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Faith and Philosophy


Among objections to naturalist views of human persons like Animalism and the Constitution View are two that concern alleged ethical implications. One criticism is that such views are defective because they lack the metaphysical resources to generate moral obligations or moral expectations to protect life, in either its early or late stages. Another objection relies on the claim that any metaphysical view of human persons according to which some human organisms lack the property of personhood has horrendous moral implications. With respect to the first objection I argue that resources metaphysically neutral with respect to dualism and naturalism about persons must be added to such views in order to generate moral obligations or moral expectations to protect human life. In other words, dualism about persons, no less than naturalism, fails to provide metaphysical resources necessary or sufficient for generating moral obligations or moral expectations to protect the life of a human fetus or PVS patient. And against the second objection I argue that accounts of human persons entailing that some human organisms are not also persons do not have the horrible ethical implications they are alleged to have. I then consider and respond to several possible objections to my arguments.

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