Persons and Personality: A Contemporary Inquiry
Peacocke (Arthur) & Gillett (Grant)
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Inside Cover Blurb
  1. The definition of a person – legal, moral, philosophical or even biological – has recently become a more than simply academic question. It is at the heart of current medical, religious and ethical debates. Persons and Personality brings together leading figures in key disciplines to provide expert comment on the problems involved. It shows how the conflicting views we now hold have their roots in concerns as diverse as those of psychology, the natural sciences, philosophy, theology and the arts.
  2. Together the pieces form a dialogue or debate: are we simply biological organisms that can be identified by the appearance of certain functions (biochemical activity) or are we both body and "soul"? Is our notion of a person something constructed by society and not natural at all? How are we defined in law and medicine? What do philosophers mean when they discuss the concept of a person? How have theologians, psychoanalysts and artists treated and defined persons?
  3. If we are to react in an informed way to current debates over contemporary morality, abortion1, euthanasia, genetic engineering and scientific experimentation it is vital that we address these questions. Persons and Personality shows us how our “selves” might be defined .



"Peacocke (Arthur) & Gillett (Grant) - Persons and Personality: Introduction"

Source: Peacocke & Gillett - Persons and Personality: A Contemporary Inquiry, 1987, Chapter 1


Full Text1
  1. For centuries, one might venture to assert, the idea of the 'person' has been a central concern of the humanities, especially theology, and has been an abiding topic of inquiry in ethics; yet a very wide range of conceptions of the human person and of what constitutes personality continue to be held. These underlying conceptions, or preconceptions actually, since they are often implicit rather than explicit, underlie many contemporary controversies regarding the ethical implications of scientific and medical research and practice.
  2. The diversity of conceptions is itself generated by the diversity of disciplines and perspectives involved, disciplines and perspectives which take account of a multiplicity of features of the perceived data concerning the 'person'; but inevitably they converge in the questions they raise:
    • Is a person a body with an essential inner, or 'spiritual', self which confers a special status on all our discussion of these areas?
    • Or is a person merely a biological entity around which we have woven a tracery of elaborate metaphor?
    • Does the human mind represent a dimension which is different from that explored by physical science?
    • Can human beings come to a true knowledge of themselves?
    • Can we arrive at a rational conception of human worth?
    • How can human organisms be said to know a transcendent God?
  3. It is within this complex of connected questions that the significance of persons will be examined here. Because persons are not only entities in the world, but are also conscious of it, think about it, and seek to understand it, such questions constantly confront them. We wonder about the origin and meaning of the world and of human life within it, and attempt to understand the mysteries which surround us. In this activity we are dependent on our minds, which tend both to a critical contemplation of what they encounter and to a deeply personal involvement in it.
  4. So it is not surprising that much of the discussion in this book centres on the human mind. But not exclusively; for, if there is one thing on which the contributors might be said to agree, it is that 'mind', conceived of as pure ratiocination, is by itself an inadequate designation for the concept of 'person'. But this leaves open what an adequate designation might be. Hence our authors represent a variety of philosophies - naturalism, reductionism, existentialism, dualism, theism, and others less easily labelled.
  5. This volume opens with two contributions that represent a polarity that is not merely contemporary, but that has deep roots both in the Enlightenment and further back in Greek philosophy. It is the polarity between a materialist, reductionist understanding of human beings, on the one hand, and a theistic dualism which affirms that the 'soul' is the essential component of human personhood, on the other. These two extremes are represented here by Dr Peter Atkins and Professor Richard Swinburne, respectively, whose papers have been given first place to act, as it were, as markers, by reference to which the ensuing chapters and discussions may be situated.
  6. "Atkins (Peter) - Purposeless People" sets out to explain how persons are no more than random products of a few simple causal processes.
  7. "Swinburne (Richard) - The Structure of the Soul" takes the Cartesian position, arguing that man is a dual creature comprising body and soul as two distinct components.
  8. At this early point in the book, it will already have become clear to the reader that there are potentially serious linguistic confusions concerning the use of the word 'person'. More sophisticated philosophical analysis is therefore crucial, and for this we turn to Mr David Wiggins and Dr Grant Gillett.
  9. "Wiggins (David) - The Person as Object of Science, as Subject of Experience, and as Locus of Value" addresses the philosophical problems of our concept of a person. He identifies three elements which need to be brought into a single focus: the notions of the person as biological entity, subject of consciousness, and bearer of ethical attributes.
  10. Philosophical analysis is further pursued by "Gillett (Grant) - Reasoning About Persons", who in his title alludes to (the then recent) "Parfit (Derek) - Reasons and Persons". Gillett emphasizes that the concept of a person must be regarded as the keystone of our conception of mind, and stresses its importance in understanding our experience of the world.
  11. Dr Gillett's presentation is followed by a response from Mr Derek Parfit2 ("Parfit (Derek) - A Response (to Gillett - Reasoning About Persons)"). He challenges Gillett's interpretation of brain bisection cases, and then goes on to discuss teletransportation and the production of a psychophysical replica of a given person.
  12. Now it is widely accepted among developmental psychologists that the sense of being a 'person' is intimately linked with our interaction with other persons, especially during early childhood. Moreover, social anthropological studies have revealed how the conceptions that people have of themselves as persons vary historically and geographically, as is well expounded in a recent volume3 that explores the implications and subsequent studies inspired by a seminal lecture of Marcel Mauss in 1938. In the present volume, this approach is represented principally by the next two chapters, one by a philosopher of science in general and of psychology in particular, Mr Rom Harre, and one by a student of jurisprudence, Mr Richard Tur.
  13. "Harre (Rom) - Persons and Selves" suggests that each of us forms a concept of self informed by the concept of person operative in the dealings we have with others. The concept that each of us has will be a joint product of common human tendencies and capacities and our particular cultural context.
  14. Law has always been an instrument whereby the relations between what we call 'persons' have been regulated. Hence it is not surprising that it has always had to operate, implicitly or explicitly, with some kind of working definition of the entities between which relations are being legally regulated. "Tur (Richard) - The 'Person' in Law" turns first to Roman law.
    1|At this point, we look at concepts of the person operating in another profession, medicine. "Fulford (William) - Is Medicine a Branch of Ethics" shows how ethical theory can be employed to restore what Dr. Fulford calls the patient-as-a-person to a properly central place in the concerns of everyday medical practice.
  15. "Storr (Anthony) - Jung's Concept of Personality" then examines the conception of personality advocated by one of the most influential thinkers of this century, Carl Jung, who was trained in medicine and then in psychiatry at the time when the latter was taking on its modern form.
  16. "Nuttall (Anthony) - Personality and Poetry" is also concerned with the human psyche, preferring the Platonic term psuche, which includes mind, intelligence, and character, to the term 'soul', with its religious overtones. Like Plato, Mr. Anthony Nuttall believes that there are many real and important things in the world, such as justice and other abstract universals4, which are not simply physical facts, and that the psyche is one such fact, albeit with the difference that it may not be timeless, or immortal.
  17. At this point, we move on to theological views of the person, and more specifically, Christian views. "Macquarrie (John) - A Theology of Personal Being" considers three aspects of what it is to be a human person: first that persons are always 'beings-on-the-way', beings in the process of change; second, he stresses the world-involving nature of human life; finally, Macquarrie stresses that we are 'being-with-others'.
  18. We turn next to "Thatcher (Adrian) - Christian Theism and the Concept of a Person", in which Dr Adrian Thatcher examines a number of different uses of the concept person, specifically with regard to how these might be applied to the personal God in whom Christians believe.
  19. Thatcher speaks of the 'mystery' of God and of the claim that a particular person in history is the means by which this mystery is disclosed. But there is a reciprocity involved in such a disclosure, for there is a mystery about persons, as Dr Kallistos Ware emphasizes at the beginning of the final chapter, "Ware (Timothy) - The Unity of the Human Person According to the Greek Fathers". He quotes David Jenkins as saying that 'The mystery of the fact of being a person' cannot be 'reduced to the facts of the appropriate sciences'; and he himself goes on to assert that 'The reality of our personhood is far more than any explanation that we choose to give it'.
  20. One cannot help wondering at this point whether the polarities represented by the first two contributors have not in some way been transcended already in the very biblical thinking of these early Christian writers. It is not for us, as editors, to pronounce on this, but rather to encourage the reader to follow a trail in search of appropriate and sufficiently rich conceptions of the person and of personality, mindful that this may lead to a growing sense of mystery regarding the nature of what is sought.




