- The theory of personal identity known as "animalism1" asserts that we are human organisms — that each of us is an instance of the Homo sapiens species.
- The standard argument for this view is known as the "thinking animal argument2".
- In this brief paper, I offer a second argument for animalism: "animal ancestors argument3".
- This argument illustrates how the case for animalism can be seen to piggy-back on the credibility of evolutionary theory.
- Two related objections are considered and answered.
- Though Aristotelian in spirit, the view known as animalism is a relative latecomer to the debate over personal identity, having been defended only within the past 25 years or so.
- Its advocates make the following straightforward claim: we are animals. According to the intended reading of this claim, the ‘are’ reflects the ‘is’ of numerical identity (not the ‘is’ of non-identical constitution); the ‘we’ is intended to pick out you, me and others of our kind; and ‘human animals’ is meant to refer to biological organisms of the Homo sapiens species.
- According to animalism’s most sophisticated rival, neo-Lockean constitutionalism5, we persons are non-identically constituted by human animals, rather like the way statues are said to be constituted by the lumps of matter with which they coincide.
- This argument, together with the Thinking Animal Argument, features in whatever Stephan Blatti has to write on Animalism.
- I extracted this before I found the author’s abstract
- But it is useful to note as it mentions the statue and the clay!
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)