Being a Person and Acting as a Person

Forum Philosophicum: International Journal for Philosophy 13 (2):267-282 (2008)
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Abstract

The article is primarily concerned with the ambiguities which surround the concept of the person. According to the philosophical tradition taking its roots from Locke's definition, personhood depends on consciousness. Therefore, “personhood” can be ascribed to different entities, and only these entities acquire a moral standing. This can entail that a human being may or may not be considered as a person, as well as higher animals and even artificial machines. Everything depends on manifest personal characteristics. In order to sort out different meanings ascribed to “person,” I distinguish between being a person and acting as a person. Then, I show that a human being is a paradigm of the person and his being always precedes his acting.

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