<!DOCTYPE html><HTML lang="en"> <head><meta charset="utf-8"> <title>Blackburn (Simon) - Has Kant Refuted Parfit? (Theo Todman's Book Collection - Paper Abstracts) </title> <link href="../../TheosStyle.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"><link rel="shortcut icon" href="../../TT_ICO.png" /></head> <BODY> <CENTER> <div id="header"><HR><h1>Theo Todman's Web Page - Paper Abstracts</h1><HR></div><A name="Top"></A> <TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950> <tr><th><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_01/PaperSummary_1327.htm">Has Kant Refuted Parfit?</A></th></tr> <tr><th><A HREF = "../../Authors/B/Author_Blackburn (Simon).htm">Blackburn (Simon)</a></th></tr> <tr><th>Source: Dancy - Reading Parfit, 1997, Chapter 9</th></tr> <tr><th>Paper - Abstract</th></tr> </TABLE> </CENTER> <P><CENTER><TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=800><tr><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_01/PaperSummary_1327.htm">Paper Summary</A></td><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_01/PaperCitings_1327.htm">Books / Papers Citing this Paper</A></td><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_01/PapersToNotes_1327.htm">Notes Citing this Paper</A></td><td><A HREF = "../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1077.htm">Link to Latest Write-Up Note</A></td></tr></TABLE></CENTER></P> <hr><P><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><u>Sections</u><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>The Unity Reaction</li><li>Reductionism</li><li>The Self in Space</li><li>Activity</li><li>Imagination and Unity</li><li>The Glass Wall </li></ol></FONT><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><hr><br><B><u><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P1327_1">Write-up</A></U><SUB>1</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P1327_1"></A></u> (as at 19/04/2018 00:12:58): Blackburn - Has Kant Refuted Parfit?</B><BR><br><ul type="disc"><li>This note represents my detailed review of <a name="12"></a>"<A HREF = "../../Abstracts/Abstract_01/Abstract_1327.htm">Blackburn (Simon) - Has Kant Refuted Parfit?</A>", Chapter 9 of <a name="20"></a>"<A HREF = "../../BookSummaries/BookSummary_00/BookPaperAbstracts/BookPaperAbstracts_81.htm">Dancy (Jonathan), Ed. - Reading Parfit</A>". </li><li>The main text is my <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P1327_2">interpretation</A></U><SUB>2</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P1327_2"></A> of what Blackburn says, with my specific comments and objections appearing as footnotes.</li></ul><BR><u>Exposition / Comments by Section</u><ol type="1"><li><b>The Unity Reaction</b> <ul type="disc"><li>Blackburn starts off with  effectively  a potted defense of <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P1327_3">animalism</A></U><SUB>3</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P1327_3"></A>. </li><li>From the third-person perspective, there are no obvious problems with personal identity that don t arise when we consider the identity over time of other large mammals, which is <a name="1"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_7/Notes_734.htm">what we are</A><SUP>4</SUP>. </li><li>While we have complex psychologies, these are just properties that change over time. </li><li>He does, however, say that these psychologies  are in certain respects <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P1327_5">universal</A></U><SUB>5</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P1327_5"></A> . </li><li>So, if we are not troubled by stories of fission or fusion, or <a name="2"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1172.htm">Sorites</A><SUP>6</SUP> cases, when applied to chimpanzees, we should not be worried when these are applied to <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P1327_7">persons</A></U><SUB>7</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P1327_7"></A>. </li><li>So there are no obvious problems with third-person re-identification in normal circumstances. And in the case of unusual (imagined) circumstances we d find our way round it as we would with the fission or fusion of animals, plants or ships  though it would matter more to us that we came to the right conclusion. </li><li>So, if a friend fissioned, we d then become reconciled to having two friends  though Blackburn notes Lewis s  <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P1327_8">arithmetic</A></U><SUB>8</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P1327_8"></A> , where there were two friends all along. If this sort of thing was common  and could be foretold  we d avoid making future predications implying uniqueness. </li><li>It s only from the first-person perspective that problems may arise. </li><li>Even there it s the <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P1327_9">future</A></U><SUB>9</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P1327_9"></A> rather than the past that s troubling  I can get my head around tales of my past <a name="3"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_33.htm">fissioning</A><SUP>10</SUP> or even <a name="4"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_34.htm">fusion</A><SUP>11</SUP>. But if I think of future my own future fissioning  especially if the fission products enjoy or suffer radically different fates  I can only imagine one of three possible outcomes. I will be one, the other, or <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P1327_12">neither</A></U><SUB>12</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P1327_12"></A>. I will not be enjoying some middle-ground experience, but only one of the alternatives, or nothing at all.