Animalism and the Varieties of Conjoined Twinning
Campbell (Tim) & McMahan (Jeff)
Source: Blatti & Snowdon - Animalism: New Essays on Persons, Animals, and Identity, 2016: Part III, Chapter 11, pp. 229-252
Paper - Abstract

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Authors’ Abstract

  1. We defend the view that we are not identical to organisms against the objection that it implies that there are two subjects of every conscious state one experiences: oneself and one’s organism.
  2. We then criticize animalism1 — the view that each of us is identical to a human organism — by showing that it has unacceptable implications for a range of actual and hypothetical cases of conjoined2 twinning3: dicephalus4, craniopagus parasiticus, and cephalopagus.

  1. Animalism5 and the Challenge of Dicephalus6
  2. The Too-Many-Subjects Problem
  3. You Are a Part of an Organism
  4. Objections to the Dicephalus7 Argument
  5. Craniopagus parasiticus
  6. Severed Heads and Headless Bodies
  7. Cephalopagus8
Editors’ Introduction9

In Chapter 11, Tim Campbell and Jeff McMahan do two very important things.
  1. They construct what they see as counterexamples to the animalist10 identity based on the cases where either there are what might be called two-headed animals and cases where there are what might be called two animals sharing a single head. About these cases they claim that either they involve two subjects or selves and a single animal — in which case both subjects cannot be the animal, hence one is not an animal — or they involve one subject and two animals, and since there is no reason to identify the self with one of the animals rather than the other, it cannot be either animal. These cases are extremely interesting, and
    1. One issue is whether Campbell and McMahan adjudicate them correctly.
    2. But the second crucial issue is what it would show if they are right about these cases. They simply assert that we — standard and typical humans — are the same sort of thing as the selves in these odd cases. But is that a legitimate assumption?
  2. The second thing they do is to develop a conception of ourselves according to which we either are brains or are constituted by brains (or parts of brains). A very basic question is whether this conception is supported by consideration of the examples, but also whether such an approach has any plausibility.


In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 9: Taken from "Blatti (Stephan) & Snowdon (Paul), Eds. - Animalism: Introduction".

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