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New Approaches to the Personhood in Law

Essays in Legal Philosophy

Edited By Tomasz Pietrzykowski and Brunello Stancioli

The concept of personhood becomes increasingly controversial in modern legal debates. The advancements in the contemporary science and technology entail the need for reconsideration of who should count as a person in law and why. Animals, cyborgs, artificial agents and the like may pose the most important challenge for the legal orders in the 21 st century. The volume collects essays addressing various aspects of this challenge and provide an overview of what may become the most interesting and far-reaching dilemma for the law in the years to come.
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The Concept of Person in the Light of Evolutionary Theory and Neuroscience

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← 34 | 35 →

Wojciech Załuski

The Concept of Person in the Light of Evolutionary Theory and Neuroscience

1. Introduction

The concept of person is permanently present in ethical discourse and plays in it an important role. In justification of this claim it suffices to recall that the thesis that human being is person underlies the categorical imperative in its formulation saying that human beings are never to be treated in an instrumental way, i.e., merely as a means, and not simultaneously as an end; or that the concept of person is also the central concept of one of the currents in normative ethics, viz. personalism, whose main ethical principle is persona est affirmanda propter se ipsam. However, the concept of person is not unproblematic. There are two main controversies around it. The first one concerns the question of the very content of this concept and a strictly related question of when human being becomes a person. This controversy has important implications for a number of particular bioethical problems, e.g., the admissibility of abortion, of in vitro insemination, of research on stem cells, or of biomedical cloning. However, we shall not deal with this controversy in our considerations; we shall focus on the second controversy. This controversy, of equal philosophical (though admittedly of lesser practical) importance as the first one, concerns the question of whether human beings can at all be considered as persons. The second controversy is not a philosophical problem that...

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