What is a Person?
Moral Agency and Personhood
- All moral agents are persons.
- No non-persons are moral agents.
- What is a person?
NOTE: to help us keep our discussion clear let us be reminded of the distinction between necessary and sufficient conditions:
- Necessary any condition without which a state of affairs cannot occur.
- Sufficient any condition such that when it is present the state of affairs in question will occur.
- It is a necessary condition to catch a cold that one be exposed to a rhinovirus (necessary but not sufficient: one might be exposed, but not catch a cold).
- It is a sufficient condition to cause an explosion that one strike a match near combustible vapor (sufficient but not necessary: there are other ways to cause combustible vapor to ignite).
There is one final distinction of which we should be mindful:
- Essential Property any property of an object/entity which cannot be different without fundamentally changing the object/entity
- Accidental Property any property of an object/entity which can be different without fundamentally changing the object/entity
- It is an essential property of any triangle that it have three and only three sides.
- It is an accidental property of any triangle that it is scalene.
PHI 105 Page | Notes Index