In-Page Footnotes ("Peacocke (Arthur) & Gillett (Grant) - Persons and Personality: Introduction")

Footnote 1: Except Chapter abstract have been removed to the relevant Chapters.

Footnote 3: See "Carrithers (Michael), Collins (Steven) & Lukes (Steven) - The Category of the Person: Anthropology, philosophy, history", Cambridge 1985.



"Atkins (Peter) - Purposeless People"

Source: Peacocke & Gillett - Persons and Personality: A Contemporary Inquiry, 1987, Chapter 2


Editors’ Abstract1
  1. Peter Atkins sets out to explain how persons are no more than random products of a few simple causal processes. He asserts that we must openly face the possibility that 'we might be creatures of chance, nothing more than fragments of highly organized matter', with nothing special about us except the complexity of our responses. He urges that the vocabularies of the humanities and religion are nothing but an unnecessary 'sugar-coating' on a stark, scientifically describable reality. In his view, all phenomena in the world are not only subject to scientific explanation, but are potentially completely understandable in scientific terms.
  2. Atkins sees the free-wheeling of all systems in the direction of increasing universal chaos, in accordance with the second law of thermodynamics, as the source of all change in the universe - including the construction of cathedrals, symphonies - and indeed of all human actions. People have emerged from this 'efflorescence of chaos' and represent a passing phase in the descent of the universe into total disorder. Consciousness and thought are merely manifestations of brains assembled out of simple elements through the reactions of organisms to their environment. So consciousness falls within the 'kingdom of science'.
  3. The ethical implication of this view that consciousness must be 'admitted to the kingdom of scientific explanation', as Atkins puts it, is that there is no ethical attitude which is in any way privileged, and that views which are extant are the outcome of survival pressures. Since, for him, no ethical view is more principled than any other, the chief criterion is survival, which, he contends, may or may not involve my brain having respect for and interacting with the brains of others who also take pleasure in being in the world. He concludes that science specifies, as it were, a 'sea-level' for discussions of the concept of person, and that any accretions to its account of the world as a purposeless unwinding into chaos and oblivion are gratuitous. Science itself affords an enthralling vision of deep-rooted simplicity erupting in the complexity of the perceived world. The belief that science is all-competent, which is based on the observation that 'science has never encountered a barrier that it has not surmounted or that it cannot reasonably be expected to surmount eventually' is for him a deeply enriching one.




