Centre for Research Ethics & Bioethics (CRB)

Moving away from anthropocentric views of personal identity

2017-08-31

Personal identity is one of the more frequently discussed themes in bioethics. What does it take for people like us to survive and exist? The answers tend to focus either on the psychological aspects of personal identity, or biological facts: that we are essentially animals.  

Elisabeth FurbergAccording to Elisabeth Furberg, proponents of both views have an anthropocentric bias. Instead, she suggests a new way of viewing personal identity by accepting the claim that we are animals, and acknowledging that we continue to exist because of our psychology.

Elisabeth Furberg claims it is possible to acknowledge the fact that we are animals without reducing us to “just” animals. In short that we are animals in the sense that (some, but not all) other species are. However, we continue to persist because our psychology separates us from other animals.

Read article: Furberg E, Are we persons or animals? Exposing an anthropocentric bias and suggesting a hybrid view, Ethics, Medicine and Public Health, 2017;3(2):279-287.

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