Author’s Introduction: Selves and Persons
- Philosophers are described, and describe themselves, as offering theories of the self and of personal identity. It can be asked: what are such theories about? We need to pick out the objects that such questions concern so that we can at least try to test the theories. We can begin by dividing what is in the world in to three broad categories1.
We can now say that when philosophers discuss the topic of the self and of personal identity they are theorizing about aspects of self-conscious entities3.
- The broadest category is that of what we might call purely physical things. Examples are the tree at the end of your garden, the air, the earth - and so on. We might say that this category is the category of things with physical properties and which, considered in themselves, have no psychological properties at all2. Within this category there is massive variation in size, from the very small, individual subatomic particles, to the very large, an object like the sun. In this group, as I mean it, will fall inanimate objects and also plants, and simpler organisms.
- The second, much smaller category, comprises objects which of course have physical properties, such as shape, size and weight, but which also have what we would recognize as psychological features, such as perceptual capacities, plus broad, and also environmentally directed, goals and a capacity to act, but which lack the advanced psychological capacities that we, typical humans, possess. Examples falling in this category are dogs, cats, and other middle sized and large animals.
- Finally, there is the even smaller category of creatures like us. We have (or seem to have) physical properties, and we share the basic psychological capacities possessed by ordinary animals, but we also, at least characteristically, possess an array of considerably more advanced psychological capacities - including the ability to think, imagine, reason, remember, develop theories and solve intellectual problems. We can think about individual objects in our environment, and determine what kind of objects they are. In particular we can think, in a variety of ways, about ourselves, and we recognize ourselves as creatures with that very capacity, the capacity, as we might say, for self-knowledge. It is helpful to have an abbreviated way of expressing this vague and vaguely specified battery of advanced psychological capacities. I shall simply call these advanced powers – self-consciousness.
- Although it might be premature, given the imprecision of the conditions that the term "self-conscious" picks out, there is a temptation to select a noun to stand for things which are self-conscious. Some philosophers use the term "self" and so would formulate questions as about the nature of a self or of selves. Others employ the term "person." I shall at this stage use both nouns interchangeably4.
- There are three aspects of these nouns worth noting immediately.
So, although it is agreed that we are selves and persons as those terms have been interpreted, that does not mean that we should say that what we fundamentally are is a self or a person. Maybe we are fundamentally a different sort of thing which given the way we have developed amount to selves or persons. The introduction and application to us of these nouns does not settle the question as to what we are11, or what nature we fundamentally have12.
- The first is that as initially introduced they apply, not to some special or perhaps strange type of object which is part of us (as, perhaps, sometimes it is assumed5 the word "self” does) but rather to us, as one might say, as whole complex things. You are a self, just as you are a person6. (This contrasts with the term "mind"; you7 are not a mind, rather you have a mind. Mind-talk is thus talk about some restricted aspects of you.)
- Second, since8 you are a self and a person, we can say that the thing that you pick out when you use the word "I" is the self or person that you are. Hence the question – what is a self or person? – can be formulated by you in these words: what sort of thing am I? what nature do I have?
- Third, the way I have introduced or explained these nouns it is not being assumed at all that, as one might put it, these nouns express or pick out what we fundamentally or basically are. Consider this analogy. The noun phrase "students of philosophy" applies to you and to me; that complex noun expresses some condition that we fall under, which is to say that we all are students of philosophy. But even though you are a student of philosophy if someone were to ask – what sort of thing are you fundamentally? – I would not say – "a student of philosophy" – but would rather say – perhaps – a human being9. This is surely linked to the fact that you could cease to be a student of philosophy, while undoubtedly remaining in existence. It can, therefore, hardly amount to what you fundamentally10 are.
- This leads to a question: when philosophers raise issues about selves or about what they call personal identity, are they raising questions about us, about ourselves, the things which happen to be selves and persons, or are they raising questions about us only in so far as we qualify as selves and persons, or perhaps, as one might say, about the class of selves and persons? This is an important question, but it would stall proceedings too much if I discuss it here. Rather, I shall dogmatically affirm what I think the correct answer is, which is that they are raising questions about us, about the nature we fundamentally have. The reason13 for saying that is that philosophers express their answers in claims about themselves, and also argue about the truth of claims about selves (and persons) by considering whether the claims apply to themselves.