In-Page Footnotes ("Atkins (Peter) - Purposeless People")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Peacocke (Arthur) & Gillett (Grant) - Persons and Personality: Introduction".



"Swinburne (Richard) - The Structure of the Soul"

Source: Peacocke & Gillett - Persons and Personality: A Contemporary Inquiry, 1987, Chapter 3


Author’s Abstract
  1. Persons are beings capable of sophisticated thought and action. But the only ones known to all of us on Earth are human beings or men.
  2. I wish to argue that man on Earth is body plus soul, two components (combined undoubtedly in an intimate unity).
  3. The soul is an immaterial thing; and the conscious life of thought, sensation, and purpose which belongs to a man belongs to him because it belongs to his soul. The functioning of the soul consists in its having conscious life. The soul is the essential part of me, and it is its continuing in existence which makes for the continuing of me.
  4. My soul may not be able to function on its own; but it is the principle of identity which, when linked to a body, either this present one or some new one, makes that body my body, and the reconstituted man, who thinks, feels and acts, me.
  5. And it is to the soul, I shall argue, that character also belongs.

Editors’ Abstract1
  1. Richard Swinburne takes the Cartesian position, arguing that man is a dual creature comprising body and soul as two distinct components. He regards the soul as that inner, conscious entity which both constitutes us as the thinking, morally significant beings that we are, and allows for the possibility of life after death2. Because mental predicates are in principle distinct from physical events, they cannot be grounded in the attribution of certain physical properties, even those of the brain.
  2. He argues that, because I can conceive of myself as a continuing conscious being without a body, the conscious mental entity that is me cannot in any way just consist in, or be reduced to, some facts about my physical existence. Armed with this dualist basis on which to construct a philosophical anthropology and psychology, Swinburne goes on to suggest that the interaction between the soul and the body/world must be effective in both directions. For there must be a certain autonomy in the mental realm whereby belief is sensitive not merely to causal influences, but also to rational considerations and can thereby be justified. It is, he says, indubitable that the conscious intentions, desires, and projects of rational beings act upon the world.
  3. Given the logical distinction between the soul and the body, we thus arrive at a view of the mental attributes of a human being as categorical states of a mental entity which is in interaction with the physical world. This entity, or 'soul', has a structure such that conscious beliefs and desires and unconscious mental propensities interact to explain or determine the behaviour of the thinking being.
  4. Swinburne leaves us with the picture of a structured soul in intimate contact with a (structured) brain such that, in principle, it could be taken from its particular embodiment and given another embodiment, should some omnipotent being wish to effect such a transfer.


COMMENT:




In-Page Footnotes ("Swinburne (Richard) - The Structure of the Soul")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Peacocke (Arthur) & Gillett (Grant) - Persons and Personality: Introduction".



"Wiggins (David) - The Person as Object of Science, as Subject of Experience, and as Locus of Value"

Source: Peacocke & Gillett - Persons and Personality: A Contemporary Inquiry, 1987, Chapter 4


Editors’ Abstract1
  1. Wiggins addresses the philosophical problems of our concept of a person. He identifies three elements which need to be brought into a single focus: the notions of the person as biological entity, subject of consciousness, and bearer of ethical attributes.
  2. He insists on the need to distinguish the sense of the term 'person' from its reference. In other words, we need to know not only what the term stands for, but also how it is being used, or the way of thinking implied by it. He notes that many words can be defined by some description or other, but that others are not susceptible to this kind of specification, so that one must appeal to what the entities being denoted are, what they are like. He suggests that 'person' is a term like this, that what it stands for and the way of thinking implied by it can only be grasped adequately by encounter with persons - indeed, with human beings. We need the idea of 'human being' to give some matter and substance to our idea of 'person'.
  3. To strengthen this claim, Wiggins turns to P. F. Strawson's notion that 'person' is a primitive concept in our practices of mental and physical ascriptions to human beings. He regards Strawson's 'P-predicates' (that is, predicates not ascribable to material objects, such as actions, intentions, thoughts, feelings, perceptions, memories, sensations and so on) as predicates which stand for properties that are not reducible to predicates proper to the physical sciences, but which are also matter-involving.
  4. If we remove a certain technical difficulty from Strawson's definition of these things, then perhaps every P-property is also an M-property (one ascribable to material objects). Wiggins illustrates this by reference to perception and memory.
  5. Turning to Locke's conception of what it is to be a person, he proposes that a person is one of a kind whose typical members perceive, feel, think, take up attitudes to themselves, and so on. The 'and so on' indicates that the indefinite set of further properties which we bring to our concept of a person has to be filled out in the light of our experience with human beings. In this experience, human beings are not only conscious, but also make sense of one another. In so far as we do this - and there is no alternative but for us to try to do this - we are engaged with others.
  6. Other persons and their thoughts and feelings cannot help but be significant to us. In so far as we understand others, we see them not only as organisms of a certain type, but also as thinking subjects and as objects of reciprocity - indeed, to put the culmination of a Humean argument in more Kantian terms, as members of the kingdom of ends.


