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This chapter explores why the liberal humanist dispositif cannot initiate a better future. Returning to Wynter’s critiques of the human as a colonial category, it links her work with Lisa Lowe’s analysis of labor, empire, and humanization to argue that the human of liberal humanist tradition is fundamentally a category of whiteness. It reads two speculative fiction texts: HBO’s reboot series Westworld, which positions viewers to sympathize with robotic Hosts who are repeatedly traumatized by humanity’s violent fantasies in its empire-themed recreation parks; and Jo Walton’s Thessaly series that explores the related issues of how a culture determines personhood and that it requires someone to perform the labor traditionally done by slaves, by positing an experiment in which Plato’s Republic becomes a material reality. Contextualized within the real subsumption of life by capital, these narratives about the precarious lives of robotic entities are also about the lives of people who are excluded from the protections conferred by the status “human” and discourses of human rights. Thus, the chapter concludes, dehumanization remains a potent force in globalized neoliberalism.
Our account of moral status embraces equal consequentialist consideration for all sentient beings while ascribing the stronger protection of rights to those with narrative capacity. Individuals with the capacity to have narrative self-conceptions or identities have full-strength rights, while individuals with nontrivial temporal self-awareness that falls short of narrative capacity have partial-strength rights. This account of moral status is neutral with respect to species, which means that membership in Homo sapiens is neither necessary nor sufficient for moral status or rights. The final three sections explore ethical implications for research involving human embryos, rodents, and great apes. We defend a very liberal position with respect to embryo research, a relatively restrictive approach to rodent research (granting equal consequentialist consideration to rodents’ interests while permitting their use on utilitarian grounds), and a prohibition of invasive, nontherapeutic research involving great apes.
This chapter examines a number of concepts that are used in arguments against taking animals seriously. The chapter explores how difficult it is to say what behaviors are natural and looks at the multiple meanings of "species" and "human" and "person." The chapter also discusses the problems with familiar hierarchies of worth and explores some of the tensions that have developed between animal liberation and disability activists.
The final chapter of the book returns to the earlier themes of enmeshment and irreducibility, drawing on the issues explored throughout the book to consider what an animal-centric account of LGBQTNB politics might look like. We suggest that such an account must start by acknowledging species privilege if we are to make any progress in decentering human centrism. What, then, does this mean for gender and sexuality, given these are resolutely human categories of difference? This chapter argues that all bodies are marked by differences that are hierarchised: This applies between humans, between humans and animals, and between humans and the world around us. How we think about the ways in which bodies are marked thus provides us with a means to think about responsibility and accountability for practices of marking. In other words, one person’s practice of marking as a form of liberation (i.e., with regard to gender and sexuality) might be another person’s form of violence.
Emerging biotechnologies and advances in computer science promise the arrival of novel beings possessed of some degree of moral status, even potentially sentient or sapient life. Such a manifestation will constitute an epochal change, and perhaps threaten Homo sapiens’ status as the only being generally considered worthy of personhood and its contingent protections; as well as being the root of any number of social and legal issues. The law as it stands is not likely to be capable of managing or adapting to this challenge. This paper highlights the likely societal ramifications of novel beings and the gaps in the legislation which is likely to be relied upon to respond to these. In so doing, the authors make a case for the development of new regulatory structures to manage the moral issues surrounding this new technological upheaval.
The discussion about the moral status of novel beings tends to focus on artificial intelligence, robots, and other man-made systems. We should, however, also consider a likelier kind of novel beings: animals that are genetically modified to develop human-like cognitive capabilities. This paper focuses on the possibility of conferring human characteristics on nonhuman primates (NHPs) in the context of neuroscientific research. It first discusses the use of NHPs for neuroscientific research and then, second, describes recent developments that promise to revolutionize the field and how that may lead to NHPs attaining human-like cognitive capabilities. Third, an account of moral status is developed to ground the central claim, that making the NHP brain more human-like is unproblematic as long as the NHPs do not become persons. In conclusion, this paper discusses the implications for the moral status of cognitively enhanced NHPs, as well as the implications for other novel beings.
This chapter analyses progressive property theory in more detail, assessing the membership of that school of thought, the range of perspectives on the mediation of property rights and social justice that it captures, and its core themes and traits. It also addresses the property values that are captured in progressive property's pluralistic approach. These include efficiency, autonomy, and personhood. In doing so, the chapter signposts ideas about the relationship between property rights and social justice that influence Irish constitutional property law, in order to assist the reader in understanding the immanent, evolving, and often partial influence of property theory in the doctrine and outcomes of Irish constitutional property doctrine that are analysed in subsequent chapters. These values can help to explain the intuitive approach that is identifiable in much judicial reasoning in constitutional property law.
This chapter explores the question of a 'public purpose' requirement for the taking of property, and the nature of any 'right to keep' as an incident of ownership, through the prism of Irish constitutional property law. It illustrates how the progressively framed Irish constitutional property clauses have translated into a weak public purpose requirement that retains flexibility for the elected branches of government to determine that deprivation of property is warranted in a wide range of circumstances. It draws lessons from Irish constitutional property law for progressive property attempts to address the 'public purpose' question in ways that both preserve the State's ability to acquire or abrogate property rights in the public interest and protect owners' and their communities against unfair exploitation.
Whereas the previous chapters dealt with the influence of Hellenistic philosophy on Roman law in terms of method, this chapter deals with the influence with regard to a substantive issue, the notion of person. The Roman jurists became interested in the abstract use of the notion of person in the slipstream of the philosophers, who combined the Greek understanding of person with a more indigenous, that is Etruscan, understanding thereof. ‘Person’ thus understood would become one of the central notions in Roman law and beyond.
