Persons: What Philosophers Say about You
Bourgeois (Warren)
This Page provides (where held) the Abstract of the above Book and those of all the Papers contained in it.
Colour-ConventionsDisclaimerBooks / Papers Citing this BookNotes Citing this Book

BOOK ABSTRACT:

Cover Blurb
  1. Prompted by tragedy – a loved one’s descent into dementia – Warren Bourgeois explored Western philosophical ideas to discover what constitutes a “person”.
  2. The first edition of Persons: What Philosophers Say about You was the result of his search.
  3. This new second edition focuses on making this material easily accessible to students, and has been redesigned as an introduction to the philosophy of mind and its history, concentrating on the central concept of “person” in contemporary controversies concerning abortion1, euthanasia, genetic engineering, and human rights.
  4. Warren Bourgeois received his PhD in philosophy from the University of California at Irvine in 1979 and taught at the University of Salzburg, Austria, the University of California at San Diago, the University of British Columbia, and Simon Fraser University before going to Kwantlen College. He is professor of philosophy and an ethics consultant, and is a member of the Ethics Committee of Surrey Memorial Hospital in Surrey, BC, and of Peace Arch Hospital, White Rock, BC. He is director of the BC Civil Liberties Association.



"Bourgeois (Warren) - Persons: Introduction: Where I am Coming From"

Source: Bourgeois - Persons: What Philosophers Say about You, 2003, Introduction


Contents
  1. Daphne’s tragedy: Radical, personal change
  2. How to read this book
    • 2.1 The intended audience: This is a broad survey, not a book for philosophers specializing in the area of concepts of a person
    • 2.2 A framework for comparing views about persons



"Bourgeois (Warren) - Persons - Philosophical Background: The Nature of Persons"

Source: Bourgeois - Persons: What Philosophers Say about You, 2003, Chapter 1


Contents
  1. What is Philosophy?
    • 1.1 Philosophical answers and irritants
  2. Words for persons
    • 2.1 Amelie Rorty’s list of person candidates
    • 2.2 The history of the term “person”
    • 2.3 Legal problems
    • 2.4 Pseudo-questions
    • 2.5 Paradoxes of conflicting intuitions
  3. Puzzles concerning related concepts
    • 3.1 Identity over time
    • 3.2 Other relations called “identity” by the hoi polloi
    • 3.3 Objects
    • 3.4 Processes
    • 3.5 Reduction
    • 3.6 Thought experiments1
  4. A grand system to ground the question
    • 4.1 Materialism: Never mind
    • 4.2 Dualism: Mind and matter
    • 4.3 Idealism: No Matter
    • 4.4 Neural monism: Never mind; it doesn’t matter
    • 4.5 Wittgensteinian ladder heaving
  5. Reaction to philosophical interpretation
    • 5.1 Irritation with the exaltation of language
    • 5.2 Rejecting the vocabulary and method of analytic philosophy
    • 5.3 Survival is what counts
  6. The way the answers miss the point



"Bourgeois (Warren) - Persons - Philosophical Background: So Who Cares?"

Source: Bourgeois - Persons: What Philosophers Say about You, 2003, Chapter 2


Contents
  1. What really matters about people?
  2. God substitutes
    • 2.1 Secular absolute moral standards
    • 2.2 Aesthetic standards
    • 2.3 Solidarity of persons
    • 2.4 Spirituality
    • 2.5 Love
  3. Assuming what?
    • 3.1 Mystical and religious importance
    • 3.2 Being yourself (who else?)
    • 3.3 Promises and the question of who’s who?
    • 3.4 Loneliness and person surrogates
    • 3.5 Continuity of an individual’s projects
    • 3.6 Continuity of the species’ projects
  4. Persons for persons’ sake



"Bourgeois (Warren) - Ancient Philosophers' Views on Persons: Persons in Ancient Greece and Rome"

