Transhumanism is an international philosophical movement that advocates for the transformation of the human condition by developing and making available sophisticated technologies to enhance human intellect and physiology. Transhumanist thinkers study the potential benefits and dangers of emerging technologies that could overcome fundamental human limitations as well as the ethical limitations of using such technologies; the most common transhumanist thesis is that human beings may be able to transform themselves into different beings with abilities so expanded from the current condition as to merit the label of posthuman beings. The contemporary meaning of the term "transhumanism" was foreshadowed by one of the first professors of futurology, FM-2030, who taught "new concepts of the human" at The New School in the 1960s, when he began to identify people who adopt technologies and worldviews "transitional" to posthumanity as "transhuman"; the assertion would lay the intellectual groundwork for the British philosopher Max More to begin articulating the principles of transhumanism as a futurist philosophy in 1990, organizing in California an intelligentsia that has since grown into the worldwide transhumanist movement.
Influenced by seminal works of science fiction, the transhumanist vision of a transformed future humanity has attracted many supporters and detractors from a wide range of perspectives, including philosophy and religion. According to Nick Bostrom, transcendentalist impulses have been expressed at least as far back as the quest for immortality in the Epic of Gilgamesh, as well as in historical quests for the Fountain of Youth, the Elixir of Life, other efforts to stave off aging and death. There is debate about whether the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche can be considered an influence on transhumanism, despite its exaltation of the "Übermensch", due to its emphasis on self-actualization rather than technological transformation; the transhumanist philosophies of Max More and Stefan Lorenz Sorgner have been influenced by Nietzschean thinking. By way of contrast, The Transhumanist Declaration "...advocates the well-being of all sentience". The late 19th to early 20th century movement known as Russian cosmism incorporated some ideas which developed into the core of the transhumanist movement.
Fundamental ideas of transhumanism were first advanced in 1923 by the British geneticist J. B. S. Haldane in his essay Daedalus: Science and the Future, which predicted that great benefits would come from the application of advanced sciences to human biology—and that every such advance would first appear to someone as blasphemy or perversion, "indecent and unnatural". In particular, he was interested in the development of the science of eugenics and the application of genetics to improve human characteristics, such as health and intelligence, his article inspired popular interest. J. D. Bernal, a crystallographer at Cambridge, wrote The World, the Flesh and the Devil in 1929, in which he speculated on the prospects of space colonization and radical changes to human bodies and intelligence through bionic implants and cognitive enhancement; these ideas have been common transhumanist themes since. The biologist Julian Huxley is regarded as the founder of transhumanism after using the term for the title of an influential 1957 article.
The term itself, derives from an earlier 1940 paper by the Canadian philosopher W. D. Lighthall. Huxley describes transhumanism in these terms: Up till now human life has been, as Hobbes described it,'nasty and short'. Huxley's definition differs, albeit not from the one in use since the 1980s; the ideas raised by these thinkers were explored in the science fiction of the 1960s, notably in Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which an alien artifact grants transcendent power to its wielder. Japanese Metabolist architects produced a manifesto in 1960 which outlined goals to "encourage active metabolic development of our society" through design and technology. In the Material and Man section of the manifesto, Noboru Kawazoe suggests that:After several decades, with the rapid progress of communication technology, every one will have a “brain wave receiver” in his ear, which conveys directly and what other people think about him and vice versa. What I think will be known by all the people.
There is no more individual consciousness, only the will of mankind as a whole. The concept of the technological singularity, or the ultra-rapid advent of superhuman intelligence, was first proposed by the British cryptologist I. J. Good in 1965: Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design better machines, thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need make. Computer scientist Marvin Minsky
New Age is a term applied to a range of spiritual or religious beliefs and practices that developed in Western nations during the 1970s. Precise scholarly definitions of the New Age differ in their emphasis as a result of its eclectic structure. Although analytically considered to be religious, those involved in it prefer the designation of spiritual or Mind, Body and use the term "New Age" themselves. Many scholars of the subject refer to it as the New Age movement, although others contest this term and suggest that it is better seen as a milieu or zeitgeist; as a form of Western esotericism, the New Age drew upon a number of older esoteric traditions, in particular those that emerged from the occultist current that developed in the eighteenth century. Such prominent occult influences include the work of Emanuel Swedenborg and Franz Mesmer, as well as the ideas of Spiritualism, New Thought, Theosophy and the European Lebensreform movement. A number of mid-twentieth century influences, such as the UFO religions of the 1950s, the Counterculture of the 1960s, the Human Potential Movement exerted a strong influence on the early development of the New Age.
