Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues)
Todman (Theo)
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Write-up2 (as at 28/09/2022 10:24:58): 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 Introduction5
  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 Metaphysics6 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 Identity7, 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 Identity8 is appropriate for the Persistence 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 Person is a natural kind concept: that is, are persons as such naturally occurring or inventions of our conceptual schemes. What are Natural Kinds? Universals29? We will also need to consider whether and how a change of kind – Metamorphosis30 – makes sense, and whether it might be possible tor such as we.
  10. Finally in this connection – of ontology – we might consider Artifacts31, especially as they feature in discussions of Constitution and also in various Thought Experiments. They also provide examples of Scattered Objects32, though consideration of whether disassembled bicycles are better described as Intermittent Objects will be left until the next Chapter.
  11. Substances33 and Sortals34 are central to the persistence of any thing, and define their persistence conditions. In particular my claim is that Human Persons are Phase Sortals35 of Human Animals (the substances).
  12. Things can – however – be viewed very differently by denying that there are Individuals36, but only Processes37.
  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 Convention38, whether they relate to human Concepts39 – whether the arguments are just matters of Semantics40 – 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 Fictitious41, and it’s worth investigating the persistence of fictional entities.
  15. Finally, I must include somewhere a few comments on Explanation42. 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 Probable43 these various explanatory schema might be.



Note Hierarchy
  1. Metaphysics44
  2. Logic of Identity45
    1. Numerical Identity46
    2. Similarity47
    3. Criteria of Identity48
    4. Only 'X' and 'Y' Principle49
    5. Heterodox Views
  3. Ontology59
    1. Existence60
    2. Mind61
    3. Matter62
    4. Kinds65
    5. Artifacts69
  4. Substance & Process
    1. Individuals71
    2. Substance72
    3. Process Metaphysics75
  5. Convention76
    1. Concepts77
    2. Fiction79
  6. Explanation80
    1. Probability81




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. Metaphysics85
    1. Many general areas of philosophy are relevant to the topic of Personal Identity, including Ethics and Epistemology, but the questions are mainly metaphysical.
    2. Metaphysics is a large subject. As far as this Thesis is concerned, I’m only interested in it insofar as metaphysical arguments and ideas are necessary to support the overall argument.
    3. Thankfully, metaphysics is no longer regarded as the meaningless nonsense it was supposed to be under the Logical Positivists but as a way of addressing questions that don’t have any other method of approach, and ‘metaphysical’ is no longer a term of abuse.
    4. I do note, though that some metaphysical questions – by their nature – can never have empirical answers. The Logical Positivists would have these down as ‘meaningless’, but I take them as meaningful but indeterminate (except for the individual experiencing the situation in question). See, for example, my discussion of Forward versus Backward Psychological Continuity86.
  3. Logic of Identity87
    1. Identity as a logical concept is – or ought to be – rather uninteresting. Contra Wittgenstein88 in the Tractatus, I consider the concept of identity to be both useful and essential.
    2. Despite much argument to the contrary, there’s only one type of identity – that which satisfies Leibniz’s Law of the Indiscernibility of Identicals and is an equivalence relation.
    3. That said, there’s a dispute going back to Joseph Butler and Thomas Reid as to whether there are two forms of identity, one allegedly falsely so-called, namely:-
      1. Strict and Philosophical, and
      2. Loose and Popular
    4. The idea behind this suggestions is that the conditions for the persistence of an object should be really strict – probably involving mereological89 essentialism90 – so that nothing ‘really’ persists through time. At the moment I’m not sure whether this suggestion is true but useless or simply false. We need the concepts of identity and persistence91 for all sorts of practical reasons, and a choice of concepts that never apply in the real world is no help.
    5. While rejecting them, I will still need to consider various deviant “identities” for the light they shed on the issues at hand. They are listed below. Wrong answers to tough questions can be enlightening.
    6. As for the standard notion of identity here are two “Laws” attributed to Leibniz92:-
      1. The Law of the Indiscernibility of Identicals: this just appears to be a law of logic, and is (almost) universally accepted. It states that if “two” objects are identical (that is, “they” are the same object picked out by two descriptions) then “they” have exactly the same properties – both intrinsic and relational.
      2. The Law of the Identity of Indiscernibles: this is a more contentious – and metaphysical – suggestion, and is that if “two” objects share all the same intrinsic and relational properties, they are identical (ie there is only one object, but picked out by different descriptions).
    7. The (apparent) problems with the first93 law are (at least) twofold:-
      1. The same object can have different properties at different times. This is the problem of temporary intrinsics94, and the logic of identity95 is tied up with resolving this issue.
      2. Intensional properties are excluded from consideration – as revealed by the masked man fallacy: the fact that I don’t know that the masked man is my father – though I do know that my father is my father – doesn’t mean that the masked man isn’t my father.
    8. The second Law seems reasonable enough for ordinary macroscopic objects, but
      1. It is allegedly false for quantum objects, and could also be false in a universe consisting of two exactly similar spheres. It is neither a logical nor a necessary truth, if it is true at all.
      2. However, if it is false, it seems to demand haecceities96, where things are distinct just because they are distinct (something empiricists dislike).
    1. Numerical Identity97
      1. There is an initial ambiguity that needs clearing up. To quote the Synopsis of "DeGrazia (David) - Human Identity and Bioethics":
        1. When philosophers address personal identity, they usually explore numerical identity: What are the criteria for a person's continuing existence?
        2. When non-philosophers address personal identity, they often have in mind narrative identity98: Which characteristics of a particular person are salient to her self-conception?
      2. DeGrazia explores both conceptions, and acknowledges a debt99 to Eric Olson for the former and Marya Schechtman for the latter.
      3. Anyway, numerical identity is the relation a thing holds to itself and to nothing else. This definition is agreed to be rather circular, but the intention is clear. The term “numerical” is used because we use the concept of numerical identity in counting things. Things picked out under different concepts are only counted once if they are numerically identical – if they are the very same thing. I may be a man, a person, a father, a grandfather, a student of philosophy but I’m only to be counted once.
      4. As is noted under the above topic of the Logic of Identity100, “identity” has been divided into two further senses, namely:-
        1. Strict and Philosophical, and
        2. Loose and Popular
        If this division is correct, then it is only the “Strict and Philosophical” version of “identity” that is Numerical Identity properly so-called.
      5. However, it is unclear just how strict the “Strict and Philosophical” version should be. If it requires mereological101 essentialism102, then it has no application for material things other than “simples”.
      6. It has to be noted that lots of puzzles related to persistence – for instance fission – rely on the premise that “identity” is an equivalence relation, which may not be the case in the “Loose and Popular” sense of the term – if this usage could be clarified.
      7. I will continue to assume that the persistence of organism – despite the continual change of parts – is correctly described as identity in the “Strict and Philosophical” sense.
    2. Similarity103
      1. The logic of similarity, like the logic of identity104, is a prerequisite for understanding continuity105 and change106.