- Selves and Persons
- Some Questions
- The Self-Body Problem
- Personal Identity
- Further Reading
For a write-up, Click here for Note.
Write-up14 (as at 13/08/2015 23:55:41): Snowdon - The Self and Personal Identity
This note provides my detailed review of "Snowdon (Paul) - The Self and Personal Identity". The Paper is a rather elementary piece in a book designed for beginners in philosophy, so maybe wasn’t really worth the effort reviewing it. However, in my defence I’d say that – given that I’m intent on defending Animalism15 – it’s always worth attending to a recent piece written by a prominent Animalist16. The structure and headings in the analysis below are my own, but hopefully closely reflect Snowdon’s discussion.
- Selves and Persons
- See "Snowdon (Paul) - The Self and Personal Identity" for the full text of this Section, on which my comments appear as footnotes.
- In summary:-
- Snowdon divides what’s in the world into three categories: material objects, sentient beings, and us.
- He notes that whatever we are that distinguishes us from other beings in the second category is only a matter of degree.
- He makes no distinction between persons17 and selves18, something I’m not happy with.
- He has three things to say about the terms “person” / “self”: they pick out all of each of us; they are the referent of the first-person pronoun; they don’t necessarily pick out what we most fundamentally are.
- There’s an ambiguity in the philosophical literature on Personal Identity as to whether philosophers are talking about what we most fundamentally are, or only about us insofar as we qualify as selves or persons.
- Snowdon thinks they at least ought to be talking about what we most fundamentally are, and that’s what he’ll do.
- Some Questions
- Snowdon sees three questions, the first two of which are to be dealt with in the other two sections of this Chapter, and the final one is parked:-
- The Self-Body Problem: A synchronic question – what do we consist of – is there any more to us than our bodies?
- Personal Identity: A diachronic question, leading on from the answer to the previous one. It deals with matters of persistence for beings such as us.
- What qualifies an individual to be a person or self?: Snowdon asks, but does not answer:-
We are referred to "Cassam (Quassim) - Self and World".
- Do they need to be physical things?
- Do they need to be subjects of particular types of experience?
- The Self-Body Problem
- As noted in the first Section, Snowdon equates Selves and Persons. He now asks what is the relation between this entity, P, to its body19, B.
- He asks whether there are any parts of P20 that are not parts of B, and vice versa.
- He will consider two initial views:-
Other possible views are ignored in this introductory essay.
- No parts of B form part of P; P is entirely distinct from B.
- B and P are mereologically identical. B is all there is to P.
- He accepts various methodological principles in this Section, as means of determining whether two things are or are not identical:-
- Leibniz’s21 Law (LL),
- Modal22 arguments and Essential23 Properties24,
- Occam’s Razor25.
- The example Snowdon gives of View (i) is Cartesian Dualism26, or the Soul27 View. He gives three of Descartes’ arguments:-
- I know I’m a P, but don’t know I’ve a B, so – by LL – P<>B. This is exposed as the Masked Man Fallacy28.
- (I) P is essentially thinking, (II) B not; (III) B is essentially extended, (IV) P not: so P<>B. While this is a valid form of argument, we need not accept all its premises, in particular (I29) and (IV30) are false, so it is unsound.
- Things composed only of bodily parts cannot perform certain acts, such as engaging in conversation and problem-solving. The second alleged problem is the easiest to attack, as the motivation for Descartes was the limited technology of his time (clocks and mechanical models of animals). The possibilities of matter are easily underestimated, and our coincidence with our bodies is proof that bodies can do a lot31.
- Now on to View (ii), namely P=B. Descartes has given us no reason to think P<>B. There are two sorts of reason why we cannot be identical to something distinct from our bodies32.
- Incoherence: there are two alleged cases of this adduced by Snowdon:-
- Causal Interaction: there’s a two-way transfer of influence between P and B (sensation and action). Isn’t it impossible to explain this on the dualist view? Snowdon is unimpressed, on the grounds that it’s not ruled out a priori, and might be a special33 case of causation.
- Individuation: How are we to make sense of the persistence and individuation of non-physical Selves; between one persisting self and two successive ones? And, how are we to distinguish between two qualitatively identical Selves? Snowdon dismisses these worries as epistemological rather than metaphysical or conceptual.
