Elselijn Kingma is Sowerby Professor in Philosophy & Medicine at King’s College London where she holds the Peter Sowerby Chair in Philosophy and Medicine. Elselijn was previously Associate Professor in Philosophy at the University of Southampton. Between 2011 and 2019 she was Socrates Professor in Philosophy & Technology in the Humanist Tradition at the Technical University of Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Elselijn obtained undergraduate degrees in Medicine (2004) and Psychology (2004) at Leiden University, and MPhil (2005) and PhD (2008) in History & Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. She received post-doctoral training in the Department for Clinical Bioethics, National Institutes of Health (USA). Before working in Southampton she taught at King’s College London and the University of Cambridge. Professor Kingma is lead-investigator on a five-year Research Grant ‘Better Understanding the Metaphysics of Pregnancy (BUMP): a project at the intersection of philosophy of biology and metaphysics that investigates the metaphysical relationship between the fetus and the maternal organism. In November 2019, Kingma was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize to examine the metaphysical, ethical, epistemological and existential puzzles birth and pregnancy present. Source: KCL

About the project:

In the project Creatig Life in collaboration with Marjolein Pijnappels, we explore how life is created and sustained on our planet. Taking a closer look at human birth, mycorrhiza connectivity, chimerism and the pan-microbiome from a philosophical and personal perspective, Marjolein aims to shed light on the different aspects of the ability to bring new life into the world. Earlier, Marjolein wrote the article You Are a Planet Swarming with Life, for the Future Based platform.

This research will run from June through Februari 2022, begins with a personal examination and reflection on the three topics around the theme “Creating Life”: Life Cycle, Multitudes, Networked Beings. Marjolein curates images, creates videos, voice memos, and illustrations. During that same period, Marjolein engages in conversations with scientists and artists and filmmakers to discuss her ideas. The final result of three video essays, will be part of a meetup and published on our website.


00:00:00 Introduction / 00:01:50 Philosophy and pregnancy / 00:04:00 Parted-view and the nature of pregnancy / 00:09:00 Language related to birth/ 00:14:00 We are (not) individuals/ 00:17:00 Abortion debate /00:21:00 What is of value? / 00:26:00 Raising babies / 00:30:00 Toxic mix of motherhood / 00:33:00 A central human condition/ 00:35:00 Outro

Further reading:

Phil People – articles

Humanistisch Verbond

Where you a part of your mother?

BUMP (Better Understanding the Metaphysics of Pregnancy)

Sowerby Project (Philosophy & Medicine)