Personhood and personality are essential features of human persons. Following the debate concerning ‘personal identity’ the metaphysical and the practical dimension of our personal lifeform are made explicit.The search for criteria for personal identity on the one hand and for person-making characteristics on the other hand are at the center of the philosophy of person. In this book the various dimensions of the personal lifeform of human beings which have been debated in analytical philosophy are examined. Thereby a new systematic conception is unfolded in which the metaphysical and the practical aspects of our personal lifeform are made explicit as a complex unity.
Are animals mentally stuck in the present, unable to think beyond the here and now, or are they mental time travelers, capable of planning ahead in time? And why should this matter to us?
“Planning for the Future” provides a thorough conceptual clarification of the most important but ambiguously used concepts in the debate and differentiates between two types of planning. In analyzing several influential studies with birds and apes, the book concludes that there is indeed evidence for anticipatory planning in some animals, but not for strategic planning so far. In a chapter of its own, ethical consequences regarding the wrongness of killing animals from utilitarian and animal rights perspectives are laid out. Do at least some animals have a strong interest in continuing to live? Should they even be ascribed with a right not to be killed? And why might the awareness of our own mortality hinder us in finding answers?
Is it permissible to kill an innocent person against her will in order to prevent several other innocent persons from being killed against their will? The answer to which this essay comes after extensive discussion is – under certain conditions and limitations – affirmative.
On the way to this answer, the book offers a comprehensive in-depth discussion of so-called deontic restrictions – that is, the idea of an action’s being prohibited in circumstances in which performing it once would be the only way to prevent its being performed multiple times. The book’s leading question is whether there is a plausible rationale for deontic restrictions. To this effect, a taxonomy and critical discussions of the most important approaches to justify deontic restrictions are provided – where many of these approaches undergo a deeper examination for the first time ever. In addition, the book clarifies some adjoining questions, such as why deontic restrictions are often perceived as being problematic or how the concept of agent-relativity should best be understood and formalized. Put into broader perspective, the conclusions offered should have a bearing on a number of debates in normative ethics, not least on the debate between deontologists and consequentialist.