What is a Person?

Moral Agency and Personhood

  1. All moral agents are persons.

  2. No non-persons are moral agents.

  3. What is a person?

NOTE: to help us keep our discussion clear let us be reminded of the distinction between necessary and sufficient conditions:


  1. 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).

  2. 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:


  1. It is an essential property of any triangle that it have three and only three sides.

  2. It is an accidental property of any triangle that it is scalene.

PHI 105 Page | Notes Index