Source: Bourgeois - Persons: What Philosophers Say about You, 2003, Chapter 3


Contents
  1. This you call great thought? Sources of the obvious
    • 1.1 Recycling
  2. The ancients
    • 2.1 Prior to the invention of persons
    • 2.2 Heraclitus: Identity through change – the same river
    • 2.3 Man as the measure: Protagoras versus Socrates
    • 2.4 Plato: Participating in the form of person
    • 2.5 Aristotle: Down to earth souls
    • 2.6 Rome and the invention of persons
    • 2.7 Stoicism
    • 2.8 Plotinus and later Roman developments



"Bourgeois (Warren) - Ancient Philosophers' Views on Persons: The Mediaevals"

Source: Bourgeois - Persons: What Philosophers Say about You, 2003, Chapter 4


Contents
  1. The soul and the intellect (Augustine)
    • 1.1 Love and dignity of persons
    • 1.2 In aid of inclusivity
  2. The Arab-Christian dispute over individualism
    • 2.1 Absorption in the Agent Intellect
  3. St. Thomas Aquinas
    • 3.1 The body: You can take it with you
    • 3.2 An uneasy marriage of Plato and Aristotle
    • 3.3 Essentialism, potential persons, and survival
  4. Philosophy as the handmaiden of religion
    • 4.1 Three persons, one God



"Bourgeois (Warren) - Modern Philosophers' Views on Persons: The Renaissance and the Early Moderns"

Source: Bourgeois - Persons: What Philosophers Say about You, 2003, Chapter 5


Contents
  1. Mechanism versus humanism
    • 1.1 Erasmus’s humanist tradition
    • 1.2 Protestantism
    • 1.3 Montaigne
  2. The oldest moderns
    • 2.1 Hobbes: The emerging modern worldview
    • 2.2 Cartesian Egos
    • 2.3 Spinoza: The unity of all persons in God
    • 2.4 Locke’s neutral ground



"Bourgeois (Warren) - Modern Philosophers' Views on Persons: More Moderns"

Source: Bourgeois - Persons: What Philosophers Say about You, 2003, Chapter 6


Contents
  1. Berkeley: The outer limits of empiricism
    • 1.1 Persons as minds
  2. Leibniz against the drunks
    • 2.1 Leibniz’s common sense
    • 2.2 Subconscious selves
    • 2.3 Copies of Persons
    • 2.4 Leibniz on identity
    • 2.5 The subconscious and responsibility
  3. Butler and Reid reacting
    • 3.1 Fear of change
    • 3.2 Reid’s brave officer
    • 3.3 Butler’s charge of circularity
    • 3.4 Lockean responses
  4. Hume and our disappearance
    • 4.1 Where am I?
    • 4.2 Identity oversimplified
    • 4.3 Ahead of his time



"Bourgeois (Warren) - Modern Philosophers' Views on Persons: Yet More Moderns"

Source: Bourgeois - Persons: What Philosophers Say about You, 2003, Chapter 7


Contents
  1. The late modern emphasis on morality
    • 1.1 Rousseau
    • 1.2 Kant
    • 1.3 Hegel: God is still almost everywhere
    • 1.4 Schopenhauer: God begins to disappear
    • 1.5 Bentham and Mill
    • 1.6 Karl Marx and self-realization
    • 1.7 Kierkegaard’s attempt to depose reason: God reappears
  2. The turn of the century and the screw
    • 2.1 Nietzsche and the death of God
    • 2.2 Peirce, James, and Dewey: Pragmatism and God’s resurrection



"Bourgeois (Warren) - Contemporary Philosophers' Views on Persons: Our Contemporaries (or Almost)"

Source: Bourgeois - Persons: What Philosophers Say about You, 2003, Chapter 8


Contents
  1. System builders are still around
    • 1.1 Bergson: Seeing ourselves from inside
    • 1.2 Whitehead: Persons as process
  2. Contemporary Continental philosophy
    • 2.1 Husserl: Phenomenology
    • 2.2 Heidegger: Being toward death
    • 2.3 Sartre: What you do is what you are
    • 2.4 Derrida and Foucault omitted



"Bourgeois (Warren) - Contemporary Philosophers' Views on Persons: Analytic Founding Fathers"

