I have to do a very good, clear, and simple presentation on embryo stem cells so that everyone can understand. I have done the part of biology regarding these cells but I have to do the part that regards philosophy and bioethics. In many countries embryo stem cell medical application have provoked large discussions. Can we consider the embryo a person? Does it have a dignity? These are the questions that generate discussion. I want to present the philosophical meaning of the person. Can you suggest to me one very important author that gave a very considerable and deep concept of the person? (I want to focus on one fundamental author, avoiding a boring presentation) I thought about Mounier or Scheler but I really don't know. I need your help. Thank you in advance!


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There is no one philosophical position on the meaning of "person". There are at least three important camps on personhood: animalists think that something is a person if and only if it is a human being, Lockeans think that something is a person if and only if it is the subject of the right kind of mental states (Lockeans disagree about exactly which state is taken to be important), and Lynn Rudder Baker holds a view called constitutionalism, which is supposed to be a middle ground. According to her something is a person if it has the right psychological states (she thinks having "first-personal awareness" is the important state) AND it is constituted by a body of the right kind.

Do a little more research on the topic and when you have more specific questions, come back and we'll see if we can help more.

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