<!DOCTYPE html><HTML lang="en"> <head><meta charset="utf-8"> <title>Olson (Eric) - The Nature of People (Theo Todman's Book Collection - Paper Abstracts) </title> <link href="../../TheosStyle.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"><link rel="shortcut icon" href="../../TT_ICO.png" /></head> <BODY> <CENTER> <div id="header"><HR><h1>Theo Todman's Web Page - Paper Abstracts</h1><HR></div><A name="Top"></A> <TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950> <tr><th><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_19/PaperSummary_19916.htm">The Nature of People</A></th></tr> <tr><th><A HREF = "../../Authors/O/Author_Olson (Eric).htm">Olson (Eric)</a></th></tr> <tr><th>Source: Luper - The Cambridge Companion to Life and Death, 2014, Chapter 2</th></tr> <tr><th>Paper - Abstract</th></tr> </TABLE> </CENTER> <P><CENTER><TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=800><tr><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_19/PaperSummary_19916.htm">Paper Summary</A></td><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_19/PaperCitings_19916.htm">Books / Papers Citing this Paper</A></td><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_19/PapersToNotes_19916.htm">Notes Citing this Paper</A></td><td><A HREF="#ColourConventions">Text Colour-Conventions</a></td></tr></TABLE></CENTER></P> <hr><P><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><U>Editor s <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P19916_1">Introduction</A></U><SUB>1</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P19916_1"></A></U><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>In this chapter, Eric Olson, considers what it is to be one of us. We must answer this question if we are to know when our existence begins, when it ends, and what it entails. Many issues hang in the balance. For example, if our persistence conditions include <a name="1"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_16.htm">psychological continuity</A><SUP>2</SUP>, it is much easier to justify the collection of organs from donors. </li><li>Olson defends <a name="2"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_24.htm">animalism</A><SUP>3</SUP>, the view that you and I are organisms - specifically, human beings. The toughest challenge to <a name="3"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_24.htm">animalism</A><SUP>4</SUP> is the contention that we would go with our brains if these were moved into fresh brainless bodies. A human being can be kept alive, at least for a time, after its liver is removed, and the same goes for its brain. If its liver or brain is moved, the human being stays behind. So if you are a human being, you stay behind when your brain is moved elsewhere. </li><li>By contrast, if you go with your brain, you are not a human being, and <a name="4"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_24.htm">animalism</A><SUP>5</SUP> is false. But if you aren't a human being what are you? </li><li>According to Olson, theorists who claim that we go with our brains have not given us a satisfactory answer to this question, and their view makes it hard to avoid the strange metaphysical contention that being alive is incompatible with the capacity for thought. </li></ol></FONT><BR><U>Author s <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P19916_6">Introduction</A></U><SUB>6</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P19916_6"></A></U> ( Two Questions )<FONT COLOR = "800080"><BR><BR>What is a person? The question can mean two different things. <ol type="1"><li><b>The personhood question</b>: to be a person, as opposed to a nonperson  a someone and not merely a something. You and I are people (or persons); stones are not. Whether a chimpanzee is a person is disputed. What is this property  personhood  that we ve got and stones haven t got, and which there is dispute about whether chimpanzees have? (The) answers specify a sort of role or job. We call something a person because it fills or has the potential to fill that role. The personhood question asks what the person-role is and how a thing has to relate to it in order to be a person.