Timothy Chappell, Professor of Philosophy, Open University, gives a talk for the Ian Ramsay Seminar series on 4th November, 2010.
Professor Chappell examines the familiar criterial view of personhood, according to which the possession of personal properties such as self-consciousness, emotionality, sentience, and so forth is necessary and sufficient for the status of a person. He argues that this view confuses criteria for personhood with parts of an ideal of personhood. In normal cases, we have already identified a creature as a person before we start looking for it to manifest the personal properties, indeed this pre-identification is part of what makes it possible for us to see and interpret the creature as a person in the first place. And that pre-identification typically runs on biological lines. Except in some interesting special or science-fiction cases it is human animals that we identify as persons