- This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'Dion and Theon1' during my Thesis research, as from 2011.
- For the actual time recorded, click on "Paper Summary" above.
Write-up2 (as at 11/04/2018 12:18:43): Dion and Theon
- This is an ancient conundrum that has been revived by Peter Geach, Michael Burke and others – in the form of “Tib and Tibbles4” – and is put to a variety of uses.
- It is associated with a number of other Notes on the same general theme, namely:-
- The Statue and the Clay5,
- Tibbles the Cat6,
- The Ship of Theseus7,
- The Problem of the Many9
- It is so closely associated with one version of Tibles the Cat10 that I’ll describe them together11.
- The conceit is that there is a whole man (Dion; or cat, Tibbles) and a partially overlapping thing12 (Theon or Tib) that is identical to Dion (or Tibbles) apart from its right foot (or tail).
- Subsequently Dion (or Tibbles) suffers the misfortune of losing the relevant member.
- Post-ectomy, it appears that Dion is identical to Theon (and Tibbles to Tib).
- What are we to make of this apparent contradiction, as it would seem that beforehand the respective pairs were non-identical?
- The solutions to this puzzle include13:-
- restrict the principle that different objects cannot occupy the same place at the same time. Some philosophers, following Locke and David Wiggins, modify the principle so that it applies only to objects of the same sort.
- Embrace mereological essentialism, the doctrine that each of the parts of an object is essential to its identity. Popular in antiquity, but not supported these days.
- Deny that the concept of a torso is a proper one, to deny that there ever was such a thing as Theon.
- Invoke the doctrine of temporal parts.
- relativizing identity, whether to time or to sort. George Myroll and Peter Geach both would say that the amputation has left just one (man-sized) object, an object that is both a man and a torso. Is that object Dion? Or is it Theon? Myro's answer would be "both."
- Burke: Post amputation there is just one object; it is (predicatively) both a man and a torso; this one object is Dion, who once was two-footed and now is one-footed; Theon has ceased to exist.
- A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
- "Bowin (John) - Chrysippus' Puzzle About Identity", Bowin, 2003
- "Burke (Michael) - Dion and Theon: An Essentialist Solution to an Ancient Puzzle", Burke, 1994
- "Burke (Michael) - Dion, Theon, and the many-thinkers problem", Burke, 2004
- "Carter (William) - Dion's Left Foot (and the Price of Burkean Economy)", Carter, 1997
- "Denkel (Arda) - Theon’s Tale: Does a Cambridge Change Result in a Substantial Change?", Denkel, 1995
- "Olson (Eric) - Dion's Foot", Olson, 1997
- "Parsons (Josh) - Dion, Theon, and DAUP", Parsons, 2004
- "Sedley (David) - The Stoic criterion of identity", Sedley, 1982
- "Stone (Jim) - Why Sortal Essentialism Cannot Solve Chrysippus's Puzzle", Stone, 2002
- "Ujvari (Marta) - Cambridge Change and Sortal Essentialism", Ujvari, 2004
- Also, see Bob Doyle: Dion & Theon.
- This is mostly a place-holder14. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list.
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (11/04/2018 12:18:43).
- Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 11: I’ll treat of the variant form of Tibbles the Cat under that 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.
Footnote 12: It is, of course, moot whether this “thing” is a man (or cat) – or even whether it exists at all.
Footnote 13: I’ve filched this material from "Burke (Michael) - Dion and Theon: An Essentialist Solution to an Ancient Puzzle".
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018