- “Other Bad Features”:
- Needless Complexity: There’s no reason to believe that we need anything beyond B to give P, so – by Occam’s Razor – we should stick with the simpler solution, namely B.
- Reject Hume’s “Bundle Theory”: This theory is alleged by Snowdon to try to show that no part of B is a part of P – and is briefly rehearsed and rejected on three counts not worth discussing34.
- So, if we have shown that there is no reason to think that there are any parts of P that are not parts of B, do we have P=B?
- No, for consider a statue S and the piece of clay C that was shaped into it. S just consists of C, yet it doesn’t look as though S=C, as they have different life-histories. C constitutes S and – for all we know – B may constitute P without being identical to P.
- A footnote refers to an example of Kripke’s35.
- Snowdon claims the debate is completely unsettled, and has to move on. We are referred to Wiggins, but there is no mention of Baker36.
- Personal Identity
- We (taken to be Ps) persist over time. Can anything informative be said about our persistence conditions? Snowdon thinks three factors are involved:-
- Future contingencies
- Some of these lead to P’s survival, others not.
- Criteria37 of identity: non-circular specification of just which contingencies P can survive.
- Snowdon has reservations about TEs38, in that he doesn’t trust our intuitions in unusual cases, but will proceed in the orthodox manner to use them, at least initially.
- Snowdon initially considers three popular criteria of Personal Identity:-
- Body39 Criterion: it is both necessary and sufficient for P to survive that B does.
- This gives the correct answer to whether the adult is identical to the child.
- Changes in P’s psychology pose no problems for identity.
- Some are, however, uncomfortable with this …
- Psychological40 Criterion: The above approach is unpopular for two41 reasons:-
- TEs seem to show that B and P may come apart in two ways.
- B and not-P: To cases … Irreversible brain damage (or Shoemaker’s brain-zap) and MPD42 (Note43).
- P and not-B: Brain Transplants44.
- Locke’s45 theory of Personal Identity seems to many to be along the right lines. So:-
- A Person is "a thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing in different times and places", so that “as far as this consciousness can be extended backwards to any past action or thought, so far reaches the identity of that person.”
- This general approach seems to accommodate people’s intuitions about the TEs.
- It displays two general features:-
- Persistence of persons consists in psychological relations across time.
- There is no requirement for the person to be tied to a particular body.
- Neo-Lockeans substitute wider psychological features to the memory-criterion that is central to Locke’s own theory.
- Snowdon’s favourites are "Parfit (Derek) - Reasons and Persons" and "Shoemaker (Sydney) - Personal Identity: a Materialist Account".
- These accounts also substitute “quasi-memory46” and the like for the standard psychological predicates, which since Butler have been seen to presuppose personal identity rather than analyse it.
- We are referred to "Parfit (Derek) - How We Are Not What We Believe", pp. 219-23, and – for a critique – to "Wiggins (David) - Personal Identity".
- Whatever the attractions of the psychological view, some prefer the third traditional alternative …
- Brain47 Criterion:
- The main objection to the body view was the main P and Non-B case – the brain-transplant intuition that “we go with our brains”.
- We effectively have the best of both worlds, and the person is tied to the object that grounds their psychology.
- Snowdon cites "Mackie (J.L.) - Identity and Diversity" and "Johnston (Mark) - Human Beings".
- He also notes that the Brain view does not48 claim that I am identical to my brain, as my physical properties differ significantly from those of my brain.
- What the theory does claim is that I can only survive if my mental features remain grounded in that physical object. But the person is the total thing organised around that object and usually extends well beyond it.
- Snowdon thinks there are no decisive objections to the BV, though
- Neo-Lockeans think there are further P and Non-B cases which show that the brain is not necessary to our survival, and
- We can question whether the empirical grounding of mental states is a necessary one.
- Motivation for Animalism:
- Snowdon thinks the restricted pallet of concepts involved in the above three options (and others) – namely bodies, body parts and psychological states – has an unnecessarily constraining effect on the debate.
- Where you are there would appear to be a human animal. What weight – Snowdon asks – should be given to that fact in debates about personal identity?
- Arguments for Animalism: Snowdon considers three issues:-
- For a brain-theorist or neo-Lockean, the Person and the human animal are not identical.
- The B & not-P cases make non-identity clear for the neo-Lockean.
