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What is a person?

Victorian
Posts: 19
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9/29/2013 6:02:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I am undecided on how to define a person for moral and legalistic issues. All thoughts appreciated.
Jingram994
Posts: 211
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9/30/2013 12:56:19 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Well, my personal definition of a "person" is essentially "an individual with a subjective consciousness/mind and complex self-awareness, including ability for introspection." Basically, most animals don"t quite meet this standard, as far as I"m aware, as they lack the ability for the same "complex" self-awareness and introspection as humans are. Humans, by dint of our complex awareness of both ourselves and others around us, do meet this standard. We as individuals have the ability to examine our own thought processes in detail, to "see who we are", if you will. We, by way how our neural structure grows and develops, have this ability from a very early age, possibly as soon as our higher brain starts functioning. For example, a six month old baby, with an active higher brain, is as much a "person" as a seventeen year old. A human fetus before the 26 week period, or a year old frog, would not be "persons". The fetus has no ability to be conscious or to have a mind at all before its higher brain begins functioning. A frog, despite having a fully functioning brain, and thus its own consciousness and mind, would still not be a "person" due to being a less complex animal, not capable of the same level of self-awareness and introspection.

The reasons for this definition are mainly due to the very large differences between humans and other animals when it comes to psychological, emotional and intellectual "depth". As complex "persons", due to our complex self-awareness and to our ability to truly introspect, we are capable of a much greater "range" and "depth" of feeling and awareness than other animals are. Despite, say, a human and a cat both being "alive" in the same physical sense, it would be incorrect to state that both are "persons", and place the same value on the life of a cat as we do on the life of a person. Likewise, take a brain-dead individual. Despite still being "alive" on a cellular level, and possibly even still having a functioning "lower brain" that regulates some autonomic functions, they have irrevocably lost all ability to be conscious and truly "alive" in the same way that they used to be. Despite clearly still being human, and still being "alive", it would be incorrect to state that they are still a "person". Once the physical ability to sustain one's mind/consciousness is lost, the consciousness itself can't be recovered.

Note that this definition is not limited to humans in any way; I as using them as an example as humans are the only beings that we are currently aware of with the obvious and unequivocal 'capacity' to be persons, assuming lack of brain defects or severe brain trauma. This example could quite easily be extended to cover, say, non-human sapient aliens, genetically reworked organisms that are no longer human but are still mentally/emotionally/psychologically 'close enough', or sufficiently complex AI's.
MoralityProfessor
Posts: 63
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9/30/2013 4:01:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
"Likewise, take a brain-dead individual. Despite still being "alive" on a cellular level, and possibly even still having a functioning "lower brain" that regulates some autonomic functions, they have irrevocably lost all ability to be conscious and truly "alive" in the same way that they used to be. Despite clearly still being human, and still being "alive", it would be incorrect to state that they are still a "person". Once the physical ability to sustain one's mind/consciousness is lost, the consciousness itself can't be recovered."

I do not believe that to be the case. There are numerous cases of 'brain dead' people who 'came back' to life.
StevenDixon
Posts: 178
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9/30/2013 5:40:23 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I would say your current stream of consciousness is what constitutes your "person".

For instance, I don't believe I'm the same "person" as "I"(for lack of a better term) was 10 years ago. I don't believe I'm the same person I was even a day ago, yet more similar to that person than 10 years ago.
YYW
Posts: 36,242
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9/30/2013 9:12:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/29/2013 6:02:13 PM, Victorian wrote:
I am undecided on how to define a person for moral and legalistic issues. All thoughts appreciated.

A subject to be studied.

trololol
Jingram994
Posts: 211
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10/1/2013 1:36:13 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Well, I'm pretty sure almost all instances of 'brain-dead' people coming back to life were in fact instances of either coma, or a persistent vegetative state. That last one in particular is particularly difficult to tell apart from actual brain death, higher brain death in particular.

I should probably also clarify a little. 'I' am an emergent quality. My brain creates my mind, which is 'me'. Changes to my brain affect my mind. If my brain stops 'making' me, then it only makes sense that 'I' am no longer there. It may possibly be the case that something else happens to consciousness other than it simply being *gone* when the brain is no longer capable of supporting it, for example being distributed quantum energy, though I admit I don't actually fully 'get' this idea. 'I' may still exist if I somehow *did* manage to 'come back' after brain death. If my brain had decayed or been tampered with significantly, however, I am honestly not sure that this consciousness would 'still' be 'me', as in case of true brain death it is likely that 'I' would have actually ceased to exist.

