The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. Personhood is usc application essay status of being a person. Processes through which personhood is recognized socially and legally vary cross-culturally, demonstrating that notions of personhood are not universal. Anthropologist Beth Conklin has shown how personhood is tied to social relations among the Wari’ people of Rondônia, Brazil.
This section may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia’s quality standards. In philosophy, the word “person” may refer to various concepts. According to Charles Taylor, the problem with the naturalist view is that it depends solely on a “performance criterion” to determine what is an agent. What is crucial about agents is that things matter to them. We thus cannot simply identify agents by a performance criterion, nor assimilate animals to machines there are matters of significance for human beings which are peculiarly human, and have no analogue with animals. Others, such as American Philosopher Francis J. Beckwith, argue that personhood is not linked to function at all, but rather that it is the underlying personal unity of the individual.
What is crucial morally is the being of a person, not his or her functioning. A human person does not come into existence when human function arises, but rather, a human person is an entity who has the natural inherent capacity to give rise to human functions, whether or not those functions are ever attained. It is because an entity has an essence and falls within a natural kind that it can possess a unity of dispositions, capacities, parts and properties at a given time and can maintain identity through change. Frankfurt writes that, “What philosophers have lately come to accept as analysis of the concept of a person is not actually analysis of that concept at all. They are capable of wanting to be different, in their preferences and purposes, from what they are. The criteria for being a person are designed to capture those attributes which are the subject of our most humane concern with ourselves and the source of what we regard as most important and most problematical in our lives.
What if personal identity is constituted in, and sustained through, our relations with others, such that were we to erase our relations with our significant others we would also erase the conditions of our self-intelligibility? Other philosophers have defined persons in different ways. A person is recognized by law as such, not because they are human, but because rights and duties are ascribed to them. The person is the legal subject or substance of which the rights and duties are attributes.
An individual human being considered to be having such attributes is what lawyers call a “natural person. As an application of social psychology and other disciplines, phenomena such as the perception and attribution of personhood have been scientifically studied. Various specific debates focus on questions about the personhood of different classes of entities. For full article, see Beginning of human personhood.