COMMENT:




In-Page Footnotes ("Wiggins (David) - The Person as Object of Science, as Subject of Experience, and as Locus of Value")

Footnote 1:



"Gillett (Grant) - Reasoning About Persons"

Source: Peacocke & Gillett - Persons and Personality: A Contemporary Inquiry, 1987, Chapter 5a


Editors’ Abstract1
  1. In his title, Dr. Grant Gillet alludes to (the then recent) "Parfit (Derek) - Reasons and Persons". Gillett emphasizes that the concept of a person must be regarded as the keystone of our conception of mind, and stresses its importance in understanding our experience of the world. He suggests that the claim that persons are mere collections of conscious mental states is ill-founded. Examining recent formulations of personal identity which have sought to reduce the concept of a person, he finds no evidence for such claims in the neuropsychological data to which their proponents often appeal.
  2. He then argues more generally that, although one can imaginatively extend one's conception of a person in certain rather bizarre circumstances, the general features of the concept and its conditions of proper use must be linked to a substantial view of human beings as the conscious, rational, public beings whom we identify in everyday experience. The argument is that, when a concept is strained by employing it under conditions substantially different from the norm, many subtle and complex assumptions may be violated; we thereby deprive what we say of the meaning we take it to have.
  3. Gillett then argues that the very nature of concept use, and hence of discursive thought, implies that there is a single, re-identifiable psychophysical subject who participates in interpersonal activities and practices, and, in the process, attains a grasp and then a mastery of the concepts he or she uses.
  4. Finally, he introduces the idea that a person not only serves as a substrate for a set of experiences, but exercises an active narrative role in reflecting and commenting on these experiences and weaving them together into an informal autobiography. Thus the phenomena of human experience require an appeal to a unitary subject of experience which transcends the contents of that experience. Throughout, he sees the human person in living relationships with others, and so claims that 'person' is essentially an ethical concept.


COMMENT: See "Parfit (Derek) - A Response (to Gillett - Reasoning About Persons)" for a response.




In-Page Footnotes ("Gillett (Grant) - Reasoning About Persons")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Peacocke (Arthur) & Gillett (Grant) - Persons and Personality: Introduction".



"Parfit (Derek) - A Response (to Gillett - Reasoning About Persons)"

Source: Peacocke & Gillett - Persons and Personality: A Contemporary Inquiry, 1987, Chapter 5b


Editors’ Abstract1
  1. Derek Parfit2 challenges Gillett's interpretation of brain bisection cases, and then goes on to discuss teletransportation and the production of a psychophysical replica of a given person.
  2. He documents the tension between our intuitive, identity-based view of persons and a reductionist view which trades exclusively in links of mental continuity and connectedness.
  3. He argues for a view of personal identity based on the existence of such links, and spells out the transformation in our ethical theory to which it would give rise.


COMMENT: Response to "Gillett (Grant) - Reasoning About Persons".




In-Page Footnotes ("Parfit (Derek) - A Response (to Gillett - Reasoning About Persons)")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Peacocke (Arthur) & Gillett (Grant) - Persons and Personality: Introduction".



"Harre (Rom) - Persons and Selves"

Source: Peacocke & Gillett - Persons and Personality: A Contemporary Inquiry, 1987, Chapter 6


Editors’ Abstract1
  1. Rom Harre suggests that each of us forms a concept of self informed by the concept of person operative in the dealings we have with others. The concept that each of us has will be a joint product of common human tendencies and capacities and our particular cultural context. It provides each of us with an organizing principle or concept to bring to bear on our experience, and thereby also provides us with first-person knowledge.
  2. We learn as individuals the judgements and practices of reflective commentary that are applied to and by individuals within a social setting. By thus acquiring the knack of referring to ourselves and making the sort of judgements about ourselves that others might make, we each become conscious of self as an active being and are able to stand back from ourselves in thought. Hence, self-reflective judgements avail themselves of the kinds of predicates that we use in talking of others and are influenced by the beliefs current in our community of reference. Self-consciousness2 is the learned ability to speak, and thereby to think, of oneself in ways that spring from our encounters with other thinking beings.
  3. Harre claims that the self is not some inner entity, but an intersubjective mode of being. The way in which this should encourage us to think about persons is sufficiently revolutionary, he thinks, to overturn many of the traditional notions clustering around their purported significance.

