prosthetic arm drawing with added color


The quality or condition of being a person, personhood is concerned with what constitutes a person. There are implications for abortion, stem-cell research, euthanasia, legal rights, and artificial intelligence.

Normal Project Examples


Benedicte Ingstad and Susan Reynolds Whyte

  • Focuses on what the constituent features of personhood (valued adult social statuses) are in a society
  • Asks, to what extent are disabled people accorded these features?

Eva Feder Kittay

“If personhood is limited to those who possess certain intellectual capacities and to those who are productive, then my daugther would not be a person. But my daughter is a person. She is, afer all, my daughter. How can she be anything but a person? If traditional conceptions of personhood are not capacious enough to include Sesha and those who share her impairments, we need a new definition. I propose that being a person means having hte capacity to be in certain relationships with other persons, to shape one’s own world and the world of others, and to have a life that another person can conceive of as an imaginative possiblity for him- or herself.” (Kittay, p. 568) (1)


  • Each society will have its own characteristics that define personhood, which the researcher must discover.


  1. Kittay, E.F. (2001). When Caring is Just and Justice is Caring. Public Culture 13(3):557-579.

Published by Sarah Quinto

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