Personhood and neuroscience: Naturalizing or nihilating?

American Journal of Bioethics 7 (1):37-48 (2007)
Personhood is a foundational concept in ethics, yet defining criteria have been elusive. In this article we summarize attempts to define personhood in psychological and neurological terms and conclude that none manage to be both specific and non-arbitrary. We propose that this is because the concept does not correspond to any real category of objects in the world. Rather, it is the product of an evolved brain system that develops innately and projects itself automatically and irrepressibly onto the world whenever triggered by stimulus features such as a human-like face, body, or contingent patterns of behavior. We review the evidence for the existence of an autonomous person network in the brain and discuss its implications for the field of ethics and for the implicit morality of everyday behavior.
Keywords Bioethics  Brain  Ethics  Neuroscience  Personhood  Psychology
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DOI 10.1080/15265160601064199
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References found in this work BETA
Principles of Biomedical Ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - Oxford University Press.
The Foundations of Bioethics.H. Tristram Engelhardt - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
Abortion and Infanticide.Michael Tooley - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 2 (1):37-65.

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Citations of this work BETA
Neuroscience and Metaphysics.Chris Buford & Fritz Allhoff - 2005 - American Journal of Bioethics 5 (2):34 – 36.
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Abortion Law Should Align With Evidence From Neuroscience.Clint Perry & Gidon Felsen - 2010 - American Journal of Bioethics 10 (12):49-51.

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