The 'stream of consciousness' idea is also interesting. I disagree that 'I' am not the 'same' person I was ten years ago. I have indeed changed *as a person*, but to say that there is a genuine difference rather than certain degrees of difference between 'me' now and 'Josh from ten years ago' would miss the point. Think of it like '4th dimensional continuity'; the 'stream' is 'me'. All of the drops in that stream are larger or smaller 'parts' of me; one might be a memory of the first time I held a girl's hand, another might be a personality quirk, like how I always say 'How ya going?' instead of 'Hello'. 'I' still exist if any number are taken or replaced over time. If all of those 'drops' are removed at once, then there is no 'stream' any more. Personally, I prefer to think of it as an 'instance' rather than a 'stream'; 'I' exist, and as long as I don't qualitatively die 'I' continue existing, regardless of the specifics of the exact qualities 'I' may or may not possess, and in what amounts.
Noumena
Posts: 6,047
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10/2/2013 9:15:34 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/29/2013 6:02:13 PM, Victorian wrote:
I am undecided on how to define a person for moral and legalistic issues. All thoughts appreciated.

Why do you think it needs to be defined at all?
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
suraj1988
Posts: 3
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10/2/2013 10:17:29 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
A person is nothing but a immense gift of god, in fact every person is a god, a person is a bucket full of dreams and thoughts if dreams and thoughts aren't there a body is then a vacant place just with bones muscles and blood.
Surajnandan
MoralityProfessor
Posts: 63
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10/2/2013 3:24:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Thank you for correcting me on the topic of brain dead people coming back to life. As reality has it, there are stories like that happening, and though I cannot claim to have studied them all, it is true what you say. The cases of people coming back after being 'brain dead' did often involve at least minimal brain activity, or a doctor making an incorrect diagnosis. As far as brain-death goes though, I believe every measure necessary should be taken to be sure (and not to ensure :D) that the patient (can a non-living entity be classified as a 'patient'?) is actually brain dead.
As far as consciousness goes though, what about out-of-body experiences, where the consciousness is separated (or at least appears to be) from the body?
Jingram994
Posts: 211
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10/4/2013 3:55:38 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Hah, yeah, I agree it wouldn't be very good to 'ensure brain death' of patients, as opposed to making sure. Seeing as brain-death is pretty much the qualifier for actual death in medical terms, you'd think that more care would be taken with making sure that's actually what's going on.

About 'out of body' experiences, I'm not really sure. I'm inclined to simply believe it's a combination of 'dream-state (un)consciousness', potentially mixed with some level of awareness of things that are happening outside the body. Sort of like a hallucination. Or more likely a lucid dream. Honestly though, I'd say that in those circumstances the consciousness is almost certainly still 'connected' to the body, just that it doesn't appear the 'same' as it normally does.
KeytarHero
Posts: 612
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10/9/2013 9:35:20 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/29/2013 6:02:13 PM, Victorian wrote:
I am undecided on how to define a person for moral and legalistic issues. All thoughts appreciated.

"A person is a substance of a rational nature."
--Boethius

I find this to be the best definition of person. A substance is an entity that maintains its identity through change. This just means that I was the same person when I was a toddler that I am now, despite all the changes I've gone through, becaus there is a continuity of human existence. This also means that I was the same person as an embryo as I am now. I didn't come from an embryo, I was once an embryo, because being currently conscious is not necessary for one's identity (otherwise you would lose your idenity whenever you fall asleep and be a brand new person when you wake up).
Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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10/9/2013 1:33:07 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/9/2013 9:35:20 AM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 9/29/2013 6:02:13 PM, Victorian wrote:
I am undecided on how to define a person for moral and legalistic issues. All thoughts appreciated.

"A person is a substance of a rational nature."
--Boethius

I find this to be the best definition of person. A substance is an entity that maintains its identity through change. This just means that I was the same person when I was a toddler that I am now, despite all the changes I've gone through, becaus there is a continuity of human existence. This also means that I was the same person as an embryo as I am now. I didn't come from an embryo, I was once an embryo, because being currently conscious is not necessary for one's identity (otherwise you would lose your idenity whenever you fall asleep and be a brand new person when you wake up).

