- This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'Constitution1' during my Thesis research, as from 2011.
- For the actual time recorded, click on "Paper Summary" above.
Write-up2 (as at 20/04/2018 23:36:58): Constitution
- At first sight, it might seem that a full understanding of constitution – by which I mean Material Constitution – is required to understand Lynne Rudder Baker4’s Constitution View5 of Personal Identity.
- However, the concept of CONSTITUTION in this view seems to differ from the normal mereological view of material constitution. There’s an extensive reading-list for this aspect under the head of Mereology6.
- As a way in to this subject that is geared towards the topic of Personal Identity, I intend in the first instance to focus on two chapters from Baker’s book "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Metaphysics of Everyday Life: An Essay in Practical Realism" that deal, respectively, with these two aspects of Constitution, namely:-
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Constitution Revisited",
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Mereology and Constitution".
- I will, of course, have to consider other accounts. I had supposed that Baker’s view was idiosyncratic, though the following paper considers it to be widely held:-
→ "Wasserman (Ryan) - The Constitution Question".
- Wasserman outlines the traditional7 view as follows:-
- Adequacy conditions on any proposed answer to the Constitution Question.
- First, constitution requires spatial coincidence — x constitutes y at t only if x and y have the same spatial location at t.
- Second, constitution requires material coincidence — x constitutes y at t only if x and y have all the same parts.
- The formal properties of the constitution relation (are)
- First, the constitution relation is transitive. So, consider a representative clay statue (Statue) and the lump of clay (Lump) from which it is made. If Lump is constituted by a certain aggregate of elementary particles and Statue is constituted by Lump, then Statue is also constituted by that particular aggregate of elementary particles.
- Second, the constitution relation is irreflexive, for the defenders of the constitution view traditionally deny that objects like Lump and Statue constitute themselves.
- Finally, the constitution relation is asymmetric; while Lump constitutes Statue, Statue does not constitute Lump.
- Constitution is not mere coincidence, for coincidence (the sharing of spatial location or parts) is both reflexive and symmetric.
- In summary, constitution requires material (as well as spatial) coincidence and that it is a transitive, irreflexive, asymmetric relation.
- Various papers by Eric Olson, of course, also consider the topic, which he considers fatal to animalism (or at least it would be were it true).
→ I should probably start with "Olson (Eric) - Composition and Coincidence".
- There are many accounts of the mereological type of Constitution, in particular:-
→ "Jubien (Michael) - Things and Their Parts", and I should read (or re-read) some of the papers in:-
→ "Rea (Michael), Ed. - Material Constitution - A Reader"
- I should also note that there’s an overlap between Constitution and Supervenience8.
- A reading list for this topic is difficult to prepare without stepping on the ground already covered by:-
→ The Constitution View10,
→ Mereology11, and (maybe)
- I’ll review this after completing the other two Notes. However, for now, see "Doyle (Robert O.) - Material Constitution".
- Also, the usual puzzle-cases must be treated separately:-
→ Dion and Theon13
→ Problem of the Many14
→ Statue and the Clay15
→ Tibbles the Cat16
- These cases highlight the question whether the constitution-relation is or is not the identity-relation. Is there anything left out in the description of a thing once we’ve said what it is made up of, and how these parts link together? Those – like Baker – who hold that one whole thing can be constituted by another whole thing deny identity. For instance – Baker says – a stature is something over and above its clay because it requires an external relation – to an art-world, or at least to people who care about statues – before it is a statue.
- Works on this topic that I’ve actually read17, include18 the following:-
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Unity without Identity: A New Look at Material Constitution", Baker
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Why Constitution is Not Identity", Baker
- "Doyle (Robert O.) - Material Constitution", Doyle
- "Fine (Kit) - The Non-Identity of a Material Thing and Its Matter", Fine
- "Hawley (Katherine) - Principles of Composition and Criteria of Identity", Hawley
- "Johnston (Mark) - Constitution is Not Identity", Johnston
- "Noonan (Harold) - Constitution Is Identity", Noonan
- "Noonan (Harold) - Identity, Constitution and Microphysical Supervenience", Noonan
- "Olson (Eric) - Material Coincidence and the Indiscernibility Problem", Olson
- "Rea (Michael) - Material Constitution: Preface, Introduction & Appendix (A Formal Statement of the Problem)", Rea
- A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
- "Rea (Michael), Ed. - Material Constitution - A Reader", Rea
- "Rea (Michael) - The Problem of Material Constitution", Rea
- "Thomson (Judith Jarvis) - Parthood and Identity Across Time", Thomson19
- This is mostly a place-holder20.
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (20/04/2018 23:36:58).
- 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.
- This makes it sound as though the CV goes back centuries!
- Wasserman uses the term “traditionally” when he probably just means “usually” or “standardly”.
- 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.
- Recommended by Bob Doyle under the head of “material Constitution”, but it’s to do with Temporal Parts.
- Might be better placed under Perdurantism or Mereology?
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