Metaphysics What is it that makes a person?

Discussion in 'Metaphysics' started by parrhesia, Mar 31, 2005.

  1. parrhesia

    parrhesia Member

    What I mean is:
    What attributes must something have in order to be deemed a person?
    Consciousness? Potential for language? A thoughtful intellectual being? Rational and reflective?

    Is it necessary to be a human to be a person? Can there be a person who is not human?

    Would it be too exclusive to say that a conscious, rational, reflective, thoughtful intellectual being is the criteria for being a person?

  2. bodebliss

    bodebliss The Zoc-La of Kromm-B Premium Member

    There are legal entities that are the beloved animals of dead rich people who leave dogs and cats millions.
  3. _Angel_1991

    _Angel_1991 Premium Member

    Only Humans know Love
  4. oddtodd

    oddtodd Premium Member

    Is this a test ?

    Compassion may be the key , there are some human beings in the world totally void of any feelings for anyone but themselves . I,ve been greedy and taken advantage of past clients that are under the gun to finish a job . They have the right to decline , and I have to sacrifice my time and energy to provide for their immediate needs . I look at it as a trade .

    A phrase that is joked about by me and my other self employed friend is : "Lack of planning on your part in no way constitutes an emergency on my part." I might feel bad for you , but you called me... . Just an example of how compassion , greed and sacrifice can be intertwined and justified while still believing I am a person .

    I give the little old lady with a leaking roof a good deal , but not the elderly woman who want's a lower price because she just got back from 2 months in India .

    On the other end of the stick are sociopaths , people void of any concience . They are guided by thier own needs only .

    Being that there is more than just any one particular sociopathic person on the planet , and we all affect each other somehow , I think of these beings as non-people because thay have isolated themselves with lack of compassion .

    My last business partner lied to everyone he ever met . One day he was a Buddist , the next agnostic . One day he hates the French , the next day claims to be European and uses fluent Canadian French to woo a client over . Anything you have possibly done in your life , he has a story to beat it (you know the type) . I had to remind him he would have to be 300 years old to back up all his claims.... He is still a person , but low self esteem and a selfserving ethic ALMOST makes him a non-person . He just has no idea who he really is and belives his own stories .

    The reason I say "almost" is that he provides for his children first and fiercly . Other than that , he is a fabrication of his own imagination that eveyone around him has shunned him for . So he is lonely too.

    Knowing who you are and compassion for others , that's all I have for now . More to come as I sort it out .
  5. Young William

    Young William Premium Member

    I think I know where you're going with this parrhesia, however, expand a bit more. If the Sciavo scenario has somehow influenced you're thought then focus on specifics.
    Is it humankind you're focusing on or rational-emotive thought? Because if you're wondering if some can kill, cheat, lie , and consciously ignore, then I suggest you research the professions at the top of the "personal" income scale.
  6. Bleys

    Bleys Phoenix Takes Flight Staff Member

    Sentience (is that spelled right?)

    It has to come down to awareness of self and others. Which is not to be confused with reaction to painful stimuli or spontaneous/involuntary movement. Shouldn't matter whether that awareness is good or bad, so long as there is an awareness of ones own thought processes.

    My 2cents.
  7. oddtodd

    oddtodd Premium Member


    (consider yourself misquoted :) )
  8. Bleys

    Bleys Phoenix Takes Flight Staff Member


    There's a little smack for you Todd!


    Note: I am not opposed to involuntary movements.
  9. oddtodd

    oddtodd Premium Member

    UBda Greatest !
  10. Young William

    Young William Premium Member

    The will to truthfully express is found, at least in my experience, amongst the self-actualized, or "non-players.'
  11. oddtodd

    oddtodd Premium Member

    So none of us are there yet ?
  12. Young William

    Young William Premium Member

    Anyone who finds this site, very close... or already there, and you know that.
  13. Mizar

    Mizar Premium Member

    "I think therefor I am"
  14. bodebliss

    bodebliss The Zoc-La of Kromm-B Premium Member

    only humans know human love, but other animals know other animal love.

    They don't give chocolate and flowers, but they do know how to be handy to each others needs and their species go on.

    What is human love to you is maintaining relations to me.
  15. oddtodd

    oddtodd Premium Member

    I honestly read your last post back asswards ....
  16. parrhesia

    parrhesia Member

    Actually, Young William, the Schiavo scenario wasn't on my mind at all as I posted this, nor did it play into any of my considerations, but obviously this type of questions has far reaching implications for those in similar situations as she was.

    Part of what got me thinking about this (again) was Icewolf's post on "How many grains of sand does it take to make a pile." The question I posed could be rephrased as "What attributes need a thing have to be considered a person?" Conversely, when does something stop being a person?

    oddtodd suggests compassion, or lack of, may be the key to determining personhood. But what else is necessary? All the things I mentioned in my original post?

    A little bit of both, I suppose. As I asked, is it necessary to be human to be a person? Are all humans necessarily persons?
  17. _Angel_1991

    _Angel_1991 Premium Member

    Being a person is defined by their ability to suffer, to love, and to hate. I do not want to go into the Sciavo case, but if Terri were not able to remember, to love, to hate, then she probably lost what we call her "Soul". At that point her body was just an empty shell. She was not able to suffer, as the doctors said, so there were the only two criteria left.

    parrhesia, also remember that humanity is the worst "animal" there is. Some humans are indeed not anything more but that: human. The greatest people on this earth went beyond humanity to something more. So the answer to your second question is no. Not all humans are people. (LOL I think I answered the question in a way you didn't intend. Sorry!)