      2. It is important to distinguish identity from exact similarity, as in the case of "identical" twins" which are not identical in the strict logical sense.
      3. Some initial thoughts:-
        1. “Exact Similarity” is an equivalence relation in that it is reflexive, symmetric and transitive.
        2. “Similarity” is less obviously an equivalence relation – however it is defined – because the transitivity relation may be deemed to fail.
        3. “Identical twins” – despite the suggestion above – are not even “exactly similar” in the strict sense, as it’s only genetically that they are exactly similar. In principle, each set of chromosomes in either twin is exactly similar to any other. And, I suppose, we could say that as their genomes are abstract objects, they are numerically identical. But the bodies and minds of identical twins – while “similar”, barring accidents, are not “exactly similar”, other than immediately after birth (and then only if we’re lucky).
        4. “Exactly similar” individuals would seem to have all non-relational properties in common. To make the term useful in practical life, we might have to allow some latitude. If I want my television replaced by an “exactly similar” one, I want one that’s how the one I bought ought to have been without whatever defects are inducing me to return it. Nor may I care for trivial differences in weight, surface marks and the like.
        5. “Similarity” applies to particular properties of things (“wearing similar ties”) or to individuals in their entirety (as “identical twins”).
    3. Criteria of Identity107
      1. Maybe the distinction between Criteria of Identity and Persistence Criteria108 is that the former can be synchronic, or refer to multiple sightings of what may be the same thing. The latter refers to change109.
      2. We might want to be assured that the Morning Star is (identical to) the Evening Star, which is Venus – and – indeed – whether it is necessarily110 identical to Venus, given that it is Venus. Or so claims Saul Kripke. This is the topic of “Identity Criteria”, even if Venus remains unchanged during the period of interest.
      3. Persistence Criteria111 – in this example – would relate to whether Venus would remain Venus if it merged with a large asteroid and a hunk broke off, or suchlike.
      4. For the moment, I just note that there are two categories of criterion:-
        → Metaphysical and
        → Epistemological.
      5. Metaphysical criteria are those that, if they obtain, establish identity irrespective of whether anyone knows about them.
      6. Epistemological criteria reflect how we know that identity obtains.
      7. I might also add that there are different criteria of identity for different kinds112 of thing, including:-
        1. Persons113,
        2. Organisms114,
        3. Inanimate Physical Objects: presumably considered as lumps of Matter115, or as Artifacts116,
        4. Events: Which would include Lives117, if that’s what lives are,
        5. Etc.
        But not for “things in general” (or “persons in general”, for that matter).
    4. Only 'X' and 'Y' Principle118
      1. This principle (also known as the ‘Only X and Y Rule’, with and without various forms of quotation mark around the variables) – probably first enunciated by Harold Noonan – claims that in saying whether X is identical to Y, the existence of some other entity Z should have no bearing.
      2. The principle is averse to Closest Continuer119 theories, where a “better candidate” – often in modal situations – can undermine the case of an entity to be the continuer of – that is, identical to – an earlier entity; so, “X would have been identical to Y were it not for the existence of a better candidate Z”.
      3. As such, there is some connection with supposed Contingent Identity120.
      4. I accept this principle, though this is not the case for all who clearly understand and reference it.
      • Closest Continuer121
        1. “Closest Continuer” is another term for the concept “Best Candidate”.
        2. This situation occurs where we have more than one candidate as the continuer of an individual, and we feel we have to make a choice because:
          1. There is only one social or legal role to fill, and
          2. The logic of identity causes a problem.
        3. Consider Locke122’s prince and cobbler or Williams’s body swapping123, but without the swap (ie. where only half the thought experiment is performed, so we have two identical psychologies). If the cobbler’s body is informed by the prince’s mind, then Locke claims that the cobbler is the prince. But if the prince still exists in his own mind as well, there’s a better candidate (says Nozick, for instance in "Nozick (Robert) - Personal Identity Through Time" or "Nozick (Robert) - The Identity of the Self: Introduction"), so the cobbler then isn’t the prince after all – but how (so the objection goes) can the existence of someone depend on the existence of someone else?
        4. A Perdurantist124 can accommodate these situations. This is by saying that prior to the point of decision, there were always two person stages co-located (ie. there were always two persons present, they just happened to share all their stages up to that point), and that only following the point of decision can we distinguish them. So, we don’t have to choose who is really the prince – they both are, in the sense that each post-decision spatio-temporal worm forms part of a larger spatio-temporal worm that includes pre-decision princely stages. Logical identity only applies to complete spatio-temporal worms, and there were always two worms sharing stages.
        5. Of course, we might have a convention125 that enables us to choose in a principled manner who can fill which role (the prince remains in his palace, the cobbler’s body informed by the prince’s mind retires to a madhouse). Yet (if we adopt the perdurantist view and the psychological criterion126) they are both the prince for all that.
        6. My own view used to be that the cobbler (ie. cobbler-body) just undergoes a radical psychological change, and so remains the cobbler all along. But I now think the thought experiment may be underspecified. Given the supervenience127 of mind on brain128, the superposition of one psychology on another would have radical physical consequences that must destroy the original, and replace it with a clone of the copied brain. But it is a clone, for all that, and not the original. I need to consider more carefully what change129, and how rapid a change, a thing can undergo and remain the same thing.
    5. Heterodox Views
      • The orthodox approach to the Logic of Identity130 is to treat it as a necessary equivalence relation. I follow this approach. However, in response to various TEs131, deviant forms of the Identity relation have been devised, and some are still popular.
      • Contingent Identity132
        1. The idea of Contingent Identity arose133 in "Gibbard (Allan) - Contingent Identity", which considers the TE of the Statue and the Clay134.
        2. The TE relates to the topic of Constitution135. We are to consider a statue and the lump of clay of which is constituted. If we arrange things carefully, the two might coincidentally come into and go out of existence at the same time. If so, are they not identical, given that they would seem to have all the same properties? Yet, they might not have been temporally coincident – in the normal case, the lump would be formed first, and only slowly be sculpted into a statue. So, they are only contingently identical, the argument goes. And this TE shows (it is said) that far from being a necessary relation, identity may only contingently hold.
        3. The logic of identity136 is so secure that it is sensible to look for other explanations of the TE. Of course, the divinations of just what is wrong with the TE are many, which doesn’t necessarily mean that the TE is misleading for any of these reasons.
        4. Baker137, for instance, has “relation to an art world” as one of the properties the Statue has which is not had by the Lump. So, by Leibniz’s Law138, the two are never identical.
        5. I’m suspicious of any TE involving artefacts139.
      • Indeterminate Identity140
        1. The idea of Indeterminate Identity arises in response to certain TEs. However, the logic of identity is so secure that it is sensible to look for other explanations of any TE that appears to bring it into doubt.
        2. Two seemingly related suggestions are Vague Identity141 (VI) and Indeterminate Identity (II).
        3. I’m not sure of the distinction between VI and II, having studied neither in any detail, but:-
          1. I’d have thought that VI is a metaphysical claim alongside the suggestion – allegedly refuted by Gareth Evans – that there can be vague objects.