The exact origins of the phenomenon remain contested, but there is general agreement that it developed in the 1970s, at which time it was centred in the United Kingdom. It expanded and grew in the 1980s and 1990s, in particular within the United States. By the start of the 21st century, the term "New Age" was rejected within this milieu, with some scholars arguing that the New Age phenomenon had ended. Despite its eclectic nature, a number of beliefs found within the New Age have been identified. Theologically, the New Age adopts a belief in a holistic form of divinity that imbues all of the universe, including human beings themselves. There is thus a strong emphasis on the spiritual authority of the self; this is accompanied by a common belief in a wide variety of semi-divine non-human entities, such as angels and masters, with whom humans can communicate through the form of channeling. Viewing human history as being divided into a series of distinct ages, a common New Age belief is that whereas once humanity lived in an age of great technological advancement and spiritual wisdom, it has entered a period of spiritual degeneracy, which will be remedied through the establishment of a coming Age of Aquarius, from which the milieu gets its name.
There is a strong focus on healing using forms of alternative medicine, an emphasis on a New Age approach to science that seeks to unite science and spirituality. Centred in Western countries, those involved in the New Age have been from middle and upper-middle-class backgrounds; the degree to which New Agers are involved in the milieu varied from those who adopted a number of New Age ideas and practices to those who embraced and dedicated their lives to it. The New Age has generated criticism from established Christian organisations as well as modern Pagan and indigenous communities. From the 1990s onward, the New Age became the subject of research by academic scholars of religious studies; the New Age phenomenon has proved difficult to define, with much scholarly disagreement as to its scope. The scholars Steven J. Sutcliffe and Ingvild Sælid Gilhus have suggested that it remains "among the most disputed of categories in the study of religion"; the scholar of religion Paul Heelas characterised the New Age as "an eclectic hotch-potch of beliefs and ways of life" that can be identified as a singular phenomenon through their use of "the same lingua franca to do with the human condition and how it can be transformed."
The historian of religion Olav Hammer termed it "a common denominator for a variety of quite divergent contemporary popular practices and beliefs" that have emerged since the late 1970s and are "largely united by historical links, a shared discourse and an air de famille". According to Hammer, this New Age was a "fluid and fuzzy cultic milieu"; the sociologist of religion Michael York described the New Age as "an umbrella term that includes a great variety of groups and identities" that are united by their "expectation of a major and universal change being founded on the individual and collective development of human potential."The scholar of religion Wouter Hanegraaff adopted a different approach by asserting that "New Age" was "a label attached indiscriminately to whatever seems to fit it" and that as a result it "means different things to different people". He thus argued against the idea that the New Age could be considered "a unified ideology or Weltanschauung", although he believed that it could be considered a "more or less unified'movement'."
Other scholars have suggested. The scholar of religion George D. Chryssides called it "a counter-cultural Zeitgeist", while the sociologist of religion Steven Bruce suggested that New Age was a milieu. There is no central authority within the New Age phenomenon that can determine what counts as New Age and what does not. Many of those groups and individuals who could analytically be categorised as part of the New Age reject the term "New Age" in reference to themselves; some express active hostility to the term. Rather than terming themselves "New Agers", those involved in this milieu describe themselves as spiritual "seekers", some self-identify as a member of a different religious group, such as Christianity, Judaism, or Buddhism. In 2003 Sutcliffe observed that the use of the term "New Age" was "op
Animal rights is the idea in which some, or all, non-human animals are entitled to the possession of their own existence and that their most basic interests—such as the need to avoid suffering—should be afforded the same consideration as similar interests of human beings. Its advocates oppose the assignment of moral value and fundamental protections on the basis of species membership alone—an idea known since 1970 as speciesism, when the term was coined by Richard D. Ryder—arguing that it is a prejudice as irrational as any other, they maintain that animals should no longer be viewed as property or used as food, research subjects, entertainment, or beasts of burden. Multiple cultural traditions around the world such as Jainism, Hinduism and Animism espouse some forms of animal rights. In parallel to the debate about moral rights, animal law is now taught in law schools in North America, several prominent legal scholars support the extension of basic legal rights and personhood to at least some animals.
