- This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'Biological Criterion1' during my Thesis research, as from 2011.
- For the actual time recorded, click on "Paper Statistics" above.
Write-up2 (as at 17/05/2020 22:04:48): Biological Criterion
- This is the criterion of identity4 associated with the biological view5 of what we6 human beings7 (or, rather human animals8) are.
- Animalism9 takes this biological view, that we are human animals10 (as distinct from persons11, or immaterial souls12). So, our persistence criteria are those of animals13.
- What should be discussed in this Note is just what these criteria are.
- Biological identity criteria in general are slightly wider than those of animals in particular, as they include those for plants14 and other biological organisms15.
- Locke16 made the first stab at what this criterion might be. His view was that it was the participation in a single life17 that made an organism the same organism over time. The concept of a life is itself in need of explanation, and may not (in the absence of vitalism) be logically prior to the concept of an organism.
- It seems to me that the biological criterion could (theoretically, at least) allow for metamorphosis18 (provided that the metamorphosis19 is into another organism). There are, however, sortal20 objections to metamorphosis21.
- The jumping-off point for this topic is probably "Wilson (Jack) - Biological Individuality - The identity and Persistence of Living Entities". However, the book is at pains to point out that the persistence criteria for exemplars of particular species – and, indeed, their principles of individuation – differ greatly. Standard views are overly influenced by the assumption that all biological individuals are like large mammals rather than, say, strawberry plants22. However, as we are large mammals, I’m not too worried about this fine point.
- Note that the biological criterion is to be distinguished from the body criterion23, with which the psychological criterion24 was originally contrasted.
- For a page of Links25 to this Note, Click here.
- Works on this topic that I’ve actually read26 include the following:-
- "Corcoran (Kevin) - Biology or Psychology? Human Persons and Personal Identity", Corcoran
- "DeGrazia (David) - Are we essentially persons? Olson, Baker, and a reply", DeGrazia
- "Olson (Eric) - The Biological Approach", Olson
- "Shoemaker (David) - Personal Identity and Ethics", Shoemaker
- "Shoemaker (David) - Personal Identity and Ethics: A Brief Introduction", Shoemaker
- "Wilson (Jack) - Biological Individuality - The identity and Persistence of Living Entities", Wilson
- The categorised reading-list below is of little use and in need of further research. It is somewhat arbitrary as to which books / papers fall under this topic, and which under
→ Biological View27 or
- This is mostly a place-holder29.
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (17/05/2020 22:04:48).
- Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020