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The Ontological Status of Persons

Lynne Rudder Baker
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Vol. 65, No. 2 (Sep., 2002), pp. 370-388
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3070997
Page Count: 19
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The Ontological Status of Persons
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Abstract

Chisholm held that persons are essentially persons. The Constitution View affords a non-Chisholmian way to defend the thesis that persons are essentially persons. The Constitution View shows how persons are constituted by-but not identical to-human animals. On the Constitution View, being a person determines a person's persistence conditions. On the Animalist View, being an animal determines a person's persistence conditions. Things of kind K have ontological significance if their persistence conditions are determined by their being members of K. On Chisholm's view, persons have ontological significance, but animals do not. On Animalism, animals have ontological significance, but persons do not. After explaining the notion of ontological significance, this article argues that persons do have ontological significance, and hence that Animalism is not true.

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