Is sperm a person then? lol
KeytarHero
Posts: 612
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10/9/2013 1:34:16 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/9/2013 1:33:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 9:35:20 AM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 9/29/2013 6:02:13 PM, Victorian wrote:
I am undecided on how to define a person for moral and legalistic issues. All thoughts appreciated.

"A person is a substance of a rational nature."
--Boethius

I find this to be the best definition of person. A substance is an entity that maintains its identity through change. This just means that I was the same person when I was a toddler that I am now, despite all the changes I've gone through, becaus there is a continuity of human existence. This also means that I was the same person as an embryo as I am now. I didn't come from an embryo, I was once an embryo, because being currently conscious is not necessary for one's identity (otherwise you would lose your idenity whenever you fall asleep and be a brand new person when you wake up).

Is sperm a person then? lol

No, and that's a common strawman against the pro-life position.

In what way would the definition "a substance of a rational nature" pertain to sperm?
Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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10/9/2013 1:41:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/9/2013 1:34:16 PM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 10/9/2013 1:33:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 9:35:20 AM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 9/29/2013 6:02:13 PM, Victorian wrote:
I am undecided on how to define a person for moral and legalistic issues. All thoughts appreciated.

"A person is a substance of a rational nature."
--Boethius

I find this to be the best definition of person. A substance is an entity that maintains its identity through change. This just means that I was the same person when I was a toddler that I am now, despite all the changes I've gone through, becaus there is a continuity of human existence. This also means that I was the same person as an embryo as I am now. I didn't come from an embryo, I was once an embryo, because being currently conscious is not necessary for one's identity (otherwise you would lose your idenity whenever you fall asleep and be a brand new person when you wake up).

Is sperm a person then? lol

No, and that's a common strawman against the pro-life position.

In what way would the definition "a substance of a rational nature" pertain to sperm?

In what way does it pertain to an embryo? How is this not special pleading?
KeytarHero
Posts: 612
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10/9/2013 3:19:07 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/9/2013 1:41:09 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 1:34:16 PM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 10/9/2013 1:33:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 9:35:20 AM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 9/29/2013 6:02:13 PM, Victorian wrote:
I am undecided on how to define a person for moral and legalistic issues. All thoughts appreciated.

"A person is a substance of a rational nature."
--Boethius

I find this to be the best definition of person. A substance is an entity that maintains its identity through change. This just means that I was the same person when I was a toddler that I am now, despite all the changes I've gone through, becaus there is a continuity of human existence. This also means that I was the same person as an embryo as I am now. I didn't come from an embryo, I was once an embryo, because being currently conscious is not necessary for one's identity (otherwise you would lose your idenity whenever you fall asleep and be a brand new person when you wake up).

Is sperm a person then? lol

No, and that's a common strawman against the pro-life position.

In what way would the definition "a substance of a rational nature" pertain to sperm?

In what way does it pertain to an embryo? How is this not special pleading?

It's not special pleading, and I asked you first.

Embryos have a rational nature because they are human beings, unique human organisms with their own functional parts (as opposed to sperm which is just a cell, a functional part of the parent organism). Embryos have not actualized their capacity for rationality yet, but they have that inherent capacity by virtue of being human. Just like someone who is asleep or in a reversible coma is still a human being and does not have the presently-exercisable capacity for rationality but still have it inherently, so the embryo has th capacity inherently and will be able to presently exercise it when they are developed enough to actualize it.
Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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10/9/2013 3:32:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/9/2013 3:19:07 PM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 10/9/2013 1:41:09 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 1:34:16 PM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 10/9/2013 1:33:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 9:35:20 AM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 9/29/2013 6:02:13 PM, Victorian wrote:
I am undecided on how to define a person for moral and legalistic issues. All thoughts appreciated.

"A person is a substance of a rational nature."
--Boethius

I find this to be the best definition of person. A substance is an entity that maintains its identity through change. This just means that I was the same person when I was a toddler that I am now, despite all the changes I've gone through, becaus there is a continuity of human existence. This also means that I was the same person as an embryo as I am now. I didn't come from an embryo, I was once an embryo, because being currently conscious is not necessary for one's identity (otherwise you would lose your idenity whenever you fall asleep and be a brand new person when you wake up).

Is sperm a person then? lol

No, and that's a common strawman against the pro-life position.

In what way would the definition "a substance of a rational nature" pertain to sperm?

In what way does it pertain to an embryo? How is this not special pleading?