The animals most considered in arguments for personhood are bonobos and chimpanzees. This is supported by some animal rights academics because it would break through the species barrier, but opposed by others because it predicates moral value on mental complexity, rather than on sentience alone. Critics of animal rights argue that nonhuman animals are unable to enter into a social contract, thus cannot be possessors of rights, a view summed up by the philosopher Roger Scruton, who writes that only humans have duties, therefore only humans have rights. Another argument, associated with the utilitarian tradition, is that animals may be used as resources so long as there is no unnecessary suffering. Certain forms of animal rights activism, such as the destruction of fur farms and animal laboratories by the Animal Liberation Front, have attracted criticism, including from within the animal rights movement itself, as well as prompted reaction from the U. S. Congress with the enactment of laws allowing these activities to be prosecuted as terrorism, including the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.
Aristotle argued that animals lacked reason, placed humans at the top of the natural world, yet the respect for animals in ancient Greece was high. Some animals were considered e.g. dolphins. In the Book of Genesis 1:26, Adam is given "dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air, over the cattle, over all the earth, over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." Dominion need not entail property rights, but it has been interpreted, by some, over the centuries to imply ownership. Contemporary philosopher Bernard Rollin writes that "dominion does not entail or allow abuse any more than does dominion a parent enjoys over a child." Rollin further states that the Biblical Sabbath requirement promulgated in the Ten Commandments "required that animals be granted a day of rest along with humans. Correlatively, the Bible forbids'plowing with an ox and an ass together'. According to the rabbinical tradition, this prohibition stems from the hardship that an ass would suffer by being compelled to keep up with an ox, which is, of course, far more powerful.
One finds the prohibition against'muzzling an ox when it treads out the grain', an environmental prohibition against destroying trees when besieging a city. These ancient regulations forgotten, bespeak of an eloquent awareness of the status of animals as ends in themselves", a point corroborated by Norm Phelps; the philosopher and mathematician, urged respect for animals, believing that human and nonhuman souls were reincarnated from human to animal, vice versa. Against this, student to the philosopher Plato, argued that nonhuman animals had no interests of their own, ranking them far below humans in the Great Chain of Being, he was the first to create a taxonomy of animals. Theophrastus, one of Aristotle's pupils, argued that animals had reasoning and opposed eating meat on the grounds that it robbed them of life and was therefore unjust. Theophrastus did not prevail. Plutarch in his Life of Cato the Elder comments that while law and justice are applicable to men only and charity towards beasts is characteristic of a gentle heart.
This is intended as a correction and advance over the utilitarian treatment of animals and slaves by Cato himself. Tom Beauchamp writes that the most extensive account in antiquity of how animals should be treated was written by the Neoplatonist philosopher Porphyry, in his On Abstinence from Animal Food, On Abstinence from Killing Animals. According to Richard D. Ryder, the first known animal protection legislation in Europe was passed in Ireland in 1635, it prohibited pulling wool off sheep, the attaching of ploughs to horses' tails, referring to "the cruelty used to beasts." In 1641, the first legal code to protect domestic animals in North America was passed by the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The colony's constitution was based on The Body of
Center for Inquiry
The Center for Inquiry is a nonprofit educational organization. Its primary mission is to foster a secular society based on science, freedom of inquiry, humanist values. CFI has a number of international branches. Center for Inquiry focuses on two primary subject areas: Investigation of Paranormal and Fringe Science Claims through the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry Religion and Society through the Council for Secular HumanismCFI is active in promoting a scientific approach to medicine and health; the organization has been described as a non-governmental organization. In January 2016, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science announced that it was merging with the Center for Inquiry, with Robyn Blumner as the CEO of the combined organizations; the Center for Inquiry was established in 1991 by author Paul Kurtz. It brought together two organizations: the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal and the Council for Secular Humanism. CSICOP and CSH had operated in tandem but were now formally affiliated under one umbrella.
