Former Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has died.
But according to some bioethicists who push Personhood Theory, he actually died eight years ago when a stroke put him into a permanently unconscious state. You see, they want to destroy human exceptionalism and the sanctity of human life.
In its place, they argue, we should instill a “quality of life” ethic that bases moral value on capacities.
In this view, being a living human being is morally irrelevant. To have full moral value, under personhood theory, you have to exhibit minimal capacities–such as the ability to value your own life or self awareness over time. Peter Singer is the most famous proponent, but he reflects a mainstream view in secular bioethics.
Thus, some say people like Ariel Sharon actually died when he lost his “personal” life.
Personhood theory opens the door to killing the most defenseless among us, harvesting their organs, experimenting on them, and elevating animals to a higher moral status than so called human nonpersons if they have greater cognitive capacities than an immature or disabled person with lower abilities.
Human exceptionalism, in contrast, holds that being human is the only criterion for full membership in the moral community a view disdained in bioethics as “speciesism.” e.g., discrimination against animals.
If you believe in universal human rights, HE is the essential predicate.
If you want license to make utilitarian use of the lives and bodies of the most weak and vulnerable among us, follow Peter Singer.