Physically Based Subjects and Their Experiences: Against the Six Metaphysical Doctrines
Unger (Peter)
Source: Unger - Identity, Consciousness and Value, Chapter 6
Paper - Abstract

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Extract from Overview1

  1. Now, the various factors of assimilation are themselves pretty complex matters, as chapter 5 details. But this proves no obstacle to the physically based account's being quite a good answer to the book's leading question, perhaps much better than the available alternatives.
  2. Related to the leading question, I address several other issues: As early as chapter 2, I articulate six metaphysical doctrines that, as I argue, underlie the appeal of transcendental views, and of dualistic views, of our survival. The three most appealing of these concern conscious experience:
    … (la) Experience is all-or-none.
    … (2a) Experience is completely private to a single subject.
    … (3a) Experience is absolutely indivisible.
    Deriving appeal partly from their connection with these doctrines are three others, concerning the subjects that experience:
    … (1b) A subject is all-or-none.
    … (2b) A subject is completely separate.
    … (3b) A subject is absolutely indivisible.
    By confronting them with numerous thought-experiments2, in chapter 6 the appeal of these doctrines is dispelled: Insofar as there is any truth in the displayed sentences, that is owing to conventions of language, or to certain unproblematically natural facts, or to a combination of the two. Briefly, the most positive results of the encounter are these: We subjects ourselves are wholly objective entities, mainly or wholly physical, and our experiences are wholly objective processes, mainly or wholly physical. Moreover, in an important sense, we are conventionally demarcated entities, and our experiences are conventionally demarcated processes.
  1. What Do the Six Doctrines Claim? – 171
  2. How Might These Doctrines Be Contested Persuasively? – 175
  3. Against the Metaphysical Privacy of Experiences – 177
  4. Against the Metaphysical Separateness of Subjects – 184
  5. Against the Indivisibility of Experiences and of Subjects – 187
  6. Against the Absoluteness of Subjects: The Spectrum of Congenial Decomposition – 191
  7. Against the Absoluteness of Subjects: Spectra of Human Conception and Human Development – 197
  8. Against the Absoluteness of Experience: Congenial Decomposition Again – 199
  9. Against the Absoluteness of Experience: The Spectrum of Radio Communications – 203
  10. How One Person May Fade into Another – 206

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Taken from "Unger (Peter) - Precis of 'Identity, Consciousness and Value'".

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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