By 1995 CFI had expanded into a new headquarters in Amherst, New York, in 1996 opened its first branch office in Los Angeles, CFI West named CFI Los Angeles. In the same year, CFI founded the Campus Freethought Alliance, organizing college students around its areas of interest. By 1997 CFI had begun expanding its efforts internationally through an association with Moscow State University. Between 2002 and 2003 CFI opened two new branches in New York City and Tampa, Florida in addition to expanding its west coast branch into a new building in Hollywood, California. Located on Hollywood Boulevard, CFI Los Angeles became home to the Steve Allen Theater, named after the former Tonight Show host and CFI supporter; this property was sold in 2017 and CFI Los Angeles is now located at 2535 W, Temple St. Los Angeles, CA 90026. In 2004, CFI continued to expand into cities across the United States with the creation of a network of community organizations called CFI Communities. In 2005 CFI once again expanded its Amherst headquarters with a new research wing.
Additionally, CFI was granted special consultative status with the United Nations the same year. Since 2006 CFI has been expanding with a series of new branches in cities across North America and around the world; these include new Centers for Inquiry in Toronto, Washington, D. C. Indianapolis, Grand Rapids and Austin, Texas; the branch in Washington is headquarters to CFI's Office of Public Policy, which represents CFI's interests on Capitol Hill. Their former affiliated organizations, the Council for Secular Humanism and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, ceased to exist as independent organizations, have become programs of Center for Inquiry, since January 2015. In January 2016, CFI announced that it was merging with the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, with Robyn Blumner as the CEO of the combined organizations. According to Paul Kurtz, in June 2009, being at odds with new CEO Ronald Lindsay, Kurtz was voted out as chairman. Kurtz has described the direction of CFI under Lindsay as "angry atheism" in contrast to his affirmative humanist philosophical approach.
According to Ronald Lindsay,"Paul Kurtz voluntarily resigned from his positions with CFI and all its affiliates, including his position as editor-in-chief of Free Inquiry." The Center for Inquiry Board Statement from 2010, thanks Kurtz for his "decades of service" and claims that "Much of CFI’s success is due to Paul Kurtz’s inspiration and leadership." The release states that with Kurtz's encouragement, new leadership was sought out, with the goal of transitioning Kurtz away from the CEO position. The Board according to CFI prior to 2010 had become concerned with Kurtz's "day-to-day management of the organization. In June 2008, the board appointed Dr. Ronald A. Lindsay president & CEO. In May 2010, the Board accepted Kurtz's resignation from CFI. Through the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, its journal, Skeptical Inquirer magazine, published by the Center for Inquiry, CSI evaluates claims of the paranormal, such as psychic phenomena, communication with the dead, alleged extraterrestrial visitations.
It explores the fringes and borderlands of the sciences, attempting to separate evidence-based research from pseudosciences. CSICOP was, alongside magician and prominent skeptic James Randi, sued by TV celebrity Uri Geller in the 1990s over claims made in the International Herald Tribune; the case ran for several years with Geller ordered to pay costs and other charges, was settled in 1995. The Independent Investigations Group, a volunteer group based at CFI Los Angeles, undertakes experimental testing of fringe claims, it offers a cash prize for successful demonstration of supernatural effects. The IIG Awards are presented for "scientific and critical thinking in mainstream entertainment". IIG has investigated, amongst other things, power bracelets, psychic detectives and a'telepathic wonder dog'; the Center promotes critical inquiry into social effects of the world religions. Since 1983 through its connection with Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion, it has focused on such issues as fundamentalism in Christianity and Islam, humanistic alternatives to religious ethics, religious sources of political violence.
