Commentary Type

Open Commentary


Mark Rowlands, Are animals persons?


According to Rowlands, personhood in nonhuman animals calls for a unified mental life and pre-reflective self-awareness provides this. The concept of “person” is fuzzy. Any attempt to define it with necessary and sufficient conditions faces the problem of borderline cases satisfying only some of the conditions to varying degrees. We ask about the implications of a metaphysical sense of personhood for its moral and legal sense. Finally, we address Rowlands’s reliance on pre-reflective self-awareness and present our own criteria for personhood.

Author Biography

Pamela Barone, PhD candidate in the Human Cognition and Evolution Programme (University of the Balearic Islands), does research on understanding others' minds from a developmental and comparative perspective. http://evocog.org/en/people/

Antoni Gomila, Professor of Psychology (University of the Balearic Islands), is interested in what makes us human, from an evolutionary perspective. https://antonigomila.wordpress.com/