Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View
Baker (Lynne Rudder)
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Author’s Abstract1

  1. Persons and Bodies develops and defends an account of persons and of the relation between human persons and their bodies. According to the Constitution View2 of human persons, as I call it, a human person is a person in virtue of having a first-person perspective3, and is a human person in virtue of being constituted by a human body (or human animal4).
  2. Thus, the Constitution View5 aims to give our animal natures their due, while recognizing what makes human persons ontologically distinctive. The Constitution View6 contrasts with two other leading accounts of human persons: Animalism7 and Immaterialism. Like Animalism8 but unlike Immaterialism, the Constitution View9 holds that human persons are material beings; like Immaterialism but unlike Animalism10, the Constitution View11 holds that we are not identical to the animals that constitute us. Of course involve self-reference, but it is self-reference of a distinctive kind.
  3. On the one hand, human persons are constituted by human animals12, and hence cannot escape their animal natures; on the other hand, there is more to human persons than their animal natures. What sets human persons apart from other animals has nothing to do with anything immaterial; rather what sets us apart is the ability that underlies our asking, “What am I13?” That ability is a first-person perspective14. First-person perspectives15 may well be the result of natural selection; but what is relevant here is not where they came from, but what they are and the difference that they make in what there is.
  4. So, there are two theoretical ideas needed for the Constitution View16 of human persons: the idea of a first-person perspective17, the property in virtue of which a being (human or not) is a person, and the idea of constitution, the relation between a human person and her body.
    • Part I, “The Metaphysical Background” (Chapters 1-3), explores and defends the two theoretical ideas.
    • Part II, “The Constitution View18 Explained” (Chapters 4-6), uses these two ideas to give an account of human persons.
    • Part III, “The Constitution View19 Defended” (Chapters 7-9), argues for the coherence of the general idea of constitution-without-identity and the coherence of the application of that idea to the notion of human persons; finally, it argues directly for the Constitution View20 by contrasting it with its competitors, Animalism21 and Immaterialism.



In-Page Footnotes ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View")

Footnote 1:
Book Comment



"Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Replies to Zimmerman, Rea & Pereboom"

Source: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64.3 (May 2002), pp. 623-635


Note
  1. This paper is part of a symposium on "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View".
  2. It provides Baker’s responses to several problems with her account of material constitution raised by the other members of the symposium.
  3. Other papers in the Symposium are:-

Paper Comment



"Olson (Eric) - Review of Lynne Baker's 'Persons And Bodies'"

Source: Mind, 110, Number 438, April 2001, pp. 427-430(4)


Author’s Introduction1
  1. Many philosophers believe that constitution is not identity: that the very same matter can make up two or more concrete objects of different kinds at once. "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View" applies this idea to ourselves. Its main thesis is that we are 'constituted by' but not identical with the human organisms that we call our bodies. It provides by far the most detailed exposition and defence of this view to date. The book is written clearly enough to be accessible to some undergraduates. Anyone with an interest in personal identity, or in the metaphysics of material objects in general, will want to read it.
  2. We can see that we are not animals, Baker argues, by reflecting on 'what we are2 most fundamentally'. Her answer is persons, which, following Locke, she takes to be beings that can 'consider themselves as themselves' that is, beings with a first-person perspective3. We persons have such a perspective essentially, whereas animals, even human animals4, have it only accidentally. (Consider a human animal5 in a persistent vegetative state6.) This metaphysical essence is also what is ethically most special about us: only a creature with a first-person perspective7 can be responsible for its actions and evaluate its goals. For good measure, Baker uses familiar Prince-and-Cobbler stories to argue that we have different persistence conditions8 from those of our bodies – though she stops short of endorsing a psychological-continuity theory of our identity.
  3. If you think that we really do exist and are material things, and that there really are such things as human animals9, and that nothing could be both a person and an animal – and if you reject the ontology of temporal parts-you will probably end up with something like Baker's view. She says it has further advantages as well: it is supported by considerations about other concrete objects (pieces of marble constitute statues10 but are not identical with them). It implies that our identity is always determinate (though I couldn't follow the argument for this). It avoids relativizing identity to times or sorts. It is compatible with intuitive judgments about our identity through time. And it gives a unified account of both what we are11 metaphysically and of what is special about us ethically.

Paper Comment




In-Page Footnotes ("Olson (Eric) - Review of Lynne Baker's 'Persons And Bodies'")

Footnote 1:
  • There is no introduction as such, and this is, basically, the first page. There’s no obvious place to cut off, other than after the first paragraph.
  • Olson’s conclusion is Baker's book illustrates well how hard it is to maintain that we are material things but not animals.



"Pereboom (Derek) - On Baker's Persons and Bodies"

Source: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64.3 (May 2002), pp. 615-622


Notes
  1. This paper is part of a symposium on "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View".
  2. It focuses on several problems with Baker’s account of material constitution.
  3. Other papers in the Symposium are:-

Paper Comment



"Rea (Michael) - Lynne Baker on Material Constitution"

Source: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64.3 (May 2002), pp. 607-614


Note
  1. This paper is part of a symposium on "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View".
  2. It focuses on several problems with Baker’s account of material constitution.
  3. Other papers in the Symposium are:-

Paper Comment



"Sider (Ted) - Review of Lynne Rudder Baker, Persons and Bodies"

