- 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 Statistics" above.
Write-up2 (as at 17/08/2018 21:59:02): 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.
- For a page of Links17 to this Note, Click here. Unfortunately there are far too many links to process.
- Works on this topic that I’ve actually read18, include19 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", Thomson20
- This is mostly a place-holder21.
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (17/08/2018 21:59:02).
- 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”.
- If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
- Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
- There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
- 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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