</li><li>Nor can Blackburn imagine the <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P1327_13">split-brain</A></U><SUB>13</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P1327_13"></A> case described by <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P1327_14">Parfit</A></U><SUB>14</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P1327_14"></A> in  My Physics Exam , where one half of my brain solves a physics problem while the other half talks to a friend. The two activities are mutually exclusive. </li><li>This is what is intended by the Section s title  The Unity Reaction . </li><li>Blackburn is unsure how much weight should be attached to this Reaction. It may be a hang-over from beliefs in Cartesian <a name="5"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_40.htm">Egos</A><SUP>15</SUP>  though it is surely a motivator for  rather than a consequence of  such beliefs. </li><li>Blackburn has a swipe at Reincarnation, Telepathy and the <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P1327_16">like</A></U><SUB>16</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P1327_16"></A>  which are not independent evidence for Pure Egos. </li><li>Cartesianism explains (wrongly) the Unity Reaction by positing a  definite something that is unaffected by whatever is happening to the animal and its psychology, and which consequently ends up in one or other (or neither) of the fission products. Kant has (it <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P1327_17">seems</A></U><SUB>17</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P1327_17"></A>) shown the uselessness of such a hypothesis. Yet (says Blackburn) it s only on such a  theory that we have a problem of <em>identity</em> as <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P1327_18">such</A></U><SUB>18</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P1327_18"></A>. Otherwise, it s just a question of integrating our thoughts about the <a name="6"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_98.htm">self</A><SUP>19</SUP>. </li><li>Origins of the Unity Reaction aside, can we train ourselves out of it, as some suggest this might have metaphysical and even ethical benefits? Blackburn wants to dispute this, and will do so from the Kantian standpoint of the  active subject of thought and action . Blackburn wants to explore Kant s idea that the unity of the self is forced on us by this standpoint; and so-doing will loosen a central plank of <a name="21"></a>"<A HREF = "../../BookSummaries/BookSummary_00/BookPaperAbstracts/BookPaperAbstracts_41.htm">Parfit (Derek) - Reasons and Persons</A>". </li><li>It seems that Parfit is <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P1327_20">proposing</A></U><SUB>20</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P1327_20"></A> a  non-practical  constitutive metaphysics of the self , but Blackburn thinks this cuts no ice contra a  practical stance such as egoism . </li><li>Practical reasoning  and planning a future project  both require us to ask  how will it be for <em>me</em> , and this activity  maintains an absolute, but formal, grip on the self , which explains the Unity Reaction, whatever or not the empirical self is seen as dissolved, merged or split in a TE. </li><li>Blackburn points out that the ethical claim  that nice people might be happier if good things happened to others rather than to themselves (they might  have what matters in such circumstances)  just changes the subject. If my project is for this good thing to happen to me, it fails if it happens to someone else. </li><li>So, even if Parfit s metaphysics is correct, the ethical consequences are less than he imagines. The standpoint of practical reason is a constraint on the truth about persons. </li><li>He now wants to say something about the standard  Strawsonian objection to Humean or Parfitian reductionism. </li></ul></li><li><b>Reductionism</b><ul type="disc"><li>Parfit as an updated Humean  bundle theory . Priorities wrong: persons/selves precede their experiences. </li><li>Parfit and the Kantian. Both equally hostile to Cartesian Egos, though only empirically for Parfit. </li><li>Parfit: persons exist, but we can give a complete account of reality without mentioning them. Probably not an error theorist. Analogy with Communities and the people that make them up. </li><li>The relation of whether an impersonal description is complete to deducibility. Statues and particles & their relations. Do persons follow from bodies and non-branching continuity and connectedness between psychological states?