A Critique of Personhood
Sapontzis (Steve F.)
Source: Ethics, 1981, pp. 607-618
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. The concept of "personhood" is fast becoming the darling of both moral theory and practice. This is regrettable, for the concept is both logically confused and morally objectionable.
  2. There are actually at least two concepts which are lumped under the fashionable label of "person," and the relation between these two concepts is misunderstood.
  3. Also, the moral concept of personhood and its employment in humanist, egalitarian principles are, at best, necessary evils and may pose obstacles to moral progress if they go complacently unrecognized for what they are.

Philosophers Index Abstract
  1. This paper delineates metaphysical and moral meanings of "personhood" and criticizes the common presumption that these two concepts of personhood are at least extensionally identical.
  2. I criticize logico-linguistic, transcendental, phenomenological, and consequential arguments which could be put forward to support such an identity and conclude that since these arguments cannot succeed, this identification should be considered a form of prejudice and discarded.

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