Animalism and Some Philosophical Problems
Snowdon (Paul)
Source: Snowdon (Paul) - Persons, Animals, Ourselves - Chapter 2
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. I have tried so far to motivate philosophical interest in assessing (A), to distinguish it from some related propositions, and to categorize different supposed possibilities which are taken to create problems for thinking that (A) is true. My aim in this chapter is to pick out a number of important ongoing philosophical questions and to explain what the relation is between these problems and proposition (A). I want also to explain, to some extent, what my own conception of these problems is. The four main problems to which I shall attend here are those of
    1. personal identity,
    2. the unity of consciousness1,
    3. principles governing content ascriptions, and
    4. the mind/body problem.
  2. The principal issue in relating (A) to these problems is to decide which answers to, or views about, the different problems are consistent with holding that (A) is true. In the present chapter this cannot be determined in full detail, but some aspects can be sketched. This task is, of course, particularly important in relation to problems where there is, currently, a tendency to accept answers incompatible with (A). Where that is so the problem and the grounds for favouring these answers will need close attention. Of the four areas or problems I have mentioned I think that there is no widespread tendency in dealing with the mind/body problem to favour answers incompatible with (A). If so, interesting though it is, the mind/body problem need not be of central focus. It is though in relation to the problems of personal identity and of the unity of consciousness2 that there is, I believe, a widespread tendency to adopt answers that are incompatible with (A), or at least incompatible with (A) given certain assumptions which have some claim to count as fairly obviously true. The grounds for these preferences need to be scrutinized. What is essential is that we do not build into our initial understanding of the problems any assumptions which predispose us to favour answers incompatible with (A) and which, when assessed, are by no means dearly true. That is why some explanation of the nature of these problems is important at this stage.
  3. With these guiding aims in mind I want to turn first to the problem of personal identity.

  1. The Problem of Personal Identity
  2. Personal Identity and Identity
  3. Personal Identity: Is It a Conceptual Issue?
  4. Personal Identity: Some Further Assumptions
  5. Animals and the Problem
  6. The Main Options
  7. Other Options
  8. Personal Identity and Animalism3 (A)
  9. The Concept of a Subject of Experience
  10. Propositional Attitude Ascription
  11. The Mind/Body Problem
  12. Conclusion
    • I have been concerned to argue that there are three problems or issues for which the assessment of (A) has crucial implications. I have stressed, too, that we must not simply make assumptions about these issues, and how they are to be posed, that rule out answers to them that are consistent with (A). On the contrary, we should, I argue, rely on the plausibility of (A) to guide our answers to these questions.
    • It is not a commitment of the present analysis that there are no other issues that consideration of (A) has implications for. Thus, it would not be implausible to suggest that there are issues in the theory of value and ethics for which the assessment of (A) might have implications4.
    • I have restricted myself to the questions in, roughly, metaphysics with which (A) has links. I want, though, in the next chapter, to begin the task of getting straight about the truth of (A) by focusing on a notion of central importance in considering it, that of a person.

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 4:

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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