Source: Journal of Philosophy 99 (2002): 45-48


Introduction (Start)
  1. Locke’s view that continuants are numerically distinct from their constituting hunks of matter is popular enough to be called the “standard1 account”. It was given its definitive contemporary statement by David Wiggins in "Wiggins (David) - Sameness and Substance", and has been defended by many since. Baker’s interesting book contributes new arguments for this view, a new definition of ‘constitution’, and a sustained application to persons and human animals2. Much of what she says develops this view in new and important ways. But in some cases she does not advance the position, and in others she takes steps backwards.
  2. According to Baker, a person is numerically distinct from her constituting animal. One of Baker’s leading arguments is surprisingly unconvincing3. Persons differ in important ways from non-human animals. Only persons are moral agents, modify their goals, have wars, culture, etc. If persons were identical to animals — if we were “nothing but animals”, as she puts it — then the manifest discontinuity between humans and non-human animals would be located “within the domain of biology”. “But from a biological point of view, human animals4 … are biologically continuous with non-human animals.” (p. 17) The argument fails: why should identifying persons with animals preclude saying that these particular animals have radically distinctive features that are of little interest to biologists5?
  3. The traditional case for non-identity (which Baker accepts) is more powerful: a person and her constituting animal differ by having different persistence conditions6. If my memories were transferred to a new body and my old body destroyed, I7 the person might survive, but the human animal8 who constituted me would perish. Therefore, before the transfer, I and the animal that constituted me would be numerically distinct but extremely similar things located in exactly the same place.
  4. This consequence — the central thesis of the Wiggins view — is surprising: so surprising that some reject the Wiggins view on that basis. The usual response, that the consequence is unremarkable because the animal constitutes the person, only invites the question: what is constitution? Baker’s definition, greatly simplified, is this: x constitutes y iff
    1. x and y are spatially coincident, and
    2. necessarily, anything of x’s sort is spatially coincident with something of y’s sort (pp. 42-43).
    But constitution, thus understood, cannot explain away the oddness of spatial coincidence, since spatial coincidence is built into the definition. We all know Wigginsians think that certain objects (bodies, animals, lumps of clay9, and so on) are, when in appropriate circumstances, necessarily co-located with distinct things; the question is how this can be. Labelling the relation of necessitated co-location ‘constitution’ is no answer. This issue is obscured by Baker’s tendentious descriptions of constitution …

Comments
  1. I could have reproduced the whole four pages, rather than just the first page and a bit, and continued adding footnotes, but have not done so.
  2. In support of the “tendentiousness” claim, Sider gives five glosses that Baker provides concerning her definition of constitution. Three are from p. 46, one from p. 55 and the last one from p. 114, which I find the most important:-
      “…it is not as if there were two separate things — my body and myself. There is a single constituted thing — me …”
    Sider claims that all Baker’s definitions of constitution reduce to (unmotivated and unexplained) necessary co-location, but Baker denies that there is any co-location because (she claims) there is only one thing present.
  3. Sider also considers a couple of formal objections to Baker’s account of constitution based on fanciful TEs10, based on possible worlds with different laws of physics, neither of which I could be bothered with11.
  4. Sider does note that Baker’s view of constitution has nothing to do with mereology, contrary to the standard Wigginsian view. She rejects (pp. 179-185) the view (says Sider) that if x and y have all the same parts, that x=y.
  5. Sider thinks Baker makes progress over Wiggins in her discussion of property-possession, in particular the distinction – in her metaphysics – between “having a property independently” and “having a property derivatively”. While this is superficially like Wiggins’s distinction between “is F predicatively” and “is F constitutively”, Baker advances by accounting for which properties fall into which categories.
  6. According to Baker, the nature, identity and essential properties of a thing may be determined by relational features. A statue12 is essentially a statue13, but only because it relates to an art-world14. Sider thinks Baker’s claims are less radical than she thinks, and that most would agree that statues15 are essentially so, yet that statuehood16 is extrinsic.
  7. Baker thinks (says Sider) that what exists depends on human interests, whereas (and I agree) Sider thinks that whatever exists does so independently of us and our interests, though we may express more or less interest for some things than others.
  8. Sider doesn’t bring Baker’s theism into the discussion – but seems to think it’s either a “cosmic coincidence” that reality contains just those objects our concepts trace, or otherwise Baker must think that “we create the world”. I imagine that Baker thinks that God has it all sewn up, from our concepts to the world. We’re referred to "Sider (Ted) - In Favour of Four-Dimensionalism, Part 2: The Best Unified Theory of the Paradoxes of Coincidence", Section 3 for a discussion.
  9. Baker claims that what grounds the difference between the statue and the clay17 is that they have different essential properties, and that what might ground this is the global supervenience18 of essential properties on non-modal19 properties, since no-one has shown that she’s committed to worlds alike non-modally20 but differing modally21. I’m not sure of the import of all this, and Sider claims to have explained an important distinction in the formulation of global supervenience22 in "Sider (Ted) - Global Supervenience and Identity Across Times and Worlds".

Paper Comment

For the full text, follow this link (Local website only): PDF File23.




In-Page Footnotes ("Sider (Ted) - Review of Lynne Rudder Baker, Persons and Bodies")

Footnote 1: Footnote 3:
  • Yes – I agree. Baker’s “Nothing but animals” argument partly trades on a low view of animals, despite the fact that (as she agrees) we are animals, albeit very special ones.
Footnote 5: Footnote 7:
  • This is a very tendentious suggestion. It is doubtful that the counterpart-I would be numerically identical to me. So, I – whether labelled “the person” or not – would not survive. There is, of course, much more to be said; it all depends on the coherence of the psychological view of personal identity.
Footnote 11:
  • Follow these up later when I’ve more time.
Footnote 14:
  • This may be so, but artefacts may be subject to different rules than are things falling under natural-kind concepts.



"Zimmerman (Dean) - Persons and Bodies: Constitution Without Mereology?"

Source: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64.3 (May 2002), pp. 599-606


Philosophers Index Abstract
  1. In "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View", Lynne Rudder Baker develops a theory of material constitution that makes no appeal to mereology.
  2. Its details are examined, some puzzles and problems are found, and ways to resolve them are suggested.
  3. Finally, counterexamples are raised that seem to require the addition of a clause about the sharing of parts.
  4. Constitution appears to be, at least in part, a mereological relation.
  5. Other papers in the Symposium are:-

Paper Comment

Part of Book Symposium on "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View".



"Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View - Preface"

Source: Baker (Lynne) - Persons and Bodies, Preface


Notes



"Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons in the Material World"

Source: Baker (Lynne) - Persons and Bodies, Chapter 1

Paper Comment

For the full text, follow this link (Local website only): PDF File1.

