• Michael Quante
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 126)


If one were to look for the specific property of human beings, the following definition would be a promising candidate: human beings differ from other living creatures through their endeavor to lead a personal life. The aspiration to lead one’s own life and go one’s own way, to give one’s actions a “personal” touch or develop a “personal” style, are two of the numerous ways in which the fundamental aim of human life, to have one’s own personality and develop one’s own character, is articulated. The central value attributed to personal life in our culture is moreover expressed in diverse terms, which either themselves represent widely accepted values, or are lined up as ethical claims, because they are the conditions on which a personal life can be led: self-fulfillment and originality are examples of the former; freedom, autonomy or integrity of the latter. Not only as far as articulation, legitimation and defense of individuality – one of the characteristic features of modernity – are concerned, but also in such contexts as those in which the exceptional moral status of human beings in comparison to other Lebensformen is to be specified or justified, this usually occurs with recourse to the human personality:


Personal Identity Personal Life Biomedical Ethic Descriptive Usage Voluntary Euthanasia 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Bayne, Tim. 2010. The unity of consciousness. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beauchamp, T.L., and J.F. Childress. 1994. Principles of biomedical ethics. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 1997. Das Dilemma des Personenbegriffs. In Personsein aus bioethischer Sicht (= Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie Beiheft 73), (Hrsg.). P. Strasser and E. Starz, 9-25.Google Scholar
  4. Friedrich, Orsolya, and Michael Zichy, eds. 2014. Persönlichkeit. Münster: Mentis.Google Scholar
  5. ———. 2007a. The social nature of personal identity, In: Journal of Consciousness Studies 14: 56–76.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 2014a. Die Perspektiven der Anthropologie. In Sisäisyys Jasuunistautuminen, Jyväskylä: SoPhi, Ed. A. Laitinen et al., vol. 125, 169-188.Google Scholar
  7. ———. 2014b. Menschenwürde und personale Autonomie. Demokratische Werte im Kontext der Lebenswissenschaften. Hamburg: Meiner Verlag, zweite Auflage.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 2002. In defence of principlism well understood. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 27: 621–649.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. ———. 2010. The structure of perception in particularist ethics. Ethical Perspectives 17: 5–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Warren, M.A. 1997. Moral status. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Willems, U. 2016. Wertkonflikte als Herausforderung der Demokratie. Wiesbaden: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Quante
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MünsterMünsterGermany

Personalised recommendations