|Abstract||A defense of equality for great apes must begin with an understanding of the opposition and an acknowledgement of the most basic point of disagreement. For great apes to gain status as persons in our community, we must begin by determining what the multitude of different definitions of "person" have in common. Finding that great apes fulfill the requirements of any one specific theory of personhood is insufficient, for these theories are highly controversial, and a critique of the theory will undermine the status of great apes as persons. Instead, the first step in the argument for ape equality must be a defense of their self-consciousness. This notion is one thing all plausible theories of personhood have in common.|
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