Write-up2 (as at 28/09/2022 10:24:58): Baker - Persons in the Material World

Introduction
Author’s Abstract3
  1. Persons and Bodies develops and defends an account of persons and of the relation between human persons and their bodies. According to the Constitution View4 of human persons, as I call it, a human person is a person5 in virtue of having a First-Person Perspective6, and is a human person7 in virtue of being constituted by a human body (or human anima)8).
  2. Thus, the Constitution View9 aims to give our animal natures their due, while recognizing what makes human persons ontologically distinctive. The Constitution View10 contrasts with two other leading accounts of human persons: Animalism11 and Immaterialism. Like Animalism12 but unlike Immaterialism, the Constitution View13 holds that human persons are material beings; like Immaterialism but unlike Animalism14, the Constitution View15 holds that we are not identical to the animals that constitute us. Of course, this involves self-reference, but it is self-reference of a distinctive kind.
  3. On the one hand, human persons are constituted by human animals16, and hence cannot escape their animal natures; on the other hand, there is more to human persons than their animal natures. What sets human persons apart from other animals has nothing to do with anything immaterial; rather what sets us apart is the ability that underlies our asking, “What am I17?” That ability is a First-Person Perspective18. First-Person Perspectives may well be the result of natural selection; but what is relevant here is not where they came from, but what they are and the difference that they make in what there is.
  4. So, there are two theoretical ideas needed for the Constitution View19 of human persons: the idea of a First-Person Perspective20, the property in virtue of which a being (human or not) is a person, and the idea of constitution, the relation between a human person and her body.
  5. Parts:-
    1. “The Metaphysical Background” (Chapters 1-3), explores and defends the two theoretical ideas.
    2. “The Constitution View21 Explained” (Chapters 4-6), uses these two ideas to give an account of human persons.
    3. “The Constitution View22 Defended” (Chapters 7-9), argues for the coherence of the general idea of constitution-without-identity and the coherence of the application of that idea to the notion of human persons; finally, it argues directly for the Constitution View23 by contrasting it with its competitors, Animalism24 and Immaterialism.
  6. Chapter 1 sets out the task. Persons and Bodies will answer three questions:
    1. What am I25 most fundamentally?
    2. What is a person?
    3. How are human persons related to their bodies?

Sections
  1. Three Questions
  2. Beyond Biology
  3. An Overview
  4. A Philosophical Stance



Comments on the above Abstract26
  1. Persons and Bodies develops and defends an account of persons and of the relation between human persons and their bodies. According to the Constitution View of human persons, as I call it, a human person is a person in virtue of having a first-person perspective27, and is a human person in virtue of being constituted by a human body (or human animal).
    • Note that Baker seems to think it a small matter whether it’s the animal or the body that constitutes the human person. Yet these would seem to have different persistence conditions, so are not the same sort. This distinction is important to Olson.
    • I’m tempted to equate organism and animal here, though others might not. This is what drives a wedge between bodies and animals, because animals are organisms, whereas bodies are not.
    • Baker’s book has “Bodies” in its title, rather than “Animals” or “Organisms”. How important is this (for Baker)?
  2. Thus, the Constitution View aims to give our animal natures their due, while recognizing what makes human persons ontologically distinctive. The Constitution View contrasts with two other leading accounts of human persons: Animalism and Immaterialism. Like Animalism but unlike Immaterialism, the Constitution View holds that human persons are material beings; like Immaterialism but unlike Animalism, the Constitution View holds that we are not identical to the animals that constitute us.
    • The text terminated with a fragment here: “of course involve self-reference, but it is self-reference of a distinctive kind”. I’m not sure28 where, if anywhere, this was supposed to go. Presumably it should start with “This”.
    • The OSO text now seems to have disappeared.
    • As usual with Baker, “our animal natures” has a pejorative note. She doesn’t really accept that we are just ‘really special’ animals, so that what is ontologically distinctive is the animal, with its special properties, and not some other new thing.
    • Does Baker define what she means by animalism? I take it that it’s the view that we are (identical to) animals, and may (at stages of our lives) be persons – a quality or property rather than an ontological kind. As such, we human animals may at times have a first-person perspective29 (FPP).
    • Does Baker hold that human persons are essentially material beings, and essentially human?
    • What does Baker mean by immaterialism? Is it the psychological view30 (almost certainly not, as this can be materialist31), dualist (pseudo-Cartesian?) or idealist? Or, since Baker doesn’t hold any of these views, does it matter which? I expect, though, she means the view – popular amongst Christians – that we are (or have) immaterial souls32 that are usually embodied, but need not be.
  3. On the one hand, human persons are constituted by human animals, and hence cannot escape their animal natures; on the other hand, there is more to human persons than their animal natures. What sets human persons apart from other animals has nothing to do with anything immaterial; rather what sets us apart is the ability that underlies our asking, “What am I33?” That ability is a First-Person Perspective34. First-Person Perspectives may well be the result of natural selection35; but what is relevant here is not where they came from, but what they are and the difference that they make in what there is.
    • Just what are the animal natures we can’t escape? Has this to do with sin?
    • Baker doesn’t take seriously the view that animals differ. Both slugs and elephants are animals, and it seems that elephants understand death – because they mourn (as do primates) – so how do we know they don’t anticipate their own deaths? Would Baker be happy with non-human animal persons? If so, the contrast isn’t really with animals, but with non-persons; and this might just reduce – as previously noted – to personhood as a special property of animals (and maybe other beings).
    • Why is asking the question “What am I36?” so very (ontologically) distinctive? Do all (normal) human beings ask this question? What about feral children? Is it cultural? How do we know?
    • I agree that origins aren’t the issue; but it’s about whether we’re talking of a thing, or a property of a thing, however it came about.
  4. So, there are two theoretical ideas needed for the Constitution View of human persons: the idea of a first-person perspective37, the property in virtue of which a being (human or not) is a person, and the idea of constitution38, the relation between a human person and her body.
    • So, Baker admits the FPP39 is a property of a (human) being.
    • Baker insists that the constitution relation is between a human person and her body, rather than animal.
    • Constitution is covered later, but it looks as though human persons have (according to Baker) lots of animal properties (derivatively). Are these aspects of their (human) personhood, or just of their animality?
    • Might I not accept all this – the ontological pretensions aside? Is a student constituted by anything; the animal or the person? Yet the whole view seems to give ontological priority to “something that’s not a thing at all”. The thing is the human being, which has the property of being a student.
    • Note that the “student” counter-example is raised by Olson, and rejected by Baker.
  5. Part I, “The Metaphysical Background” (Chapters 1-3), explores and defends the two theoretical ideas.
    Part II, “The Constitution View Explained” (Chapters 4-6), uses these two ideas to give an account of human persons.
    Part III, “The Constitution View Defended” (Chapters 7-9), argues for the coherence of the general idea of constitution-without-identity and the coherence of the application of that idea to the notion of human persons; finally, it argues directly for the Constitution View by contrasting it with its competitors, Animalism and Immaterialism.
  6. Chapter 1 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons in the Material World") sets out the task. Persons and Bodies will answer three questions:-
    1. What I am40 most fundamentally?
    2. What is a person?
    3. How are human persons related to their bodies?
    • Olson doesn’t like the “most fundamentally” rider. Is this question simply asking what is my primary kind? I think Baker uses this expression. So, Baker is saying that PERSON is a kind – but if so, wouldn’t all persons have the same persistence conditions? Maybe (for Baker) they do. Olson notes that gods and animals have different PCs, but this is qua gods and animals. Qua person, according to Baker, they persist as long as they maintain the same FPP41. Of course, it’s obscure just what this sameness of FPP42 consists in.
    • Since Baker didn’t have much to say on Chapter 1 in her Precis, nor did I above. I’ve therefore started a detailed analysis of Chapter 1 below.