Despite the centrality of place to H. P. Lovecraft and Jeff VanderMeer’s fiction, weird regionalisms have largely been ignored in literary criticism. This essay not only reads The Southern Reach trilogy through the lens of region, but also reads region through the lens of The Southern Reach trilogy. It contrasts Lovecraft’s “The Call of Cthulhu” with VanderMeer’s trilogy to highlight how they both develop a weird aesthetics of the Plantationocene. The chapter argues that weird fiction in the U.S. has always been underwritten by racialized and regionalized ideologies that derive from slavery and the plantation. The New England exceptionalism Lovecraft endorses is founded on concepts of personhood, nature, and region that legitimate the dehumanization of African Americans and other people of color. In contrast, VanderMeer presents the indisputably southern terrain of the Gulf Coast in a way that does not rely on “the South” as a significant framework. The Southern Reach portrays a sparsely populated Gulf Coast that is not so much post-southern as it is post-Earth: VanderMeerian Florida camouflages something very different, and much more weird, than region as southern studies scholars often think of it.
Data protection has become such an important area for law – and for society at large – that it is important to understand exactly what we are doing when we regulate privacy and personal data. This study analyses European privacy rights focusing especially on the GDPR, and asks what kind of legal personhood is presupposed in privacy regulation today. Looking at the law from a deconstructive angle, the philosophical foundations of this highly topical field of law are uncovered. By analysing key legal cases in detail, this study shows in a comprehensive manner that personhood is constructed in individualised ways. With its clear focus on issues relating to European Union law and how its future development will impact wider issues of privacy, data protection, and individual rights, the book will be of interest to those trying to understand current trends in EU law.
Contributors to this volume suggest that we read not for event but for multiple conditions productive of and for Black literature. Such a protocol of reading yields understandings closer to the complexity of an African American mid-century. Those conditions include how Black literature was being produced and circulated; how and why it marked its relation to other literary and expressive traditions; what geopolitical imaginaries it facilitated through representation, how, and why it did so; and what technologies, including but not limited to print, enabled African Americans to both represent and pursue such a complex and ongoing aesthetic and political project.
My task in this book is to develop a theory of property premised on a conception of autonomy as self-determination or self-authorship, terms that I use interchangeably. In this account, property empowers self-determining individuals to pursue their conception of the good, and this autonomy-enhancing telos legitimizes property and shapes its legal contours. I am not claiming that propertyless individuals cannot be self-determining, but rather that property tends to make an important contribution to personal self-authorship.
This chapter chronologically traces past legal engagement with the human embryo, from the 13th century, to the end of the 20th century. It does so with a view to demonstrating that a historical perspective is required to understand that process is a key facet of law-making in this area. Notable from this legal history is the law’s persistent efforts to engage with the embryo’s uncertain, processual nature. We cannot fully understand our present legal position without understanding the social, moral, and legal context from which it was born. By looking at the past ‘legal embryo,’ we can see how the law has reached today’s ‘legal embryo’.
Chapter 3 argues that while globalised liberal citizenship norms—including universalised notions of citizenship as a human right—generated a politics of inclusion thus boosting dual citizenship advocacy for Liberia, the transmission in Africa of transnational belonging—dual citizenship diffusion in the continent—has had varied outcomes for the country. It also reveals that the bundle of visceral responses to dual citizenship as a proposed development intervention in Liberia signifies an interface wherein actors negotiate the discontinuities and continuities in their lived experiences of being Liberian, with homeland actors particularly resistant. Viewed as both promise and peril for diasporic and domestic actors, respectively, dual citizenship represents an instrumental tug-of-war in which homelanders prefer to protect their privileges while transnationals wish to expand their rights.
This paper considers the question of whether it is possible to say anything positive about God. The usual reason for answering yes is that God must be a person to be a perfect being. I investigate this claim by defining personhood in terms of knowledge and will. After looking at the theologies of Maimonides, Kant, and Cohen, I conclude that while we can say positive things about God, we must sacrifice a certain amount of conceptual rigor to do so.
Chapter 5 explores transhumanist conceptions of the self. Transhumanist conceptions of the self have been variously described as “informatic,” “quantified,” or “data-based,” and a number of scholars have shown how these conceptions of the self have emerged from a cross-fertilization between the fields of neuro-science, computer science, and artificial intelligence. However, in this chapter, I put transhumanist conceptions of the self in conversation with Alfred Irving Hallowell's work on “The Ojibiwa Self and its Behavioral Enviornment.” In so doing, the chapter provides some new insights into the way transhumanists conceive of the self and the future behavioral enviornments in which posthuman descendants will dwell. The chapter argues that like the Ojibiwa, transhumanists also envision a future in which personhood will not be the sole domain of humanity, but rather, distributed among an array of “other-than-human” powerful beings.
Chapter 7, “The Demands of Practical Reason and Self-Formation”, completes Kant’s account of psychological personhood by showing that the idea of the soul defines the unifying form of a person’s mental life. It finally establishes the self-formation view via the second central thesis that psychological persons first form themselves in the course of realizing their mental capacities under the normative guidance of a unifying idea. The idea of the soul demands, for instance, that we realize ourselves as unified across time (according to the presupposition of substantiality), as the self-efficacious common cause of all mental activity (according to the presupposition of a fundamental power), and as self-directing towards a rational personality (according to the presupposition of personal identity). The chapter explicates the intrinsic normativity of personhood in terms of a demand for inner systematicity across three distinct, though interrelated spheres: the epistemic, the practical, and the affective. This demand is finally articulated in the form of two imperatives: the imperative of self-formation and the imperative of self-knowledge.