          2. In contrast to this, II sounds like an epistemological claim – that there are identity claims the truth-values of which we cannot know.
          3. The above distinction is somewhat moot if the puzzle of Vagueness142 is seen as at root epistemological, as by Timothy Williamson.
          4. To make matters worse, there are at least two other terms used:-
            → “Indefinite Identity”, and
            → “Imperfect Identity”
            Both these terms sound metaphysical, so I’ve assumed (for now) that they are the same as “Vague Identity143”.
        4. However, a quick look through the abstract of the papers on the reading lists suggests that the two notions are related – in that papers titled as related to one actually seem to relate to the other. "Parsons (Terence) - Indeterminate Identity" looks like a good study of the whole topic but uses II to mean indeterminacy in the world, which is a metaphysical claim.
      • Occasional Identity144
        1. Occasional identity is a response to TEs such as the fission145 of an amoeba into two qualitatively identical ones. We want to say that both are numerically identical to the parent, but the logic of identity146 forbids this unless we claim that the two daughters are numerically identical to one another, though even this seemingly-impossible claim has been supported: see "Miller (Kristie) - Travelling in Time: How to Wholly Exist in Two Places at the Same Time".
        2. So, the claim is that the amoebae were once identical (and co-incident: though not in the sense supposed by Constitution147 or Perdurance148 or co-location), but now are not.
        3. This makes numerical identity149 into a temporary (hence “occasional”) matter.
        4. It’s important not to confuse “temporary identity” with “temporal identity”. Maybe some philosophers – even if not confused – have been careless with their terminology. Some philosophers seem to use “temporal identity” for “diachronic identity” while others use it for “occasional identity”.
        5. My preferred answer to this TE is to appeal to perdurance150 – the daughters were always distinct, but just shared their pre-fission stages. There are other explanations.
      • Partial Identity151
        1. It seems that “Partial identity” is a mereological152 claim, that something that has some of the parts of another things is “partially identical” to it. Two things are “partially identical” to the degree that they share parts. So, on this account, I am partially identical to my own head, and I am more partially identical to the mereological fusion of my head and my right hand.
        2. However, the term also seems to apply to properties153 (take to be universals154 with universals viewed as their instantiations).
      • Relative Identity155
        1. Relative identity is invoked to try to explain the intuition that – following certain exigencies (say, a nasty bang on the head; or the Phineas Gage situation (See "Tobia (Kevin Patrick) - Personal Identity and the Phineas Gage Effect") – I might be the same human being156, but not the same person.
        2. So, the identity relation is indexed to a sortal157. It is said that it makes no sense to say that A is the same individual as B unless we say “the same what”.
        3. My view is that – while it is true that we need to be careful what individual we are to pick out for identity claims – once we have picked out an individual (say in more than one way), it is self-identical whatever description we are using. And necessarily so as Saul Kripke has shown in his Hesperus / Phosphorus / Venus discussion in "Kripke (Saul) - Naming and Necessity".
        4. So, when we are thinking of what we imagine to be a single thing under two descriptions, then if we imagine the thing under one description coming apart from the thing under another, then one or other description doesn’t really pick out that thing as a substance158, but (say) picks out a property of that substance.
        5. So, returning to our example, when we say “same person”, the term “person” is ambiguous.
          1. It can either stand as a proxy for “human being”, or
          2. “Same person” can mean “has the same personality159”.
        6. When this is understood, in neither case are we tempted into espousing relative identity:-
          1. In this case we have identity, and
          2. In this case we are comparing a property of a substance, and substances can change their properties over time without ceasing to be the same substance.
        7. So, Phineas Gage continues to be the same substance (human being – or maybe human animal) despite a radical change of personality.
      • Vague Identity160
        1. I have nothing to say on this topic other than what I’ve said under Indeterminate Identity161.
        1. Sorites162
          1. The Sorites paradox – that of the heap – arises in many areas of philosophy, but specifically on the topic of vagueness163.
          2. It is a TE164 invented by the Greeks – see "Diogenes Laertius, Galen & Cicero - On the Sorites".
          3. From my perspective, there are two points of interest:-
            1. Firstly, just when is an individual correctly classified as an X, where X is a vague concept – or an epithet which may be applied as a matter of degree.
              → Specifically, is “Person165” such a concept? Are there Degrees of Personhood166?
            2. Secondly, as an argument-form.
              Peter Unger used Sorites-style arguments to argue that we and other things don’t exist. I discuss these arguments under Nihilism167.
        2. Vagueness168
          1. Vagueness is a wide and interesting area of enquiry, and I will restrict most of my investigations to areas relevant to personal identity. So,
            1. While there can be clear paradigm cases it may be vague (ie. uncertain, or indeterminate) whether some particular instance is a paradigm case.
            2. There can be vague boundaries to the concept person169.
            3. Also, maybe there can be persons of varying degrees170.
            4. Maybe some higher mammals possess many of the qualities of persons, but to a reduced degree.
          2. All this is covered, more or less, under other topics, including Vague Identity171, Indeterminate Identity172, Problem of the Many173, and Sorites174.
  4. Ontology175
    1. Ontology is the study of what exists.
    2. In the context of the philosophy of personal identity, ontological questions ask what persons176 really are.
    3. Maybe it’s best first of all to step back, with Locke177, and consider the sorts178 of thing that persist and establish the persistence conditions179 for these sorts. For example:-
      1. Bodies180,
      2. Animals181,
      3. Human Beings182.
    4. The ontological question is whether – with Locke – we should add Persons183 to this list.
    5. Lynne Rudder Baker184 held the view that when a person comes into existence, so does a new entity, of a new kind185. A world without persons would be ontologically impoverished.
    6. But is this so, or do existing entities simply gain new properties186?
    7. We must even (on certain definitions of PERSON187) ask whether there are any188, or whether the term can be eliminated. See:-
      1. "Unger (Peter) - Why There Are No People" and
      2. "Unger (Peter) - I Do Not Exist".
    8. Since Unger’s sorites189 arguments eliminate all material entities with parts190, not just persons (though the elimination of persons on this account depends on the assumption that they are material entities with parts) I, along with the later Unger, wish to reject their conclusions by denying the soundness of the argument-form.
    1. Existence191
      1. For something to persist192 is for it to continue to exist. So, we need a basic understanding of just what it is for something to exist, one of the foundational questions of metaphysics.
      2. The topic here is one of logic193 – what it is for a thing to exist – rather than ontology194what exists, though there will be some overlap between the discussions of the two concepts.
      3. There’s a question whether existence is univocal. Do abstract objects exist in the same way as concrete particulars? What sort of thing are personalities195, and where, if anywhere, do they exist?
