The concept of the person and the value of life

Kennedy Inst Ethics J. 1999 Dec;9(4):293-308. doi: 10.1353/ken.1999.0026.


The concept of the person has come to be intimately connected with questions about the value of life. It is applied to those sorts of beings who have some special value or moral importance and where we need to prioritize the needs or claims of different sorts of individuals. "Person" is a concept designating individuals like us in some important respects, but possibly including individuals who are very unlike us in other respects. What are these respects and why are they important? This paper sets out to answer these questions and to develop a coherent and useful concept of the person.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Rights
  • Animals
  • Beginning of Human Life
  • Brain
  • Brain Death
  • Cloning, Organism
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development
  • Ethics*
  • Euthanasia, Passive
  • Fetus
  • Homicide
  • Humans
  • Individuality*
  • Life
  • Moral Obligations
  • Persistent Vegetative State
  • Personhood*
  • Philosophy
  • Self Concept
  • Social Responsibility
  • Social Values
  • Value of Life*