- This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'Fission1' during my Thesis research, as from 2011.
- For the actual time recorded, click on "Paper Summary" above.
Write-up2 (as at 15/02/2018 20:54:14): Fission
- Fission is important in the philosophy of identity – especially of personal identity – in that it provides many thought-experiments4 (TEs), and some real-life examples, that test out the various theories.
- The paradigm case of Fission is of two half-brain5 transplants6. It is difficult to consider these cases without slipping into the “psychological view7”. Each hemisphere seems to preserve what matters8 to the fissioned individual, and a perdurantist9 account can maintain identity10 after fission.
- An alternative account is to claim that the two half-brains always were separate persons (and Puccetti has maintained that they are separate persons, in all of us, even prior to the commissurotomy11 in this TE), in a way slightly different from the usual Lewis12 view of non-identical spatially-coincident13 individuals14 (because the hemispheres aren’t spatially coincident, though the shared body15 is).
- We need to consider how the original person16 was unified17. We can press the realism of the thought-experiment by asking how important are the spinal cord and PNS generally to the psychological integrity of the human organism18? The case of dicephalus19 twins may be relevant – where the functions of walking and even typing seem to be carried out perfectly adequately despite the coordinated limbs being controlled by different brains.
- We also need to consider whether the two half-brains continue to constitute a single scattered20 person, just parked in separate bodies. A single embodiment is important because it ensures synchronisation of experience, and external communication between the hemispheres (in the absence of the usual internal communication across the corpus callosum). Presumably, this could be achieved in other ways.
- We can imagine a BIV21 linked by radio transmitters/receivers to a remote body – the brain is part of the body – so a single physical thing can be spatially discontinuous. Why, if A fissions into B and C, can’t we consider B & C to be parts of the same person? They could fight / argue … but so can someone in two minds about things. What if one killed the other? They would have different perceptual experiences, but so (presumably) does a chameleon, with its eyes pointing in different directions (and sheep and other herbivores, and fish, with eyes on the sides of their heads).
- I need to consider in detail what is supposed to be going on in fission – ie. press the thought experiment: there needs to be segregation / redundancy prior to separation – this can happen over time (or we would have plain duplication22). At some point the person will split, with incommunicable consciousnesses23 (cf. Locke24’s day-person and night-person).
- This Note overlaps with some others:-
→ Brain Transplants25
→ Multiple Personality Disorder27
In such cases, the reading is (usually) reserved for these notes and not repeated here.
- Works on this topic that I’ve actually read28, include29 the following:-
- "Garrett (Brian) - Fission", Garrett
- "Hawley (Katherine) - Fission, Fusion and Intrinsic Facts", Hawley
- "Nagel (Thomas) - Brain Bisection and the Unity of Consciousness", Nagel
- "Noonan (Harold) - The Reduplication Problem", Noonan
- "Unger (Peter) - Fission and the Focus of One's Life", Unger
- "Wilkes (Kathleen) - Being in Two Minds", Wilkes
- A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
- "Brueckner (Anthony) - Branching in the psychological approach to personal identity", Brueckner
- "Burke (Michael) - Spatial Analogues of 'Annihilation and Re-creation'", Burke
- "Cerullo (Michael A.) - Uploading and Branching Identity", Cerullo
- "Gallois (Andre) - Counting Amoebas", Gallois
- "Garrett (Brian) - Johnston on Fission", Garrett
- "Hershenov (David) & Koch-Hershenov (Rose J.) - Fission and Confusion", Hershenov
- "Johnston (Mark) - Fission and the Facts", Johnston
- "Martin (Raymond) - Fission Rejuvenated", Martin
- "Martin (Raymond), Barresi (John) & Giovannelli (Alessandro) - Fission Examples in 18th and Early 19th century Personal Identity Debate", Martin
- "Matthews (Gareth B.) - Surviving As", Matthews
- "Mills (Eugene) - Dividing Without Reducing: Bodily Fission and Personal Identity", Mills
- "Moyer (Mark) - A Survival Guide to Fission", Moyer
- "Munzer (Stephen R.) - Transplantation, Chemical Inheritance, and the Identity of Organs", Munzer
- "Noonan (Harold) - The Reduplication Problem", Noonan
- "Oderberg (David) - Fission, Intermittence and the Primitiveness of Identity", Oderberg
- "Ord (Toby) - Implications of fission, fusion and teletransportation to a view of personal identity through psychological continuity", Ord
- "Perry (John) - Can the Self Divide?", Perry
- "Rovane (Carol) - Branching Self-Consciousness", Rovane
- "Seibt (Johanna) - Fission, Sameness, and Survival: Parfit’s Branch Line Argument Revisited", Seibt
- "Shoemaker (Sydney) - Brown-Brownson Revisited", Shoemaker
- "Valberg (J.J.) - My Future: The Puzzle of Division", Valberg
- "Wilkes (Kathleen) - How Many Selves Make Me?", Wilkes
- "Wright (John) - Personal Identity, Fission and Time Travel", Wright
- This is mostly a place-holder30. 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 (15/02/2018 20:54:14).
- 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.
- 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