Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2007 Jan;7(1):37-48.
doi: 10.1080/15265160601064199.

Personhood and Neuroscience: Naturalizing or Nihilating?

Affiliations

Personhood and Neuroscience: Naturalizing or Nihilating?

Martha J Farah et al. Am J Bioeth. .

Abstract

Personhood is a foundational concept in ethics, yet defining criteria have been elusive. In this article we summarize attempts to define personhood in psychological and neurological terms and conclude that none manage to be both specific and non-arbitrary. We propose that this is because the concept does not correspond to any real category of objects in the world. Rather, it is the product of an evolved brain system that develops innately and projects itself automatically and irrepressibly onto the world whenever triggered by stimulus features such as a human-like face, body, or contingent patterns of behavior. We review the evidence for the existence of an autonomous person network in the brain and discuss its implications for the field of ethics and for the implicit morality of everyday behavior.

Comment in

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 8 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

Publication types

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback