Personhood in the Bioethics Literature

Although the literature-medical, philosophical, religious, and legal-on personhood is vast, there is little evidence that writers on this topic are approaching a consensus on the meaning of the concept or on criteria for its application. Some writers set “low,” or minimal, standards for personhood; others posit “higher,” more normative standards. But throughout, the moral values writers antecedently embrace determine the definition they arrive at by way of conclusion. Personhood has not been a useful concept for resolving dilemmas in bioethics.

Author(s): Ruth Macklin

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Volume 61, Issue 1 (pages 35–57)
Published in 1983