Thesis - Chapter 03 (What is a Person?)
Todman (Theo)
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Write-up2 (as at 12/01/2022 13:58:05): Thesis - Chapter 03 (What is a Person?)

  • This chapter will canvass the various views of what Persons are and consider how important issues in this area are to my main concern of our identity.
  • It will also consider whether it makes sense to say that we are persons.

Research Methodology
  • Follow this Link3 for a generic statement of how I intend to pursue each Chapter.
  • The method is broken down into 16, possibly iterative, stages, some of which have sub-stages.
  • Follow this Link4 for my progress dashboard on these tasks.

Chapter Introduction
  1. This Chapter should have a fairly straightforward structure.
  2. Firstly, we need to consider just what a Person5 is. In particular, is it a Substance6 concept (assuming a Substance rather than Process7 metaphysics) or is it a Property8 of a Substance?
  3. Then we need to consider what Properties qualify an individual to be a Person. Additionally, when does the individual become a person, and having become a person, can that individual later cease to be a person?
  4. The properties usually taken as being essential for persons include several on which I have individual Notes. A person has a First Person Perspective9, the person’s window on the world, and reflexively on itself. Persons have Free Will10, at least to the degree that Free Will is possible in the world in which we live. A Person is an Intelligent11 being (though not all such qualify as Persons). A person has Language (or at least a Language of Thought12). Finally, there are – for human persons at any rate (and presumably for the Holy Trinity) – Social13 aspects to personhood.
  5. We need to distinguish Persons14 from their Personalities15. When people say that so-and-so is no longer the same person, they mean that the individual has had a radical change of personality.
  6. Having decided what a Person is, we need to decide what kind of being is a Person. We know the usual list of candidates other than ourselves Human Persons16 – which are covered in my Note on Non-Human Persons17.
  7. It is often assumed that being a Person is an all or nothing affair, with persons having infinite moral value, and non-Persons having negligible value: is – or should – this be so? Can there be Degrees of Personhood18? My Note on Wantons19 is also relevant in this context.
  8. Given the variety of potential Persons, we might doubt whether there are persistence criteria for Persons as such. This gives rise to the choice between Reductionists20, who hold that the persistence of Persons is governed by those of the sort of entities that constitute them and holders of the Simple View21, which denies this.
  9. We also need to ask how well integrated Persons are, discussed in my Note on The Unity of the Person22. How do we Count Persons23? Is there a 1-1 match with the entities that constitute them? Can there be such entities as Personites24?
  10. Finally, do the various theories of Personhood Take Persons Seriously25, or at least sufficiently so?

Links to Notes
  1. Qualities of Personhood
    1. Person26
    2. First-Person Perspective27. Excluded28
    3. Free Will29
    4. Intelligence30
    5. Language of Thought31
    6. Social32
  2. Personality33
  3. Who is a Person?
    1. Human Persons34
    2. Non-Human Persons35
    3. Degrees of Personhood36
    4. Wantons37
  4. The Persistence of Persons
    1. Reductionism38
    2. The Simple View39
  5. Unity of the Person40
    1. Counting Persons41
    2. Personites42
  6. Taking Persons Seriously43

Main Text
  1. Introduction
    1. The main philosophical argument about Persons is whether PERSON is a substance44-concept in its own right, or whether it is parasitic on other substance-concept(s).
    2. My own view is that Human Persons are phase sortals45 of human animals, but other philosophers have more robust views of persons and think of them as substances in their own right.
    3. Famously, Locke46 held this view, and Lynne Rudder Baker47 was a contemporary exponent – her view being that human persons are constituted by48, but are not identical to, human animals49.
    4. In this thesis, I’m only concerned with human persons, and – like most philosophers – allow that there can be non-human persons50 (God, gods, angels, aliens, robots, etc.)
    5. All this is predicated on deciding just what PERSONS are, which in turn depends somewhat on whether we take PERSON to be a natural kind51 concept, or something that is socially constructed and so not something the correct definition of which we can discover.
  2. Qualities of Personhood
    1. Person52
      1. Text to be supplied.
    2. First-Person Perspective53. Excluded54
    3. Free Will55
      1. Text to be supplied.
    4. Intelligence56
      1. Text to be supplied.
    5. Language of Thought57
      1. Text to be supplied.
    6. Social58
      1. Text to be supplied.
  3. Personality59
    1. Text to be supplied.
  4. Who is a Person?
    1. Human Persons60
      1. Text to be supplied.
    2. Non-Human Persons61
      1. Text to be supplied.
    3. Degrees of Personhood62
      1. Text to be supplied.
    4. Wantons63
      1. Text to be supplied.
  5. The Persistence of Persons
    1. Reductionism64
      1. Text to be supplied.
    2. The Simple View65
      1. Text to be supplied.
  6. Unity of the Person66
    1. Text to be supplied.
    1. Counting Persons67
      1. Text to be supplied.
    2. Personites68
      1. Text to be supplied.
  7. Taking Persons Seriously69
    1. Text to be supplied.
  8. Further text to be supplied70.

