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St Mary's University

Who is a person and how shall I treat them?

Date: Friday 23rd July 2021

Time: 2pm to 3pm

Venue: Online via Zoom

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The 2021 CBET Lecture given by Dr Tom Miller.

The limits of what can and cannot be done to human life appear to implicitly rely on the question of whether that human is considered a person.

Who is a person is a taxing question in bioethics, yet is central to the bioethical decision-making process. There are those that argue that any embodied human being is a person, with others instead claiming that persons are an empirical concept reliant upon cognitive abilities, so-called cognitivism. Cognitivism appears to separate the nature of a person from the person to whom moral behaviour is directed. Consequently, this distinction creates humans that can be treated in morally ambiguous ways.

This lecture aims to explore who a cognitivist and embodied persons is and, consequently, how those views informs how we shall treat them.

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