Persons, Categories and the Problems of Meaning and Value
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Persons seem to outrun all possible categories—and this is central to claims about idealism, for it suggests that persons are fundamental and cannot be analyzed away into collections of something else. In this paper it is argued that two features of persons are fundamental and keep us from “reducing” persons to anything else. First, they are the centers of consciousness, which are unavoidable points of reference in all our attempts to define “a world”. Second, they are the points at which value enters into the world. None of this settles the case for idealism, but within the context of idealist debates it does help us to understand why the debates between absolutists and pluralists and between “personalists” and their opponents have been so deep-rooted.