      4. Some matters of existence are covered elsewhere in this Chapter, namely:-
        1. Vague Existence196
      5. Other matters are to be addressed in other Chapters:-
        1. The various Nihilist197 positions in Personal Identity: Chapter 2198
        2. The possibility of Intermittent Existence199: Chapter 5200
        3. Disembodied Existence201: Chapter 11202
      6. There are many interesting questions about existence that I won’t have time or space to address, unless they come up as essential factors in arguments about Personal Identity. For instance:-
        1. Meinongian claims, and the possibility of Subsistence for things – like unicorns – that don’t exist.
        2. The notion of necessary203 existence This topic gets tangled up with the Ontological Argument204 for the existence of God. I’ve omitted all but a taste of this topic from the reading list.
    2. Mind205
      1. The topic of Mind – and just what we mean by minds – is very large, and not one I can address in any detail.
      2. However it’s central to the Psychological View206, which says that this is what we are207 most fundamentally.
      3. At the very least, having a mind is a necessary but not sufficient condition for being a Person208, though individuals who have ‘lost their minds’ may be accorded the status of persons on account of their past mindedness.
      4. However, Animalism209 denies that the mental has anything to do with our persistence conditions210 – we can survive211 without any mind at all, though we might not have anything that matters to us212.
      5. Mindedness is a lesser property than Consciousness213, let alone Consciousness of Self214.
      6. It seems that minds can be attributed to appropriately-configured machines215, and even to plants216.
      7. Whether reality is correctly divided between the mental and the physical is discussed under Dualism217.
    3. Matter218
      1. “Matter” is rather an outdated term these days as a contrast to “mind219”, with relativistic Mass/Energy being preferred, and “physicalism220” being preferred to “materialism” as the contrast to dualism221 (or idealism).
      2. However, the persistence conditions222 of “masses of matter” are usually different from those of the things that matter constitutes223, or so it is said (and sometimes denied).
      3. In the (alleged) “corpse224problem for animalism225, the corpse is said to be distinct from the animal226 for the above reason, so where does the corpse come from? Has it always existed co-located with the animal? Do we then end up with a constitution account of animalism227, whereby it is the animal – rather than the person – that is constituted by the body228? This will be considered in later Chapters.
      • Naturalism229
        1. Ontological Naturalism is the assumption – tacit or explicit – that there are no supernatural entities or causes in nature. "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Naturalism and the First-Person Perspective: What Is The Problem?" distinguishes two forms of naturalism:-
          1. Weaker: there is no supernatural reality.
          2. Stronger: science is the arbiter of reality and knowledge.
        2. Methodological Naturalism makes no ontological claims, but just adopts the reasonable stance that we should proceed (in the sciences, but also in historical investigations and in everyday life) as though Weak Naturalism were true. This form of naturalism cannot be adopted when addressing supernatural claims, without begging the question. The same goes for Weak Naturalism, of course. But Strong Naturalism (in the absence of Methodological Naturalism) might be consistent with supernatural claims. But since supernatural events are – to say the least – rare, it is best to presume naturalism unless forced by the evidence to assume otherwise – and even then it may be best simply to await further evidence or the advance of science.
        3. What Baker terms Strong Naturalism seems to be the same as, or to include, Naturalised Epistemology.
        4. I just note in passing that “naturalisation” – that is, explaining in fully naturalistic terms (possibly involving reduction230) – is a process that can be applied to just about any field.
        5. I leave it as an open question at this stage whether naturalism is equivalent to physicalism231, implies it, is implied by it, or is orthogonal to it.
        6. The relevance of this topic to my Thesis stems from my interest on the Christian Materialists232, and also from the topic of resurrection233, or other “possibilities” of post-mortem survival234.
      • Physicalism235
        1. I reject any form of mind-body dualism236 or immaterialist monism. There are no souls237, if a soul is an immaterial substance separable from a body238.
        2. But, I need to investigate Dean Zimmerman’s recent “emergent dualism” (see "Zimmerman (Dean) - Reply to Baker's 'Christians Should Reject Mind-Body Dualism'"), despite the fact that his main motivation is a desire to conform to a traditionalist reading of Christian doctrine.
        3. There is a comparatively-recent move within certain Christian circles (by the Christian Materialists239) to adopt physicalism and focus on Resurrection240 – rather than the immortality of the soul – as a solution to most-mortem survival.
        4. Given my focus on physicalism, I will need to give some attention to the identity and persistence criteria241 of material objects242 as such.
        5. There are too many versions of physicalism for its endorsement to deliver much without clarification, so I will need to pursue the matter in some detail.
        6. For the moment, I simply wish to note (or claim) that:
          1. “The physical” encompasses both body243 and brain244 (ie. the physical criterion245 of personal identity would be satisfied if continuity of brain were essential for the persistence of the person246).
          2. The brain is more important than other physical organs for the persistence of the human being247 or the human person248.
        7. Consequently, I think it worthwhile to conduct a detailed investigation into the functional roles of the various parts of the brain, CNS (Central Nervous System) and PNS (Peripheral Nervous System) and how these and the residue of the body are coupled together.
        8. Such matters may be relevant to the realism of the various thought experiments249 about brain transplants250, cerebrum transplants and such-like.
        9. It is, however, debatable how important these details are. For example, debates seem to continue about the possible identity of pain and C-fibre-firing, when it’s now acknowledged by all the participants in such debates that the physical realisation of pain-states in mammals requires a lot more than C-fibres (see Wikipedia: Group C nerve fiber). The assumption seems to be that the details don’t matter and that similar arguments could be constructed whatever the physical realisation of mental states might be.
    4. Kinds251
      1. This may be an important topic, particularly in distinguishing Natural Kinds252 from other Kinds, as the question whether Persons253 (or even human persons254) fall under a natural kind concept is critical to the debate between animalists255 and those favouring the constitution view256.
      2. I can’t see much difference between Sortals257 and Kinds, and Natural Kinds258 are obviously a subset of Kinds. Phase Sortals259 are a bit like jobs, so may not be kinds at all.
      3. But if (as I believe) persons are Phase Sortals260 of human animals261, then this can’t be right if persons form a kind as seems likely.
      4. Kinds may be instantiated Concepts262; so, are sets of things, but with a principled array of entry-criteria, which would allow members of multiple natural Kinds to belong (for Persons263, this might be the usual suspects – God, aliens, human beings, the great Apes, and so on).
      • Natural Kinds264
        1. This topic is a subsidiary to that of Kinds265.
          1. A kind is a way of categorising things.
          2. Some ways of categorising things are more “natural” than others – ie they reflect the way the world is, rather than the way we and our interests are. Natural kinds “carve the world at the joints”.
          3. So, toothbrushes form a kind, but it is not a natural kind, whereas lions form a natural kind, as does gold.
        2. I have some questions on Natural Kinds related to the topic of PID:-
          1. Is the concept of a PERSON266 a natural kind concept?
          2. Can PERSON be analysed in terms of other concepts, or do we presuppose it?
          3. See, for example, "Madell (Geoffrey) - The Identity of the Self" for the alleged unanalysability of the concept PERSON.
          4. It may be the case that SENTIENT BEING (or RATIONAL BEING) is the natural kind concept, and that PERSON, with its social / legal / moral overtones, is something cultures assign.