This text below is my detailed review of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons in the Material World", Chapter 1 of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View". The main text is my interpretation of what Baker says, with my specific comments and objections appearing as footnotes.

0. Introduction
  1. Descartes – we are thinking things. Of what kind? Immaterialism has lost ground. Neo-Cartesian materialists take the thinking thing to be the brain.
  2. Baker’s view is that the thinking thing with the inner life is neither the material brain nor an immaterial mind, but the person. She claims that my brain is the organ with which I think. Yet I – a person embedded in the material world – and not it – am the thinker.
  3. So, where traditional Cartesians see a mind/body problem and neo-Cartesians see a mental-state/brain-state problem, Baker sees a person/body problem.
  4. So, the problem addressed by the book is “what is a human person43, and what is the relation between a person and her body”.
  5. A person is constituted by a human body, but constitution is not identity.
  6. The aim of the Constitution View is twofold:-
    1. To show what distinguishes persons from all other beings (the First Person Perspective – hereafter FPP), and
    2. To show how we can be fully material beings without being identical to our bodies (Constitution44).
  7. Persons have a capacity45 for a FPP. Human persons are, in addition to this, constituted by “a body46 that is an organism of a certain kind – a human animal”.
  8. Mindedness is not the dividing line between persons and non-persons. Many mammals47 have conscious mental states, beliefs and desires.
  9. Baker briefly summarises the FPP48 as “(the ability to) conceive49 of one’s body and mental states as one’s own”.
  10. We are not “just50 animals” – we are persons.

1. Three Questions

1.1 What I am51 most fundamentally?
  1. An ontological question, answers to which have implications for the conditions under which I exist and persist. Baker considers 4 possibilities – 2 major and 2 minor.
    1. Immaterialism: an immaterial mind – an independent substance contingently associated with my body. Descartes. Modern supporters include:-
    2. Animalism: a materialistic account in line with Aristotle. I am most fundamentally52 a human animal. Baker credits Snowdon with inventing the term. Supporters cited by Baker are
    3. Aquinas: follows Aristotle in taking the soul as the form of the body, but because he allows for the separation of soul from body at death (and the independent existence of the soul pending reunion with its body at resurrection) he is to be classified with the immaterialists (despite not identifying human persons with their souls). We are referred to "Stump (Eleonore) - Non-Cartesian Substance Dualism and Materialism Without Reduction".
    4. Brain View: this is touched on briefly in Chapter 5 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Personal Identity Over Time"). Baker cites "Nagel (Thomas) - The View from Nowhere", Chapter 3 ("Nagel (Thomas) - Mind and Body").
  2. Baker notes the impact on persistence conditions that the various metaphysical options have. In particular, according to the CV, my continued existence depends on the persistence of my53 FPP.

1.2 What is a person?
  1. This is the question asked by Locke and Descartes. It is important to distinguish this from the first question (the one Descartes asked). Baker54 accuses the animalists55 of confusing the two. Animalism is only an answer to the first question, and does not address the issue of personal identity. She refers to "Van Inwagen (Peter) - Material Beings", but the import is obscure.
  2. However, Baker hopes to integrate the answers to the two questions. Descartes’s question gets a non-Cartesian answer – a person56. Locke’s question gets a quasi-Lockean (ie. mental) answer – one with a FPP.
  3. But I am a person of a certain kind – a human person – one that is necessarily57 embodied. I cannot exist without a body, but it need not be my current one.
  4. Baker thinks Descartes was on the right lines in asking a first-person58 question. Only beings that can ask “what am I59?” have a FPP. Asking third-person questions such as “what are they?” or “what is a human being?” is not enough.
  5. Human Beings60: A primary alternative answer to the first question is “I am a human being”, but what is intended by the term “human being” varies. Some philosophers like "Perry (John) - The Importance of Being Identical" take “human being” to be a purely biological concept, meaning the same as “human organism”. "Johnston (Mark) - Human Beings" has a richer concept that includes psychology as well as biology. For the CV61, “human being” is glossed as “a person constituted by a human organism that has reached a certain level of development”.
  6. Development: Baker wants to avoid the terms “man” and “human being” (which are popularly confused with “person”), but has views. Not every human organism is a human being, so it is misleading to use the two terms interchangeably. Baker quotes Aquinas’s62 view that a human fetus becomes a human being at “quickening” – when it first acquires a rational soul – at about 12 weeks63.
  7. Baker sees a conceptual difference between “human being” and “human person”. Even biologists see this when speaking of the “biological substratum of personhood” (a certain Clifford Brobstein is quoted). We could restrict the term “human being” to those human animals capable of supporting a FPP, so that all human beings are (that is, for Baker, “constitute”) persons. Even so, “person”, says Baker, is a psychological / moral64 term. Being a person depends on psychological facts, while65 being a human being depends only on biological facts.
  8. Forensics: Baker is supportive of Locke’s assignment of a moral basis to personhood – though she denies that it is merely a forensic term. She refers us to Chapter 6 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Importance Of Being a Person") for justification of her claim that only persons can be held accountable66 for their actions. She also supports Locke’s distinction between men and persons. For Locke, men are (usually) purely material beings (though occasionally he uses the term for the conjunction of body and soul), with no necessary mental qualities, while persons are purely psychological.
  9. Substances67: Locke distinguished the person from the thinking substance. For Locke, personal identity consists in continuity of consciousness. So, for Locke, persons are not “basic substances”. We are referred to "Alston (William) & Bennett (Jonathan) - Locke on People and Substances", though there’s a dispute as to what Locke’s positive view actually was. See "Chappell (Vere) - Locke on the Ontology of Matter, Living Things and Persons" (compounded substances); "Lowe (E.J.) - Real Selves: Persons as a Substantial Kind" (psychological modes).
  10. Baker alludes to the “tortured history” of the term SUBSTANCE, but has this to say: if basic substances are those things required to make a complete inventory of the world – say atoms or animals – then persons are also basic substances. An inventory mentioning human animals but omitting persons68 would be seriously incomplete. The same goes for properties69: those that can only be instantiated by persons must be included in a complete inventory.

