Thesis - Introduction & Chapter Outlines
Todman (Theo)
Paper - Abstract

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Write-up2 (as at 01/04/2020 00:17:17): Thesis - Introduction

  • The Thesis seems to fall naturally into three sections (other than the Introduction and the Conclusion); namely,
    1. Setting up the problem (Chapters 2-5),
    2. Olson and Baker’s views contrasted (Chapters 6-9); and
    3. Testing the preferred solution (Chapters 10-11).
  • General Notes
    • For convenience, brief abstracts (as currently intended) of the Thesis chapters are given below.
    • In order to maintain the structure of the Thesis once it is printed out, I’ve refrained – in this Note – from hyperlinking to any Notes other than the Chapter Notes themselves, which should be followed up for further information.
    • For the Printable versions of the Thesis, see the links below this text.
  • Each Chapter follows a standard format, though there may be additions or omissions in particular cases:-
    • Chapter Abstract: as given below.
    • Research Methodology: How I intend to pursue research on the Chapter in question. There’s a lot of commonality between Chapters in this regard, though most of this narrative is segregated to a further document.
    • Notes Referenced: My background research has been broken down into over 200 other Notes . Those most relevant to the Chapter in hand are listed.
    • Chapter Introduction: This will explain why I’ve undertaken this research, and encourage the reader to continue.
    • Chapter Main Text
    • Concluding Remarks: Including a motivating link to the next Chapter, where relevant.
    • Books and Papers Referenced: Or “to be addressed”.
      1. I’m piloting the idea of providing a “cut”, ie. dividing between
        → Works that have or will be addressed
        → Works that might have been addressed but on which a decision has been made to omit them for the time being.
      2. These works – where not cited directly in the Main Text – are derived from the Notes in the list above. These Notes further segregate Works cited into:-
        → Those read.
        → Those still to be read, or on which reading is incomplete.
  • Chapter Abstracts
    1. Introduction3: Provides a motivating statement for the study of the particular path through the topic of Personal Identity I intend to pursue and a brief historical survey of the subject to situate my particular stance.
    2. What are We4: The topic “personal identity” has historically presupposed that we are (in the sense of “identical to”, or “most fundamentally”) persons, whereas I (along with other animalists) claim that we are identical to human animals. “We” requires explanation. This chapter will sort out the topic of discussion for the Thesis as a whole.
    3. What is a Person?5: This chapter will canvass the various views and consider how important issues in this area are to my main concern of our identity.
    4. Basic Metaphysical Issues6: We must consider the logic of identity, as non-standard logics are favourite means of escaping from some of the puzzle cases. We ask – along with Parfit – whether identity matters. Substances and sortals are central to the persistence of anything, and define their persistence conditions. In particular my claim is that persons are phase sortals of human animals (the substances). The question of Kinds – and in particular Natural Kinds – are related to those of Substance, and are important in considering whether PERSON is a natural kind concept. Metamorphosis might be important if it is claimed that we can change kind.
    5. Persistence and Time7: A number of thought experiments that feature in Chapter 10 seem to fail if perdurantism is true (because the reduplication objections fail). Depending on whether any of these are critical to my arguments, I may need to consider the impact of perdurantism. But this complex area may be a step too far within a fairly limited word-count. I’m also unsure whether it should feature before or after the account of Thought Experiments.
    6. Animalism and Arguments for it8: This Chapter describes what Animalism is, with an excursus on animals and organisms and their persistence. It puts forward the arguments in favour of animalism, those against being reserved for a later Chapter. It focuses on the account of Eric Olson, the primary contemporary exponent of Animalism.
    7. The Constitution View and Arguments for it9: This Chapter gives an account of Lynne Rudder Baker’s thesis that human persons are not identical to human animals, but are – temporarily at least – constituted by them.
    8. Arguments against Animalism10: A discussion of the arguments against animalism, as given by those of anti-animalist persuasion and defended by the principal animalists (with a focus on Olson), with a critique.
    9. Arguments against the Constitution View11: A discussion of the arguments against the Constitution View, focusing on the principal animalists, with a critique. In particular, I intend to critique Olson’s “thinking animal” argument against the Constitution View (though I think this argument is unnecessary for Olson to establish the case for Animalism).
    10. Thought Experiments12: Any account of personal identity needs to give an account of what is going on in the various thought experiments that have been thought relevant to the topic. It’s also the area that’s most fun. Indeed, I think that the entire Thesis will be an exercise in inference to the best explanation. It needs to account for our intuitions (if there is a universal response) or explain them away as confused. I will firstly briefly consider the propriety of using thought experiments in this domain of enquiry, and then consider the usual suspects.
    11. Resurrection13: If mind-body substance dualism is false, and we are identical to human animals, then the only possibility for post-mortem existence is some form of bodily resurrection. Since the body is destroyed at death, it would seem that any resurrected individual could only be a copy of the original. It might think of itself as the resurrected pre-mortem individual, but it would be wrong. Consideration of arguments by Peter Van Inwagen in this respect. This chapter is likely to be controversial, so needs to be very carefully argued, and factually correct concerning what is actually believed by intellectually-aware Christians and Muslims (unlike what seems to be the case with most swipes against religion). Maybe I should also cover reincarnation.
    12. Conclusion14:
      • We are human animals,
      • Human persons fall under phase sortals of the concept HUMAN ANIMAL,
      • The person is inseparable from the animal,
      • The animal is utterly destroyed at death,
      • Substance dualism is false, and
      • Consequently (given the sort of thing we are) resurrection or any other post-mortem survival is impossible for us.

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 2:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (01/04/2020 00:17:17).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020

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