Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues)
Todman (Theo)
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Write-up2 (as at 27/01/2022 09:41:46): Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues)

Abstract
  • This Chapter will clarify my understanding of – and my assumptions related to – the various metaphysical issues that are of relevance in the philosophy of Personal Identity.
  • Almost everything of relevance will be touched on here, other than persistence and time, which are covered in the next chapter.
  • Necessarily, space limitations will mean that any text will have to be brief and superficial. The links to associated Notes will hopefully show that I’ve at least considered the various matters



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. There are very many Notes of relevance to this Chapter. I’ve attempted to put them in some sort of order and grouping, but this will be an iterative process.
  2. Firstly, I have a general Note on Metaphysics5 which summarises the metaphysical issues of relevance to the philosophy of Personal Identity, but also – via works read – tries to show a wider understanding of metaphysics.
  3. We must then consider the Logic of Identity6, as non-standard logics are favourite means of escaping from some of the puzzle cases that test our intuitions and theories about PID. After considering what Identity is, we need to ask whether the “strict and philosophical” Numerical Identity7 is appropriate for the Persistence8 of individuals like us, and to distinguish it from Similarity9 (especially in its “exact” form). We then need to consider what is involved in discovering (or deciding upon) Criteria of Identity10.
  4. Another important claim is the “Only X and Y Principle11”, that X being identical to Y cannot be affected by the existence of otherwise of some rival candidate Z.
  5. The above principle is designed to rebuff ideas of a Closest Continuer12 and claims that Contingent Identity13, even if coherent, can be a satisfactory answer to certain puzzle cases.
  6. There are (at least) five other forms of “identity” proposed that require some consideration, namely
    1. Relative Identity14,
    2. Occasional Identity15,
    3. Partial Identity16,
    4. Indeterminate Identity17, and
    5. Vague Identity18.
  7. Of these, the first is the most important, and the last two may or may not be the same idea; but, in any case, the Note on Vagueness19 itself, and the Sorites Paradox20 are relevant to them. It is to be noted that it should only be necessary to disappear down these various rabbit-holes if they become relevant to particular issues in the core of my Thesis.
  8. We now move on to Ontology21 – to what Exists22. We need to consider in what sense Mind23 exists, and what sort of thing it is. Then, what is Matter24, and what is claimed by Naturalism25 or Physicalism26. All this has to be kept within bounds and relevant to the context of this Thesis.
  9. The question of Kinds27 – and in particular Natural Kinds28 – is important in considering whether Person29 is a natural kind concept: that is, are persons as such naturally occurring or inventions of our conceptual schemes. What are Natural Kinds? Universals30? We will also need to consider whether and how a change of kind – Metamorphosis31 – makes sense, and whether it might be possible tor such as we.
  10. Finally in this connection – of ontology – we might consider Artifacts32, especially as they feature in discussions of Constitution33 and also in various TEs34. They also provide examples of Scattered Objects35, though consideration of whether disassembled bicycles are better described as Intermittent Objects36 will be left until the next Chapter.
  11. Substances37 and Sortals38 are central to the persistence of any thing, and define their persistence conditions. In particular my claim is that Human Persons39 are Phase Sortals40 of Human Animals41 (the substances).
  12. Things can – however – be viewed very differently by denying that there are Individuals42, but only Processes43.
  13. Certain four-dimensional approaches to persistence do away with the substance concept, but I discuss this issue in the next Chapter.
  14. We need to consider whether any of the persistence or identity claims related to Personal Identity are matters of Convention44, whether they relate to human Concepts45 – whether the arguments are just matters of Semantics46 – outside of what is really happening in the world (though many of our concepts do – or are intended to – “carve nature at its joints”). It might be that our claims for ourselves are Fictitious47, and it’s worth investigating the persistence of fictional entities.
  15. Finally, I must include somewhere a few comments on Explanation48. This Thesis is an exercise in “inference to the best explanation” of the facts of, together with our intuitions about, the identity and persistence of persons. We also need to consider how Probable49 these various explanatory schema might be.



Links to Notes
  1. Metaphysics50
  2. Logic of Identity51
    1. Numerical Identity52
    2. Similarity53
    3. Criteria of Identity54
    4. Only 'X' and 'Y' Principle55
    5. Heterodox Views
  3. Ontology65
    1. Existence66
    2. Kinds71
    3. Artifacts75
  4. Substance & Process
    1. Individuals77
    2. Substance78
    3. Process Metaphysics81
  5. Convention82
    1. Concepts83
    2. Fiction85
  6. Explanation86
    1. Probability87




Main Text
  1. Introduction
    1. The purpose of this chapter is to clarify my views on a number of logical and metaphysical issues that are central to the core of this Thesis.
    2. The coverage in the Chapter itself will have to be very brief lest it consume the word-count for the entire thesis. Most information – and in particular the bulk of the justification for my views – will remain in the Notes.
    3. Three background issues, namely my views on:- are covered elsewhere (follow the links above).
  2. Metaphysics91
  3. Logic of Identity92
    1. Numerical Identity93
    2. Similarity94
    3. Criteria of Identity95
    4. Only 'X' and 'Y' Principle96
    5. Heterodox Views
  4. Ontology106
    1. Existence107
    2. Kinds112
    3. Artifacts116
  5. Substance & Process
    1. Individuals118
    2. Substance119
    3. Process Metaphysics122
  6. Convention123
    1. Concepts124
    2. Fiction126
  7. Explanation127
    1. Probability128
  8. Further text to be supplied129.



