|Source: Online Encyclopedia Philosophy of Nature – OEPN, 2019|
|Paper - Abstract|
- The concept of person is associated with intensional questions about the individuality, transtemporal identity, constitution and rationality of a subject. Extentional questions arise as to whether all humans are persons and whether there are also non-human persons.
- In the history of philosophy, three paradigms can be distinguished:
- The ontological definition of the person as “an individual substance of a rational nature” (Ancius Boethius).
- The self-consciousness-based definition of the person as a being that “can conceive itself as itself” (John Locke1).
- The moral-philosophical definition of the person as “an end in itself” (Immanuel Kant2).
- In current analytical debate, the focus has shifted to the relationship between bodily organism and person.
- The theory of animalism3 (Eric Olson) states that persons are essentially animals and that mental or psychological attributes play no role in their identity.
- Constitution theory4 (Lynne Rudder Baker), on the other hand, attempts to define the person as a natural and at the same time self-conscious being: the bodily organism constitutes the person without being identical to it. Rather, it forms with it a “unity without identity”.
- A promising candidate for conceiving the natural-rational unity of the person has emerged recently in the concept of the “person life” (Marya Schechtman).
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