Review of David DeGrazia’s Human Identity and Bioethics
Hershenov (David)
Source: National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, 8:4, Winter 2008
Paper - Abstract

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Author's Introduction

  1. David DeGrazia has penned an ambitious book that brings recent work in the metaphysics of personal identity as well as the “non-metaphysical” notion of narrative identity1 to bear on contemporary bioethics issues.
  2. While I am sympathetic to the metaphysical account of animal identity that DeGrazia borrows from Eric Olson, he doesn’t seem to realize a major weakness, which Olson himself admitted. This has to do with the possibility of thinking entities embedded within the organism.
  3. He also seems unaware, or, at least, indifferent to rival religious-inspired soul theories of our identity that avoid this problem - as well as have other merits.
  4. His summary dismissal of such soul theories and his defense of abortion2 and embryonic3 stem cell research will not endear him to most readers of NCBQ. Despite these qualms, the book is worth reading. The chapter on advance directives may become the starting point for future discussions.


Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2021
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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