|The Constitution Question|
|Source: Nous, Dec2004, Vol. 38 Issue 4, p693, 18p|
|Paper - Abstract|
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Author’s Introduction (Full Text)
The idea that constitution is not identity follows quite naturally from the previous two assumptions. For consider a particular statue14 that is constituted by an ordinary lump of clay. Given the first assumption above, the constitution theorist recognizes the existence of the statue15 and the lump and, given the second, the constitution theorist claims that these objects differ in their de re modal16 properties. The constitution theorist concludes that, despite the fact that the statue17 and the lump stand in a very intimate relationship, they are nonetheless distinct18.
But the constitution theorist also faces a pressing question: if constitution is not identity, then just what is it?
… "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Why Constitution is Not Identity",
… "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Unity without Identity: A New Look at Material Constitution",
… "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View",
… "Doepke (Frederick) - Spatially Coinciding Objects",
… "Doepke (Frederick) - The Kinds of Things: A Theory of Personal Identity Based on Transcendental Argument",
… "Lowe (E.J.) - Instantiation, Identity and Constitution",
… "Lowe (E.J.) - Kinds of Being: Study of Individuation, Identity and the Logic of Sortal Terms",
… "Lowe (E.J.) - Subjects of Experience",
… "Simons (Peter) - Parts: A Study in Ontology",
… "Thomson (Judith Jarvis) - The Statue and the Clay",
… "Wiggins (David) - On Being in the Same Place at the Same Time",
… "Wiggins (David) - Sameness and Substance",
Contents & Plan (Full Text)
In this paper I investigate the various ways in which the constitution theorist might answer (the) question (of what constitution is). In section 1, I deal with some preliminary issues concerning the nature of constitution. Then, in the following four sections, I discuss four different conceptions of the constitution relation that have been defended in the literature. I conclude in section 6 by exploring a deflationary account of constitution.
Author’s Clarification of the Constitution Question (Extract from Section 1)
Author’s Conclusion (Full Text)
I conclude that the theoretical objections to the deflationary view of constitution fail, as do the objections from intuition. Accordingly, I see no reason to think that there is a deep metaphysical relation of constitution, as distinct from material coincidence. We are left with what I judge to be a plausible view concerning the nature of constitution: there is no constitution, only coincidence.
Footnote 1: I'm not sure where this list came from!
Footnote 5: For the constitution view, Click here for Note.
Footnote 8: The constitution theorist thus rejects the sparse ontology of "Merricks (Trenton) - Objects and Persons" and "Unger (Peter) - There are no Ordinary Things".
Footnote 11: The constitution theorist thus rejects the ‘dominant kind view’, defended by "Burke (Michael) - Preserving the Principle of One Object to a Place: A Novel Account of the Relations Amongst Objects, Sorts, Sortals, and Persistence Conditions" and "Rea (Michael) - Constitution and Kind Membership".
Footnote 18: I should also add that defenders of the constitution view typically claim that the sorts of objects under discussion are enduring objects which are ‘wholly present’ whenever they exist. Thus, most constitution theorists reject the perdurantism of "Lewis (David) - On the Plurality of Worlds", "Sider (Ted) - Four-dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time" and others.
Footnote 21: See "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View", p. 43 and "Lowe (E.J.) - Kinds of Being: Study of Individuation, Identity and the Logic of Sortal Terms", p. 81.
Footnote 22: See "Thomson (Judith Jarvis) - The Statue and the Clay", p. 155 and "Doepke (Frederick) - The Kinds of Things: A Theory of Personal Identity Based on Transcendental Argument", pp. 196–198.
Footnote 23: For arguments in favor of this assumption, see Sider, Theodore. (2002) ‘‘Review of Lynne Rudder Baker, Persons and Bodies,’’ Journal of Philosophy 99, 45–48., "Wasserman (Ryan) - The Standard Objection to the Standard Account" and "Zimmerman (Dean) - Criteria of Identity and the 'Identity Mystics'", "Zimmerman (Dean) - Persons and Bodies: Constitution Without Mereology?", Zimmerman, Dean. (forthcoming) ‘‘The Constitution of Persons and Bodies: A Critique of Lynne Rudder Baker’s Theory of Material Constitution,’’ Philosophical Topics.
Footnote 24: Baker at one time claimed that the constitution relation is nontransitive, but has since retracted that claim. See "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View", pp. 45–46 and Baker, Lynne Rudder. (forthcoming) ‘‘Making Things Up,’’ Philosophical Topics..
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