- Here is an interesting question: what are we1? David Barnett has claimed that reflection on consciousness suggests an answer: we are simple. Barnett argues that the mereological simplicity of conscious beings — Simplicity — best explains the Datum: that no pair of persons can itself be conscious.
- In this paper, I offer two alternative explanations of the Datum. If either is correct, Barnett’s argument fails.
- First, there are not any such things as pairs of persons.
- Second, consciousness is maximal; no conscious thing is a proper part of another conscious thing.
- I conclude by showing how both moves comport with materialist theories of what we are2 and then apply them to another anti-materialist argument.
- The Simple Argument
- Let us take stock. The Simple Argument poses a challenge to many theories of human nature.
- I have argued that it is unsound by presenting two materialist-friendly ways out, two explanations of the Datum that are compatible with materialism.
- Each has some degree of plausibility. One pairs nicely with chaste materialism, the other with promiscuous materialism.
- I have also argued that similar moves can be made in the case of the Thinking Parts Argument.
- I conclude that materialists of all stripes have reason to rejoice.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)