Human Persons – A Process View
Meincke (Anne Sophie)
Source: Forthcoming in: Was sind und wie existieren Personen? (What are Persons and how Do They Exist?), ed. by Jörg Noller, Münster: Mentis
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. What are persons and how do they exist? The predominant answer to this question in Western metaphysics is that persons, human and others, are, and exist as, substances, i.e., ontologically independent, well-demarcated things defined by an immutable (usually mental) essence. Change, on this view, is not essential for a person’s identity; it is in fact more likely to be detrimental to it.
  2. In this chapter I want to suggest an alternative view of human persons which is motivated by an appreciation of their biological nature. Organisms, human and non-human, are dynamical systems that for their existence and persistence depend on an on-going interaction with the environment in which they are embedded. Taking seriously this most fundamental human condition leads to recognising human persons as processes, i.e., as entities for the identity of which change is essential. It also implies a holistic view of the human mind.

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