It's not special pleading, and I asked you first.

Embryos have a rational nature because they are human beings,

Why isn't a sperm considered human, but an embryo?

unique human organisms with their own functional parts (as opposed to sperm which is just a cell, a functional part of the parent organism).

How is human sperm not human, but a human embryo? More special pleading.

Embryos have not actualized their capacity for rationality yet, but they have that inherent capacity by virtue of being human.

So does a sperm.

Just like someone who is asleep or in a reversible coma is still a human being and does not have the presently-exercisable capacity for rationality but still have it inherently, so the embryo has th capacity inherently and will be able to presently exercise it when they are developed enough to actualize it.
KeytarHero
Posts: 612
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10/9/2013 3:50:19 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/9/2013 3:32:28 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 3:19:07 PM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 10/9/2013 1:41:09 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 1:34:16 PM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 10/9/2013 1:33:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 9:35:20 AM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 9/29/2013 6:02:13 PM, Victorian wrote:
I am undecided on how to define a person for moral and legalistic issues. All thoughts appreciated.

"A person is a substance of a rational nature."
--Boethius

I find this to be the best definition of person. A substance is an entity that maintains its identity through change. This just means that I was the same person when I was a toddler that I am now, despite all the changes I've gone through, becaus there is a continuity of human existence. This also means that I was the same person as an embryo as I am now. I didn't come from an embryo, I was once an embryo, because being currently conscious is not necessary for one's identity (otherwise you would lose your idenity whenever you fall asleep and be a brand new person when you wake up).

Is sperm a person then? lol

No, and that's a common strawman against the pro-life position.

In what way would the definition "a substance of a rational nature" pertain to sperm?

In what way does it pertain to an embryo? How is this not special pleading?

It's not special pleading, and I asked you first.

Embryos have a rational nature because they are human beings,

Why isn't a sperm considered human, but an embryo?

unique human organisms with their own functional parts (as opposed to sperm which is just a cell, a functional part of the parent organism).

How is human sperm not human, but a human embryo? More special pleading.

Embryos have not actualized their capacity for rationality yet, but they have that inherent capacity by virtue of being human.

So does a sperm.


Just like someone who is asleep or in a reversible coma is still a human being and does not have the presently-exercisable capacity for rationality but still have it inherently, so the embryo has th capacity inherently and will be able to presently exercise it when they are developed enough to actualize it.

Just because you've heard of a logical fallacy like "special pleading" doesn't mean that just because you invoke it, any argument is automatically speacial pleading.

A sperm is a human cell, whereas a human zygote and the stages of development that follow is a unique human organism. We began life as a zygote, not as a sperm or egg. I'm almost at the point of just recommending you go read a fifth grade biology textbook.

A sperm does not have the same capacities as a human organism. The fate of the sperm and the egg are to combine and then cease to exist when they create a brand new human being. Sperm and egg only have a passive potentiality to beome human, in the same way that flour and sugar have the passive potentiality to become a cake. Human zygotes have the same capacity for rationality, consciousness, self-awareness, etc., that you and I do. The only difference is that you and I have them as first-order capacities, or presently-exercisable capacities, and the zygote only has them as a second-order (or inherent) capacity, just like a sleeping human being or a human in a coma. Even pro-choice philosophers recognize that human embryos have these same capacities, they just argue that it's the first-order capacity that matters morally, not the second-order capacity.
Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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10/9/2013 4:01:18 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/9/2013 3:50:19 PM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 10/9/2013 3:32:28 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 3:19:07 PM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 10/9/2013 1:41:09 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 1:34:16 PM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 10/9/2013 1:33:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 9:35:20 AM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 9/29/2013 6:02:13 PM, Victorian wrote:
I am undecided on how to define a person for moral and legalistic issues. All thoughts appreciated.

"A person is a substance of a rational nature."
--Boethius

I find this to be the best definition of person. A substance is an entity that maintains its identity through change. This just means that I was the same person when I was a toddler that I am now, despite all the changes I've gone through, becaus there is a continuity of human existence. This also means that I was the same person as an embryo as I am now. I didn't come from an embryo, I was once an embryo, because being currently conscious is not necessary for one's identity (otherwise you would lose your idenity whenever you fall asleep and be a brand new person when you wake up).

Is sperm a person then? lol

No, and that's a common strawman against the pro-life position.

In what way would the definition "a substance of a rational nature" pertain to sperm?

