- 医学哲学 医学倫理 (ISSN:02896427)
- vol.12, pp.28-35, 1994-10-01 (Released:2018-02-01)
Kant's concept of Person, connected with the concept of dignity, is one of the most influential in medical ethics. No one call the dignity of person into question. A person should not be treated merely as a means, rather as an end at any time. In founding bioethics, Prof. Engelhardt, Jr. brings this concept up in dual strains: the person in the strict sense, whose definition is purely ethical and the same as Kant's; the person in a broad sense, a compromise between the person in the strict sense and the merely biological human. His purpose to extend the concept in its use is, on the one hand, to impute some rights to humans who have not enough intellectual faculties and need moral protection, which has merit in overcoming the extreme argument made by M. Tooley; on the other hand, to release primary persons from obligations to some humans who cannot play any social roles. Were there undue burdens, rights of subordinate persons may be legitimately ignored. Freedom of the will of real persons should be prior to protection of secondary persons. Thus, not only nonperson humans but, occasionally, assumed persons may be treated merely as means. Problems are as follows. 1. who determines the order of priority among assumed persons, or when these would be degraded to nonpersons? 2. may one who does not possess inner worth be designated as a person? 3. must a merely arbitrary, subjective desire of primary persons be still respected even at the expense of secondary persons or others? Indeed, in Kant's writings we come across the radical, well-known dichotomy : Person and Sache. Apparently Formula II of the categorical imperative does not forbid persons to treat irrational beings merely as means. Yet there seems to be no better way than by regarding so: when Kant uses the concept Person, it matters little to which the nonperson human belongs, rather how we ourselves as moral agents should act in the name of Person. A extensional use of Person to judge not quite rational beings, subjectum patients, objectively (gegenstandlich) would seem to be looked upon as a misuse or abuse. The concept Person urges upon us self-consciousness as rational subjects and to make every endeavor to be what we must be through actual acts, because we are animal rationabile, not yet animal rationale.