<!DOCTYPE html><HTML lang="en"> <head><meta charset="utf-8"> <title>Agar (Nicholas) - Functionalism and Personal Identity (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_04/PaperSummary_4968.htm">Functionalism and Personal Identity</A></th></tr> <tr><th><A HREF = "../../Authors/A/Author_Agar (Nicholas).htm">Agar (Nicholas)</a></th></tr> <tr><th>Source: Nous, Mar2003, Vol. 37 Issue 1, p52-70, 19p; </th></tr> <tr><th>Paper - Abstract</th></tr> </TABLE> </CENTER> <P><CENTER><TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=800><tr><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_04/PaperSummary_4968.htm">Paper Summary</A></td><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_04/PaperCitings_4968.htm">Books / Papers Citing this Paper</A></td><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_04/PapersToNotes_4968.htm">Notes Citing this Paper</A></td><td><A HREF="#ColourConventions">Text Colour-Conventions</a></td></tr></TABLE></CENTER></P> <hr><P><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><u>Philosopher s Index Abstract</u><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>Examines the relationship between personal identity and functionalism. </li><li>Synchronic and diachronic unity; </li><li>Marker of copersonality. </li></ol></FONT><BR><u>Author s Introduction</u><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>Is there any more to a person's survival or <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P4968_1">identity</A></U><SUB>1</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P4968_1"></A> over time than the persistence of her memories, desires, and other mental traits? According to what I will call the psychological view about persons there is not. This view finds most forceful contemporary expression in the <a name="1"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_16.htm">psychological continuity</A><SUP>2</SUP> theories (henceforth PCT) of Derek Parfit, Sydney Shoemaker, and John Perry. These writers take stories about psychological mergers, divisions and body swaps to show that continuities of memory, belief, and desire are all that should count toward judgments about survival. </li><li>Some attack the PCT by rejecting the broader psychological view about survival. They argue that information about mental state scan only have evidential status in questions about the persistence of individuals. If I began as a non-psychological <a name="2"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_71.htm">foetus</A><SUP>3</SUP> or soul and may one day survive in a beliefless and memoryless coma, then I must be separable from my memories and beliefs. </li><li>Rather than challenging the translation of questions about identity into questions about minds, my strategy will be to argue that the PCT is founded on mistaken views about mental states. I will defend an alternative, functionalist expression of the psychological view, which I suggest has implications for personal identity significantly divergent from those endorsed by the PCT. </li><li>Do we have reason to think that any psychological theory, functionalist or otherwise, will point to sufficient facts to decide questions about identity? A fashionable relativism about personal identity allows that though psychological information may constrain judgments about identity it cannot fully determine them. Advocates of this view argue that we must look to local cultural factors to work out which of the humanly viable physical continuity or <a name="3"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_16.htm">psychological continuity</A><SUP>4</SUP> theories is true of us. Against the relativists I claim that a functionalist psychology points us toward all the identity or survival determining facts we could want. Relativism about personal identity will require a rather more extreme relativism about functionalist psychology. </li><li>So, how is the functionalist to find identity facts? I argue that a functionalism about what unifies a person's mental states at a particular time leads to a functionalism about what unifies them over time. This suggestion will not be entirely unfamiliar to followers of the personal identity debate. Many writers have speculated about the connection between the synchronic and diachronic unities of mental states, and Sydney Shoemaker goes so far as to make the connection between functionalist accounts of both dimensions of unity in arguing for the PCT. I will use the famous teletransporter <a name="4"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_32.htm">thought experiment</A><SUP>5</SUP> to help show that a functionalism about identity or survival points away from the PCT. Functionalism does not, as Shoemaker thinks, permit survival by teletransportation or by brain state transfer. Indeed, the expression of psychological view described here will come rather close to agreeing with the rival physical continuity theory on the conditions under which a person survives. </li></ol></FONT><hr><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><B>Comment: </B><BR><BR>See <a name="7"></a>"<A HREF = "../../Abstracts/Abstract_04/Abstract_4962.htm">Shoemaker (Sydney) - Functionalism and Personal Identity - a Reply</A>" for Shoemaker's reply.<BR><BR><HR><BR><U><B>In-Page Footnotes</U></B><a name="On-Page_Link_P4968_1"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P4968_1"><B>Footnote 1</B></A></U>: <FONT COLOR = "800080"><ul type="disc"><li>Many philosophers distinguish the more practical issues identified by the question '<a name="5"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_1/Notes_108.htm">what matters</a> in survival?' from the metaphysical question about necessary and sufficient conditions for survival. </li><li>My immediate concerns are metaphysical, but what I have to say will have bearing on the practical question. </li><li>By arguing that the metaphysics of survival rules out survival by teletransportation, I shall also be claiming that <a name="6"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_1/Notes_108.htm">what matters</a> in survival is not carried over. </li><li>For stylistic reasons the words 'identity' and 'survival' will be used interchangeably throughout this paper. </li></ul> </FONT><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="2018-08-02T06:26" pubdate>02/08/2018 06:26:48</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>