In what way does it pertain to an embryo? How is this not special pleading?

It's not special pleading, and I asked you first.

Embryos have a rational nature because they are human beings,

Why isn't a sperm considered human, but an embryo?

unique human organisms with their own functional parts (as opposed to sperm which is just a cell, a functional part of the parent organism).

How is human sperm not human, but a human embryo? More special pleading.

Embryos have not actualized their capacity for rationality yet, but they have that inherent capacity by virtue of being human.

So does a sperm.


Just like someone who is asleep or in a reversible coma is still a human being and does not have the presently-exercisable capacity for rationality but still have it inherently, so the embryo has th capacity inherently and will be able to presently exercise it when they are developed enough to actualize it.

Just because you've heard of a logical fallacy like "special pleading" doesn't mean that just because you invoke it, any argument is automatically speacial pleading.

You are special pleading, as you are acting like a embryo can be considered human, but not a sperm without valid reasoning. Double-standards and special pleading are the same.


A sperm is a human cell,

An embryo is a human embryo...

whereas a human zygote and the stages of development that follow is a unique human organism.

Why is the sperm not a unique human, but the embryo is? This is the special pleading I am talk about.

We began life as a zygote, not as a sperm or egg.

A sperm is living genius.

I'm almost at the point of just recommending you go read a fifth grade biology textbook.

Why? It doesn't define a human embryo as a human in those text books...


A sperm does not have the same capacities as a human organism.

What makes a sperm not a human organism, but an embryo?

The fate of the sperm and the egg are to combine and then cease to exist when they create a brand new human being.

Nothing ceases to exist, it just changes form.

Sperm and egg only have a passive potentiality to beome human, in the same way that flour and sugar have the passive potentiality to become a cake.

I can just say that am embryo only has the potential to become human, but isn't.

Human zygotes have the same capacity for rationality, consciousness, self-awareness, etc., that you and I do. The only difference is that you and I have them as first-order capacities, or presently-exercisable capacities, and the zygote only has them as a second-order (or inherent) capacity, just like a sleeping human being or a human in a coma.

A sperm has the same capacity though, as it has the capacity to have an embryo developed, then a human.

Even pro-choice philosophers recognize that human embryos have these same capacities, they just argue that it's the first-order capacity that matters morally, not the second-order capacity.

A sperm has the same capacity, just at a lower stage.
KeytarHero
Posts: 612
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10/9/2013 4:58:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/9/2013 4:01:18 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 3:50:19 PM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 10/9/2013 3:32:28 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 3:19:07 PM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 10/9/2013 1:41:09 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 1:34:16 PM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 10/9/2013 1:33:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 9:35:20 AM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 9/29/2013 6:02:13 PM, Victorian wrote:
I am undecided on how to define a person for moral and legalistic issues. All thoughts appreciated.

"A person is a substance of a rational nature."
--Boethius

I find this to be the best definition of person. A substance is an entity that maintains its identity through change. This just means that I was the same person when I was a toddler that I am now, despite all the changes I've gone through, becaus there is a continuity of human existence. This also means that I was the same person as an embryo as I am now. I didn't come from an embryo, I was once an embryo, because being currently conscious is not necessary for one's identity (otherwise you would lose your idenity whenever you fall asleep and be a brand new person when you wake up).

Is sperm a person then? lol

No, and that's a common strawman against the pro-life position.

In what way would the definition "a substance of a rational nature" pertain to sperm?

In what way does it pertain to an embryo? How is this not special pleading?

It's not special pleading, and I asked you first.

Embryos have a rational nature because they are human beings,

Why isn't a sperm considered human, but an embryo?

unique human organisms with their own functional parts (as opposed to sperm which is just a cell, a functional part of the parent organism).

How is human sperm not human, but a human embryo? More special pleading.

Embryos have not actualized their capacity for rationality yet, but they have that inherent capacity by virtue of being human.

So does a sperm.


Just like someone who is asleep or in a reversible coma is still a human being and does not have the presently-exercisable capacity for rationality but still have it inherently, so the embryo has th capacity inherently and will be able to presently exercise it when they are developed enough to actualize it.

Just because you've heard of a logical fallacy like "special pleading" doesn't mean that just because you invoke it, any argument is automatically speacial pleading.

You are special pleading, as you are acting like a embryo can be considered human, but not a sperm without valid reasoning. Double-standards and special pleading are the same.


