Heikki Ikäheimo & Arto Laitinen
Dimensions of Personhood
This collection includes original papers on central philosophical questions concerning personhood. Before introducing the individual contributions, or the specific issues they tackle with, we would like to preliminarily clarify what this collection, as a whole, is about. Saying that the articles focus on personhood is not yet very informative since ‘person’ and ‘personhood’ are words with multiple and often quite unclear meanings. With these introductory remarks we wish to show that behind the multiplicity, there is a unified, even if complex phenomenon, and that it is useful to grasp it synoptically as a whole. Consider the following question. What is the most important thing that you, me, and everyone like us, share and that distinguishes us from everything else? You and I are bound to be similar in many ways; but we are also bound to be different in many ways. Furthermore, you will most certainly consider some of our mutual similarities and differences more important than others, and so will I — and most certainly we will partly agree and partly disagree on what is more and what is less important in our similarities and differences. But is there any chance that we could agree upon a meaningful answer to the posed question: what is the most important thing that you, me, and everyone like us, have in common, and that distinguishes us from everything else? There are two prominent candidates for an answer upon which, initial scepticism settled, we might well end up agreeing on. The first candidate is that despite all our mutual differences, and abstracting from all of our less important similarities, we are humans. The second candidate is that despite all our mutual differences, and abstracting from all of our less important similarities, we are persons.
Journal of Consciousness Studies, 14, No. 5–6, 2007, pp. 6–16
DIMENSIONS OF PERSONHOOD: INTRODUCTION
Were we to...