1.3 How are human persons related to their bodies?
  1. According to the CV, human persons are constituted by their bodies, but are not identical to them.
  2. Baker deals with constitution in detail – with no particular reference to persons, but (I would say) with too much reference to artifacts70 – in the next chapter ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Very Idea of Constitution"), but here notes that it is the same relation as that between a statue and the marble constituting it. She has argued in "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Why Constitution is Not Identity" that David is not identical to the piece of marble, nor to the piece plus something else.
  3. Baker plots the development of the term Person71: it was unknown to Aristotle, was derived from the Latin persona, meaning “mask”, was highlighted by Trinitarian theology, and acquiring forensic properties via Locke. We are referred to "Poole (Ross) - On Being a Person" for more information72, though from a different viewpoint (in fact one antithetical to Baker’s own).
  4. Baker notes, however, that persons have been around for longer73 than the concept PERSON.
  5. To illustrate what some see as an ambiguity in the term PERSON, Baker now addresses the usage in +P4008P, p. 101. Feldman distinguishes “biological74 persons75” (members of the species homo sapiens) from “psychological persons” (those organisms with psychological properties such as self-consciousness). Feldman takes it that one can cease to be a psychological person without ceasing to exist, but cannot cease to be a biological person without ceasing to exist. Baker takes this to be an extreme form of animalism76, begging the question against the CV77, and abusing the term PERSON78.
  6. Theory of Persons: Baker takes it that “pre-theoretically the term PERSON applies to entities like you and me” – giving examples of famous personages. However, she has a theory – which is that
    1. The person-making property is the FPP,
    2. Human persons are constituted by human bodies79 and
    3. PERSON is an ontological kind.
    A consequence of the theory is that if the body-parts of a human person were gradually replaced by inorganic ones, the person80 would still exist, but the human (animal) would not.
  7. Phase Sortals81: Interestingly, Baker now rejects the possibility that persons are phase sortals of human animals (an idea I am tempted to espouse). She motivates this thought by saying that, if an adolescent grows up, she doesn’t cease to exist; she just loses the property of being an adolescent. However, according to the CV, an individual who is a person could not lose the property82 of being a person without ceasing to exist. She closes with the obscure claim that “if a person died83 and ceased to be a person, then the entity that had been a person would cease to exist”.
  8. Persons and People: Baker quotes from "Thomson (Judith Jarvis) - People and Their Bodies" about the theory-ladenness of the term PERSON. Baker agrees – and insists she is doing philosophy rather than investigating common usage – but dislikes the use of “people84” as against “persons”. But her reason is instructive. It is that PEOPLE is a collective85 term and she wants to answer Descartes’s question “what am I86?”, which is concerned with the individual and not the collective. Her theory applies to individuals distributively rather than collectively.
  9. Mind and Brain: Baker has ignored the question of the relation between mind and brain – between mental and neural states. She doesn’t think that there is a single relation between them (such as identity or constitution), and we are referred to "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - What is This Thing Called ‘Commonsense Psychology’?" & "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Are Beliefs Brain States?". She thinks the numerous relations between the states of mind and brain are the proper topic of empirical neuroscientific investigation. Just how the brain is involved in all the aspects of life is beyond the reach of philosophy. While ignorant of the details, she’s willing to accept that the brain sustains our entire mental life. So, her interest is in how persons, rather than minds, fit into the material world – her answer being that they are constituted by bodies87.

