Monday, January 28, 2008

Personhood and Personality

On Sunday 27th January, Forum Christi welcomed back Victoria Newman Seed. Victoria spoke on the topic of 'Personhood and Personality: on the virtues of being oneself .' Many ethical and social issues today, for example abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, but also education, and law and order, depend on the idea of what it is to be human, especially on what makes a "person" different from an animal. In particular in Catholic ethics the phrase "dignity of the human person" is often used. Victoria said that in the modern world, particularly in the media, the idea of "personhood" has been replaced with the idea of "personality". She gave us two key philosophical definitions of personhood - Aristotle described a person as a "rational animal", and Karol Wojtyla (later Pope John Paul II) in his book Love and Responsibility said, "A person is an entity of the sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love." The evening finished with a prayer and then supper in the Nightingale.