The Constitution View of Human Persons
Baker (Lynne Rudder)
Source: Baker (Lynne) - Persons and Bodies, Chapter 4
Paper - Abstract

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Oxford Scholarship Online Abstract

  1. Applies the notions of constitution and of a first-person perspective1 to the issue of human persons. A person is a being with a first-person perspective2; a human person (at t) is a person constituted by a human body (at t). Human persons are essentially embodied; they can never exist without some body or other, but they do not necessarily have the bodies that in fact constitute them. E.g., it is possible that parts of a person’s human body are replaced by bionic parts until the person is no longer human; still the same person would continue to exist (now constituted by a bionic body) as long as the first-person perspective3 stayed intact.
  2. So, although a human person cannot exist unembodied, she may come to be constituted by a different body from the one that actually constitutes her. If she came to be constituted by a bionic body, she would no longer be a human person. But she would still be a person as long as she existed. A human person is most fundamentally a person, not an animal—just as a bronze statue4 is most fundamentally a statue5, not a piece of bronze. Two separate human persons that exist at the same time are individuated by their bodies. A human person’s body at a time distinguishes her from all other separate persons at that time.
  3. A human person and the body that constitutes her are a unity, in the same way that a bronze statue6 and the piece of bronze that constitutes it are a unity. Unlike the statue7, however, I have a first-person relation to my body. Properties that my body has nonderivatively are my properties derivatively. E.g., I have the property of being left-handed and of having brown eyes derivatively; the nonderivative bearer of these properties is my body. When I attribute to myself such properties, I am thinking of myself-as-my-body. On the other hand, I have the property of being employed or of having asked a question nonderivatively; my body is the derivative bearer of these properties. When I attribute to my body properties that I have nonderivatively, I am thinking of my-body-as-myself.
  1. What a Human Person Is
  2. Mental Properties
  3. Theses about Human Persons
  4. My Body / Myself
  5. Conclusion

Write-up8 (as at 18/12/2010 19:58:05): Baker - The Constitution View of Human Persons

This note controls my detailed review of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Constitution View of Human Persons", Chapter 4 of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View". I’ve pirated the Oxford Scholarship Online summaries as a temporary expedient.

OSO Note:
… Further details to be supplied12

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 8:

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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