</li><li>Non-vicious circular ontological dependence of parts and wholes. Analogy of sounds and tunes. But have we any conception of a perception or psychological state in abstraction from its owner?</li><li>Second objection: contents of thoughts presupposing the Unity Relation and the existence of Parfit s selves or irreducible Selves. Bernard Williams s  Government House line (vulgar illusion) not open to Parfit, whose ethical theory depends on us believing the truth about ourselves. Still, we need a Kantian undermining of the reductionist s starting point. </li></ul></li><li><b>The Self in Space</b><ul type="disc"><li>Focus on psychological atoms  are they constitutively dependent on Selves that cannot be replaced by a reductionist substitute?</li><li>Blackburn won t adopt the third-person approach  which treats thoughts as dependent on Selves at dents and bruises on bodies. It doesn t take the Unity Reaction seriously enough to engage with what troubles us. </li><li>Outline of the Kantian/Strawsonian account of perception of the world. The organisation requires an organiser with a self-conception. Reference to <a name="13"></a>"<A HREF = "../../Abstracts/Abstract_07/Abstract_7463.htm">Cassam (Quassim) - Kant and Reductionism</A>". Programming and Camera objections. </li><li>Programs continued: we require a physical self to anchor the memory of a perception. Footnote approving Cassam s use of <a name="14"></a>"<A HREF = "../../Abstracts/Abstract_02/Abstract_2409.htm">Shoemaker (Sydney) - Persons and Their Pasts</A>". </li><li></li><li></li><li></li><li></li><li></li></ul></li><li><b>Activity</b><ul type="disc"><li></li></ul></li><li><b>Imagination and Unity</b><ul type="disc"><li></li></ul></li><li><b>The Glass Wall</b><ul type="disc"><li></li></ul> </li></ol><BR><HR><BR><U><B>In-Page Footnotes</U></B><a name="On-Page_Link_P1327_1"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P1327_1"><B>Footnote 1</A></B></U>: <ul type="disc"><li>This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (19/04/2018 00:12:58). </li><li><A HREF = "../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1077.htm">Link to Latest Write-Up Note</A>. </li></ul><a name="On-Page_Link_P1327_2"></A><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P1327_2"><B>Footnote 2</A></B></U>: <ul type="disc"><li>I m finding some of what Blackburn says difficult to construe. Consequently, my notes are somewhat plodding until I can see the light. </li><li>From Section 2 onwards, I ve just added (maybe inaccurate) indicators of what each paragraph is about. </li><li>I was alerted to this paper by Lawrence M. Hinman, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus, University of San Diego, who was after a copy, but eventually obtained one from Simon Blackburn himself. For Hinman, see <a name="W2541W"></a><A HREF = "http://ethicsmatters.net/" TARGET = "_top">Link</A> (Defunct) and <a name="W2542W"></a><A HREF = "http://ethics.sandiego.edu/about/editor/index.asp" TARGET = "_top">Link</A> (Defunct). </li><li>He was  sitting in on a seminar that Jeff Blustein (presumably <a name="W2543W"></a><A HREF = "https://www.ccny.cuny.edu/profiles/Jeffrey-Blustein" TARGET = "_top">Link</A>) and Bill Ruddick (presumably <a name="W2544W"></a><A HREF = "http://www.as.nyu.edu/object/williamruddick.html" TARGET = "_top">Link</A> (Defunct)) are giving on ethical issues in memory, and we were discussing Parfit on personal identity and memory. In any case, I expect Blackburn's article might help me to clarify some of my reservations about Parfit. </li></ul> <a name="On-Page_Link_P1327_3"></A><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P1327_3"><B>Footnote 3</A></B></U>: <ul type="disc"><li>For animalism, <a name="7"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_24.htm">Click here for Note</A>. </li><li>I d not included Blackburn amongst my collection of Animalists (<a name="8"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_50.htm">Click here for Note</A>), so this is a useful find & </li><li>But I ll wait until completing the review to see whether Blackburn really counts as an animalist. </li></ul><a name="On-Page_Link_P1327_5"></A><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P1327_5"><B>Footnote 5</A></B></U>: <ul type="disc"><li>I thought I understood what he meant, but I m not so sure. </li><li>He says that they could be duplicated. I d thought that what this implies is that psychologies (or at least the contents of them) are software, or data, universals in any case, so can be realised on many hardware platforms. But, they are not us. We are the hardware on which the software runs. </li><li>But, his full text is  <FONT COLOR = "800080">Complex psychologies & give us a psychological form that is in certain respects universal, so that it could be duplicated, and shared with others of our kind who have had the same experiences or have the same mental traits. </FONT> </li><li>I don t know what he means by the latter part of this sentence. I d like