John Cottingham delivers his talk 'Why We Are Not Persons' for the 2013 Humane Philosophy Project Conference 'Being a Human, Being a Person'.
Why we are not “persons” – This paper examines the tech nical use of the term ‘person’ that has become common among philosophers, and argues that it is best avoided. Not only does it depend on dubious assumptions in the philosophy of mind, but it paves the way for a suspect and potentially dangerous way of thin king about our human status and the basis of human dignity.
John Cottingham is Professor Emeritus, University of Reading, Professoria l Research Fellow, at Heythrop College, University of London, and an Honorary Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford. He is a leading Descartes scholar with interests in early modern philosophy, the philosophy of religion, and moral philosophy. His recent boo ks include Cartesian Reflections (Oxford University Press, 2008 ), and Why Believe? (Continuum /Bloomsbury, 2009).