A sperm is a human cell,

An embryo is a human embryo...


whereas a human zygote and the stages of development that follow is a unique human organism.

Why is the sperm not a unique human, but the embryo is? This is the special pleading I am talk about.

We began life as a zygote, not as a sperm or egg.

A sperm is living genius.

I'm almost at the point of just recommending you go read a fifth grade biology textbook.

Why? It doesn't define a human embryo as a human in those text books...


A sperm does not have the same capacities as a human organism.

What makes a sperm not a human organism, but an embryo?

The fate of the sperm and the egg are to combine and then cease to exist when they create a brand new human being.

Nothing ceases to exist, it just changes form.

Sperm and egg only have a passive potentiality to beome human, in the same way that flour and sugar have the passive potentiality to become a cake.

I can just say that am embryo only has the potential to become human, but isn't.

Human zygotes have the same capacity for rationality, consciousness, self-awareness, etc., that you and I do. The only difference is that you and I have them as first-order capacities, or presently-exercisable capacities, and the zygote only has them as a second-order (or inherent) capacity, just like a sleeping human being or a human in a coma.

A sperm has the same capacity though, as it has the capacity to have an embryo developed, then a human.

Even pro-choice philosophers recognize that human embryos have these same capacities, they just argue that it's the first-order capacity that matters morally, not the second-order capacity.

A sperm has the same capacity, just at a lower stage.

At this point, I'm just going to bow out of the conversation. You're not comprehending the argument. If you can't see the difference between a sperm cell and a human zygote (despite my having explained it quite clearly), then there's no hope for this conversation.
Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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10/9/2013 5:04:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/9/2013 4:58:33 PM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 10/9/2013 4:01:18 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 3:50:19 PM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 10/9/2013 3:32:28 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 3:19:07 PM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 10/9/2013 1:41:09 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 1:34:16 PM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 10/9/2013 1:33:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 9:35:20 AM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 9/29/2013 6:02:13 PM, Victorian wrote:
I am undecided on how to define a person for moral and legalistic issues. All thoughts appreciated.

"A person is a substance of a rational nature."
--Boethius

I find this to be the best definition of person. A substance is an entity that maintains its identity through change. This just means that I was the same person when I was a toddler that I am now, despite all the changes I've gone through, becaus there is a continuity of human existence. This also means that I was the same person as an embryo as I am now. I didn't come from an embryo, I was once an embryo, because being currently conscious is not necessary for one's identity (otherwise you would lose your idenity whenever you fall asleep and be a brand new person when you wake up).

Is sperm a person then? lol

No, and that's a common strawman against the pro-life position.

In what way would the definition "a substance of a rational nature" pertain to sperm?

In what way does it pertain to an embryo? How is this not special pleading?

It's not special pleading, and I asked you first.

Embryos have a rational nature because they are human beings,

Why isn't a sperm considered human, but an embryo?

unique human organisms with their own functional parts (as opposed to sperm which is just a cell, a functional part of the parent organism).

How is human sperm not human, but a human embryo? More special pleading.

Embryos have not actualized their capacity for rationality yet, but they have that inherent capacity by virtue of being human.

So does a sperm.


Just like someone who is asleep or in a reversible coma is still a human being and does not have the presently-exercisable capacity for rationality but still have it inherently, so the embryo has th capacity inherently and will be able to presently exercise it when they are developed enough to actualize it.

Just because you've heard of a logical fallacy like "special pleading" doesn't mean that just because you invoke it, any argument is automatically speacial pleading.

You are special pleading, as you are acting like a embryo can be considered human, but not a sperm without valid reasoning. Double-standards and special pleading are the same.


A sperm is a human cell,

An embryo is a human embryo...


whereas a human zygote and the stages of development that follow is a unique human organism.

Why is the sperm not a unique human, but the embryo is? This is the special pleading I am talk about.

We began life as a zygote, not as a sperm or egg.

A sperm is living genius.

I'm almost at the point of just recommending you go read a fifth grade biology textbook.

Why? It doesn't define a human embryo as a human in those text books...


A sperm does not have the same capacities as a human organism.

What makes a sperm not a human organism, but an embryo?

The fate of the sperm and the egg are to combine and then cease to exist when they create a brand new human being.

Nothing ceases to exist, it just changes form.

Sperm and egg only have a passive potentiality to beome human, in the same way that flour and sugar have the passive potentiality to become a cake.

