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2018 | 2 | 1(3) | 5–16
Article title

Why We Are Not “Persons”

Authors
Content
Title variants
Languages of publication
EN
Abstracts
EN
To the question “What are we?”, the common-sense answer is “human beings”; but many philosophers prefer to say we are “persons”. This paper argues that the philosophical use of “person” (to mean, roughly, a conscious, rational agent) is problematic. It takes us away from the sound Aristotelian idea that our biological nature is essential to what we are, and towards the suspect Lockean idea that a person could migrate from one body to another. This dualistic Lockean conception is often laid at Descartes’s door, but Descartes himself in many passages underlines our status as human beings. There is a further danger in the idea of personhood as rational agency if (following Kant) it is seen as that which makes someone worthy of moral respect. Respect should be recognized as an inalienable and absolute human entitlement, independent of our circumstances, capacities, group-membership, qualifications or faculties.
Keywords
EN
person   human   soul   Aristotle   Descartes   Locke   Kant  
Publisher

Year
Volume
2
Issue
Pages
5–16
Physical description
Dates
published
2018-04-27
Contributors
  • University of Reading
References
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Document Type
Publication order reference
Identifiers
YADDA identifier
bwmeta1.element.desklight-5e849f7e-396a-49d5-bcb7-a29451d5bb2b
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