- This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'Corpses1' during my Thesis research, as from 2011.
- For the actual time recorded, click on "Paper Summary" above.
Write-up2 (as at 07/02/2018 19:42:14): Corpses
- The “Corpse Problem”
- Corpses are troublesome4 for animalism5, which alleges (correctly in my view) that corpses are not animals.
- The claim is that, at death6, something ontologically new comes on the scene – because a corpse has different persistence7 conditions8 (those of masses of matter9) to those of organisms10.
- Some philosophers – eg. Fred Feldman, in "Feldman (Fred) - The Survival of Death" – disagree. Feldman claims that we survive death, but – rather disappointingly – as a corpse, which solves the “corpse problem”, but at the cost – most likely – of saying that we are bodies11 rather than organisms.
- The problem if we don’t survive death as our corpses – it is said – is to answer the question where the corpse comes from, and to answer the objection that if it was there all along – as a “corpse-to-be” – then we have a situation where we have two things of different sorts in the same place at the same time.
- If this is taken seriously, then it can be used against the form12 of the animalism’s “too many thinkers13” argument.
- Corpses are probably also important for most Christian materialists14 who hope for some form of resurrection15.
- If there is a corpse to be resurrected, it is easier to see how identity is preserved than if we have total destruction. This is obviously so in the case of resuscitation, but even where we have a real case of death – not just clinical death, or brain death, but real death with a bit of mouldering – there is some physical thing that is responsible for preserving identity.
- Works on this topic that I’ve actually read16, include17 the following:-
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - When Do Persons Begin and End?", Baker
- "Feldman (Fred) - The Survival of Death", Feldman
- "Hershenov (David) - Do Dead Bodies Pose a Problem for Biological Approaches to Personal Identity", Hershenov
- "Mackie (David) - Personal Identity and Dead People", Mackie
- "Olson (Eric) - Immanent Causation and Life After Death", Olson
- "Olson (Eric) - The Person and the Corpse", Olson
- "Wilson (Jack) - Beyond Horses and Oak Trees: A New Theory of Individuation for Living Entities", Wilson
- A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
- "Hershenov (David) - Death, Persons, and Sparse Ontologies: The Problem of Too Many Dying Thinkers", Hershenov
- "LaPorte (Joseph) - On Two Reasons for Denying That Bodies Can Outlast Life", LaPorte
- "Hershenov (David) - Organisms and their Bodies: Response to LaPorte", Hershenov
- This is mostly a place-holder18.
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (07/02/2018 19:42:14).
- 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.
- I’m willing to accept that the “thinking animal” argument is unsound.
- However, just how the analogy would work for the “corpse-to-be” needs to be spelled out.
- The corpse has the persistence conditions of a mass of matter. What are the persistence conditions of the “corpse-to-be”? If they are those of an organism, then then the corpse-to-be cannot be the same individual as the corpse.
- 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.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018