- This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'Bodily Continuity1' 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): Bodily Continuity
- Historically, philosophers have been divided into those that hold that our4 persistence criteria5 are fundamentally psychological6,7 and those that think they are fundamentally physical8.
- The classic paper that wrestles with this dilemma is "Williams (Bernard) - The Self and the Future".
- Bernard Williams is sometimes thought of as an Animalist9, possibly because10 he’s inclined to accept the Bodily Continuity (as against the Psychological Continuity11) approach to Personal Identity. But, this is probably a mistake, because:-
- The “Bodily Continuity” view of personal identity is not to be confused with Animalism12, which requires the Biological View13. The Bodily Continuity view is consistent with my persisting as a Cyborg14 or even an Android15. See also16 Siliconisation17.
- Also, the persistence conditions18 of bodies19 differ from those of organisms20 in general or (human) animals21 in particular. Consider the arguments about corpses22, which gives rise to the “Corpse Problem”, an attempted refutation of animalism23.
- Lynne Rudder Baker consistently contrasts her Constitution View24 with that of a bodily view, rather than a biological view. She considers that we persons25 are constituted26 (maybe temporarily) by our bodies27.
- Eric Olson distinguishes between organisms28 and bodies, and is doubtful about the existence of the latter29. But he would disagree with Baker even if she claimed that we were constituted by human animals.
- Note also, the distinction30 between continuity31 and connectedness. Continuity is critical to the persistence of bodies, but it is doubtful whether connectedness is. You could probably replace all the parts of a body over time, provided this is done gradually enough, and retain the same body (this is certainly true of organisms). However, it is said by some (eg. Parfit32) that a psychology disconnected from, though continuous with, another is not the same person. See his discussion of Methuselah33.
- It seems to me that both the biological view and the bodily continuity view would (theoretically, at least) allow for metamorphosis34 (provided, in the former case, that the metamorphosis35 is into another organism). There are, however, sortal36 objections to metamorphosis37.
- Just what a “body” is, and what the persistence criteria of bodies are, will be discussed in two other Notes:-
→ Body38, and
→ Body Criterion39.
- However, I’ve not quite decided how the labour would be best distributed between these three Notes. I have parked the bulk of the reading lists under “Body”.
- For a page of Links40 to this Note, Click here.
- Works on this topic that I’ve actually read41, include the following:-
- "Beck (Simon) - Back To The Self And The Future", Beck
- "Edwards (Paul) - Reincarnation: A Critical Examination - Introduction", Edwards
- "Funkhouser (Eric) - Notes on Williams, 'The Self and the Future'", Funkhouser
- "Noonan (Harold) - The Self and the Future", Noonan
- "Odegard (Douglas) - Personal and Bodily Identity", Odegard
- "Thomas (Janice L.) - The bodily criterion", Thomas
- "Wiggins (David) - Identity & Spatio-temporal Continuity: Introduction", Wiggins
- "Wiles (Maurice) - God's Action in Christ", Wiles
- "Williams (Bernard) - Bodily Continuity and Personal Identity", Williams
- "Williams (Bernard) - The Self and the Future", Williams
- A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
- "Coburn (Robert) - Bodily Continuity and Personal Identity", Coburn
- "Daniels (Charles) - Personal Identity", Daniels
- "Gale (Richard) - A Note on Personal Identity and Bodily Continuity", Gale
- "Kolak (Daniel) - Room for a View: On the Metaphysical Subject of Personal Identity", Kolak
- "Puccetti (Roland) - Brain Transplants and Personal Identity", Puccetti
- "Shorter (J.M.) - More About Bodily Continuity and Personal Identity", Shorter
- "Wiggins (David) - Essentialism, Continuity, and Identity", Wiggins
- This is mostly a place-holder42.
Footnote 10: According to most interpreters
- 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.
- Though the Note on Siliconisation focuses on the replacement of neural organic matter by silicon, the general idea could (more easily, as the technology is already partly there) be extended to the replacement of other body parts.
- This is to get round the “Corpse Problem” noted previously.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020