Source: Bourgeois - Persons: What Philosophers Say about You, 2003, Chapter 9


Contents
  1. Searching for precision and clarity
    • 1.1 Russell: Aiming for scientific objectivity about persons
    • 1.2 Wittgenstein: A different disappearance of persons
  2. Logical Positivism
    • 2.1 Ryle: Exorcism of a persistent ghost
  3. Taking stock after the iconoclasts



"Bourgeois (Warren) - Contemporary Philosophers' Views on Persons: More Contemporary Classics"

Source: Bourgeois - Persons: What Philosophers Say about You, 2003, Chapter 10


Contents
  1. Strawson: The concept of person as basic
    • 1.1 Self and other
    • 1.2 Owning experience: Cartesian and no-ownership views
    • 1.3 Person as a primitive concept
    • 1.4 Bodies: All for one, one for all, or none at all
  2. Ayer: An unusual view of ordinary people
    • 2.1 Persons as bodies
  3. Quine: Convention rules
    • 3.1 Nominalism
    • 3.2 Survival
    • 3.3 Worming our way through space-time



"Bourgeois (Warren) - Contemporary Philosophers' Views on Persons: Wiggins and Williams"

Source: Bourgeois - Persons: What Philosophers Say about You, 2003, Chapter 11


Contents
  1. Wiggins’ individuative naturalism
  2. Williams’ bodily criterion
    • 2.1 Same body, same person
    • 2.2 Forget memory
    • 2.3 Personality is not enough
    • 2.4 Persons as analyzable
    • 2.5 Against disembodied3 persons
    • 2.6 Language rules
    • 2.7 Information is not enough
    • 2.8 Person as a moral concept



"Bourgeois (Warren) - Contemporary Philosophers' Views on Persons: Nozick's Self-Makers"

Source: Bourgeois - Persons: What Philosophers Say about You, 2003, Chapter 12


Contents
  1. Crazy solutions
    • 1.1 Nozick’s closest continuer theory
    • 1.2 The similarity metric: Weighted dimensions of closeness
    • 1.3 Closest continuer limits
    • 1.4 Mono-relatedness
    • 1.5 Metaphysical limits
    • 1.6 Social limits
  2. Self-creation and reflexivity
    • 2.1 Reflexivity
    • 2.1.1 Reflexive self-reference
    • 2.1.2 Reflexive caring
  3. Four possible theories of identity of persons over time
    • 3.1 The first theory: The closest continuer is identical
    • 3.2 The second theory: Switch from short-lived to runner-up
    • 3.3 The third theory: ignore the short-lived in favour of the runner-up
    • 3.4 The fourth (and, mercifully, last) theory: The ur-person
  4. Some applications of closest continuer theory to puzzles
  5. What a closest-continuer theorist cares about
    • 5.1 Self as property



"Bourgeois (Warren) - Contemporary Philosophers' Views on Persons: Parfit: The Oxford Buddhist"

Source: Bourgeois - Persons: What Philosophers Say about You, 2003, Chapter 13


Contents
  1. The creed of selflessness
    • 1.1 Questions and theses
    • 1.2 Divisibility: People as complexes
    • 1.3 Indeterminacy: Dead, alive, or maybe
      … 1.3.1 The spectra example
    • 1.4 Reductionism: An impersonal universe
    • 1.5 Fundamental value: People do not count
      … 1.5.1 The teletransportation example
  2. Personal identity: Who’s who
    • 2.1 The circular criterion of identity
    • 2.2 Parfit1 in the real world



"Bourgeois (Warren) - Contemporary Philosophers' Views on Persons: The Nagelian Perspective"

Source: Bourgeois - Persons: What Philosophers Say about You, 2003, Chapter 14


Contents
  1. Persons from inside, outside, and no side
    • 1.1 The incompleteness of the objective perspective
    • 1.2 Objectivity as method
    • 1.3 False reductions of the subjective
    • 1.4 Objectivity is relative to the discipline
    • 1.5 Irreducibility
    • 1.6 Mind
    • 1.7 The self as brain
    • 1.8 Pan-psychism
  2. Contrast with Parfit1
    • 2.1 Against Parfit2: Not R but the brain
    • 2.2 With Parfit3: Denial of the indivisibility thesis
  3. Problems
    • 3.1 The difficulty of defending a dual aspect theory
    • 3.2 Terminological problems
    • 3.3 The postulation of the objective self