Author’s Introduction (The Case For Synthetic Unity)
  1. There has been a marked tendency in recent philosophy to use the word 'person' for the most general category encompassing human beings. Persons are said to have mental powers and to be embodied; they are to be morally protected, as well as held morally responsible for at least some of their doings. It is persons who are said to be aware of the world, persons who act and feel. The self, the still centre of experience, that to which conscious states of all kinds are ascribed, has disappeared from the philosophical scene, the last wraithlike appearance of the ghost of the Cartesian ego. Yet, although the fact of human identity seems to be secured through the use of the concept of 'persons', it is not clear that our sense of self has thereby been accounted for. Persons, human beings as individuals, are recognized in public and collective practices, conversing, praising and blaming, playing rugby and then commenting on the game, and so on. But it seems to me quite plain that the persons recognized are not the unified subjective organizations of memory, perception, agency, and so on.
  2. An argument for holding on to this distinction in some form can be found in the fact that simpler 'minded' beings such as chimpanzees seem to live in a framework which includes the recognition of the fact of personal identity, while at the same time there is evidence to suggest that their sense of identity is weak. Here are rudimentary persons who are probably not rudimentary selves. Contemplating the lives of such creatures, one may wonder what it is like to be a chimp. In one way it must be very like being a human being. One's experience of the physical world is centred on oneself, and specifically on one's head. When a chimp feels pain in a foot, it apprehends it at much the same location as a foot for a human being. Functionally, at least, a chimp must perceive the physical world as a thing among things. But we have no reason to believe that a chimp could formulate such a thought. In short, we have no reason to think that even the most sophisticated chimp has a concept of itself as a subject of affective and activity-oriented attributes. Even the famous experiment in which a chimp was shown its face in a mirror with a spot of paint on its forehead and tried to scrape it off shows only a grasp of indexicality to itself as a public being It is a self-consciousness3 of stage fright, which need involve no self-awareness at all, but only a sense of how others may see our public and social being.
  3. The concept of 'person' seems to be embedded in all sorts of communal human practices. We could say that a human being acquires a concept of 'self' in gaining mastery over pushing and pulling, hitting and being hit, in peekaboo game, in praising and blaming the public performances of himself and others, in promising, and so on. But chimps have social practices not unlike some of these. Hence, if human beings have, in addition, a sense of self as an inner unity, what is its nature, and whence does it come? Tradition offers two possible answers. First, it might be that human beings, each and almost everyone of us, make an empirical discovery; 'Eureka! I'm a self.' We might imagine each of us as a kind of infant Husserl, sliding down the epoches to a realization that there must be a centre of the Eigenheit, and that it is ‘I’. But student philosophers, with a cheerful confidence acquired in disposing of the resemblance theory of primary qualities, move on to dispose of the empirical self. The second answer was invented to deal with Hume's troubles with his elusive self. The 'self’ is no longer a kind of thing. Rather, it is a structure a unity imposed on the flux of sensations by an active, minded being. I think this is right, but in pursuing the question of how it is possible, and making some guesses as to how each of us manages to achieve it, we will stumble on some quite startling results.
  4. Interestingly, Hume seems to have had a synthetic theory before Kant. But it was Kant who thought that a synthesis required an active noumenal being - that is, one who is beyond all possible experience. In other words, syntheses do not just happen; they are brought about. But we can do better than this, for we can do without the noumenal. There are plenty of active beings in the universe with an interest in synthesizing minds. Colloquially, each of us call them 'Mum' and 'Dad'. Hence I propose to update synthesis theory, drawing from the rather similar ideas of Mead and Vygotsky. There is a social source for the inner organization of the conscious contents, emotional fluxes, intentions to act, and so on of human beings, just as remote from personal experience as the noumenal, but not half so mysterious. My argument for this thesis turns on the spelling out and defence of what I call the 'axiom of development'.
  5. This axiom has three clauses.
    • First, people treat babies as persons from the moment of their first appearance. (This use of 'their', readers may be interested to learn, was suppressed by Act of Parliament in the early years of the nineteenth century, an act about as effective as that suppressing wigs.)
    • Second, by copying their every word and gesture as best he can, a baby seems to be treating those around him as persons.
    • Third, among the ways of speaking and acting that a baby imitates is the way in which other people treat him as a person.
    No empirical discovery of an inner self is even hinted at in this story of public events.
  6. In acquiring these (partially linguistic, partially deictic) practices, a baby also acquires a concept of himself. In teaching infants to talk, point to things, and so on, people-makers provide their infant with a sense of self. That is the developmental axiom; but it needs to be spelled out in some detail if it is to carry conviction as a theory of the unity of mind.
  7. The undefined, inexplicated element in it is the idea of being treated as a person. What is it to be so treated? I want to emphasize three main ways of being treated as a person.
    • First, there is a linguistic way. There are special ways of referring to persons, by proper names, or, more usually with infants, pet names. And there are special things that are said to people about people; characteristically, people are ascribed intentions, wants, emotions, feelings, memories, and the like, even in the cradle.
    • Second, there is psychological symbiosis. Long before there is the faintest hint of a discourse controlled by the infant, mothers, particularly, ascribe very sophisticated cognitive abilities and morale sensibilities to their children. Recent work by developmental psychologists has shown that mothers (and I daresay fathers will also be included in this claim when they have been studied) interact with their offspring in terms of psychological attributes that they assign to the infant.
    • Third, there is the way in which we comment on the quality and worth of other people's ideas, judgements, actions, and so on. This often takes the form of an epistemic commentary, and employs phrases like 'I think he's right,' 'I don't believe he's really ill,' 'I'm sure she'll come,' and so on.
  8. It is worth noting that all these ways of treating infants are characteristic of how we treat favoured domestic animals. But only very few, if any, of the latter ever pick up the trick for themselves. In learning these practices, I will claim, a nascent member of the human community picks up the concept of 'person'. I will argue that it is that concept which serves as a source of a unifying concept of 'self’. Students of Mead will recognize this suggestion as an amplification of Mead's idea of the origin of the self in public practices. Admirers of Vygotsky will recognize that mental organization is imposed on a native endowment that lacks intrinsic order by appropriation from public practice.