It has taken part in protests against religious persecution around the worl
Renaissance humanism in Northern Europe
Renaissance Humanism came much to Germany and Northern Europe in general than to Italy, when it did, it encountered some resistance from the scholastic theology which reigned at the universities. Humanism may be dated from the invention of the printing press about 1450, its flourishing period began at the close of the 15th century and lasted only until about 1520, when it was absorbed by the more popular and powerful religious movement, the Reformation, as Italian Humanism was superseded by the papal counter-Reformation. Marked features distinguished the new culture north of the Alps from the culture of the Italians; the university and school played a much more important part than in the South according to Catholic historians. The representatives of the new scholarship were teachers. During the progress of the movement new universities sprang up, from Basel to Rostock. Again, in Germany, there were no princely patrons of arts and learning to be compared in intelligence and munificence to the Renaissance popes and the Medici.
Nor was the new culture here exclusive and aristocratic. It sought the general spread of intelligence, was active in the development of primary and grammar schools. In fact, when the currents of the Italian Renaissance began to set toward the North, a strong, intellectual current was pushing down from the flourishing schools conducted by the Brethren of the Common Life. In the Humanistic movement, the German people was far from being a slavish imitator, it made its own path. In the North, Humanism entered into the service of religious progress. German scholars were less brilliant and elegant, but more serious in their purpose and more exact in their scholarship than their Italian predecessors and contemporaries. In the South, the ancient classics absorbed the attention of the literati, it was not so in the North. There was no consuming passion to render the classics into German. Nor did Italian literature, with its relaxed moral attitude, find imitators in the North. Boccaccio’s Decameron was first translated into German by the physician, Henry Stainhowel, who died in 1482.
North of the Alps, attention was chiefly centred on the New Testaments. Greek and Hebrew were studied, not with the purpose of ministering to a cult of antiquity, but to reach the fountains of the Christian system more adequately. In this way, preparation was made for the work of the Protestant Reformation; this focus on translation was a feature of the Christian humanists who helped to launch the new, post-scholastic era, among them Erasmus and Luther. In so doing, they placed biblical texts above any human or institutional authority, an approach that emphasised the role of the reader in understanding a text for him or herself. Allied to the late medieval shift of scholarship from the monastery to the university, Christian humanism engendered a new freedom of expression though some of its proponents opposed that freedom of expression elsewhere, such as in their censure of the Anabaptists. What was true of the scholarship of Germany was true of its art; the painters, Albrecht Dürer, born and died at Nuremberg, 1471–1528, Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1472–1553, for the most part Hans Holbein the Younger, 1497–1543, took little interest in mythology, apart from Cranach's nudes, were persuaded by the Reformation, though most continued to take commissions for traditional Catholic subjects.
Dürer and Holbein had close contacts with leading humanists. Cranach lived in Wittenberg after 1504 and painted portraits of Martin Luther, Philip Melanchthon and other leaders of the German Reformation. Holbein made frontispieces and illustrations for Protestant books and painted portraits of Erasmus and Melanchthon. If any one individual more than another may be designated as the connecting link between the learning of Italy and Germany, it is Aeneas Sylvius. By his residence at the court of Frederick III and at Basel, as one of the secretaries of the council, he became a well-known character north of the Alps long before he was chosen pope; the mediation, was not effected by any single individual. The fame of the Renaissance was carried over the pathways of trade which led from Northern Italy to Augsburg, Nuremberg and other German cities; the visits of Frederick III and the campaigns of Charles VIII and the ascent of the throne of Naples by the princes of Aragon carried Germans and Spaniards to the greater centres of the peninsula.
A constant stream of pilgrims travelled to Rome and the Spanish popes drew to the city throngs of Spaniards. As the fame of Italian culture spread and artists began to travel to Venice and Rome, caught the inspiration of the new era. To the Italians, Germany was a land of barbarians, they despised the German people for their rudeness and intemperance in drinking. Aeneas was impressed by the beauty of Vienna, though it was quite small when compared to the greatest Italian cities. However, he found that the German princes and nobles cared more for horses and dogs than for poets and scholars and loved their wine-cellars better than the muses. Campanus, a witty poet of the papal court, sent as legate to the Diet of Regensburg by Pope Paul II, afterwards was made a bishop by Pope Pius II, abused Germany for its dirt, cold climate, sour wine and miserable fare, he lamented his unfortunate nose, which had to smell everything, praised his ears, which understood nothing. Johannes Santritter, himself being a German living in Italy, admitted that Italy was ahead of Germany in the humanities.
