Relationship Between Society And One's Own Personhood

1583 Words7 Pages
According to Harry G. Frankfurt’s writings, personhood is bound by one’s wills and desires, and the various ways these influence our actions. His philosophy focuses primarily on the mind and how it guides out wills. Frankfurt, for example, does not allow for any external influences on personal identity, nor does he allow the mind’s interpretation of the body, resulting in a narrow view on one’s personhood. Susan J. Brison offers an alternative. Her piece, “Outliving Oneself: Trauma, Memory, and Personal Identity,” describes the ways our relationships with both our body and society influence our personhood. Along with Brison, ethicist J. S. Swindell’s piece, “Facial Allograft Transplantation, Personal Identity, and Subjectivity,” describes the effect facial allograft surgeries have on the recipients. In this paper, I will examine the relationship between society and one’s own personhood, and argue that it is important to realize how both society and the mind’s relationship with the body influences one’s self-perceptions and personhood. Frankfurt’s theories on personhood primarily revolve around the relationship the mind establishes with wills and desires, as well as the preferential treatment some wills receive over others, called second order volitions. He rejects the belief that a person is an entity with both “mental and physical properties,” as this definition would allow for many non-human animals to be considered persons (Frankfurt 5). To Frankfurt, personhood
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