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Guest Thinkers

What It Takes To Be a Person

U.S. Supreme Court justices have ruled that corporations are "artificial persons"; the Spanish Parliament ruled that great apes are "legal persons." So just what is a person these days?

Clearly, being a member of the human race is not necessary to be considered a person. But should all human beings be considered persons? Historically, the answer has been a resounding “no.” Slaves, women, infants, Jews, and “foreigners” all share a common history of being denied legal or moral standing as persons, despite being recognized as humans. The judgment of recent generations, however, has without exception concluded that denying personhood to these members of the human family is a great moral evil.


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