- This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'Thesis - The Form of the Argument1' during my Thesis research, as from 2011.
- For the actual time recorded, click on "Paper Statistics" above.
Write-up2 (as at 01/10/2021 13:17:46): Thesis - Method & Form
Form of the Argument
- The thesis will present an abductive argument3, that is, an inference to the best explanation of the data.
- That’s why I have to consider so many aspects of the subject, so many thought experiments4 and so much clinical data5. Into which story does it all best fit?
- I may have to reject some recalcitrant thought experiments as ill-formed, but I do not wish to ignore anything significant.
- To keep myself focused and on track, I’ve created a “one page summary” of my Current Stance on the topic of Personal Identity6, which requires continual review, though not expansion.
- For some time, I have considered Animalism7 as the most satisfactory account of what human beings are, and this thesis will evaluate the arguments for and against it, using the rival Constitution View8 – supplemented by the hopes of the Transhumanists9 – as a foil.
- Over the years I have read a lot of books and papers on the topic of Personal Identity.
- For some, I have made extensive on-line write-ups.
- For others, the write-up is incomplete, or sketchy.
- For yet others, I have (more or less) extensively annotated the margin (in so doing ruining many an expensive volume!).
- Finally, some have simply been read (and probably forgotten).
- I have also written numerous PID Notes on almost every aspect of the subject, though many of them are place-holders awaiting filling-out. These Notes link to the Books and Papers, either explicitly or thematically, and to one another10
- All this has resulted in a huge unfocussed cobweb of material, which needs to be subjected to some order and completeness. This has started by outlining the Chapters of the Thesis11, and specifying the limited subset of the problem I intend to address in detail.
- For most Chapters, my approach12 to producing the first draft of the Chapter will be as follows:-
- Write & continually review the Research Methodology for the Chapter.
- Write and maintain a Chapter Abstract, summarising the Chapter (as intended). Use this to ensure I don't get side-tracked.
- Determine which PID Notes that I have written are relevant to this Chapter.
- Fill out any PID Note-place-holders with whatever's in my head!
- Write and maintain a Chapter Introduction, motivating the use of the above Notes, and encouraging the reader to continue.
- Incorporate the highest level thoughts from these PID Notes into the Main Text of the Chapter.
- Develop the reading lists for these Notes and use them to establish a full reading list for the Chapter.
- Review whatever I've written, in whatever format, on the Works in the derived reading lists, and make necessary cosmetic changes in the process of evaluating the Works.
- Segregate these reading lists into:-
- Works read versus unread,
- Works with an Abstract or Note Write-up versus those without,
- Works annotated (by hand) versus unannotated,
- Higher versus lower priority Works.
- Cull Works that are unlikely to be addressed in the next two years and list them as specifically excluded. I may pick up on these at a later stage of the project, but in the short term the culling process will be essential for making across-the-board progress.
- Determine why the residue are important and relevant - if they are - and briefly document the reasons.
- Improve and consolidate whatever I’ve written on these Works:-
- Migrate any Book or Paper Abstracts that I have written (as distinct from copied from elsewhere) to Write-Up Notes.
- Complete any important incomplete Write-Up Notes.
- If the Book or Paper is important enough, migrate any hand-written annotations to a Write-Up Note.
- Incorporate the key points of Write-Up Notes into the PID Notes.
- Develop the Main Text iteratively to include more detail from the PID Notes.
- Review the Main Text for general fluency and consistency.
- Provide and Maintain a Chapter Conclusion, including a motivating statement for the reader to continue to the next Chapter.
- In principle, these actions should be effected in number sequence, though there will be some iteration.
- There are many important books and papers that are on the reading lists that I have not read. At this stage, with a few exceptions, I do not intend to read them until I have processed all those books and papers that I have read. This will require discipline!
- Most of the “detailed working” of the Thesis Chapters should be retained in the topic Notes and Write-ups. The Chapter should be fairly high-level at this stage, with hyperlinks to more detailed or supportive work.
- Progress can be determined from my Thesis Dashboard13 and – more topically – from my Quarterly Status Report14.
Footnote 3: Footnote 10:
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (01/10/2021 13:17:46).
- Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
- Follow this Link for an explanation of the various Objects in my Research database.
- The task-list is taken from my Thesis Dashboard which is intended to show the up-to-date status of progress on these tasks for each Chapter.
- I need to keep the two lists synchronised.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2023