2. Beyond Biology
  1. Baker acknowledges that human animals have an evolutionary history in common with other animals, yet we are special. We are discoverers of, and interveners88 in, the evolutionary process. We have uniquely89 invented lots of good intellectual90 endeavours.
  2. Baker distinguishes between bad (“metaphysical”) and good (“scientific”) Darwinism. She focuses on extreme positions – eg. "Dawkins (Richard) - The Selfish Gene" and (less extreme) "Dennett (Daniel) - Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life". She claims that these theories have us as “merely91” survival machines for our genes. While she’s willing to admit that this is true of human organisms, she balks at this being so for human persons. What restores the lustre to human persons is the CV, which makes an ontological difference between the organism and the person. While the organism may be a survival machine for its genes, we persons are not.
  3. She’s willing to admit – quoting "Pinker (Steven) - How the Mind Works", p. 541 – that as far as our “animal natures” are concerned, all our values derive from the need to survive and reproduce.
    Note
    92.
  4. But she again quotes Pinker to the effect that we have other values, and that some genes don’t get propagated because we are smarter93 than they are. For instance, he’s decided to remain childless94. Baker thinks this shows that we can’t therefore be organisms, because all they care about is survival and reproduction and can’t override ‘nature’s goals’ unless they malfunction. She thinks Pinker contradicts himself95.
  5. Baker bangs on and on about things that non-malfunctioning human beings do that have nothing to do with survival or reproduction. She says that explaining altruism – citing "Sober (Elliott) & Wilson (David) - Unto Others - The Evolution & Psychology of Unselfish Behaviour" – is only the beginning96 of the explaining that – a certain type of – evolutionary biologist has to do.
  6. Baker thinks the FPP97 explains how we – unlike other animals – can be self-conscious about our goals and choose one rather than another, even when often what motivates us is unconscious, and this is even consistent with determinism and natural selection. This sets us apart98 from the rest of the animal kingdom.
  7. Baker alludes to the view that character and habits are largely subject to our genetic99 endowment. Even given this, we are to consider the difference between ‘persons and other animals100’. Only those with a FPP can assess their – genetically-endowed – character and try to change it. She refers to "Frankfurt (Harry) - Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person" and second-order volitions, though says that the FPP is more fundamental. She allows for the possibility that our attempts to change our character are determined101.
  8. Baker claims – rightly – that it is a ‘plain fact’ that some people are dissatisfied with their character and try to change it, thereby demonstrating that they have a FPP and being distinct from every non-personal animal.
  9. She now addresses the objection that this FPP just is a naturally-developed property of a human animal102.
  10. She agrees that this is indeed the case – that human animals do indeed normally develop a FPP – but says that ‘it is obvious to her’ that anything capable of such development is ‘basically different’ from something not so capable. She will argue for this in detail later – in particular in Chapters 6 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Importance Of Being a Person") and 9 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - In Favour Of the Constitution View"). Her point is that Darwinism – she claims – denies this fundamental difference.
  11. Baker tries to demonstrate just how discontinuous the FPP is from other biological traits. She claims it’s a ‘biological surd103’.
  12. She says that ‘not even the most lovable dog’, in the absence of a FPP, can:-
    1. Be dissatisfied with his personality,
    2. Wonder how he will die104,
    3. Cogitate on what kind of thing he is.
  13. So, she claims that it you take a person105 to be identical to a human animal106, you have to posit a break in the animal kingdom between those with a FPP (us) and those without (all other animals). But if we’re only constituted by107 human animals we – apparently108 – don’t have such a break – the animal kingdom remains unified – and we are still ‘in a clear sense’ part of the animal kingdom.
  14. Being a Person depends on having – or having the capacity for – a FPP. Baker will discuss and ‘narrowly delineate’ the ‘capacity’ qualification in Chapter 4 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Constitution View of Human Persons").
  15. The FPP depends of the brain, and Baker quotes "Pinker (Steven) - How the Mind Works" again to the effect that small differenced in DNA can have big effects since we share most of our DNA with chimpanzees. So – she claims – the biological difference between us and non-human animals with respect to our FTP-enabling DNA may be ‘insignificant109’ so we need to look outside biology to ‘understand ourselves’.
  16. So, with the FPP we get – if not a new biological entity – a new psychological entity. Biology doesn’t delimit the sort of entities there are. Given the possibility110 of non-human persons, biology cannot limit what is a person.
  17. Baker now moves on to ask what we could be if we are not identical to animals. But first she asks the question whether we are ‘nothing but’ animals, which she seems to take to be the same question111. She wants the answer ‘no’, but first considers the answer ‘yes’ – namely that we are indeed ‘nothing but animals – which she thinks has two possibilities, rebutted as below:-
    1. Deny that we alone are moral agents, etc. Rejected112 because it denies ‘the manifest discontinuity between us (and out culture, technology, etc.) and nonhuman animals’.
    2. Posit a biological gap between humans – who are moral agents – and the rest of the animal kingdom. Rejected113 because – while this view accepts the ‘manifest gap’ in moral and cognitive capacities rejected under option ‘a’ it places it in the domain of biology. But – Baker thinks – humans are biologically continuous with other animals, so the posited ‘gap’ is unmotivated.
  18. So, we are left with:-
    1. The animal kingdom is unified but we can distinguish persons from human animals without denying the animal nature of human persons.
  19. Option ‘c’ is claimed to be the ‘only alternative’, cashed out via the Constitution View, taken to keep the domain of biology unified. Baker is willing to admit that biology may one day explain how the FPP developed, but claims that the CV doesn’t stand or fall114 on whether the ontological difference between those with or without a FPP is explained biologically.
  20. Baker is willing to leave it to working – non-philosophical – biologists to explain how our bodies work, and she’s happy for evolution to explain how our ability to have personal lives evolved. But she still thinks our personal lives are something over and above biology.
  21. She claims that those who believe that our capacity to have personal lives – or indeed any product of natural selection – can be explained and understood wholly in biological terms are committing the Genetic Fallacy115 – believing that the origins of a thing determines what it is. She doesn’t care how we came about. She wants to know what we most fundamentally are, and that is – she claims – persons.
  22. She claims that our ‘personal lives’ are a unity and include our biological lives. But, before elaborating on this idea she mentions that some philosophers have entertained the view of life, in certain cases, that is non-biological. Unfortunately, she doesn’t say how this fits in to her story, or whether she supports such views. Anyway, she mentions two works:-
    1. The ‘influential116’ "Stump (Eleonore) & Kretzmann (Norman) - Eternity": mentioned for the aphorism that ‘anything that is eternal has life’.
    2. "Boyd (Richard) - Materialism without Reduction: What Physicalism Does Not Entail" as an example of a materialist philosopher willing to countenance conscious life in the absence of biology. Token real-world mental states might be – in other possible worlds – be non-physically realised according to the ‘functionalist117 materialist’, or even realised when the subject’s body no longer exists.
  23. In Baker’s view, the body has consequences for our personal life, so the distinction between organic and personal life is – for her – nothing like that between mind and body or psychological or physical states. But – she claims – it is possible separately to ‘precipitate out’ the distinctively organic and personal elements of this unified life. By way of explanation, Baker gives a couple of TEs118:-
    1. Organic Precipitation: A person suffers irreversible brain damage, ending in a PVS119. In that case the organism persists but the person would not120, though we might continue to have moral obligations to the persisting organism.
    2. Personal Precipitation: The person has her body-parts121 gradually replaced by inorganic parts, so there are no longer any organic bodily functions, but the higher brain functions – including the person’s sense of self – persist. In this case, the person persists but the organism would not.
  24. Such TEs show that the person is not identical to her body. However, a person is not a separate thing to her body, and the CV explains why; in particular:-
    1. How human persons are related to human organisms, and
    2. What distinguishes organisms that constitute persons from those that do not.
  25. Baker insists that we are wholly constituted by human organisms, that we don’t have immaterial parts, and that we cannot escape our animal natures. But she also insists that we are set apart by our ability122 to ask ‘What am I?123’, by having a FPP124 which makes us a Person125.

