- This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'Closest Continuer1' during my Thesis research, as from 2011.
- For the actual time recorded, click on "Paper Summary" above.
Write-up2 (as at 24/04/2018 11:16:48): Closest Continuer
- Another term for this concept is “Best Candidate”.
- 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:
- There is only one social or legal role to fill, and
- The logic of identity causes a problem.
- Consider Locke’s4 prince and cobbler or Williams’s body swapping5, 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?
- A Perdurantist6 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.
- Of course, we might have a convention7 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 criterion8) they are both the prince for all that.
- 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 supervenience9 of mind on brain10, 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 change11, and how rapid a change, a thing can undergo and remain the same thing.
- For a page of Links to this Note, Click here.
- Works on this topic that I’ve actually read12, include13 the following:-
- "Blatti (Stephan) - Animalism, Dicephalus, and Borderline Cases", 2007, Blatti14
- "Garrett (Brian) - Fission", 1998, Garrett15
- "Gasser (Georg) - Personal Identity and Resurrection: Introduction", 2010, Gasser16
- "Hawley (Katherine) - Fission, Fusion and Intrinsic Facts", 2005, Hawley
- "Noonan (Harold) - Against the Closest Continuer Theory", 2003, Noonan
- "Nozick (Robert) - The Identity of the Self: Introduction", Nozick
- "Olson (Eric) - Why We Need Not Accept the Psychological Approach", 1999, Olson17
- "Parfit (Derek) - Nagel's Brain", 1984, Parfit
- "Parfit (Derek) - The Closest Continuer Schema", 1984, Parfit
- "Van Inwagen (Peter) - Material Beings: Preface", 1995, Van Inwagen18
- "Zimmerman (Dean) - Bodily Resurrection: The Falling Elevator Model Revisited", 2010, Zimmerman19
- A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
- "Baillie (James) - Identity and Survival", 1993, Baillie20
- "Bourgeois (Warren) - Contemporary Philosophers' Views on Persons: Nozick's Self-Makers", 2003, Bourgeois21
- "Cerullo (Michael A.) - Uploading and Branching Identity", 2015, Cerullo22
- "Coburn (Robert) - Personal Identity Revisited", 1985, Coburn
- "Garrett (Brian) - A Further Reply to Noonan", 1987, Garrett
- "Garrett (Brian) - Noonan, 'Best Candidate' Theories and the Ship of Theseus", 1985, Garrett
- "Garrett (Brian) - Personal Identity and Extrinsicness", 1990, Garrett
- "Heller (Mark) - The best candidate approach to diachronic identity", 1987, Heller
- "Noonan (Harold) - Reply to Garrett", 1986, Noonan
- "Noonan (Harold) - The Closest Continuer Theory of Identity", 1985, Noonan
- "Noonan (Harold) - The Only X and Y Principle", 1985, Noonan
- "Noonan (Harold) - The Possibility of Reincarnation", 1990, Noonan
- "Nozick (Robert) - Personal Identity Through Time", 1981, Nozick23
- "Valberg (J.J.) - My Future", 2007, Valberg24
- This is mostly a place-holder25.
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (24/04/2018 11:16:48).
- Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
- A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
- I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
- As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
- The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
- Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
- In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
- In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
- My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
- I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
- Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
- When considering duplication issues with double-hemispherectomy & transplant, “closest continuer” resolutions to the problem (amongst other suggestions) are rejected.
- The “closest continuer” theory as a solution to the “split brain” fission puzzle is considered in Sections 3 & 4.
- Brief discussion of Hershenov’s claim that Zimmerman’s “Falling Elevator” model of physical resurrection is effectively a “closest continuer” theory.
- 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”.
- 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.
- 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.
- Consideration of “closest continuer” theories in Section 2.
- Description and elaboration of Nozick’s “closest continuer” theory, followed by …
- Its application to duplication puzzle-cases.
Footnote 23: Footnote 24:
- Rejects the “closest continuer” theory as a solution to the problem posed by putative uploadings of human brains to computers.
- The “closest continuer” theory is discussed in Section 4.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018