Volume 83, Issue 4, Fall 2009
Bernard G. Prusak
What Was to Be Demonstrated
A Reply to Christopher Tollefsen’s “No Problem”
In his reply to my paper “The Problem with the Problem of the Embryo,” which appeared in the Summer 2008 (82:3) issue of ACPQ, Christopher Tollefsen claims that (1) I muddle matters by failing to keep distinct questions of biology from questions having to do with personhood; (2) I have the science wrong in my account of the debate over the fact that the embryo depends on “maternal donation” for its development; and (3) my so-called “counsel of pragmatism” is unlikely to lead to any progress, since, “[i]f we refuse to accept and be guided by truth when it lies before us, we are unlikely to even seek it in other, more difficult domains.” I reply to each criticism in turn, both by clarifying the argument in my paper—which Tollefsen misrepresents at one point—and by taking up, and considering in the light of my argument, his substantive claims about what biological inquiry can here reveal.