However, he contended that many Italians were jealous of German sc
Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement. Rights are of essential importance in such disciplines as law and ethics theories of justice and deontology. Rights are considered fundamental to civilization, for they are regarded as established pillars of society and culture, the history of social conflicts can be found in the history of each right and its development. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "rights structure the form of governments, the content of laws, the shape of morality as it is perceived". There is considerable disagreement about what is meant by the term rights, it has been used by different groups and thinkers for different purposes, with different and sometimes opposing definitions, the precise definition of this principle, beyond having something to do with normative rules of some sort or another, is controversial. One way to get an idea of the multiple understandings and senses of the term is to consider different ways it is used.
Many diverse things are claimed as rights: There are diverse possible ways to categorize rights, such as: There has been considerable debate about what this term means within the academic community within fields such as philosophy, deontology, political science, religion. Natural rights are rights which are "natural" in the sense of "not artificial, not man-made", as in rights deriving from human nature or from the edicts of a god, they are universal. They exist inhere in every individual, can't be taken away. For example, it has been argued; these are sometimes called inalienable rights. Legal rights, in contrast, are based on a society's customs, statutes or actions by legislatures. An example of a legal right is the right to vote of citizens. Citizenship, itself, is considered as the basis for having legal rights, has been defined as the "right to have rights". Legal rights are sometimes called civil rights or statutory rights and are culturally and politically relative since they depend on a specific societal context to have meaning.
Some thinkers see rights in only one sense while others accept that both senses have a measure of validity. There has been considerable philosophical debate about these senses throughout history. For example, Jeremy Bentham believed that legal rights were the essence of rights, he denied the existence of natural rights. A claim right is a right. Somebody else must do or refrain from doing something to or for the claim holder, such as perform a service or supply a product for him or her. In logic, this idea can be expressed as: "Person A has a claim that person B do something if and only if B has a duty to A to do that something." Every claim-right entails that some other duty-bearer must do some duty for the claim to be satisfied. This duty can be to refrain from acting. For example, many jurisdictions recognize broad claim rights to things like "life and property". In jurisdictions where social welfare services are provided, citizens have legal claim rights to be provided with those services. A liberty right or privilege, in contrast, is a freedom or permission for the right-holder to do something, there are no obligations on other parties to do or not do anything.
This can be expressed in logic as: "Person A has a privilege to do something if and only if A has no duty not to do that something." For example, if a person has a legal liberty right to free speech, that means that it is not forbidden for them to speak freely: it does not mean that anyone has to help enable their speech, or to listen to their speech. Liberty rights and claim rights are the inverse of one another: a person has a liberty right permitting him to do something only if there is no other person who has a claim right forbidding him from doing so. If a person has a claim right against someone else that other person's liberty is limited. For example, a person has a liberty right to walk down a sidewalk and can decide whether or not to do so, since there is no obligation either to do so or to refrain from doing so, but pedestrians may have an obligation not to walk on certain lands, such as other people's private property, to which those other people have a claim right. So a person's liberty right of walking extends to the point where another's claim right limits his or her freedom.
In one sense, a right is a permission to do something or an entitlement to a specific service or treatment from others, these rights have been called positive rights. However, in another sense, rights may allow or require inaction, these are called negative rights. For example, in some countries, e.g. the United States, citizens have the positive right to vote and they have the negative right to no
Fetal rights are the moral rights or legal rights of the human fetus under natural and civil law. The term fetal rights came into wide usage after the landmark case Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in the United States in 1973; the concept of fetal rights has evolved to include the issues of maternal alcohol abuse. The only international treaty tackling fetal rights is the American Convention on Human Rights which envisages the right to life of the fetus. While international human rights instruments lack a universal inclusion of the fetus as a person for the purposes of human rights, the fetus is granted various rights in the constitutions and civil codes of several countries. Many legal experts believe. In antiquity, the fetus was sometimes protected by restrictions on abortion; some versions of the Hippocratic Oath indirectly protected fetus by prohibiting abortifacients. Until the mid-19th century, philosophical views on the fetus were influenced in part by Aristotelian concept of delayed hominization.