          5. Even so, the concept HUMAN ANIMAL267 is really the natural kind concept, exemplars of which gain or lose the properties268 of sentience, rationality, and even the first-person perspective269.
        3. When does a natural kind come into existence?
          1. Natural kinds are concepts270, and such questions are controversial.
          2. Maybe I should side-step this question and simply talk about when the concept becomes instantiated, which is when the first individual that falls under it comes into existence, though this may be before the concept is formulated or even conceived of.
        1. Universals271
          1. What have Universals to do with Personal Identity? Well, not a lot – except David Lewis introduced them as an example to distinguish perdurance272 from endurance273 – Universals being analogous to enduring entities as they are (allegedly) wholly present in each particular that possesses the property covered by the Universal. So, (a particular shade of) redness is (said to be) wholly present in each red object exemplifying that shade.
          2. There’s also a connection with Natural Kinds274. In "Hawley (Katherine) & Bird (Alexander) - What are Natural Kinds?", the authors suggest that Natural Kinds are “Complex Universals”.
          3. I also – probably heretically – have the view that Universals themselves might have persistence conditions275. My example is that of a book. “Pride and Prejudice” is a book – but both a Universal that can be variously instantiated in physical books, or (now) eBooks. But it (or a better example) might go through several editions. What makes all these editions “of the same book”?
      • Metamorphosis276
        1. Metamorphosis involves a radical and fairly rapid change of bodily277 form in the same individual278, by comparison with “business as usual” growth and maturation – catastrophic injury doesn’t count. No doubt this begs the question somewhat in assuming that we do indeed have the same individual.
        2. Tadpoles → frogs and caterpillars → butterflies are, in seems to me, different kinds of cases of metamorphosis. If there is anything it’s like to be a caterpillar or a tadpole, the caterpillar’s experience of metamorphosis will differ from that of the tadpole’s, as the caterpillar transforms into the butterfly via goo, whereas the tadpole’s metamorphosis into the frog is continuous279 with it remaining an active organism280.
        3. While “Tadpole → Frog” is a paradigm case of Metamorphosis, presumably there’s no more metamorphosis in this transformation than there is in fetus281 → neonate in humans and mammals generally? Isn’t the difference between the maturation of a tadpole and fetus simply the environment and food-source? Maybe not, since the tadpole’s gills and tail have to be re-absorbed and the material used for the frog’s front and rear legs respectively. The use of the collagenase enzyme in this process is described in detail in "Al-Khalili (Jim) & McFadden (Johnjoe) - Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology", Chapter 3, pp. 110-112.
        4. If the account of Sortals282 is correct, metamorphosis involving a change of Ultimate Sortal is a logical impossibility (in the sense of the very same thing metamorphosing as in the frog to prince case). I suppose, in this last case, we might have the Ultimate Sortal as Organism283 of which Frog and Prince (or Human Being284) are Phase Sortals285, but then, what is an Ultimate Sortal in one context is a Phase Sortal in another. Is this an issue?
        5. How should the (supposed) case of bodily transformation to be expected by the Christian at Christ’s return be understood? In that case – see 1 Corinthians 15:52286 – rather than dying and being resurrected287 to a new body, the living body is “… changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump”. Is this a case of metamorphosis? What about the dead (supposedly) coming out of their graves during the same event? Are these Corpses288 metamorphosed into (resurrection) bodies?
        6. "Bynum (Caroline) - Metamorphosis and Identity" is presumably the jumping-off point for this topic.
    5. Artifacts289
      1. Since artifacts are human inventions, they do not fall under natural kind290 concepts, and so their persistence conditions may be to some degree a matter of convention291. Since human beings292 are (at least) organisms293, analogies with artifacts may be moot, to say the least.
      2. An interesting notion – I think due to Trenton Merricks (in "Merricks (Trenton) - Objects and Persons") and others – is nihilism294 with respect to artifacts. This is the view that there are no statues, but only atoms arranged statuewise.
        • If this is a correct account, then this would undermine the prime support of the Constitution View295.
        • The reason being that statues, and the like, are prime examples and motivators of the CV, whereby you can have two things (of different sorts296) in the same place at the same time, one of which constitutes297 the other.
        • If there are no such statues, then all this falls apart.
        • Yet of course there are statues, but in what sense?
        • An idea I intend to play with (this may be Merricks’s, for all I know) is that artifacts are shared ideas (memes298) projected onto the physical objects (which are indeed collections of atoms arranged X-wise, and the form of the X-wise structure is deliberately chosen to enable it to perform its function).
        • This agrees with, say, Baker’s notion that statues exist only in relation to an art-world. But they are ideas rather than things.
      3. See also the Ship of Theseus299 under this head. It is the standard conundrum concerning the persistence conditions of artifacts, which are also the clearest contenders for the existence of intermittent objects300. Some philosophers (sensibly) claim that a bicycle can survive being disassembled and then re-assembled, with the (rash) assumption that the bicycle doesn't exist in its disassembled state. Well, my view is that the bicycle does exist in the disassembled state. I'd be miffed if someone returned my bicycle in a disassembled state, but my miffedness wouldn't be because I thought I'd not received my bike back, but because it would be a pain to re-assemble it.
      4. The intermittent existence of objects is relevant to the issue of resurrection301 for physicalists. But the artifact model isn’t appropriate here. A bike can't survive its parts being mulched up and re-manufactured. In any case, we can't logically get our original atoms back (as organisms302 exchange atoms with their environment all the time, so there's no such things as "my atoms", since any such things would (over time) be shared with other organisms).
      5. There’s a disagreement – it seems – between Western and Eastern traditions as to whether material continuity and connectedness303 are required for the persistence of artifacts – in particular, for buildings. Japanese Shinto temples can be rebuilt next to one another and swapped over on a 20-year cycle while remaining “the same temple” (or temple complex). It’s the form that’s important, not the matter304, and it’s deemed essential to keep the matter in good condition – though not, of course, the same matter – using traditional crafts to replace it. See "Han (Byung-Chul) - Shanzhai: Deconstruction in Chinese". This is something of a problem even in the Western tradition, as the reductio of “Trigger’s Broom” exemplifies.
      6. There is the claim that adopting a functional approach to personal identity is effectively treating persons as artifacts (which are defined by their functions – eg. a corkscrew – though there can be broken exemplars that can no longer perform the function). Presumably this is intended as a reductio ad absurdum of the functionalist305 account of personhood.
      7. Wiggins touches on the subject of persons as artifacts in "Wiggins (David) - Personal Identity" (in "Wiggins (David) - Sameness and Substance Renewed"). From a quick look, it seems to me that Wiggins is saying that if we tinker around with human beings enough (whether genetically or by heroic surgical intervention), we have effectively turned them into artifacts of our own devising, and so there is no longer a natural-kind306-constrained answer to questions of their persistence conditions307. Since Wiggins seems to equate persons308 and human beings309, the thought experiments310 if carried out in a world would lead to persons that are artifacts. But maybe he’s saying something deeper.