I can just say that am embryo only has the potential to become human, but isn't.

Human zygotes have the same capacity for rationality, consciousness, self-awareness, etc., that you and I do. The only difference is that you and I have them as first-order capacities, or presently-exercisable capacities, and the zygote only has them as a second-order (or inherent) capacity, just like a sleeping human being or a human in a coma.

A sperm has the same capacity though, as it has the capacity to have an embryo developed, then a human.

Even pro-choice philosophers recognize that human embryos have these same capacities, they just argue that it's the first-order capacity that matters morally, not the second-order capacity.

A sperm has the same capacity, just at a lower stage.

At this point, I'm just going to bow out of the conversation. You're not comprehending the argument.

"You're not comprehending the argument" is hardly a rebuttal. You basically conceded all my points.

If you can't see the difference between a sperm cell and a human zygote (despite my having explained it quite clearly), then there's no hope for this conversation.

This is a straw-man argument. I did not say that there wasn't a difference, the question is, what makes this difference relevant to whether it is considered a "human" or not?
StevenDixon
Posts: 178
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10/9/2013 9:44:18 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/9/2013 9:35:20 AM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 9/29/2013 6:02:13 PM, Victorian wrote:
I am undecided on how to define a person for moral and legalistic issues. All thoughts appreciated.

"A person is a substance of a rational nature."
--Boethius

I find this to be the best definition of person. A substance is an entity that maintains its identity through change. This just means that I was the same person when I was a toddler that I am now, despite all the changes I've gone through, becaus there is a continuity of human existence. This also means that I was the same person as an embryo as I am now. I didn't come from an embryo, I was once an embryo, because being currently conscious is not necessary for one's identity (otherwise you would lose your idenity whenever you fall asleep and be a brand new person when you wake up).

"The substance of a rational nature"

Animals are people then.
KeytarHero
Posts: 612
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10/9/2013 10:08:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/9/2013 9:44:18 PM, StevenDixon wrote:
At 10/9/2013 9:35:20 AM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 9/29/2013 6:02:13 PM, Victorian wrote:
I am undecided on how to define a person for moral and legalistic issues. All thoughts appreciated.

"A person is a substance of a rational nature."
--Boethius

I find this to be the best definition of person. A substance is an entity that maintains its identity through change. This just means that I was the same person when I was a toddler that I am now, despite all the changes I've gone through, becaus there is a continuity of human existence. This also means that I was the same person as an embryo as I am now. I didn't come from an embryo, I was once an embryo, because being currently conscious is not necessary for one's identity (otherwise you would lose your idenity whenever you fall asleep and be a brand new person when you wake up).

"The substance of a rational nature"

Animals are people then.

Animals are conscious beings, so they should not be harmed unnecessarily, but they do not have a rational nature. Human beings do. We have the capacity to reason, to know right from wrong, to question our place in the universe, etc.

Persons are the subjects of rights because persons can recognize right from wrong and act accordingly. If a lion attacks you for merely tresspassing on its lair, it has not wronged you. If someone shoots you because you were merely tresspassing on their property but didn't pose a threat to them, you *have* been wronged.
Jingram994
Posts: 211
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10/23/2013 2:53:17 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/9/2013 5:04:56 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 4:58:33 PM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 10/9/2013 4:01:18 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 3:50:19 PM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 10/9/2013 3:32:28 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 3:19:07 PM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 10/9/2013 1:41:09 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 1:34:16 PM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 10/9/2013 1:33:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/9/2013 9:35:20 AM, KeytarHero wrote:
At 9/29/2013 6:02:13 PM, Victorian wrote:
I am undecided on how to define a person for moral and legalistic issues. All thoughts appreciated.

"A person is a substance of a rational nature."
--Boethius

I find this to be the best definition of person. A substance is an entity that maintains its identity through change. This just means that I was the same person when I was a toddler that I am now, despite all the changes I've gone through, becaus there is a continuity of human existence. This also means that I was the same person as an embryo as I am now. I didn't come from an embryo, I was once an embryo, because being currently conscious is not necessary for one's identity (otherwise you would lose your idenity whenever you fall asleep and be a brand new person when you wake up).

Is sperm a person then? lol

No, and that's a common strawman against the pro-life position.

In what way would the definition "a substance of a rational nature" pertain to sperm?

In what way does it pertain to an embryo? How is this not special pleading?

It's not special pleading, and I asked you first.

