The Ambiguous Nature of Personhood

Academic, Anthropology, Psychology

As a population, humans have created various systems of classification by way of organizing that which is not easily understood into smaller, more digestible parts. By naming “something mysterious and out of control,” placing identities on people and things, and categorizing by those identities, humans have harnessed the ability to “gain mastery” over something (Luhrmann 45). While certain categorizations have evolved to be effective in organizing characteristics of people, the constructs created are not the most helpful in understanding the limitless ways of being. Maurice Leenhardt and Antonio Damasio have presented two different constructs for understanding, or classifying, a person. These constructs present defined boundaries that make it possible to understand the philosophical person as its own entity separate from other beings.