      • Scattered Objects311
        1. The possibility of scattered objects is of fairly limited interest in the study of Personal Identity, though the topic is discussed passim in "Olson (Eric) - Immanent Causation and Life After Death", and also in my review312 of "Zimmerman (Dean) - Problems for Animalism".
        2. The concept features in the discussion of intermittent objects313 where – rather than admit of such things – an alternative is to allow the disassembled bicycle to be a scattered object.
        3. Another locus of interest is in certain medieval concepts of the resurrection of the body. If the body is gathered together again from its “dust”, then maybe it had continued to exist as a scattered object. The problem with this is that organisms don’t own their parts essentially, and they can be shared over time by a number of organisms (witness the old worry about cannibalism, and the counterfactual reply that the body “rejects” cannibalised flesh).
        4. A problem with allowing scattered objects is that it undermines our intuition that one of the things that grounds the persistence314 of material objects is spatio-temporal continuity315.
        5. Scattered objects arise perforce if we hold to mereological essentialism316, or allow that any gerrymandered object exists317 and has its parts essentially.
  5. Substance & Process
    1. Individuals318
      1. We often refer to persons319, or human beings320, as “individuals”, but this is just an index for “X”, where “X” is a “person”, “human being”, or such-like, without being explicit about what category of being is referred to.
      2. Hence, it may betray confusion or uncertainty about the sort321 of thing we are322, an equation of the various possibilities, or the assumption of one position as the only available one.
      3. Be this as it may, the main topic to be covered under this head will be the problem of individuation – how to tell one thing from another.
      4. Individuation is an important question because until we have identified a particular individual, and separated it from others in the locality, we can’t sensibly talk about its persistence323.
      5. The whole idea of individuation depends – in part – on adopting a substance324 rather than process325 view of metaphysics. However, if we take the process line, we then have to have criteria for individuating processes, which may be even more difficult, so the question doesn’t just go away.
    2. Substance326
      1. This is a big subject but, basically, I take a substance to be an individual (relatively) self-standing thing (a particular) that has properties that may change over time.
      2. My specific interest in this topic is whether persons – qua persons327 – are substances. This depends what the term “person” refers to. My contention is that “person” is a property (or collection of properties, or an honorific) of a substance rather than a substance in its own right. So, animalism328 would have it that the substance is the human animal329, which for part of its existence has the property of being a person.
      3. There’s the question whether the substance-view is inconsistent with perdurantism330, whereby individuals are not wholly present at a time, but are “space-time worms”. On this view, for an animalist, a person would be a section (or a collection of sections) of the space-time worm that is the human animal.
      4. But on either view, a person is a phase sortal331 of the human animal.
      • Sortals332
        1. Using Howard Robinson’s terminology ("Robinson (Howard) - Dualism (Stanford)"), the Ultimate Sort of a thing is that property333 without which the thing ceases to exist.
        2. However, an individual falling under a Phase Sortal334 can lose the property that defines the phase without ceasing to exist.
        3. Ultimate Sorts are presumably the same as Baker335’s Primary Kinds336, though I can’t remember if she has an analogue of a Phase Sortal.
        4. The standard example is of a Human Being337 (as the Ultimate Sort) and Child (as a Phase Sortal).
        5. So, is personhood338 an attribute of a human being, like “childhood”, that a human being can either possess or lack, or are persons ontologically339 separate from “their” human beings?
        6. Wiggins340 argues that we can’t talk of the persistence conditions341 of anything until we know what sort it is.
        7. Olson342 claims that it’s futile to talk of the persistence conditions of persons343 per se – if human beings, God and angels are all persons – since their persistence conditions (assuming the existence of God and angels, for the sake of the argument) are completely different. This lack of a common set of persistence conditions would indicate that Person344 is not an Ultimate Sort.
        1. Phase Sortals345
          1. I may have misappropriated this term. In its standard usage (I am told), a phase sortal is a biologically-motivated term. The clearest examples are of individuals that metamorphose346; for example the butterfly: egg → larva (caterpillar) → pupa (chrysalis) → adult (butterfly). The caterpillar is a phase sortal of the organism, with clear spatio-temporal boundaries. My standard example is of Child, which is a (vaguely347-boundaried) biological phase of the substance sortal Human Being348.
          2. An example of a possible human phase sortal that is a non-person349 is Infant. This example might be especially relevant to the topic, because “infant” is derived from the Latin in-fans “without speech”, and the capacity for speech is often claimed to be an essential prerequisite for being a person350.
          3. Any suggestion that the concept Person351 is “no more than” a phase sortal of an umbrella concept isn’t intended to imply unimportance. Rather, simply that persons might not form a kind352 (and in particular a natural kind353), nor be substances354, but that personhood might be a property355 of substances (of animals356, for instance).
          4. What about “periodic” phase sortals such as Student? A human being can “pop in and out of” studenthood by registering or deregistering, but he can’t do this with childhood. Which model suits personhood? See the discussion of intermittent objects357.
          5. However, if the above suggestion that the concept Phase Sortal is biologically motivated is correct, a purely social concept such as Student is not a phase sortal in this sense, and Person might not be either. I could, of course, invent a new term of art.
          6. All roads seem to lead to Wiggins358 (Paul Snowdon refers to him a lot in the context of Animalism359, though I seem to remember that Eric Olson thinks Wiggins isn’t a true Animalist, but a supporter of the psychological view360).
    3. Process Metaphysics361
      1. A foundation-stone of my – and most philosophers’ – account of identity is that “things” – or at least some “things” – exist362. Without things363 to persist, there can be no persistence364 and no diachronic identity.
      2. There has been much discussion about just which things exist, and which things make up – or compose365 – other things.
      3. This is the Substance366 view of Ontology367.
      4. However, other philosophers cast doubt on the existence of things, and prefer to focus on processes – in particular, biological ones. This is “process metaphysics”, or “naturalistic metaphysics”.
      5. Anne Sophie Meincke, in collaboration with John Dupré, seems to be proposing a non-substance368 version of Animalism369.
      6. Also, it seems that Chinese philosophy eschews substance in favour of process, at least according to Byung-Chul Han.
      7. I’m not sure how much of an impact this stance has on my research. I’d already suggested that animals370 are each individuated by a life371, itself a process.
  6. Convention372
    1. Can it ever be right to say that whether a thing persists373 or not – or even exists374 or not – is merely a matter of convention?
    2. Because of the existence of a First Person Perspective375, it seems difficult to imagine in the case of Persons376, but it may be true of artifacts377.
    3. Issues arise with Thought Experiments378 that stretch the boundaries of our Concepts379, so that it might be argued that it is arbitrary whether an individual survives the vicissitude described – maybe inadequately – in the TE.
    4. But, it might be argued, individuals falling under a Natural Kind380 concept persist or fail to do so irrespective of our language and our concepts.
    5. However, if personhood is an honorific, rather than a natural kind, concept then whether an individual persists as a person might indeed be conventional – depending on our concept person381.
    6. But whether an individual persists as an animal382 is not a matter of convention, though it might be subject to epistemological vagueness383.
