Elselijn Kingma, associate professor of philosophy at the University of Southampton, has been awarded a 1.2 million Euro (approximately $1.35 million) European Research Council (ERC) Research Grant for her work on the metaphysics of pregnancy.
Kingma explains: “Every single human is the product of a pregnancy: an approximately nine-month period during which a foetus develops within its mother’s body. Yet pregnancy has not been a traditional focus in philosophy. That is remarkable, because pregnancy presents us with fascinating metaphysical problems: what, during the pregnancy, is the nature of the relationship between the foetus and the maternal organism? What is the relationship between the pregnant organism and the later baby? And when does one person or organism become two?”
The research grant allows Kingma to appoint a research team to address these and other questions in the next 5-years.
She reports that the core aims of the project are:
- To develop a philosophically sophisticated account of human pregnancy and birth, and the entities involved in this, that is attentive to our best empirical understanding of human reproductive biology;
- To articulate the metaphysics of organisms, persons and selves in a way that acknowledges the details of how we come into existence; and
- To start the process of rewriting the legal, social and moral language we use to classify ourselves and our actions, so that it is compatible with and can accommodate the nature of pregnancy.
The project is named “Better Understanding the Metaphysics of Pregnancy.” That’s right: BUMP. That is some award-winning acronymizing right there.
You can read more about BUMP here. Postdoctoral and PhD positions associated with the project will soon be advertised.