Thursday, December 21, 2006

Definitions: Personhood

Personhood, as used here, is primarily a legal concept. Whether a conceived but unborn child is alive and whether, if alive, such life is "human" are questions which the biological sciences have long since answered in the affirmative. The concept of legal personhood, however, is not a scientific question but is fundamentally a question of law. Only a "person" can have and exercise legal rights. The law is so adamant in this regard that it finds itself compelled to confer personhood by statute on such entities as corporations in order to endow them with the ability to exercise legal powers, privileges, and rights (i.e., so that they may own property, enter into contracts, bring suit, etc.)

[To be continued]

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