- For the BV it’s less clear. Snowdon is less bullish than Olson – he doesn’t say “the brain is just another organ” – but imagines a case in which enough brain is transplanted to ensure the transfer of the psychology, while leaving enough brain behind to ensure the animal survives in some form.
- In the course of a normal human life it would be hard to think of any predicates we would ascribe to the person that don’t apply to the human animal (and vice versa). They would seem to be identical.
- If the person and the animal are really distinct, then we have what Snowdon calls the Two Lives problem50, unless we don’t allow human animals to have psychological states when we’re quite happy (nowadays) that non-human animals have them. While not a formal contradiction, having twice as many thinkers as we expected is a surprise. This also undermines the thought that persons are marked out by their psychological capacities if human animals have these and yet are not persons.
- Has led to a “downgrading” of the Body view, which has no advantages not shared by Animalism.
- If we persons are identical to human animals, what are the persistence conditions of animals? There are unresolved questions about the end of life – Snowdon says – are. Does an animal cease to exist when it dies, or continue as a corpse51?
- Psychology is irrelevant to the persistence of animals.
- We are referred to the following exponents of Animalism:-
- Problems52 for Animalism:
- The same examples as for the Body view apply, namely “A and not-P” and “P and not-A” cases.
- In these it is usually easy to see that we are tracking A correctly, but it is not so obvious that we are correctly tracking P.
- So, take the B and not-P case (re-badged as A and not-P) where an individual has lost all psychology as a result of an accident or brain-zap. Has P really ceased to be, or has P simply suffered a tragedy, while remaining in existence?
- The most difficult case is the P and not-A case of a brain transplant. Snowdon adopts the “organ donation” solution, that many will find deeply implausible. Detailed Animalist answers include
- "Snowdon (Paul) - Personal Identity and Brain Transplants", and
- "Olson (Eric) - Why We Need Not Accept the Psychological Approach".
- Where to now …?
- Snowdon thinks that the problem of the Self and Personal Identity is difficult, and
- We should not be deceived into thinking we have the answer based only on a cursory sampling of standard TEs.
- Maybe we are right to think that we are “advanced mentally-endowed self-conscious animals” who have got into a muddle53 and convinced ourselves that we have a differing nature to that animal.
- But, we are a long way from knowing this54.
- Further Reading: This is mildly interesting in revealing what Snowdon thinks are the next steps, in case I’ve missed any. I’ve ignored the Classics (Descartes, Arnauld, Locke, Butler, Hume).
- The Self:
- "Armstrong (David) - A Materialist Theory of the Mind", Chapters 1-4,
- "Smith (Peter) & Jones (O.R.) - The Philosophy of Mind - An Introduction",
- "Ryle (Gilbert) - The Concept of Mind", Chapter 1
- "Strawson (Peter) - Persons",
- "Strawson (Peter) - Self, Mind and Body"
- Foster, Ayer
- "Wong (Hong Yu) - Cartesian Psychophysics",
- "Smart (J.C.C.) - Sensations and Brain Processes",
- "Lowe (E.J.) - Substantial Change and Spatiotemporal Coincidence",
- "Wiggins (David) - Sameness and Substance Renewed",
- "Williams (Bernard) - Are Persons Bodies?",
- "Nagel (Thomas) - The Objective Self",
- "Cassam (Quassim) - Self and World".
- Personal Identity:
- "Mackie (J.L.) - Problems from Locke", especially
- "Mackie (J.L.) - Identity and Diversity",
- "Noonan (Harold) - Personal Identity",
- "Garrett (Brian) - Personal Identity and Self-consciousness",
- "Williams (Bernard) - Personal Identity and Individuation",
- "Parfit (Derek) - Reasons and Persons",
- "Shoemaker (Sydney) - Personal Identity: a Materialist Account",
- "Johnston (Mark) - Human Beings",
- "Nagel (Thomas) - Mind and Body",
- "Snowdon (Paul) - Persons, Animals, and Ourselves",
- "Ayers (Michael R.) - Neo-Lockean and Anti-Lockean Theories of Personal Identity in Analytic Philosophy",
- "Olson (Eric) - The Human Animal - Personal Identity Without Psychology".