</li><li><b>The question of personal ontology</b>: to ask what a person is can also be to ask what sort of thing fills that role. Suppose Locke was right in saying that to be a person is to be intelligent and self-conscious. What sort of beings are intelligent and self-conscious? <a name="5"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_7/Notes_734.htm">What are we</A><SUP>7</SUP>  readers and authors of this book? What are our other fundamental properties, beyond those that make us people? And how do those other properties relate to our special mental properties? To put the question in the formal mode, what do we refer to when we say  I ? </li></ol></FONT> <BR><u>Sections</u><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>Two Questions</li><li><a name="6"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_24.htm">Animalism</A><SUP>8</SUP> and its Discontents</li><li>Mind-Life Dualism</li><li>The Brain View</li><li>The Remnant-Person Problem</li><li>Double-Brained Organisms</li><li>Thinking-Subject Minimalism</li><li>The Brain View and Personal Identity</li><li>The Functioning-Brain View</li><li>Substance Dualism Again</li><li>Conclusion </li></ol></FONT><BR><u>Author s Conclusion</u><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>The attractions of the brain view are superficial. It may seem to avoid the main objection to <a name="7"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_24.htm">animalism</A><SUP>9</SUP>  its surprising implications for personal identity over time  while avoiding the problem of <a name="8"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_8/Notes_872.htm">too many thinkers</A><SUP>10</SUP>. But it rests on the perilous metaphysical principle that nothing can think if it has parts not directly involved in its thinking. And its implications for personal identity are at least as counterintuitive as those of <a name="9"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_24.htm">animalism</A><SUP>11</SUP>. Attempts to amend the view so as to avoid those implications merely raise a new version of the <a name="10"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_8/Notes_872.htm">too-many-thinkers</A><SUP>12</SUP> problem, and end in a form of substance dualism. </li><li>If we have to be substance dualists, we might as well be Cartesians and say that we are immaterial beings whose nature is entirely psychological. That would at least tell us why <a name="11"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_12/Notes_1265.htm">human animals</A><SUP>13</SUP> and other biological organisms are unable to think: because they are material things. It may not be easy to say why thinking is incompatible with being material. But it can t be any worse than explaining why thinking is compatible with being material but incompatible with being biologically alive. And if it is possible for an organism to think, it will be hard to avoid concluding that we are animals. </li></ol></FONT><hr><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><B>Comment: </B><ul type="disc"><li>See <a name="W1055W"></a><A HREF = "https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/polopoly_fs/1.298735!/file/CUPdeath.pdf" TARGET = "_top">Link</A>. </li><li>Annotated printout filed in <a name="13"></a>"<A HREF = "../../BookSummaries/BookSummary_05/BookPaperAbstracts/BookPaperAbstracts_5972.htm">Olson (Eric) - Papers on Identity Boxes: Vol 13 (Olson)</A>". </li></ul><BR><BR><HR><BR><U><B>In-Page Footnotes</U></B><a name="On-Page_Link_P19916_1"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P19916_1"><B>Footnote 1</B></A></U>: Taken from <a name="12"></a>"<A HREF = "../../Abstracts/Abstract_20/Abstract_20717.htm">Luper (Steven) - The Cambridge Companion to Life and Death: Introduction</A>". <a name="On-Page_Link_P19916_6"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P19916_6"><B>Footnote 6</B></A></U>: Re-ordered and excerpted.<BR><BR><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><HR></P><a name="ColourConventions"></a><p><b>Text Colour Conventions (see <A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1025.htm">disclaimer</a>)</b></p><OL TYPE="1"><LI><FONT COLOR = "0000FF">Blue</FONT>: Text by me; &copy; Theo Todman, 2018</li><LI><FONT COLOR = "800080">Mauve</FONT>: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); &copy; the author(s)</li></OL> <BR><HR><BR><CENTER> <TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950> <TR><TD WIDTH="30%">&copy; Theo Todman, June 2007 - August 2018.</TD> <TD WIDTH="40%">Please address any comments on this page to <A HREF="mailto:theo@theotodman.com">theo@theotodman.com</A>.</TD> <TD WIDTH="30%">File output: <time datetime="2018-08-02T09:11" pubdate>02/08/2018 09:11:02</time> <br><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1010.htm">Website Maintenance Dashboard</A></TD></TR> <TD WIDTH="30%"><A HREF="#Top">Return to Top of this Page</A></TD> <TD WIDTH="40%"><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1140.htm">Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page</A></TD> <TD WIDTH="30%"><A HREF="../../index.htm">Return to Theo Todman's Home Page</A></TD> </TR></TABLE></CENTER><HR> </BODY> </HTML>