMENT. The Heythrop Journal, Vol. 47, Issue. 2, p. 206.

    Eberl, Jason 2005. Aquinas's Account of Human Embryogenesis and Recent Interpretations. The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Vol. 30, Issue. 4, p. 379.


Aquinas on Human Ensoulment, Abortion and the Value of Life

  • John Haldane (a1) and Patrick Lee (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 March 2003

Although there is a significant number of books and essays in which Aquinas's thought is examined in some detail, there are still many aspects of his writings that remain unknown to those outside the field of Thomistic studies; or which are generally misunderstood. An example is Aquinas's account of the origins of individual human life. This is the subject of a chapter in a recent book by Robert Pasnau on Thomas Aquinas on Human Nature (Cambridge: CUP, 2001). Since there will be readers whose only knowledge of the issues in question will come from Pasnau's account, and since that account is contentious in substance, and advanced in advocacy of a particular moral interest, it is necessary to provide another, and, we believe, more credible account of the issue of when human life begins, as this may be determined on the basis of known empirical facts and Aquinas's metaphysics, and a more accurate representation of how (and how extensively) this matter has been treated hitherto. The morality of abortion turns on two important sets of issues: the first metaphysical, concerning the beginnings of human life and the specific status of the embryo; the second, ethical, having to do with the nature and scope of value and associated moral requirements. Besides engaging in exegesis we address both issues in philosophical terms.

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  • ISSN: 0031-8191
  • EISSN: 1469-817X
  • URL: /core/journals/philosophy
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