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Essay about A Philosophy of the Impersonal

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For a Philosophy of the Impersonal

1. Never more than today is the notion of person the unavoidable reference for all discourses, be they philosophical, political, or juridical in nature, that assert the value of human life as such. Leaving aside differences in ideology as well as specifically staked-out theoretical positions, no one doubts the relevance of the category of person or challenges it as the unexamined and incontrovertible presupposition of every possible perspective. This tacit convergence with regard to the category of person is especially obvious in a hotly debated field like bioethics. Truth be told, the debate between Catholics and secularists turns on the precise moment at which a living being can be considered a person (for Catholics, at the moment of conception, for secularists much later), but never on the decisive weight being awarded this attribution of personhood: whether one becomes a person by divine decree or through natural means, awarding personhood still remains the threshold, the decisive means by which a biological material lacking in meaning becomes something intangible. What remains presupposed here, even before other criteria and normative principles come into play, is the absolute ontological predominance, which is to say the incommensurable value added to the personal with respect to what is not: only life that has passed through this symbolic door can be sacred or qualitatively significant, and so can provide the proper personal credentials.

Turning to law, we find the same presupposition at work here, but now reinforced by a more elaborate argumentative apparatus: to be able to legitimately assert what we call subjective rights (at least in the modern juridical conception of righ...


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.... Ferrajoli, (2001), Diritti fondamentali, Roma-Bari, Laterza.

T. Hobbes, (1976), Leviatano, Firenze, La Nuova Italia.

E. Lisciani Petrini, (2007), "Fuori della persona," in Filosofia Politica," n. 3, 2007.

J. Maritain, (1942), I diritti dell'uomo a la legge naturale, Milano, Vita e Pensiero.

P. Montani, (2007), Bioestetica, Roma, Carocci.

M. Nussbaum, (2002), Giustizia sociale e dignità umana. Da individui a persone, Bologna, il Mulino.

S. Rodotà, (2006), La vita e le regole. Tra diritto e non diritto, Milano, Feltrinelli.

P. Singer, (2004), Scritti su una vita etica, Milano, Mondadori.

Y. Thomas, (1998), "Le sujet du droit, la personne et la nature," in Le débat, n. 100, pp.85-107.

S. Weil, (1996), "La persona e il sacro," in Antologia dell'impolitico, Milano, Bruno Mondadori.


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