Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Care and persons

To care about something that isn't a person to the degree that one cares about persons is wrong. It is a distortion of love to care in that way for a non-person, and it is a kind of disrespect to those who are persons when one cares for other things as much as persons deserve to cared about. (One thinks here of the implicit insult to children when someone loves a pet the way one loves a child.) But it is not wrong to care in this way about severely developmentally disabled humans. Hence these humans are persons.


Tom said...

Or you could take the line Singer does and argue that both the developmentally disabled/infant human and the animal are persons, because personhood isn't based on cognitive abilities.

Joost said...

I think, though, that the idea is becoming increasingly common that it is at least a bit strange to care deeply for a severely developmentally disabled human (as in that you 'really have to *like* them to care for them that much'). That's not to refute your argument, only a very sad empirical observation.

Alexander R Pruss said...

Is it strange when that individual is one's son or daughter, though?