The Nature of Persons and the Nature of Animals
Snowdon (Paul)
Source: Meincke (Anne Sophie) & Dupre (John), Eds. - Biological Identity: Perspectives from Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Biology
Paper - Abstract

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Editors’ Abstract1

  1. Paul F. Snowdon’s contribution ‘The Nature of Persons and the Nature of Animals’ undertakes to elucidate the notion of an animal that is pivotal to animalism, i.e., to the theory that we are identical with animals. More specifically, Snowdon’s aim is to discern where exactly the biologists’ empirical knowledge about animals can help advance philosophical controversies about animalism.
  2. Snowdon argues that when it comes to anti-animalist dissociation arguments (arguments that allege that the person and the animal which initially are co-located can come apart), constructive contributions from biologists will be confined to actual cases, such as cases of conjoined twinning.
  3. Pro-animalist arguments like the ‘too many minds problem’, however, are not in need of biological certification as their presumptions about animals are uncontentious.
  4. As to the general nature of animals, Snowdon, like Wiggins2 and Ferner3, criticises the process view, distinguishing two versions thereof:
    1. A moderate version which explains animals in terms of processes and
    2. An eliminativist version which replaces the concept of an animal with the concept of process.
  5. According to Snowdon, both involve questionable assumptions about persistence, contradict ordinary thinking about animals and are guilty of wrongly inferring from the necessity of processes for the existence of organisms to the latter’s identity with processes.


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In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Footnote 2: Footnote 3:

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