Friday, June 24, 2011

What it means to be a Human Person – Part 1 - Introduction

I would like to discuss some ethical issues, such as abortion, marriage, etc. However, I realize that unless I lay down a foundation for these discussions, I will be simply voicing my opinion. Frequently we discuss ethical issues without ever asking the more basic questions of what it means to be a human person. (Behind this question there are some questions that are even more basic, such as, what is a nature, what does it mean to exist, and is there a common nature that all humans share or is there some other way of understanding the similarities that we see between humans? Some of these questions may be answered along the way.) 
It seems that in order to decide whether it is right or wrong for a human person to act in a certain way, or to develop a certain character, we must first know what it means to be a human person. In light of this fact, we will spend some time, in the following posts, discussing what it means to be human. (Some of what I have to say comes directly from my Master's Thesis.) I would like to delve deep into these questions so that when we have finished we will have laid a foundation for objective moral values, and not just opinions. Once we have laid these foundations we will be able to discuss the moral issues that we are confront us on a daily basis.

Follow the links below to access each of the following parts of this blog series:
Part 2 - Where to Start
Part 3 - Important Terms
Part 4 - Thinking Empirically
Part 5 - Mans Place in the Spectrum of Living Things
Part 6 - The Philosophy of Human Nature
Part 7 - Is a Human Person One?
Part 8 - Human Characteristics
Part 9 - The Human Person and Change
Part 10 - Hylomorphism
Part 11 - Defining Matter
Part 12 - Naturalisms "Matter" is Void of Content
Part 13 - The Thomistic Definition of Matter