Ayesha Ahmad 'Meta(physic) in scientific medicine – the making of the embryo'
SpeakersAyesha Ahmad, PhD Student, Peninsula Medical School
VenueUniversity of Exeter, Egenis, Byrne House, St Germans Road, Exeter, EX4 4PJ Room no: GF7, Byrne House
Time: 3:30 - 5:00 PM
The hypothesis in this dissertation is that the present understanding of the human embryo is laden and torn between two different concepts inherent in it: The molecular, rational, scientific knowledge about embryos and their developmental processes on the one hand and hidden, implicit metaphysical concepts underlying this scientific image, namely the metaphysical implications in development, change, time and physical identity. If that is so, there is a tension in the texts of the embryologist and the way in which the human embryo appears and is thematic in contemporary medicine. Embryology textbooks are a core component of the education of a medical student and form the basis of the understanding of the human embryo that will later inform clinical practice. However, in clinical practice there are again conflicting meanings and understanding of the human embryo. For example, the attitude towards the embryo taken by a physician who attempts to create a human embryo in the therapeutic context of a fertility clinic may differ from that of the physician who terminates a pregnancy.
This thesis is concerned with the basic positioning and implications that form what appears and is regarded as the human embryo in contemporary medicine. Through a deconstruction of the text of one of the core curriculum embryology textbooks in UK medical schools, I argue that the embryology text reads metaphysically as opposed to embryologist’s appeal to the neutrality and objectivity of exact scientific knowledge.