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Persons — What Philosophers Say about You

By Warren Bourgeois
Subjects Philosophy, Ethics
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Paperback : 9780889203792, 540 pages, April 2003


Can a person suffer radical change and still be the same person?

Are there human beings who are not persons at all?

Western philosophers, from the ancient Greeks to contemporary thinkers, gave the concept of “person” great importance in their discussions. They saw it as crucial to our understanding of our world and our place in it.

Prompted by tragedy — a loved one’s descent into dementia — Warren Bourgeois explored Western philosophical ideas to discover what constitutes a “person. ” The first edition of Persons — What Philosophers Say About You was the result of his search. This new second edition focuses on making this material easily available and accessible to students, and has been redesigned as an introduction to the philosophy of mind and its history, concentrating on the central concept of “person” in contemporary controversies concerning abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering, and human rights.

Bourgeois has mined Western philosophy for ideas students can apply today as technology challenges their beliefs about what we are. He then uses the concept of person to unite the various subdivisions of philosophy, applying theories of knowledge, reality and value to help students understand what we believe about ourselves. The result is a living philosophy and an “introductory text with a difference. ”

While the ideas of the great philosophers cannot be meaningfully summarized in one introductory text, this book provides a comparison of what many of them say about the concept of person, and will encourage students to read further.


"Bourgeois is a mainstream analytical philosopher . .. but his survey of the classical theories is highly comprehensive. He is particularly effective in relating metaphysical issues to ethical and social ones. "

- Jay Newman, Canadian Book Review Annual, 2006