The following statement in the essay is the most interesting for a libertarian bioethicist: "Human persons remain kinds of things that subsist over time whether (1) we are currently expressing specific traits like rationality or self-awareness, or (2) those traits are currently unexpressed or frustrated as a result of disease, immaturity, intoxication, unconsciousness, brain injury, and so on." This view is very similar to the libertarian view I have expressed several times via this blog, specifically that personhood accrues when an organism (human or otherwise) develops the minimum equipment (biological or otherwise) necessary to engage in propositional logic whether or not this equipment is ever employed. A point of disagreement would be that Professor Camosy asserts that his definition is equivalent to a species definition of personhood activated when a sperm fertilizes an egg. I assert that the species definition of personhood is problematic for several reasons, including the incorporation of potential persons as persons (i.e. fertilized eggs) and anencephalic fetuses as persons. Apparently he discusses his ideas in more detail in his book, which I need to read, entitled Peter Singer and Christian Ethics: Beyond Polarization.
To interrupt the flow of this article, I must note the following fascinating fact, which I learned from reading this essay: "Pigs have very sophisticated mental lives, and have even been taught to play video games." Who knew? The author pulled this fact from the PETA website.
Professor Camosy also evaluates the logic of the pro-abortion argument extended to the infant, confirming that, if a person is not a person until certain capacities of personhood are expressed, then "those holding Giubilini and Minerva's position on child-killing would be forced to defend the practice well into the second or even third year of life, depending on how one defined rationality and self-awareness." Unfortunately, this could also be the result if one follows the logic of my libertarian personhood principle, if scientists ultimately determine that humans do not develop the minimum equipment (biological or otherwise) necessary to engage in propositional logic until the 2nd or 3rd year of life. I hope this is not the case, but one never knows until the facts are in.
This brings me to the final paragraph of this post. Should we as libertarians care about the science of this issue? It strikes me that evaluation of the science to determine a position on abortion/infanticide may not be appropriate due to the Humean "is-ought" problem. In that scenario we still need a coherent, consistent "ought" argument that proceeds, via deductive logic, from a principle that originates as closely as possible to the root of this controversy. The LIBERTARIAN BIOETHICS BLOGger shall continue to ponder on this issue.