Date of Award


First Advisor

Samuel Ruhmkorff

Second Advisor

Brian Conolly


In Lady Parts, Kingma explores different formulations of the metaphysical relationship between a pregnant woman (gravida) and a fetus (foster), as well as the implications of these different views. While she does not fully endorse a metaphysical solution, she favors the Fetal Parthood model, according to which a fetus is a part of a pregnant woman. However, I argue that if we accept the Fetal Parthood model and a Four-Dimensionalist account of objects, we can avoid the dilemma Kingma presents. Kingma rejects the tenant-niche model of pregnancy by refuting the claim that there are clear physical boundaries between the foster and the gravida through identification of fiat boundaries. However, due to her Three-Dimensionalist perspective, she suggests that this indicates a part-whole relationship between the foster and the gravida, along with the counterintuitive implications that a foster is no longer considered an organism and merely a part of the gravida. I argue that by application of Four- Dimensionalism to Kingma’s part-whole theory of pregnancy, we are able to allow the foster to be considered a whole in and of itself despite its current temporal part being a current proper spatial part of the gravida.

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