Concluding Remarks
  1. In our next Chapter71, now that we have determined what we are – and what persons are – we consider various metaphysical issues that bear on the arguments for and against the various positions on Personal Identity.
  2. This is work in progress72.

Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed73
  1. This section attempts to derive the readings lists automatically from those of the underlying Notes, but removing duplicated references. The list is divided into:-

Works on this topic that I’ve actually read76, include the following:-
  1. Qualities of Personhood
    1. Person77
    2. Free Will93
    3. Intelligence99
    4. Language of Thought102
    5. Social104
  2. Personality105
  3. Who is a Person?
    1. Human Persons107
    2. Non-Human Persons108
    3. Degrees of Personhood110
    4. Wantons111
  4. The Persistence of Persons
    1. Reductionism113
    2. The Simple View115
  5. Unity of the Person
    1. Unity of the Person116
    2. Counting Persons118
    3. Personites119
  6. Taking Persons Seriously120

A further reading list might start with:-
  1. Qualities of Personhood
    1. Person125
    2. Free Will134
    3. Intelligence135
    4. Language of Thought136
    5. Social137
  2. Personality138
  3. Who is a Person?
    1. Human Persons139
    2. Non-Human Persons140
    3. Degrees of Personhood141
    4. Wantons142
  4. The Persistence of Persons
    1. Reductionism143
    2. The Simple View144
  5. Unity of the Person
    1. Unity of the Person146
    2. Counting Persons149
    3. Personites150
  6. Taking Persons Seriously151

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 (12/01/2022 13:58:05).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnotes 28, 54:
  • This Note will be excluded from the Reading List for this Chapter.
  • It is included in the Reading List for Chapter 7.
Footnote 73:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
Footnote 82: Footnote 87:
  • Read this as an example from the Animal Liberation movement.
Footnote 92:
  • Restrict a close reading to Part 3 (Personal Identity).
Footnote 101:
  • I’ve read this book, but it’s insufficiently philosophical for its arguments – such as they are – to be worth considering as a priority.
Footnote 103: Footnote 106:
  • This, and the follow-up lecture, are interesting for equating the Psychological View of personal identity with a so-called “personality view”, which makes it sound rather silly.
Footnote 117:
  • Lecture VIII: The Divided Self, and the Process of Its Unification
Footnote 126:
  • Somewhat elementary, but worth (re-)reading quickly
Footnote 127:
  • This paper may be important, but may be too long (and difficult) for a first pass through the literature.
Footnote 128:
  • This is very elementary, but short and maybe entertaining.
Footnote 129:
  • This is rather introductory to Parfit’s ideas, so read it quickly for that purpose.
Footnote 130:
  • May be useful both as a take on Strawson, and for Plantinga’s own views.
Footnote 131:
  • Stanley got into a debate with Jen Hornsby, though not on this topic, so it’ll be interesting to see how he argues.
Footnote 132:
  • This is a difficult book with which I expect to have little sympathy, but one that has to be read.
Footnote 133:
  • Most of the relevant Chapters have been separately itemised above.
Footnote 145:
  • This seems to be saying that the concept of identity is simple, not that Personal Identity is irreducible to something else.
Footnote 148:

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