Who Are You? Essay

2548 WordsMay 14, 201311 Pages
What are you? John; a human being and a complex person. Firstly, the word ‘human’ is a biological concept: a matter of biological type; one either is or is not a human. I thus am a human. Secondly, there is the issue of personhood. This is a psychological and social concept and thus is possibly a matter of degree, which is how I shall understand it to be. A further elucidation of this view is needed. The scale of personhood shall include a range from complex to simple/diminished persons to potential/ex or non persons. Let us begin by understanding what is meant by potential persons; a foetus is a human but it is arguably not yet a person and thus though one would deny it is a person, one would not deny that the majority of foetuses are potential persons (this is not the same as being a person). Alongside potential persons, we might consider that there are ex-persons, an example of such are those in vegetated state, they might come out of that state but in the period that they are vegetated they might remain human but no longer are a person. Further along the beginning of the scale we have the concept of simple and diminished persons. A simple person would be one that is only beginning to develop the characteristics of a person of have them to a limited degree such as a baby or one with a mental disability. Similarly, a diminished person is one whose faculties are extensively reduced pushing them down the scale of personhood such as one who is suffering from dementia, they remain a person but there confusion, forgetfulness and overall reduced mental faculty pushes them down the scale. So far we have considered the idea of the concept of personhood but have yet to explicitly state some of the characteristics of personhood that can move us along the scale. Locke defined the a person as “a thinking intelligent being that has reason and reflection, and can

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