Analytical Table of Contents
- A. Body and Soul. Arguments by Hume and by Locke and Kant against substantial souls considered and resisted.
- B. Against Souls. Further arguments against souls:
… 1. The argument from individuation1.
… 2. The intrinsic nature problem.
… 3. The argument from causation2.
- C. Might Souls be Located in Space? This seems the most promising way to deal with the problems of B, but is not free of cost: for one thing, souls would then seem essentially spatial since spatial and fundamental, and further puzzles about the dynamics of souls would still call for the attribution to souls of special intrinsic properties or relations, though we have no clue as to the content of these.
- D. Radical Materialism. This loses much appeal with the realization that nothing material could be ontologically fundamental. If we allow real status to the materially derivative, it seems arbitrary to rule out objects that though immaterial are no more derivative; all the more so if in each case the mode of derivation is equally well understood. So it seems ill- advised and unnecessary to strain against the immaterial, or at least against that which is sufficiently meta-material (metaphysical?) to be distinct from the chunk of material that constitutes it at that time.
- E. On the Constitution of Ordinary Objects. A broadly Aristotelian conception of everyday reality is sketched. Ordinary objects are viewed as ontologically derivative from constitutive matter(s) and constitutive form.
- F. Some Principles of Ontological Dependence. These explain how the existence, identity, and persistence of objects derive from their matter and form.
- G. Modal3 Properties of the Supervenient and Their Basis in Actuality. Problems in understanding what actual (non-modal)4 intrinsic character of an ontologically supervenient or dependent entity (like a smile, a snowball, or perhaps even a person) could possibly yield and explain its differential modal5 properties, its could-bes, might-have-beens, etc.
- H. Further Problems of Constitution and Supervenience6.
… 1. The explosion of reality. (And the anti-realist proposed solution.)
… 2. Which original sources are essential?
- I. An Event or Process Ontology? Given the problems surveyed, should we not yield to the implicit pressure of the arguments by Hume, Locke, and Kant (sketched in section A) by accepting an ontology of events and processes, one that dispenses with concrete, contingent substances having any permanence? It is not obvious we should accede, when the plausible reducing events and processes themselves embed substantial things with apparent permanence (beyond an instant at least). What is more, the events and processes in a thing's actual career will not suffice for the reduction anyhow, since ordinary things generally might have had very different careers.
- J. Persons Again. If we decide against substantial souls, against radical materialism, and against an event or process ontology, then a broadly Aristotelian view of persons has its attractions. But it will have the problems already presented in sections G and H. It must also deal with some further questions, six of which are highlighted in this section. And how would experiential and intentional states derive from properties of the live human being? The mystery here darkens when we consider that properties of the human being necessarily derive from properties and relations of its physical parts. No simple analogy between digestion and thought is likely to illuminate this darkness.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)