Is There a Biological Person?

Most biologists are dissatisfied with attempts to understand complex organisms simply by reducing them to their physical and chemical elements. They may hypothesize that the whole transcends its parts, and pursue philosophical efforts to find in personhood the presumptive but crucial difference between Homo sapiens and other species. But personhood is not a biological property; rather, man’s creative nervous system invents and elaborates personhood with its sanctification of rights and protections. Others may hold different, transcendental views, but men of good will often agree on what to do while disagreeing on why they agree.

Author(s): Robert S. Morison

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Volume 61, Issue 1 (pages 3–18)
Published in 1983