Potentiality and persons at the margins of life

Diametros 26:44-57 (2010)
The concept of potentiality is often invoked in debate over the moral status of human embryos. It has also been invoked, though less prominently, in debate over the moral status of anencephalic infants, individuals in permanent vegetative state, and the whole-brain dead. In this paper, I examine some of the theoretical assumptions underlying the concept of potentiality invoked in these debates. I show how parties in the debate over the ethical significance of potentiality have been talking past each other to a large extent because they rely on different concepts of potentiality. The conceptual differences are traced to different assumptions about the nature of persons and whether external factors may affect determinations of possibility and therefore potentiality. Any assessment about the ethical significance of potentiality therefore requires an evaluation of alternative concepts personhood and the connection between possibility and potentiality.
Keywords bioethics  abortion  potentiality  pesonhood
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,433
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Elizabeth Harman (2003). The Potentiality Problem. Philosophical Studies 114 (1-2):173 - 198.
Michael Gorman (2011). Personhood, Potentiality, and Normativity. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 85 (3):483-498.
John P. Lizza (2005). Potentiality, Irreversibility, and Death. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30 (1):45 – 64.
Mary B. Mahowald (2005). Another View of Potentiality and Human Embryos. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 26 (2):111-113.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

65 ( #75,053 of 1,925,069 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #187,249 of 1,925,069 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.