Far-Persons

In Woodhall Andrew & Garmendia da Trindade Gabriel (eds.), Ethics and/or Politics: Approaching the Issues Concerning Nonhuman Animals. Palgrave. pp. 39-71 (2017)
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Abstract

I argue for the moral relevance of a category of individuals I characterize as far-persons. Following Gary Varner, I distinguish near-persons, animals with a " robust autonoetic consciousness " but lacking an adult human's " biographical sense of self, " from the merely sentient, those animals living "entirely in the present." I note the possibility of a third class. Far-persons lack a biographical sense of self, possess a weak autonoetic consciousness, and are able to travel mentally through time a distance that exceeds the capacities of the merely sentient. Far-persons are conscious of and exercise control over short-term cognitive states, states limited by their temporal duration. The animals in question, human and nonhuman, consciously choose among various strategies available to them to achieve their ends, making them subjects of what I call "lyrical experience:" brief and potentially intense pleasures and pains. But their ends expire minute-by-minute, not stretching beyond, I say metaphorically, the present hour. I conclude by discussing the moral status of far-persons.

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Author's Profile

Gary Comstock
North Carolina State University

References found in this work

Freedom of the will and the concept of a person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Elements of Episodic Memory.Endel Tulving - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
Practical Ethics.Peter Singer - 1979 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Susan J. Armstrong & Richard George Botzler.

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