Embryos have a rational nature because they are human beings,

Why isn't a sperm considered human, but an embryo?

unique human organisms with their own functional parts (as opposed to sperm which is just a cell, a functional part of the parent organism).

How is human sperm not human, but a human embryo? More special pleading.

Embryos have not actualized their capacity for rationality yet, but they have that inherent capacity by virtue of being human.

So does a sperm.


Just like someone who is asleep or in a reversible coma is still a human being and does not have the presently-exercisable capacity for rationality but still have it inherently, so the embryo has th capacity inherently and will be able to presently exercise it when they are developed enough to actualize it.

Just because you've heard of a logical fallacy like "special pleading" doesn't mean that just because you invoke it, any argument is automatically speacial pleading.

You are special pleading, as you are acting like a embryo can be considered human, but not a sperm without valid reasoning. Double-standards and special pleading are the same.


A sperm is a human cell,

An embryo is a human embryo...


whereas a human zygote and the stages of development that follow is a unique human organism.

Why is the sperm not a unique human, but the embryo is? This is the special pleading I am talk about.

We began life as a zygote, not as a sperm or egg.

A sperm is living genius.

I'm almost at the point of just recommending you go read a fifth grade biology textbook.

Why? It doesn't define a human embryo as a human in those text books...


A sperm does not have the same capacities as a human organism.

What makes a sperm not a human organism, but an embryo?

The fate of the sperm and the egg are to combine and then cease to exist when they create a brand new human being.

Nothing ceases to exist, it just changes form.

Sperm and egg only have a passive potentiality to beome human, in the same way that flour and sugar have the passive potentiality to become a cake.

I can just say that am embryo only has the potential to become human, but isn't.

Human zygotes have the same capacity for rationality, consciousness, self-awareness, etc., that you and I do. The only difference is that you and I have them as first-order capacities, or presently-exercisable capacities, and the zygote only has them as a second-order (or inherent) capacity, just like a sleeping human being or a human in a coma.

A sperm has the same capacity though, as it has the capacity to have an embryo developed, then a human.

Even pro-choice philosophers recognize that human embryos have these same capacities, they just argue that it's the first-order capacity that matters morally, not the second-order capacity.

A sperm has the same capacity, just at a lower stage.

At this point, I'm just going to bow out of the conversation. You're not comprehending the argument.

"You're not comprehending the argument" is hardly a rebuttal. You basically conceded all my points.

If you can't see the difference between a sperm cell and a human zygote (despite my having explained it quite clearly), then there's no hope for this conversation.

This is a straw-man argument. I did not say that there wasn't a difference, the question is, what makes this difference relevant to whether it is considered a "human" or not?

Huh. At no point have I been notified on any of the new posts to this forum. How rude of the site's notification system.

You've both got rather good points; keytarHero, your point on continuity of existence is especially rather crisp and well thought out, though I disagree that an embryo can logically be thought of as a 'potentially rational' agent and a 'backwards extension' of my current person-hood. That simply doesn't make any sense. Rational_Thinker9119 is correct to point out that your exclusion of sperm cells just doesn't gel with your inclusion of embryo's to the concept. Neither one is, in any real or meaningful sense of the word, a person(at least until 26 weeks, in case of a human fetus), and if we are only using the potential for this rational capacity as the qualifier, then a sperm cell, or an unfertilized ovum, qualifies just as much as does an embryo before the 26 week mark. Just like an embryo, a sperm cell or ovum in the 'right conditions' will eventually develop those traits as well. 'Potential' does not equate to 'future actual'.

Simply, I just don't believe that it's 'correct' to say that the totally non-conscious mass of cells that constitute a fetus can reasonably be said to be an 'extension' of 'you' as a person in a 'backwards-continuity' fashion. Sort of like how 'I' simply no longer exist if my brain irrevocably shuts down. My body is still there, yes, but any capacity for 'me' to exist there is gone. If my brain was genuinely past the point of functioning, then any new consciousness in that body by definition couldn't be 'me' in the same qualitative sense as 'I' am now, regardless of any continuity attached to 'my' now non-conscious body. Why is a fetus different to a brain-dead body in this regard? There is a difference between 'unconscious' and 'non-conscious'. Even while asleep or in a coma your higher brain is still working, it simply isn't at the same 'level' as when you are awake. There is no function or consciousness *at all* in a brain-dead body, or a fetus.