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The reason consequentialist endeavors to 'mimic' deontological constraints -- even personhood-respecting, violations-minimizing constraints -- are bound to fail is that they fail to recognize the very conception of the moral status of a person that Kamm, Nagel, and my bargainers wish to respect in the first place. Frances Kamm clearly recognizes the distinction between these two conceptions of the moral status of a person in her discussion of the subject, when she says that "giving greater weight to the negative of harming than to the positive of benefiting, I believe, represents the priority morality gives to the inviolability of the person over his status as recipient of such benefits as length of life."21 Warren S. Quinn makes a similar recognition when he writes that morality, in granting to each person primary say over what may be done with his body, mind, and life (rather than giving primary control of these things to the community, as items to be exploited in the service of its greater overall good), "recognizes [each person's] existence as an individual with ends of his own – an independent being . . . Were morality to withhold [this recognition] . . . it would picture him not as a being in his own right but as a cell in the collective whole."22

Both these authors seem to have clearly in view two competing notions of a person and his or her status in a moral system: on the one hand, there is the idea of a person primarily as both a recipient and a source of both benefits and harms, and as such, a means to the maximization of the former and the minimization of the latter. On the other hand, there is Quinn's characterization of a person as a being ("the ordinary sense of "being," in which human persons, gods, angels, and probably the higher animals -- but not plants, cells, rocks, computers, etc. -- count as beings."23), or Kamm's recognition of persons, not as “mere means to the end of the best state of affairs, but ends-in-themselves, having a point even if they do not serve the best consequences.”24 No doubt we wish to affirm that human beings bear both these statuses in some degree or another; the question becomes whether or not one status is the primary one and takes precedence over the other, and if so, which one.


Kamm 1992, 382.


Quinn, 156.


Quinn, 161.


Kamm 1992, 358-9.


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