3 Criteria for Personhood

1027 WordsJun 15, 20185 Pages
There are many theories on what “makes a person.” I have narrowed it down to 3 criteria for personhood. The first principle of personhood is taken from the well-known philosopher, Descartes. He states that in order to be a thinking being you must be a “thinking thing.” In order to think, you must be aware or conscious. This doesn’t only include using rational thought but also, Doubts, understands, affirms, denies, and wills, refuses and other mental processes. We conducted a written test to see whether or not the person has thinking persons qualities. (See appendix 1) Another philosopher, Bernd Wursig, wrote an interesting piece called, “Is A Dolphin a Person?” He believes that being a human is simply a biological concept but being a…show more content…
Just because something follows all the criteria for beauty, does not mean it will appeal to a certain persons taste. Who is free? In order to be considered as free, you must be able to make your own choices. Nihilism says you are. Friedriche Niche introduces Nihlism as the belief in nothing. In result, you’re free to do whatever you’d like because nothing has meaning. Which leads into existentialism. Philosophers like Soren Kierkgard, and Sarte explain existentialism as being completely free to make your own choices. There may be no purpose of life beyond the goals that you set for yourself, so make meaning to your life by freely making choices. A philosopher who would disagree is B.F skinner, who created operant conditioning. This means altering someone’s behavior by the use of positive reinforcement, given after the desired response, and punishment to reduce (and eventually eliminate) an undesired response. He states, ““If freedom is a requisite for human happiness, then all that’s necessary is to provide the illusion of freedom.” Therefore, he disagrees with Niche, Sartre, and Kierkgard because he does not believe we have the freedom to make our choices. We simply need the illusion to stay sane. Two tests were conducted for both criteria (Nihilism and existentialism). The test for existentialism was given to over 30 people, they were asked to chose to eat and enjoy a food they did not like multiple times. Every person said they
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