Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Consciousness and the Demands of Personhood: Intersubjectivity and Second-Person Ethics
by Gallagher, Christine Marie, M.A., The University of Toledo, 2012, 73; 10835917
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis argues that “person” is not a natural kind—it is not a kind at all. Instead, personhood is a mode of experiencing each other rooted in the structure of our consciousness; personhood is fundamentally relational. I begin with a survey of the prevailing theories of personhood, giving special attention to the history and development of the concept of genetic personhood. Next, I bring insights from developmental psychology, ethnography, and evolutionary anthropology to elucidate the connection between intersubjectivity and personhood. To further develop and support a concept of relational personhood, I combine these insights with a philosophical approach that includes feminist philosophy, phenomenology, and philosophy of mind. With the help of philosophers including Annette Baier, Beata Stawarska, Christine Korsgaard, and Jean-Paul Sartre, I show how the second-person experience is the experience of intersubjectivity, and how it informs our intuition that beings exist that can be wronged. I conclude by examining the implications of a relational understanding of personhood for bioethics, with special attention to questions involving the moral status of human fetuses and non-human animals.

Indexing (document details)
Commitee: Allred, Ammon, Grazzini, Benjamin, Muntersbjorn, Madeline
School: The University of Toledo
Department: Philosophy
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: MAI 57/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Ethics, Philosophy, Womens studies, Medical Ethics
Keywords: Ethics, Feminism, Intersubjectivity, Moral standing, Relational personhood, Second-persons
Publication Number: 10835917
ISBN: 9780355970593
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