Who is a person? Whoever you want it to be

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Vol: 1, Issue: 10

Publication Year:
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Broude, Gwen J.
personhood; moral status; unity of mental life; implicit self-awareness; animal awareness; Cognition and Perception; Cognitive Neuroscience; Ethics and Political Philosophy; Evolution; Life Sciences; Philosophy of Mind; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology; Zoology
expert opinion description
Rowlands provides an expanded definition of personhood that preserves the requirement of unity of mental life from the orthodox definition but argues that implicit unity of mind is sufficient for conferring personhood. This allows more or all animals to be considered persons. Implicit unity of mind may be a bridge too far for those who endorse the orthodox account of personhood, and for good reasons. More fundamentally, who gets to decide what personhood entails or that personhood per se matters to such other issues as who receives legal or moral status and consideration? Perhaps we should worry less about definitions of personhood and more about whether and why (all) animals deserve certain kinds of treatment by human animals.