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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
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The Milbank Quarterly’s multidisciplinary approach and commitment to applying the best empirical research to practical policymaking offers in-depth assessments of the social, economic, historical, legal, and ethical dimensions of health and health care policy.