Dion, Theon, and the many-thinkers problem
Burke (Michael)
Source: Analysis 64, July 2004, Vol. Issue 3, p242-250, 9p
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

  1. I offer a novel, conservative solution to the many-thinkers problem, one on which heads and other brain-containing person-parts do exist but don't think.
  2. The solution serves to strengthen my sortal-essentialist1 solution to the problem of Dion and Theon2.

Author’s Introduction
  1. My solution to the problem of Dion and Theon3 (Burke 1994a) employs the doctrine of sortal4 essentialism.
  2. I take the doctrine to assert that for every object there is a property, a sortal5 property, such that
    1. To know that the object has that property is to know what the object is, and
    2. It’s metaphysically impossible for the object to exist without having that property.
  3. "Stone (Jim) - Why Sortal Essentialism Cannot Solve Chrysippus's Puzzle" (2002) objects to my solution and proposes to weaken the doctrine so as to block my employment of it.
  4. Others question a different element of my solution: the maximality of personhood and thinkerhood.
  5. After opposing Stone’s weakening of sortal6 essentialism, and responding in a preliminary way to the objection that motivates it, I outline a novel, conservative solution to the related ‘many-thinkers problem’, one that fortifies all of the elements of my solution to the problem of Dion and Theon7.
  6. Other critics of my solution include
    "Olson (Eric) - Dion's Foot" (1997),
    "Carter (William) - Dion's Left Foot (and the Price of Burkean Economy)" (1997),
    "Lowe (E.J.) - A Survey of Metaphysics" (2002: 68, 74–768),
    "Noonan (Harold) - Tibbles the Cat - A Reply to Burke" (1999),
    "Sidelle (Alan) - Is There a True Metaphysics of Material Objects?" (2002: 127–29) and
    "Sider (Ted) - Four-dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time" (2001, 161–659),
    among others.
  7. One supporter is "Rea (Michael) - Constitution and Kind Membership" (2000).

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 8: Ie. "Lowe (E.J.) - Substantial Change and Spatiotemporal Coincidence".

Footnote 9: Ie. "Sider (Ted) - In Favour of Four-Dimensionalism, Part 2: The Best Unified Theory of the Paradoxes of Coincidence".

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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