The notion of person in neuroscience: from cognitivism to a comprehensive phenomenology

Libro: Psychiatry and Neuroscience update: from Epistemology to Clinical Psychiatry
Autores: Bernácer María, Javier; Güell Pelayo, Francisco
Editorial: Ed. Springer
ISBN: 978-3-030-61721-9
Página inicial-final: 107 - 119
Fecha de publicación: 2021
Resumen: The attribution of the category of person to a living being is not irrelevant at all, since it indicates who is entitled to rights, dignity, and duties by law. Throughout approximately 15 centuries, since Boethius first defined the term, the most influential philosophers have provided an interpretation on which are the defining features of persons. Current neuroscience, influenced by mainstream utilitarian bioethics, takes John Locke¿s definition of person as starting point: the being with intelligence, self-consciousness, and memory. This notion has been subsequently refined by analytic philosophy and contemporary thinkers such as Daniel Dennett, ending up in a cognitivist conception of person. In this text, we will discuss how current neuroscience has embraced this definition and the subsequent reductionism it leads to. In fact, for some authors, personhood is an illusion held by human beings. We will present other philosophical perspectives on the issue and will concentrate on the phenomenological interpretation to achieve a comprehensive notion of person. From this perspective, the person is understood as an embodied mind where the role of the environment, including interpersonal relationships, is utterly radical. This vision presupposes the inability of neuroscience, or any other individual discipline, to cover by itself what a person is. Thus, the phenomenological approach on the person is presented as a paradigmatic example to promote dialogue between scientific and humanistic disciplines.