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  1. #1
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    Question Beginning of Personhood

    Now that I'm done with my thesis and all the data has been processed, I'm curious to know what the rest of the world thinks about this. The following is a list of questions that were used to generate the twenty statements that eventually became the backbone of my study. If you're interested in seeing how the first twenty respondents replied go here: Ideas about personhood and when it begins

    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?

    2. If the above definition doesn't suit you, and you feel you have a better definition to offer, please provide it here.

    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?

    4. Prior to this time does a being have any rights? If so, which? Why?

    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?

  2. #2
    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    In my opinion the mother has the sole rights of the child until birth.
    If the mother neglects a pregnancy to the point that a birthed child will suffer consequences from this neglect in his/her life to the point of becoming dependable on social securities. The mother is responsible.
    The choice to birth should rest solely with the mother and not with third parties.
    Once a child is born, it deserves to live wether the mother wants to or not.

    Why?

    I think that forcing labour will in many situations where children are unwanted, ultimatly result in far worse atrocities than abortion.

    And since the only cases in which abortion is an issue. The only cases in which this subject is an issue. Are often, if not always, these forms of dire situations where a child would face an underqualitative life. I am of opinion that forced labour is far more sinister in the long term. Despite peoples best intentions.
    ~Self-depricating Megalomaniacal Superwolf

  3. #3
    half mystic, half skeksis jenocyde's Avatar
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    Well, technically, many believe that a fetus has rights under the preamble of our Constitution (...and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,...)

    A woman should not be forced to carry a fetus to term if her life is at risk. I give precedence to the person who is already born and pays taxes.

    I think the first trimester is touch and go for most pregnancies. If abortions were illegal, then I can understand investigating suspicious spontaneous abortions after the first trimester, but before that is nonsensical. However, that point is moot since abortions are legal.

    More than anything, I argue for consistency. If abortions are legal and fetuses are not protected, then a man arrested with killing a pregnant woman should not be charged for 2 deaths.

    I used to believe that a fetus is "alive" once the heart beats, or once it can survive outside the womb on its own. But since technology is advancing, we can save fetuses earlier and earlier. Personally, I really have no opinion on the matter other than a woman's body is her own and she may deal with moral, but not legal judgment.

  4. #4
    Phoenix Incarnate Sentura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenocyde View Post
    A woman should not be forced to carry a fetus to term if her life is at risk. I give precedence to the person who is already born and pays taxes.
    this. a woman should not be forced to carry a child against her will basically. the question about whether a fetus is a person to me is irrelevant, as the answer will always find itself in the grey zone of subjectivity.
    i hunt INXPs for bounty
    FUNCTION ORDER FOR THOSE THAT CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHAT ENXP MEANS: Ne > Ni > Fi=Ti > *

    ...people tell me i have wildfires in my eyes

  5. #5
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    The question is when do you believe a person becomes a person? The abortion debate is secondary here. The hypothetical scenarios were used only to test the intuitions, none of the answers to those questions were used in the formal study.

  6. #6
    DoubleplusUngoodNonperson
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    And they say metaphysics is dead....

    the coming-about-of-beingness is still highly questioned, even by scientists like juggernaut here who think they aren't philosophers too

  7. #7
    Phoenix Incarnate Sentura's Avatar
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    fine.

    i believe a person becomes a person when the mind has developed far enough to recognize its own existence. cogito ergo sum.
    i hunt INXPs for bounty
    FUNCTION ORDER FOR THOSE THAT CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHAT ENXP MEANS: Ne > Ni > Fi=Ti > *

    ...people tell me i have wildfires in my eyes

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sentura View Post
    fine.

    i believe a person becomes a person when the mind has developed far enough to recognize its own existence. cogito ergo sum.
    Not a bad answer, but where does that put infants or other members of the species that lack self awareness? How about the severely mentally handi-capped or brain damaged? Your response is, however, quite in line with the majority thinking of U.S. males in the 18-24 age group. Females answered a little differently.

  9. #9
    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    I believe a person can be considered a person from the moment it interacts with the world on its own. Which is basicly the moment of birth. At that point, when the person starts to breath, slowly starts to see, feel and learn, is when a person begins to exist.

    Self awareness of the individual isn't important in this. Not everything in the world revolves around self awareness of ones individual. There is also the self awareness of others around the individual to consider. Thus, a person starts being a person once it sets foot in the world and interacts or can be interacted with by others.
    ~Self-depricating Megalomaniacal Superwolf

  10. #10
    half mystic, half skeksis jenocyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juggernaut View Post
    The question is when do you believe a person becomes a person?
    When it becomes an entity separate from its host. So, at birth.

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