Concluding Remarks
  1. In our next Chapter130, we need to consider further the question of Persistence and Time and how they impact on the topic of Personal Identity.
  2. This is work in progress131.


Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed132
  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 read135, include the following:-
  1. Metaphysics136
  2. Logic of Identity
    1. Logic of Identity137
    2. Numerical Identity141
    3. Similarity147
    4. Criteria of Identity148
    5. Only 'X' and 'Y' Principle150
    6. Heterodox Views
  3. Ontology
    1. Ontology169
    2. Existence170
    3. Kinds
    4. Artifacts
  4. Substance & Process
    1. Individuals197
    2. Substance
    3. Process Metaphysics206
  5. Convention
    1. Convention207
    2. Concepts
    3. Fiction216
  6. Explanation220
    1. Probability221


A further reading list might start with:-
  1. Metaphysics223
  2. Logic of Identity
    1. Logic of Identity224
    2. Numerical Identity229
    3. Similarity230
    4. Criteria of Identity231
    5. Only 'X' and 'Y' Principle232
    6. Heterodox Views
  3. Ontology
    1. Ontology248
    2. Existence249
    3. Kinds
    4. Artifacts
  4. Substance & Process
    1. Individuals265
    2. Substance
    3. Process Metaphysics273
  5. Convention
    1. Convention274
    2. Concepts
    3. Fiction277
  6. Explanation282
    1. Probability283



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 (27/01/2022 09:41:46).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 132:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
Footnote 139: Footnote 140:
  • This is the series of lectures that first engaged me with the topic of Personal Identity.
Footnote 153:
  • When considering duplication issues with double-hemispherectomy & transplant, “closest continuer” resolutions to the problem (amongst other suggestions) are rejected.
Footnote 154:
  • The “closest continuer” theory as a solution to the “split brain” fission puzzle is considered in Sections 3 & 4.
Footnote 159:
  • It looks like Olson uses “imperfect” as an amalgamated metaphysical / epistemological claim.
Footnote 162:
  • Baker claims that the Constitution View solves problems that “temporal identity”, etc, are supposed to address.
Footnote 181: Footnote 185: Footnotes 201, 203:
  • This looks of tangential interest, but as I’ve gone to considerable trouble to analyse the paper, I might as well include it!
Footnote 210: Footnote 217:
  • This is a useful case-study about the distinction between ‘veridical’ and ‘fictional’ accounts of the past.
  • In cases where the truth about the past cannot be known, there is still a valid distinction between probable and fantastic readings.
Footnote 218:
  • Why did Goodman put ‘Fiction’ in the title?
Footnote 219:
  • This paper is about interpretation.
Footnote 225:
  • Modality is important in my thesis, because modal questions come into persistence criteria.
  • That said, the last two essays in the book – by Hossack and Olson – are the most important, though of these two only that by Hossack really belongs to this Chapter.
Footnote 226:
  • Oderberg seems to be arguing that Perdurantism is an unwanted consequence of a common-sense notion of persistence. This might therefore also be useful for perdurantism.
Footnote 227:
  • See Section 5.8 (Stage View), paragraphs 6 & 8 for a discussion of 'loose and popular' persistence.
Footnote 228:
  • Section 40 “Identity”, pp. 221-6.
Footnote 234:
  • Description and elaboration of Nozick’s “closest continuer” theory, followed by …
  • Its application to duplication puzzle-cases.
Footnote 235: Footnote 236:
  • The “closest continuer” theory is discussed in Section 4.
Footnote 240:
  • Read and analyse this first – it may not be worth bothering with the book, unless it sheds light on the topic as a whole.
Footnote 243:
  • I doubt this paper is really about Relative Identity, but more about Brain Transplants.
Footnote 246:
  • There are a few more papers by Varzi that I’ve not included.
Footnote 252:
  • The three papers by Butterfield are very specialised, and this one is very long, and may be left to one side for now.
Footnote 254:
  • This might be an ideal place to start, but it’s too expensive, so I’ve not bought a copy!
Footnote 259:
  • Looks like I’ve made two attempts to read this book, but it’s the dullest I’ve ever come across!
Footnote 260:
  • Look into the other papers by Ted Sider in the categorised list if time.
Footnote 262:
  • This may be an interesting comparison of two novellas, both germane to my thesis.
Footnote 266:
  • This is a difficult book with which I expect to have little sympathy, but one that has to be read.
Footnote 268:
  • If Toner thinks he can defend Transubstantiation there must be something about his theory of Substance.
Footnote 269:
  • As I’ve written up the chapters on Leibniz and Spinoza, I ought at least to read the one on Descartes!
Footnote 278:
  • Not a ‘Philosophy of Religion’ paper, despite the introduction.
Footnote 279:
  • Most papers not seperately itemised
Footnote 280:
  • “Hume’s claim that identity is a fiction”.
Footnote 281:
  • Probably move this to Modality in due course.
Footnote 284:
  • Despite the title, this is mostly about probabilistic – and especially Bayesian – reasoning.
Footnote 285:
  • I have not itemised the papers in this book.

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  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2022



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