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Unconventional teaching ideas that work: Teaching about personhood without mentioning abortion (E.M. Dadlez)

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Guest post by  E.M. Dadlez, Professor at the Department of Humanities & Philosophy, University of Central Oklahoma I am teaching Contemporary Moral Problems, a freshman core course, in central Oklahoma. Many, MANY students are pro-life. It is hard to motivate a discussion without religious overtones. It is hard to talk about personhood without an immediate segue into souls. I have adopted the following strategy in order to motivate intuitions about what personhood may consist in and what rights might be ascribed to different kinds of individuals (and in order to demonstrate that non-religious intuitions about the matter are possible). Thought experiment. I write a list of entities on the board, in no particular order: a five-year-old child, an ant, E.T., a patient in PVS, someone in a temporary coma, a 90-year-old scientist who has just discovered a cure for cancer but has not yet passed it along, a Labrador Retriever, a serial killer…. The class is. . .

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News source: The Philosophers' Cocoon

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