- Anyone uncorrupted by philosophy encountering the three categories I shall sketch will surely feel happy (or at least fairly happy) with them. An implication of some philosophical theories to be considered here would be that the list is either overly restricted or confused. The list does though provide a useful way into the discussion, whatever the ultimate outcome.
Note: The claim in the last sentence is interesting. Compare it with the claim made by Lynne Rudder Baker – a supporter of the Constitution View (Click here for Note) – that a statue is what it is – a statue as distinct from the piece of marble that constitutes it – because of its relation to an art-world. Footnote 3:
- When defining a category of thing in terms of its properties in such a general way care needs to be taken. Thus consider the book you are reading. I think that we would consider a book a physical thing, and hence something that belongs to the first highly general category. But in being a book it has what one might call semantic properties – it says things, or contains features which say things. Saying things is not itself on any ordinary understanding a purely physical property. This indicates that it counts as having solely physical properties only so far as it is considered in itself. The semantic features belong to it in virtue of its relation to people who wrote it and the languages they possess.
- Two caveats need entering at this point.
- We may think that we know that only we humans are self-conscious, but we should be cautious about excluding all other creatures. The careful study of other animals is in its infancy.
- Second, we should not assume the third category can be sharply distinguished from the second. Creatures who are not fully self-conscious may get very close to it!
Footnote 4: Note:
- Some higher animals (eg. chimpanzees & dolphins) clearly pass the mirror test while others that you might expect to on this basis (eg. gorillas) don’t. Others – like elephants – might or might not, it seems.
- Personhood may also be a matter of degree, in that the qualities required for being a person may be had to differing degrees.
Footnote 5: Note:
- We need to watch out here! Both are philosophers’ terms of art, but
- A Person (Click here for Note) may have a stronger moral claim on us than a Self (Click here for Note)
- See the above Notes, and the following footnote by Snowdon, for further discussion.
- Is it really?
- More likely, it’s assumed to be you, full stop.
- Some have claimed that the whole idea of a self is a bewitchment of grammar, from the reflexive pronoun “myself”.
- Mind you, one might split “myself” into “my self”, and deduce therefrom that we have selves, but I don’t think people do that.
- There is a contrast between the term "person" and the term "self".
- It is not really a matter for dispute that each of us is a person. The term "person" just applies to us. So we can test any claim about persons by asking whether the claim applies to each of us.
- In contrast, the term "self” is sometimes used in a technical way, which means that it is not automatic that each of us is a self. An example of someone who defines it in such a way is Galen Strawson:
"I will restrict myself to the human case and take it that if anything is to count as a self then it must be a subject of experience and must be non-identical with a human being considered as a whole."
- Such a definition is of course perfectly legitimate, though I am not adopting any such usage myself Those who speak in some such way face two questions
- Why suppose that there are selves in your sense?
- Why be interested in that notion?
Footnote 7: Note:
- I have “bulleted” Snowdon’s complex footnote to segregate its various claims.
- I don’t know why Snowdon states as he does above that the term "person" just applies to us. He knows the philosophical usage of “person”, and that the term can and does come apart from “human animal” – it’s one of the alternative answers to the question “what are we?” to the animalist one he espouses.
- Maybe there’s some hidden agenda – much as when Olson uses “people” for the plural of “person”, but does so self-consciously, and tendentiously (it seems to me) and notes that other philosophers would not do so (preferring “persons”, with “people” the term for “us”).
- His preference for the “non-standard” use of “Self” is odd. Normally, it would be said that someone with advanced Alzheimer’s would be a Self, but maybe not a Person. Also, I think Frankfurter claimed that those he called Wantons (those without second-order desires; Click here for Note) are not Persons (but Self-ish, if not Selves).
- Maybe Snowdon’s just read "Strawson (Galen) - The Self?" or "Strawson (Galen) - The Self" and been challenged by it? He doesn’t make clear where his quotation from Galen Strawson is from.
- Snowdon’s final two questions could apply just as well to “Person” used as an alleged substance-term.
Footnote 8: Note:
- Well, substance dualists would disagree.
- After all, it was obvious to Descartes that he was a mind, rather than had one. He clearly and distinctly perceived himself to be a thinking thing. So there!
- Of course, he was wrong, but that’s no reason to ignore him completely.
Footnote 9: Note:
- The initial proposition is false, or question-begging, so the rest of this is a muddle.