In-Page Footnotes ("Harre (Rom) - Persons and Selves")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Peacocke (Arthur) & Gillett (Grant) - Persons and Personality: Introduction".



"Tur (Richard) - The 'Person' in Law"

Source: Peacocke & Gillett - Persons and Personality: A Contemporary Inquiry, 1987, Chapter 7


Editors’ Abstract1
  1. Law has always been an instrument whereby the relations between what we call 'persons' have been regulated. Hence it is not surprising that it has always had to operate, implicitly or explicitly, with some kind of working definition of the entities between which relations are being legally regulated.
  2. Richard Tur discusses 'The "Person" in Law' by turning first to Roman law. He explains how the idea of legally specified life conferred a certain status, or mode of public being, on a person. In Roman law, one had a status libertatis, a status civitatis, and a status familiae. Legal penalties were assessed in terms of what legal status was lost as the result of a misdemeanour. The relation between the person as construed legally and a natural human life was not a one-to-one matter. This evinced the idea of a persona, a mask or role, through which one acts and which partially defines the significance of one's actions and one's being as an agent.
  3. He notes that, in the eyes of the law, a 'person' is a party to implicit and explicit agreements, obligations, and commitments, rather than an actual or potential rational conscious being. In English law, the concept of person can be quite bewildering, for it is not co-extensional with the idea of agency, and, even more than in Roman law, is a matter of degree.
  4. He illustrates this with reference to who had the vote at the turn of the century and to contemporary debates regarding abortion2 and contraception. Throughout, Tur emphasizes that legal personality is a matter of a rather subtle conglomerate of capacities, rights, obligations, and liabilities.
  5. He concludes that legal personality is derivative from all sorts of beliefs, common wisdom, and social custom. He thereby returns the determination of the concept of what it is to be a person to the realm of extra-legal reasoning, reserving as the proper concern of the law only a diverse and shifting set of practices through which our more general beliefs are enacted and in which the idea of the person at law is constituted.




In-Page Footnotes ("Tur (Richard) - The 'Person' in Law")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Peacocke (Arthur) & Gillett (Grant) - Persons and Personality: Introduction".



"Fulford (William) - Is Medicine a Branch of Ethics"

Source: Peacocke & Gillett - Persons and Personality: A Contemporary Inquiry, 1987, Chapter 8


Editors’ Abstract1
  1. Dr William Fulford shows how ethical theory can be employed to restore what he calls the patient-as-a-person to a properly central place in the concerns of everyday medical practice. He reminds us that the patient-as-a-person has, over recent years, increasingly been displaced by the patient-as-a-machine. This has been a natural consequence of the development of science in medicine. Yet with this development have come ever more pressing ethical difficulties. And this trend, Fulford argues, will continue until we come to recognize fully that, however important the contribution of science to clinical work, medicine is at heart not a scientific, but an ethical, discipline.
  2. This challenging conclusion he derives from a consideration of the concepts by which medicine is defined, the concepts of 'illness' and 'disease'. The importance of science in medicine is such that these concepts, although apparently evaluative concepts, have generally been regarded, at least in medical usage, as factual concepts - this is so, for example, in the recent extensive literature on the concept of 'mental illness'.
  3. However, acknowledgement that they are really evaluative concepts in no way impedes the progress of science to medicine, while, on the other hand, it allows us to explore and explain the way in which they are used by drawing on everything that has been written about the logic of value-terms in general, notably in the literature on the 'is-ought' debate. Nor is this a result of merely theoretical significance. For it has a number of important practical consequences; and it is by way of these that the patient-as-a-person is restored to pride of place in medicine.
  4. The full realization of these consequences, as Fulford emphasizes in his conclusion, is a philosophical task still to be completed. But so important is this task, that we may anticipate, as a direct response to it, the appearance of a new medicine-philosophy hybrid, a hybrid which will eventually prove as powerful in dealing with the patient-as-a-person as the already well-established medicine-science hybrid has proved in dealing with the patient-as-a-machine.