"Bourgeois (Warren) - My Suggestions for Ways to See Ourselves: Collecting Ideas"

Source: Bourgeois - Persons: What Philosophers Say about You, 2003, Chapter 15


Contents
  1. Five periods in the history of a concept
    • 1.1 Ideas from ancient Greece and Rome
    • 1.2 Mediaeval and Renaissance influences
    • 1.3 Help from the earlier moderns
  2. Help from the earlier moderns
  3. Contributions of the later moderns
  4. Contemporary pieces of the puzzle
  5. Some lessons of this history
    • 5.1 The centrality of a concept of a person
  6. General features of a person to be preserved
    • 6.1 Complexity
    • 6.2 Irreducibility
    • 6.3 The viewline
    • 6.4 Individuality
    • 6.5 Continuity
    • 6.6 Determinacy
    • 6.7 Indivisibility
    • 6.8 Indefinability
    • 6.9 Freedom
      … 6.9.1 Bourgeois’ bet
      … cf. Pascal’s Wager. The only way to win is to bet on free will



"Bourgeois (Warren) - My Suggestions for Ways to See Ourselves: A Bourgeois Concept of a Person"

Source: Bourgeois - Persons: What Philosophers Say about You, 2003, Chapter 16


Contents
  1. Persons in a nutshell
    • 1.1 Essentialism
  2. Subjective elements of persons
    • 2.1 Indivisibility and the viewline
    • 2.2 Irreducibility and the viewline
  3. Mental abilities: A degree of objectivity
    • 3.1 Private and public abilities
      … 3.1.1 Examples: Love, spirit, and aesthetic sense
  4. Self-creation and its limits; More objectivity
    • 4.1 Epistemic and metaphysical social contracts
  5. The body and associated public abilities: Maximal objectivity
    • 5.1 Private choices and public criteria
    • 5.2 Objective indivisibility
  6. Byzantine essentialism: Individual and general essences with thresholds
    • 6.1 Complexity
    • 6.2 Continuity
    • 6.3 Determinacy
    • 6.4 Individuality
    • 6.5 Indefinability
    • 6.6 Freedom
    • 6.7 Thresholds



"Bourgeois (Warren) - My Suggestions for Ways to See Ourselves: Applications of My Concept of a Person"

Source: Bourgeois - Persons: What Philosophers Say about You, 2003, Chapter 17


Contents
  1. Fairness and a social contract
    • 1.1 A metaphor for the original position
  2. Objections to the use of social contract theory
    • 2.1 Ablism
    • 2.2 Gambling
    • 2.3 Sexism
    • 2.4 Insidious individualism and impartiality
    • 2.5 Three feminist objections
  3. Allocation of scarce medical resources
    • 3.1 Beyond consequentialism
    • 3.2 Beyond meritocracy and egalitarianism
  4. Informed consent and access to information
    • 4.1 Paternalism
  5. Moral Limits on research and experimentation
    • 5.1 Non-human subjects of research
  6. Euthanasia
    • 6.1 Voluntary euthanasia
    • 6.2 Non-voluntary euthanasia
    • 6.3 Involuntary euthanasia
  7. Abortion1 and infanticide
    • 7.1 Potential
    • 7.2 Future interests
  8. Genetics and human reproduction
    • 8.1 Selective abortion2
    • 8.2 Population control
    • 8.3 Genetic engineering
    • 8.4 Surrogate motherhood
  9. Foreign Aid
  10. Future people
  11. Respect for persons
    • 11.1 Feminism
    • 11.2 Racism
    • 11.3 Slavery and prostitution
    • 11.4 Civil liberties
  12. Moral relativism
    • 12.1 Objective rights
  13. Human rights as opposed to rights of persons
    • 13.1 Potential
    • 13.2 Sympathy
  14. So what should we do?



Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



© Theo Todman, June 2007 - Sept 2018. Please address any comments on this page to theo@theotodman.com. File output:
Website Maintenance Dashboard
Return to Top of this Page Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page Return to Theo Todman's Home Page