3. An Overview
  1. Baker’s account of PID rests on two ideas: Constitution126 and the FPP127. These ideas will be explained in order to answer three questions:-
    1. What am I128 most fundamentally?
    2. What is a Person129?
    3. What is the relation between a Human Persons130 and their Bodies131?
  2. The answers – according to Baker – lead on from one another and are:-
    1. I am a Person132.
    2. A Person133 is a being – human or not – with a FPP134.
    3. A Human Person is a Person wholly constituted by a Body135 that is a Human Organism136, an Animal of species Homo Sapiens137.
  3. In a footnote, Baker:-
    1. Acknowledges that here are other accounts of ‘Constitution without Identity’ – see "Johnston (Mark) - Human Beings".
    2. Acknowledges the account of the First Person given in "Lowe (E.J.) - Subjects of Experience", for whom a Person is138 a ‘being which can think that it itself is thus and so and can identify itself as the unique subject of certain thoughts and experiences and as the unique agent of certain actions’.
  4. Constitution – which will be discussed in detail in Chapter 2 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Very Idea of Constitution") – is not unique to Persons and their Bodies, but is pervasive. When the circumstances of things change, new kinds of things with new kinds of causal powers can come into existence. Examples:
    1. Flags are not mere pieces of cloth: they can cause emotional reactions.
    2. Dollar bills are not mere pieces of paper.
    3. Strands of DNA constitute genes.
    4. Brain states – according to some philosophers, though not Baker herself – constitute beliefs. We’re referred to:-
      → "Boyd (Richard) - Materialism without Reduction: What Physicalism Does Not Entail" and
      → "Pereboom (Derek) & Kornblith (Hilary) - The Metaphysics of Irreducibility".
  5. Baker thinks cases such as these – not just of artifacts139 but to natural objects as well – show that there’s no ‘special pleading’ in using Constitution to understand Human Persons.
  6. Constitution can only take us so far, as Statues140 and the like lack the inner aspect that Persons have.
  7. This leads us on to Chapter 3 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The First-Person Perspective"). With a FPP, one can both refer to your body in a first-personal way – using the English pronouns ‘I’, … ‘mine’ and also have a concept of oneself as oneself. One has a perspective, but also a conception of oneself as having a perspective. Many non-human animals have perspectives – based on the position of their eyes (or other sense organs) – but only persons have a conception of themselves141 as having a perspective, from a first-person point of view. Baker cites "Wittgenstein (Ludwig) - Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus" for the ‘eye’ image but thinks Wittgenstein wouldn’t approve142.
  8. This book is an attempt to work out the details of why – as Baker believes – the possession of a FPP – however it came about in evolutionary or other terms – makes such a difference of kind between individuals with it and those without and how it makes us ‘special’ while recognising our animal natures.
  9. Baker wants to navigate between the Scylla of ‘Immaterialism143’ (Dualism144: immaterial Souls145 or Minds146) and the Charybdis147 of Reductionism148 (Animalism149: denying that Persons150 are fundamental Kinds151 and claiming that they can be fully understood in sub-personal terms).
  10. Baker claims that the CV is consistent with strict atheistic naturalism or materialism152. She starts off with three basic assumptions:-
    1. This world is wholly material153; hence, human persons are material beings.
    2. Material things endure154 through time and are not merely sums of temporal parts155.
    3. Identity is strict identity156: if x and y can differ157 in any property, then x is not identical to y.
  11. Anyone rejecting any of these assumptions should read the book as an exercise to show how far we can get with such assumptions.