it to say  who would then appear to have had the same experiences and would then have the same mental traits . </li><li>Is this describing a thought-experiment, or saying something more prosaic (and less relevant) about the psychological similarities of people with similar experiences and mental traits, which lays the way for the Parfitian thought experiments? </li></ul> <a name="On-Page_Link_P1327_7"></A><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P1327_7"><B>Footnote 7</A></B></U>: <ul type="disc"><li>Blackburn doesn t believe in divine persons, but (for all know) most likely believes that alien persons might exist. </li><li>So, he really means  human persons , or maybe even  human beings , or  us . </li></ul><a name="On-Page_Link_P1327_8"></A><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P1327_8"><B>Footnote 8</A></B></U>: Lewis is a perdurantist (<a name="9"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_42.htm">Click here for Note</A>), so we have two partially overlapping friend-shaped spatio-temporal worms. <a name="On-Page_Link_P1327_9"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P1327_9"><B>Footnote 9</A></B></U>: <ul type="disc"><li>This distinction is important, as I noticed years ago.</li><li>It reflects the difference between forward (<a name="10"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_38.htm">Click here for Note</A>) and backward (<a name="11"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_16.htm">Click here for Note</A>) psychological continuity. </li></ul> <a name="On-Page_Link_P1327_12"></A><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P1327_12"><B>Footnote 12</A></B></U>: That is, I cannot  even with the help of Lewis  imagine being both. <a name="On-Page_Link_P1327_13"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P1327_13"><B>Footnote 13</A></B></U>: <ul type="disc"><li>We are referred to <a name="15"></a>"<A HREF = "../../Abstracts/Abstract_20/Abstract_20937.htm">Gillett (Grant) - Brain Bisection and Personal Identity</A>", for doubts about the correct description of split-brain cases. I might add & </li><li><a name="16"></a>"<A HREF = "../../Abstracts/Abstract_03/Abstract_3806.htm">Baillie (James) - Commissurotomy and the Unity of Mind</A>", and </li><li><a name="17"></a>"<A HREF = "../../Abstracts/Abstract_20/Abstract_20899.htm">Wright (John) - Personal Identity, Fission and Time Travel</A>". </li></ul><a name="On-Page_Link_P1327_14"></A><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P1327_14"><B>Footnote 14</A></B></U>: See <a name="18"></a>"<A HREF = "../../Abstracts/Abstract_03/Abstract_3574.htm">Parfit (Derek) - Why Our Identity is Not What Matters</A>". <a name="On-Page_Link_P1327_16"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P1327_16"><B>Footnote 16</A></B></U>: I m not sure of the reasoning here, and don t care. <a name="On-Page_Link_P1327_17"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P1327_17"><B>Footnote 17</A></B></U>: <ul type="disc"><li>Allegedly in <a name="22"></a>"<A HREF = "../../BookSummaries/BookSummary_00/BookPaperAbstracts/BookPaperAbstracts_578.htm">Kant (Immanuel), Kemp Smith (Norman) - Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason</A>", A342-405, B407-32. </li><li>Blackburn also credits <a name="19"></a>"<A HREF = "../../Abstracts/Abstract_05/Abstract_5555.htm">Locke (John) - Of Identity and Diversity</A>", Sections 10, 12 & 19. </li></ul> <a name="On-Page_Link_P1327_18"></A><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P1327_18"><B>Footnote 18</A></B></U>: I didn t understand this either  check after reading the whole paper. <a name="On-Page_Link_P1327_20"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P1327_20"><B>Footnote 20</A></B></U>: I ve no idea what these terms are supposed to mean. Maybe it ll become clearer later. <BR><BR><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><HR></P><a name="ColourConventions"></a><p><b>Text Colour Conventions (see <A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1025.htm">disclaimer</a>)</b></p><OL TYPE="1"><LI><FONT COLOR = "0000FF">Blue</FONT>: Text by me; &copy; Theo Todman, 2018</li><LI><FONT COLOR = "800080">Mauve</FONT>: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); &copy; the author(s)</li></OL> <BR><HR><BR><CENTER> <TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950> <TR><TD WIDTH="30%">&copy; Theo Todman, June 2007 - August 2018.</TD> <TD WIDTH="40%">Please address any comments on this page to <A HREF="mailto:theo@theotodman.com">theo@theotodman.com</A>.</TD> <TD WIDTH="30%">File output: <time datetime="2018-08-13T13:15" pubdate>13/08/2018 13:15:20</time> <br><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1010.htm">Website Maintenance Dashboard</A></TD></TR> <TD WIDTH="30%"><A HREF="#Top">Return to Top of this Page</A></TD> <TD WIDTH="40%"><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1140.htm">Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page</A></TD> <TD WIDTH="30%"><A HREF="../../index.htm">Return to Theo Todman's Home Page</A></TD> </TR></TABLE></CENTER><HR> </BODY> </HTML>