Footnote 10: Note:
- I agree: “human being”, rather than “human animal”.
- While both Snowdon and I think we are (identical to / most fundamentally) human animals, this is too theoretical an identifications.
- However, it’s not too clear what a “human being” is: Click here for Note, at least in a philosophical context.
Footnote 12: Note:
- Yes: a “philosophy student” is a phase sortal (Click here for Note).
- The same is true (I claim) for persons and selves.
Footnote 13: Note:
- I agree entirely.
- We have to discover – or at least agree on – what sort of thing we are before we can even start talking about our persistence conditions and raise questions of “personal identity”.
- I think (and I think Olson thinks / thought) that the two questions are run together by most pre-animalist philosophers.
- They don’t even ask the “what are we?” question, because it’s so obvious – they think – that we are persons or selves.
- So, the only questions of interest – for them – are what is it that makes this person (or self) – viewed as a fundamentally psychological entity – the same person or self as that one (speaking loosely – the “entities” are picked out by different descriptions, or exist at different times; but, obviously, if they are the very same thing, there is only one of them!).
Footnote 19: Just note here that this may be an expository simplification. Olson distrusts “bodies” (Click here for Note) and prefers “animals”(Click here for Note) or (maybe, I forget) “organisms” (Click here for Note).
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (13/08/2015 23:55:41).
- Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 20: Not merely for the sake of the argument, since – at this stage – P might be a sum of body and soul or mind and body.
Footnote 25: I have an old Note on this – Click here for Note.
Footnote 28: Intensional properties are really properties of me – the knower – not of the object allegedly known.
- Snowdon’s grounds are that
- D doesn’t think when asleep or knocked out, and
- D might have been born congenitally incapable of thought.
- (i) seems fair enough – though I think D has an answer – disposition, rather than actual practice, but
- (ii) is somewhat question-begging. It assumes something like animalism. A dualist might claim that if “D” had been born congenitally unable to think, then D (the person) would never have existed at all.
Footnote 31: Snowdon says this is a proof of the existence of the CNS (Click here for Note).
- Snowdon points out the Descartes’ “clear and distinct” impression that he could exist without a body had been refuted by Arnauld, …
- on the grounds that people had not realised that right triangles are essentially Pythagorean, so how does he know he’s not essentially embodied?
Footnote 33: Footnote 34: If I ever look into Hume’s views on Personal Identity (Click here for Note) in any detail, I may return to this.
- This is rather strangely put. At first sight, it seems equivalent to trying to demonstrate that P=B, so why not just say so?
- However, there is a reason, as Snowdon will consider the issue of constitution at the end of this Section.
Footnote 36: See "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View".
- The example seems badly formulated and poorly edited.
- It has to do with a tree which for part of its existence has had its leaves and branches shaved off, being reduced to a trunk. So, says Kripke (says Snowdon), for a period the tree is constituted by its trunk while not being identical to it (as the trunk is a proper part of the tree under normal circumstances).
- Where does this come from? "Kripke (Saul) - Identity and Necessity" is suggested by "Wasserman (Ryan) - Material Constitution".
- It seems a muddle: it’s more related to the problem of temporary intrinsics (ie. of persistence through change) than to constitution.
Footnote 41: TEs and (initially) Lockean intuitions.
Footnote 43: Footnote 48: Olson seems to think this claimed – ie. that the BV implies I can fit into a hat-box, and so on
Footnote 51: This seems to be resolved – an animal is an organism, but a corpse is just an organised lump of matter. Organisms and corpses have different persistence conditions.
- I’ve not heard this terminology before, though Snowdon claims it is “sometimes” used. It doesn’t seem to be appropriate, as the focus isn’t on living but thinking. It’s true by definition that persons think, but it’s not clear that “living” – a biological phenomenon – is something that persons – qua persons – do.
- Olson refers to it as the “too many thinkers”, “too many minds” or “thinking animal” problem (Click here for Note).
- Others refer to it as Olson’s “Master Argument”.
- Snowdon doesn’t explicitly say this, but it’s my take on what he probably means.
- Again, it’s not 100% clear to me what Snowdon means.
- It could be that he means we’re a long way from knowing that Animalism is true, or that we are a long way from knowing that our true nature differs from that of “merely special” animals.
- Either “take” is probably of a correct stance to take on the matter.
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