In-Page Footnotes ("Fulford (William) - Is Medicine a Branch of Ethics")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Peacocke (Arthur) & Gillett (Grant) - Persons and Personality: Introduction".



"Storr (Anthony) - Jung's Concept of Personality"

Source: Peacocke & Gillett - Persons and Personality: A Contemporary Inquiry, 1987, Chapter 9


Editors’ Abstract1
  1. Dr Anthony Storr then examines the conception of personality advocated by one of the most influential thinkers of this century, Carl Jung, who was trained in medicine and then in psychiatry at the time when the latter was taking on its modem form. He became fascinated by the unity that subjects impose on their conscious lives, a unity that can become dramatically fragmented in the presence of psychiatric disorders. His work exposed the often covert or partly submerged complexities of personality. Jung claimed that 'the psyche is a self-regulating system that maintains its equilibrium just as the body does', and that there is a compensatory relation between the conscious and the unconscious. According to him, what really matters is a person's relationship with the unconscious; and, at the beginning of his autobiography, he describes his own life as 'a story of the self-realization of the unconscious'.
  2. Jung's greatest interest was in individuals who pursue their own paths, heedless of convention, for he saw the highest achievements as always individual. Indeed, he defines personality as 'the supreme realization of the innate idiosyncrasy of a living being'. This process of realization, or 'individuation2' as Jung, following Schopenhauer, calls it, is a religious one, in that it involves a denial of the claims of the ego and an acknowledgement of a guiding, integrating factor not of one's own making.
  3. Jung does not deny the importance of interpersonal relationships; but, unlike social psychologists, he does not give them pride of place. In this, Storr sees him as providing a necessary corrective to the overly social theory of personality prevalent today.




In-Page Footnotes ("Storr (Anthony) - Jung's Concept of Personality")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Peacocke (Arthur) & Gillett (Grant) - Persons and Personality: Introduction".



"Nuttall (Anthony) - Personality and Poetry"

Source: Peacocke & Gillett - Persons and Personality: A Contemporary Inquiry, 1987, Chapter 10


Editors’ Abstract1
  1. Mr Anthony Nuttall is concerned with the human psyche, preferring the Platonic term psuche, which includes mind, intelligence, and character, to the term 'soul', with its religious overtones. Like Plato, he believes that there are many real and important things in the world, such as justice and other abstract universals2, which are not simply physical facts, and that the psyche is one such fact, albeit with the difference that it may not be timeless, or immortal. None the less, to be human is to participate in the non-material as well as the material, which is why attempts to give an account of the world solely in physical terms - such as those of the behaviourists - are unconvincing, and why Plato's argument regarding the psyche 'continues to nag, to pluck at the sleeve of the mind', as Nuttall puts it.
  2. A similarly unsatisfactory situation has arisen in recent years in the field of literary criticism. First, there was the New Critic, elevating the poem as the sole determinant of meaning, regardless of the intention of the author. Then came the structuralist, claiming that the meaning of a poem resided in the wider literary context; and, following that, the deconstructionist, questioning the very possibility of meaning. Nuttall says; 'It is as if the analytic intelligence, for considerable stretches of human history, operates as a sort of death-ray, withering all that lies in its path.'
  3. In both pursuits - that of the psyche and that of the meaning of a poem - the object of inquiry has seemed to recede - indeed, to be dissolved. What seems to have gone wrong in both cases is that there has been an artificial separation of different orders of being and discourse, with a 'subsequent wanton privileging of one order over all the rest', and a concomitant loss of the sense of the whole, whether person or poem.




In-Page Footnotes ("Nuttall (Anthony) - Personality and Poetry")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Peacocke (Arthur) & Gillett (Grant) - Persons and Personality: Introduction".



"Macquarrie (John) - A Theology of Personal Being"

Source: Peacocke & Gillett - Persons and Personality: A Contemporary Inquiry, 1987, Chapter 11


Editors’ Abstract1
  1. Professor John Macquarrie considers three aspects of what it is to be a human person.
    • He argues first that persons are always 'beings-on-the-way', beings in the process of change; and thus that human nature is constituted by an activity in which persons grow and, in so doing, create themselves. They thereby become both what they are and what they will be. Since we both choose and create, we have radical responsibility for what we actually make of ourselves. Macquarrie links this idea with that of transcendence, which expresses the 'going beyond' that occurs when we transform both what we are2 and the world in which we live.
    • Second, he stresses the world-involving nature of human life; for we are 'beings-in-the-world', entities that are essentially embodied. Man is an embodied spirit as the Bible teaches, and within this totality reside the distinction, limitations, and the possibilities of human existence.
    • Finally, Macquarrie like many of our contributors, stresses that we are 'being-with-others'. The dialogue between persons, in which the ‘I’ and the 'thou' mutually constitute each other, leads us to realize that any purportedly Christian view that focuses solely on the individual human being is a distortion of the biblical perspective, which emphasizes our social, interpersonal being.
  2. Macquarrie concludes by provoking us to reflect on the ethical implications of his approach, on those ethical dilemmas which we face in a shared world, as beings with responsibility for ourselves, the world, and each other.




