Public Philosophy Network

Encouraging and Supporting Publicly Engaged Philosophical Research and Practices

Here's a brief article surveying some recent discussions about neurobiological basis of personhood and when human and nonhuman animals attain this state.  In some views, this provides a criterion for moral status.

This is part of the growing recognition that many traits formerly thought to obtain only in humans are actually shared by a wide range of other animal species.  But ultimately, this may really lead us to ask, not just which animals possess the traits comprising personhood which many (all?) humans have; but what is the full scope of admirable and valuable traits that many animals have and which humans share?  Must you be a "person" to show love, creative intelligence or play?  Or is "person" just a relic category from the anthropocentric and possibly Eurocentric traditions that the developments of modern thought, such a neuroscience, tend to make obsolete?

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