According to it, human fetuses only acquire their souls, in the early stages of pregnancy the fetus is not human. Relying on examinations of miscarried fetuses, Aristotle believed that male fetuses acquire their basic form at around day 40, female ones at day 90. For Pythagoreans, fetal life was co-equal in moral worth with adult human life from the moment of conception. Ancient Athenian law did not recognise fetal right to life before the ritual acknowledgement of the child; the law, allowed to postpone the execution of sentenced pregnant women until a baby was delivered. Several Hindu texts on ethics and righteousness, such as Dharmaśāstra, give fetus a right to life from conception, although in practice such texts are not always followed; the property law of Roman Empire granted fetus inheritance rights. As long as the fetus was conceived before the testator's death and born alive, his or her inheritance rights were equal to those born before the testator's death. Though under the Roman law the fetus was not a legal subject, it was a potential person whose property rights were protected after birth.
Roman jurist Ulpian noted, that "in the Law of the Twelve Tables he, in the womb is admitted to the legitimate succession, if he has been born". Another jurist Julius Paulus Prudentissimus noted, that "the ancients provided for the free unborn child in such a way that they preserved for it all legal rights intact until the time of birth"; the inheritance rights of the fetus were means of fulfilling the testator's will. The interests of the fetus could be protected by a custodian a male relative, but in some cases a woman herself could be appointed the custodian; the Digest granted the fetus consanguinity rights, vesting the protection of fetal interests in the praetor. The Digest prohibited the execution of pregnant women until delivery; the Roman law envisaged that if a slave mother had been free for any period between the time of the conception and childbirth, the child would be regarded as born free. Although the mother might have become slave again before the childbirth, it was considered that the unborn should not be prejudiced by the mother's misfortune.
At the same time and Roman sources do not mention issues of alcohol consumption by pregnant women. On that basis it is believed that Romans were not aware of the fetal alcohol syndrome. After the spread of Christianity an issue emerged on whether it was permissible for a pregnant woman to be baptised before childbirth, due to uncertainty as to whether the fetus would be cobaptised with its mother; the Synod of Neo-Caesarea decided that the baptism of a pregnant woman in any stage of gestation did not include the fetus. In the Middle Ages, fetal rights were associated with the concept of ensoulment. In some cases the fetus could inherit or be in the order of succession. In the Byzantine Empire, fetus was regarded as a natural person and could inherit alongside blood descendents and slaves. Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos allowed soldiers to transfer their pronoiai to their unborn children; the unborn royals were granted the right to succession. In 1284, King of Scotland Alexander III designated his future unborn children as heirs presumptive by the act of parliament to avoid potential squabbles among loyal descendants of his lineage.
The 1315 entail of Scottish king Robert the Bruce allowed the unborn collateral individuals to be in line for the throne beyond his brother Edward and daughter Marjorie Bruce. After the death of Albert II of Germany in 1439, his then-unborn son Ladislaus the Posthumous inherited his father's sovereign rights. In 1536, the British Parliament gave the unborn children of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour precedence in the line of royal succession; the medieval distinction between the ensouled and the unensouled fetus was removed after Pope Pius IX decreed in 1854 that the ensoulment of Virgin Mary occurred at conception. In 1751, a pamphlet "The Petition of the Unborn Babes to the Censors of the Royal College of Physicians of London" by physician Frank Nicholls was published, advocating fetal right to life and protection; the pamphlet anticipated many of the arguments of the 21st century's pro-life movement. In 1762, English jurist and judge William Blackstone wrote that an "infant in its mother's womb" could benefit from a legacy and receive an estate as if it were bom.
The fetus was thus considered a person for purposes of inheritance. To the Roman law, the Napoleonic Code envisaged that if a woman becomes a widow, a male guardian should be appointed for her unborn child. In the 20th century and