In-Page Footnotes ("Macquarrie (John) - A Theology of Personal Being")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Peacocke (Arthur) & Gillett (Grant) - Persons and Personality: Introduction".



"Thatcher (Adrian) - Christian Theism and the Concept of a Person"

Source: Peacocke & Gillett - Persons and Personality: A Contemporary Inquiry, 1987, Chapter 12


Editors’ Abstract1
  1. Dr Adrian Thatcher examines a number of different uses of the concept person, specifically with regard to how these might be applied to the personal God in whom Christians believe. In particular, he is concerned to show that neither the Christian conception of God nor the Christian understanding of the human person requires a Cartesian dualism in order to be credible. He sees human beings as persons not by virtue of any inner essence or mental substance, but in part, at least, because of their essential involvement in the world. Indeed, Thatcher wants to say that the bodily nature of human life is precisely what gives death its importance and makes it a matter of faith that some substantial, eternal being is conferred on us by God; for it is not a natural feature of our constitution. He maintains that there are no theological reasons for favouring some kind of philosophical dualism, and that the doctrines of Creation, Incarnation, Resurrection, and Ascension all support a non-dualist view.
  2. He goes on to discuss the new concept of matter, describing it as 'a gift of the physical sciences to theology'. This new concept of 'matter' is open, emergent, and fathomless as to its ultimate nature; moreover, the term 'matter' now becomes inclusive of both 'form' - since it is self-organizing - and 'mind' - since mental activities emerge at an advanced stage in the hierarchical organization of matter. He regards this dynamic view of matter issuing in life, thought, and creativity as entirely consistent with Christian theology. It gives rise to views of the person which place a positive value on those features of our experience that are intimately embedded in our bodily nature. God remains a mystery, but has given us a medium, as it were, through which this mystery is, at least in part, disclosed: the person of Jesus the Christ. It is on the positive ground afforded by this last claim, Thatcher urges, that we see God clothed in personhood in all its aspects. Thus God both communicates himself to us as God, and provides for us a pattern of what it is to be fully human.




In-Page Footnotes ("Thatcher (Adrian) - Christian Theism and the Concept of a Person")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Peacocke (Arthur) & Gillett (Grant) - Persons and Personality: Introduction".



"Ware (Timothy) - The Unity of the Human Person According to the Greek Fathers"

Source: Peacocke & Gillett - Persons and Personality: A Contemporary Inquiry, 1987, Chapter 13


Editors’ Abstract1
  1. Thatcher2 speaks of the 'mystery' of God and of the claim that a particular person in history is the means by which this mystery is disclosed. But there is a reciprocity involved in such a disclosure, for there is a mystery about persons, as Dr Kallistos Ware emphasizes. He quotes David Jenkins as saying that 'The mystery of the fact of being a person' cannot be 'reduced to the facts of the appropriate sciences'; and he himself goes on to assert that 'The reality of our personhood is far more than any explanation that we choose to give it. It is an intrinsic feature of personalness to be open, always to point beyond', which echoes Macquarrie's theme3 of persons as beings-on-the-way. More particularly, he finds this to be a recurrent feature of the understanding of the human person among the Greek Fathers of the Christian Church in the first few centuries after Christ. For them, the basis for the mysterious, indefinable character of the person is that the human being is made in God's image and likeness (Gen. 1: 26-7). As Ware puts it, 'The human person is a created icon of the uncreated God; since God is incomprehensible, so also is the human person.' Beneath the apparent Platonism of much of the thought of the Fathers, we find evidence of a more integrated, holistic conception.
  2. Our human personhood is also a microcosm, an image, or icon, of the world, because, existing as it does on both the spiritual and material levels, it can reflect and embrace these two different aspects of the created universe. Indeed, it is our human vocation to reconcile and harmonize the differing levels of reality in which we participate, and so to draw them all in to unity. This is a theme of Jewish Hasidic writers, as well as of the Greek Fathers, though in the latter this mediatorial function is specifically assigned to Christ, who is taken as the model of what it means to be human.
  3. However, the Greek Fathers also saw the human role as extending to the task of unifying the created and the uncreated, of mediating between extremes, and so uniting them to God. In this human persons transcend the limits of their created nature and are 'taken up into the eternal life of God', thereby being rendered godlike. This is possible because the human person is not only the universe in miniature, but also God in miniature, microtheos. Indeed, the true greatness of human personhood consists in our being made in the image of the Creator.




In-Page Footnotes ("Ware (Timothy) - The Unity of the Human Person According to the Greek Fathers")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Peacocke (Arthur) & Gillett (Grant) - Persons and Personality: Introduction".

Footnote 2: In "Thatcher (Adrian) - Christian Theism and the Concept of a Person".

Footnote 3: In "Macquarrie (John) - A Theology of Personal Being".



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