    1. Concepts384
      1. Concepts are important in "Unger (Peter) - I Do Not Exist". Unger’s answer to the problem of vagueness385 – as exemplified by the “disappearing chair” problem (atom-wise annihilation of the chair … just when does it cease to be?) – is that there never were any chairs, just our concept of a chair and atoms arranged chair-wise. We sit on the atoms, not on the concept, but we describe the atom-heap as a chair. But this concept is vague, or there is a family resemblance, so sometimes it’s not clear whether it applies or not.
      2. This may possibly be satisfactory for Artifacts386, but the big question is whether natural kind387 objects exist independently of our conceptual schemes. Certainly they do as atom-heaps, but it is unclear whether they do as answers to our concepts. So, various atom-heaps carry on existing388, but whether our concepts carry on applying is vague.
      3. Others (eg. Peter Van Inwagen) take the view that only mereological simples and organisms exist, which seems to be a similar view: nothing answers to our concept if it is not of an organism or a simple. Or, rather, it’s atoms arranged X-wise that answer to our concept of X in these circumstances.
      4. There seems to be something special about natural kind389 concepts, the persistence390 of whose exemplars (unlike those of artifact-concepts) don’t in any sense seem to depend on us and our conceptual schemes. Is PERSON391 a natural kind concept – rather than a qualification of an individual falling under a natural kind concept (such as human animal392)? If it isn’t, then are we simply left with semantic393 arguments, which – though logically inconsequential – have profound practical and ethical consequences?
      5. Are the arguments above really saying that artifacts don’t exist? Presumably artifacts depend on us for their existence as artifacts394, though not as lumps of matter.
      6. Lynne Rudder Baker argues that a new ontological395 entity (a painting) comes into existence because of the relation of an object (a canvas plus paint appropriately distributed) to an art-world. I need to press Baker here. Are all her analogies truly analogous? Given evolution396, even species-concepts (paradigms for natural kind397 concepts) are mobile rather than being eternally fixed. Yet Baker seems to think that it’s a relation to evolutionary history that makes an animal398 what it is (as distinct, presumably, from atoms arranged animal-wise).
      • Semantics399
        1. We need to separate those issues in the topic of personal identity that turn on matters of fact, and those that just depend on the meaning of our words. Sometimes, it is not clear which of these options is assumed in any particular case.
        2. For instance, David Wiggins’s view (shared by many others) is that we should use the term Person400 of individuals401 who belong to a kind402 whose typical members have certain capacities.
        3. This will allow us to use the term of individuals who don’t presently possess these capacities – which may be correct in the case of temporary loss of function – but also of those who never have and – most likely – never will possess them.
        4. Then, if we accord certain rights to Persons403 in this sense, we may act differently to some of those designated Persons404 than do those who only confer the title Person405 to those with the appropriate present (or normally-present) capacities.
        5. So, there is a practical difference. But is this difference generated only by confusion over words? If we adopt the “typical members” definition., then might we not then say that not all Persons have the same rights, and introduce a new term “Person406-Plus” for all of whose exemplars do deserve the rights? This would allow for Degrees of Personhood407 and, of course, the “typical members” definition may be adopted to resist this slide (as it might be seen).
        6. This will depend on whether Person408 is a natural kind409 concept410, and whether this kind strictly relates to Person or Person-Plus.
        7. My own view is that neither Person nor Person-Plus is a natural-kind concept, but is an honorific or description of properties possessed by exemplars of a true natural-kind concept – Human Animal411 or Human Being412.
    2. Fiction413
      1. This is a rather tangential topic for my Thesis, though fictional characters are (usually) persons414, so I have to say how I – as an animalist415 – can account for this given that they are not animals416. Not particularly hard.
      2. We might also consider what are the persistence conditions417 of a fictional character. Are there things his creator cannot do to the character without killing him off? Can the character be resurrected? What is the ontological418 status of a fictional character? In what sense – if any – do they exist419? What about characters – like Superman – that pass into the public domain? Or – like Dr. Who – that are portrayed as having different characters and bodies across what purports to be a single story-line?
      3. Various Thought Experiments420 rely on cases from science-fiction, the suspected impossibility of which can undermine their cogency. I discuss such Science-fiction cases later under the head of TEs421.
      4. Yuval Noah Harari argues that many of our everyday beliefs are “convenient fictions” rather than truths. They help to hold society422 – and the individuals423 within it – together.
      5. Myths divide into redundant fantasies and the still-current ways in which we speak of and seek to make sense of the world in ways that go beyond – or against – what can actually be known.
      6. Fictionalism appears as an alternative to realism with respect to mathematics, modality424 and the past425 (and probably elsewhere).
  7. Explanation426
    1. In the Introduction427 to this Thesis I said that the entire work will be an exercise in inference to the best explanation, so I need to give an account of what an explanation is. The Thesis needs to account for our intuitions428 in response to the various TEs429 and other situations and questions that arise, or else explain them away as confused. If there is a universal response, that is – though this isn’t always the case (consider the ‘transplant intuition430’ that ‘you go with your brain’, denied by card-carrying Animalists, though I suspect they feel the power of the intuition even so).
    2. This is the underlying reason for the methodology I’ve adopted – to try to tease out all the implications of a theory of Personal Identity – because ‘fixing’ a problem in one area may have unintended consequences in other areas. The entire implied ‘world view’ has to hang together as best as possible.
    3. I have certain prejudices as to what an explanation is – a bias towards modern scientific as against Aristotelian forms of explanation, whereby an explanation has to fill in the details of mechanism, hopefully with quantification, rather than be vaguely gesturing.
    4. I need to define and defend this position but, as it’s methodological and somewhat peripheral, without causing too much of a diversion from my main concerns. I can’t get into a full-blown study of the philosophy of science.
    1. Probability431
      1. I, and probably many others, tend to say that certain propositions are ‘unlikely’ to be true; that they are ‘improbable’.
      2. But, just what does probable mean in this context, given that this “probability” usually cannot be quantified – ie. given a number in the range [0,1]?
      3. In philosophical circles, the philosophy of rational belief closely follows Bayesian principles and conditional probabilities. So, while there is no objective probability for the truth or falsehood of our beliefs, we can supply subjective probabilities and revise these in the light of new evidence.
      4. I really don’t think this topic has much to do with my thesis on the topic of Personal Identity, though I will be on the look-out hereafter. It seems to be more relevant (as far as my own concerns go) in the philosophy of religion in regards to the probabilities of certain beliefs – in miracles and the like. I’ve also written some brief Notes on Pascal’s Wager, which I argue should be rejected.



