Journal of Philosophy of Life

An international peer-reviewed open access journal dedicated to the philosophy of life, death, and nature, supported by the Research Institute for Contemporary Philosophy of Life, Osaka Prefecture University


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[Discussion Paper]

The Value of the Pre-Person
: Potentiality, Person-Maker Criteria, and Social Dimension

Mirko Ancillotti

Journal of Philosophy of Life Vol.3, No.3 (September 2013):190-201



There is a sense in distinguishing persons from other beings. Persons are forms of life towards whom an agent should feel morally responsible to the highest degree. The aim of this paper is to try and respond to the question: what line of conduct should we adopt with regard to those beings that are not persons but that we have well-founded reasons for thinking may be so in the future? The pre-persons are not, neither should theybe considered as they were, persons. If we decide to guarantee their existence or well-being this decision must be based on considerations that are independent of their ontological constitution, of their actual biological status, and of the concept of potentiality. This decision can be taken only accounting for social aspects involved in the consideration of what a person is.

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