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  1. #41
    almost half a doctor phoenix13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juggernaut View Post

    1. Does the definition of a person as "a biological member of the species H. sapiens with a right to life" appropriately capture what it is for a person to be a person? If not, why not?
    Yes to the first part (albeit incomplete on its own), and no to the second. You must be a H. sapien to be a "person", but not all h. sapiens may be considered "people" according to my personal philosophy (see question 2). As for the "right to life" business, it doesn't belong in the definition. One would be very hard pressed to argue that people alone have a natural "right" to live. If it isn't exclusive to people, and it applies to, say, all animals, it's just not even worth including in a definition. Also, I happen to disagree with it.

    2. If the above definition doesn't suit you, and you feel you have a better definition to offer, please provide it here.
    [It is my personal opinion that] A "person" is a H. sapien with the ability to deliberate. They are aware of themselves, and able to perceive multiple options in any decision (and I'm not talking about free will). They are able to not act exclusively out of instinct/reflex.

    3. Using the definition you feel most accurately describes what it is to be a person, when do you feel a person first should be recognized as such? At what point in time can a person first be properly called a person? Why?
    We don't know. And it is likely not consistent from person to person. A toddler of 2 may be self aware and able to deliberate (albeit crudely) before they can adequately communicate with others (this goes for the mentally challenged as well). Thus, it's almost impossible for one person to judge the personhood of someone else.

    4. Prior to this time does a being have any rights? If so, which? Why?
    "Rights" are society-dependent, and also vary from individual to individual. They are not intrinsic, nor are they consistent. So, a being has rights when people say it does.

    Hypothetical scenarios...

    5. Should a pregnant woman be legally allowed to consume alcohol if she plans to carry the fetus to term? Smoke? Use drugs? Engage in potentially risky behaviors? Why or why not?

    6. Should a pregnant woman who has spontaneously aborted (miscarried) be held morally or legally responsible for the loss to the same extent she might be were she to lose a child? Should she be investigated for neglect? If so, why? If not, why?

    7. Should a woman be forced to maintain a pregnancy even though it may have lethal consequences for her? Why or why not?
    These are ethical issues with their basis on the aforementioned "right to life." I don't see the definition of "person" inherently relevant to these scenarios (ref. response to question 1), so I'll leave it out. All these answers depend on the beliefs of a particular society (and specifically, its government). There is no intrinsic "right to life." This is a construct rooted in human belief (belief in god, in a set of values, or personal philosophy). In American society, we generally don't endorse one's "right to death" (although that's recently changed in Washington state via euthanasia laws), despite the fact that it's every bit as natural and certain as life. It's because of empathy, and a fear of death intrinsic to our survival instinct, YET, objectively, it would be every bit as legitimate for one to argue for one's "right to death" as it would be to argue for one's "right to life," or even both. It's entirely up to society.

    "OMG I FEEEEEEEEEL SO INTENSELY ABOUT EVERYTHING OMG OMG OMG GET ME A XANAX" -Priam (ENFP impersonation)

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by juggernaut View Post
    1. Does the definition of a person as "a biological member of the species H. sapiens with a right to life" appropriately capture what it is for a person to be a person? If not, why not?
    No, because a person by definition is an ethico-social concept. Certainly biologically all persons are H. sapiens, but the concept of being a person entails so much more than mere biology.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    No, because a person by definition is an ethico-social concept. Certainly biologically all persons are H. sapiens, but the concept of being a person entails so much more than mere biology.
    Such as?

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