Concluding Remarks
  1. In our next Chapter432, 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 progress433.


Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed434
  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 read437, include the following:-
  1. Metaphysics438
  2. Logic of Identity
    1. Logic of Identity439
    2. Numerical Identity444
    3. Similarity450
    4. Criteria of Identity452
    5. Only 'X' and 'Y' Principle454
    6. Heterodox Views
  3. Ontology
    1. Ontology481
    2. Existence482
    3. Mind483
    4. Matter
    5. Kinds
    6. Artifacts
  4. Substance & Process
    1. Individuals521
    2. Substance
    3. Process Metaphysics534
  5. Convention
    1. Convention535
    2. Concepts
    3. Fiction547
  6. Explanation552
    1. Probability553


A further reading list might start with:-
  1. Metaphysics556
  2. Logic of Identity
    1. Logic of Identity557
    2. Numerical Identity563
    3. Similarity564
    4. Criteria of Identity565
    5. Only 'X' and 'Y' Principle566
    6. Heterodox Views
  3. Ontology
    1. Ontology584
    2. Existence585
    3. Mind586
    4. Matter
    5. Kinds
    6. Artifacts
  4. Substance & Process
    1. Individuals603
    2. Substance
    3. Process Metaphysics614
  5. Convention
    1. Convention615
    2. Concepts
    3. Fiction618
  6. Explanation623
    1. Probability624



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 (28/09/2022 10:24:58).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 5:
  • The hyperlinks in this Introduction – as in the other Chapter Introductions – are intended to help motivate the various Notes used in the construction of the Chapter.
  • So, a link appears once and once only per Note in the Note Hierarchy below, and appears – as far as possible – in the order of the Hierarchy, even if this is not its first mention.
  • Links to other Notes are omitted in the Chapter Introduction, but appear passim in the Main Text.
Footnote 93:
  1. No doubt there’s a convention as to which is the “first” and which is the “second” of Leibniz’s Laws, but they are often confusingly combined into one law with two parts.
Footnote 99:
  1. Not that Eric Olson is the inventor or even the primary exponent of the concept of numerical identity,
  2. Nor that Marya Schechtman is not a philosopher!
Footnote 133:
  1. Or at least was thereby brought to my attention as an undergraduate.
Footnote 298:
  1. There’s an extensive literature on this topic, stemming from Richard Dawkins, which I’ll not pursue here.
  2. There’s a claim in "Harari (Yuval Noah) - Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" that the cohesive power of human societies and hence the rise of homo sapiens as a species is down to our shared belief in “fictions”.
  3. Yuval Noah Harari’s use of “fiction” is pejorative and non-standard, as he uses it for anything from religious beliefs to limited companies.
  4. Even those philosophers of religion who use the term “myths” for religious beliefs are keen to assert that “myth” does not men “fiction”, even though some myths are fictions as well.
Footnote 434:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
Footnotes 441, 492: Footnote 442:
  • This is the series of lectures that first engaged me with the topic of Personal Identity.
Footnote 457:
  • When considering duplication issues with double-hemispherectomy & transplant, “closest continuer” resolutions to the problem (amongst other suggestions) are rejected.
Footnote 458:
  • The “closest continuer” theory as a solution to the “split brain” fission puzzle is considered in Sections 3 & 4.
Footnote 459:
  • Brief discussion of Hershenov’s claim that Zimmerman’s “Falling Elevator” model of physical resurrection is effectively a “closest continuer” theory.
Footnote 460:
  • Olson’s rejection of “closest continuer” solutions to the double-hemispherectomy & transplant problem (for the psychological view).
  • His objection isn’t to the incoherence of the “closest continuer” as such, but that the hemispheres might be equipollent, leading to no “closest continuer”.
Footnote 461:
  • The rejection of “closest continuer” theories is the 10th of Van Inwagen’s presuppositions.
  • Decisions of persistence are intrinsic. No outside facts – such as the existence of a better candidate – can affect whether something has persisted.
Footnote 462:
  • Zimmerman discusses the “closest continuer” theory extensively in a reply to Hasker.
  • It seems that the “Falling Elevator” model of resurrection requires both acceptance of the “closest continuer” theory and the rejection of the “only X and Y” principle.
Footnotes 467, 477:
  • It looks like Olson uses “imperfect” as an amalgamated metaphysical / epistemological claim.
Footnotes 470, 472:
  • Baker claims that the Constitution View solves problems that “temporal identity”, etc, are supposed to address.
Footnote 493: Footnotes 497, 501, 508, 532, 537: Footnote 503: Footnote 524: Footnotes 527, 529:
  • This looks of tangential interest, but as I’ve gone to considerable trouble to analyse the paper, I might as well include it!
Footnote 540: Footnote 548:
  • 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 549:
  • Why did Goodman put ‘Fiction’ in the title?
Footnote 551:
  • This paper is about interpretation.
Footnote 558:
  • Barnes alleges that the Law is due to Aristotle rather than to Leibniz.
Footnote 559:
  • 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 560:
  • 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 561:
  • See Section 5.8 (Stage View), paragraphs 6 & 8 for a discussion of 'loose and popular' persistence.
Footnote 562:
  • Section 40 “Identity”, pp. 221-6.
Footnote 568:
  • Consideration of “closest continuer” theories in Section 2.
Footnote 569:
  • Description and elaboration of Nozick’s “closest continuer” theory, followed by …
  • Its application to duplication puzzle-cases.
Footnote 570:
  • Rejects the “closest continuer” theory as a solution to the problem posed by putative uploadings of human brains to computers.
Footnote 571: Footnote 572:
  • The “closest continuer” theory is discussed in Section 4.
Footnote 576:
  • 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 579:
  • I doubt this paper is really about Relative Identity, but more about Brain Transplants.
Footnote 582:
  • There are a few more papers by Varzi that I’ve not included.
Footnote 588:
  • The three papers by Butterfield are very specialised, and this one is very long, and may be left to one side for now.
Footnote 590:
  • This might be an ideal place to start, but it’s too expensive, so I’ve not bought a copy!
Footnote 593:
  • I doubt this has much to do with Kinds as such – despite the book’s title – but is more to do with Doepke’s ideas on PID.
Footnote 594: Footnote 597:
  • Looks like I’ve made two attempts to read this book, but it’s the dullest I’ve ever come across!
Footnote 598:
  • Look into the other papers by Ted Sider in the categorised list if time.
Footnote 600:
  • This may be an interesting comparison of two novellas, both germane to my thesis.
Footnote 604:
  • This is a difficult book with which I expect to have little sympathy, but one that has to be read.
Footnote 606:
  • If Toner thinks he can defend Transubstantiation there must be something about his theory of Substance.
Footnote 607: Footnote 608:
  • As I’ve written up the chapters on Leibniz and Spinoza, I ought at least to read the one on Descartes!
Footnote 610: Footnote 611:
  • No need to read Wiggins’s earlier work in detail?
Footnote 619:
  • Not a ‘Philosophy of Religion’ paper, despite the introduction.
Footnote 620:
  • Most papers not seperately itemised
Footnote 621:
  • “Hume’s claim that identity is a fiction”.
Footnote 622:
  • Probably move this to Modality in due course.
Footnote 625:
  • Despite the title, this is mostly about probabilistic – and especially Bayesian – reasoning.
Footnote 626:
  • I have not itemised the papers in this book.

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