Why is personhood conceptually difficult?
There is ample evidence for this claim, both in time-honoured works and in recent publications. Before I concentrate on some of the old stuff, let me briefly turn to recent examples. The following sample of quotations from a Nobel Laureate, a leading neuroscientist and a German professor of ‘neuro-didactics’ may illustrate how deep the confusion about what a person is can go among the educated, even today. Francis Crick stated his Astonishing Hypothesis as follows: “You” [...] are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased it: “You’re nothing but a bunch of neurons.” This idea is so alien to the ideas of most people alive today that it can truly be called astonishing.1 A few years later, this ‘idea’ seemed not anymore astonishing to Michael Gazzaniga who prefers to put it this way: Some simple facts make it..
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