4. A Philosophical Stance
  1. This is a book of metaphysics158 that follows Baker’s approach of Practical Realism, as elaborated in "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Explaining Attitudes: A Practical Approach to the Mind", namely ‘philosophical reflection on what is found in the world that we all live in and that we all care about’. In particular:-
    1. Metaphysics – while not confused with epistemology – is preserved from idleness by being responsive to reflection on our cognitive and other practices, both scientific and non-scientific; and
    2. Metaphysics takes the world of common experience as the source of data for philosophical reflection.
  2. Many philosophers think that the sciences will eventually explain everything. Baker thinks this view ‘scientistic’ and doesn’t share it; but she doesn’t wish to place persons beyond the reach of the sciences and is willing to hold her breath on the issue. Her approach is conceptual and pre-scientific. But, she predicts that any science of persons will have two features:-
    1. Intentionality will be taken as essential to personhood.
    2. It will take the whole integrated person, not a compendium of parts. Persons have essential properties that are not determined by the properties and relations of their parts159.
  3. If there turns out to be ‘no intentional science that quantifies over persons’ then one of the following must be the case160:-
    1. There are no such things as persons, insofar as they are outside the domain of any science.
    2. Persons just are no more than a compendium of the parts that fall within the domains of the sciences.
    3. Persons are not fully understandable by science, though the parts that make them up are.
  4. Baker’s choice would be ‘c’, but she doesn’t argue for it here.
  5. Baker’s Practical Realist approach departs from standard Metaphysics161 in one major regard: for her, extrinsic properties162 have ontological163 significance, whereas for standard metaphysics it is taken as a ‘deliverance of reason’ that only intrinsic164 properties are essential165 properties of any thing.
  6. In everyday life – says Baker – the intrinsic properties of a thing have no special authority in determining its identity or nature which often depend on what it does in relation to other things rather than what it is made of. Examples166:-
    1. A dollar bill: Its identity167 depend on the rights conferred on the owner by the government.
    2. A carburettor: Its identity168 is conferred by its function.
  7. So, Baker thinks the Practical Realist approach is salutary in two respects:-
    1. It focuses on things that actually matter to us, and
    2. It counters the metaphysical neglect of relational properties.
  8. Baker now states that her primary concepts for this study – Constitution and the FPP – are theoretical constructs whose value will be proved in their use.
    1. She briefly rehearses the main motivator behind the idea of constitution169 without identity: that a thing and what constitutes it go out of existence at different times. Examples:-
      1. A statue170 and its piece of marble
      2. A wall and its stones171
      3. Persons and their bodies
    2. Similarly, with the FPP172: it arises from our first-person experience of ourselves. It would be paradoxical for an individual asking the question What am I?173 to receive an answer that she is a being who can’t ask that question.
  9. Baker is an ontological pluralist, but repeats and explains her commitment to materialism. Everything in the natural world is material174: if you take away the atoms, there is nothing left. Nothing in the natural world is constituted by non-physical stuff. However, the atoms have less ontological significance for Baker than the things they constitute175, which have causal powers over and above those of their constituting atoms. According to Baker, a thing has ontological significance in proportion to176 its causal powers.
  10. Baker lays out her two-fold motivation for ‘this undertaking’ – presumably writing this book:
    1. Taking seriously the diversity of things around us:
      • Persons and Bodies are different kinds of thing. So are Statues and Clay177.
      • Baker wants to do justice to the ‘almost infinite variety of things’ rather than ‘flatten things out’ reductively178 so that all properties are ultimately those of fundamental particles.
      • She claims that every individual thing in the world is wholly constituted by one or more aggregates of material particles without being identical to these aggregates that constitute it.
      • Baker has a curious footnote to explain the or more in the above bullet. It seems that the reason is that she’s a mereological179 essentialist180, so an aggregate cannot gain or lose particles without ceasing to exist. But bodies do this all the time, so material things are constituted by different aggregates181 at different time.
      • The familiar objects of everyday life are bearers of properties not countenanced by182 fundamental particles.
      • The CV183 is consonant with this broader picture.
    2. The relationship between persons and bodies:
  11. Plan of the Book: Basically list the Chapters. Warns that Chapters 2 & 3 – on Constitution and the FPP – are ‘rather technical’ and can be skipped ‘without loss’ by those satisfied with ‘an intuitive view’, but encourages readers to read them as they have applications outside the CV.




In-Page Footnotes ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons in the Material World")

Footnote 2:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (28/09/2022 10:24:58).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 3: Footnote 26: Footnote 43: Persons:
  • What sort of thing for Baker is a person? It is constituted by the whole human body, of which the brain is just an organ. This is in some ways similar to the Animalists she opposes.
  • However, to my mind, taking the person as prior to the organism, rather than supervening on it, seems to have things round the wrong way; so would denying that the brain thinks (though she probably claims that it thinks derivatively; but really it’s the person that thinks derivatively).
  • Is her constitution relation causal? She doesn’t deny, I don’t suppose, that the brain causes the person to think.
Footnote 44: Constitution View:
  • Is it Olson who objects to Baker’s use of this term Constitution View (hereafter CV) – in that constitution is less central to Baker’s case than she supposes?
  • Really, the focus is on the FPP.
Footnote 45:
  • Baker refers to a capacity – is this a present capacity – ie. one that I presently possess even if I’m not currently using it – or does it allow one that I will (under normal developmental expectations) possess, or one that I have possessed but no longer do or will do.
  • Note that even asking the question – using the reference “I” – seems to beg it.
Footnote 46:
  • As usual, Baker, unlike Olson, makes no clear distinction between body and organism.
  • In what sense “is” a body an organism? Is an organism constituted by its body, and in what sense of “constitution”?
Footnote 47:
  • It appears to be a matter of dispute whether beliefs and desires are strictly possible in the absence of language.
  • If so, this strikes me as an argument in favour of a LoT, since the higher mammals behave as though they have intentional states.
Footnote 48:
  • So, the FPP is much more – according to Baker – than the animal’s ‘Window on the World’.
  • It seems to be akin to Locke’s definition of a person as “a thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing, in different times and places”.
Footnote 49:
  • The key point here, presumably, is the capacity for conceptual thought, and the self-referential application of this capacity.
  • Most animals presumably differentiate their own bodies from those of others (especially those that groom themselves or others), but it’s less clear whether they have concepts of their bodies, and even less clear whether they have thoughts let alone concepts of their thoughts as distinct from those of others.
  • Yet (it seems to me) cats and dogs – and presumably many other higher mammals – have a ToM even of human minds. They can gesture to be let in or out, and they know how to wheedle.
Footnote 50:
  • This “just” seems to have a certain dismissive overtone that is unjustified by anything that Baker has said.
  • According to the animalist, being a person is being a (fully functional) example of a (very) special animal – but “just” an animal for all that.
  • Is there anything wrong with this view?
Footnote 52:
  • My memory has it that Olson dislikes the “most fundamentally” rider, and just asks to what I am identical.
  • But for this question to make sense, we need to know the primary kind or sort to which I belong, which is effectively asking what I am “most fundamentally”.
Footnote 53:
  • But what individuates my FPP, if not my body?
  • Yet, according to the CV, my body is not what individuates me – or at least not for all time – but only currently constitutes me.
Footnote 54:
  • I’m not convinced that the CV really addresses personal identity either, beyond gesturing at “sameness of FPP” – but how is this cashed out?
Footnote 55:
  • I think Olson admits that he doesn’t address personal identity – only our identity.
  • He retains the designation “personal identity” for the purposes of continuing the historical debate, which he thinks has been subverted.
  • He does insist on using the plural “people” when he ought to use “persons”, which adds to the confusion.
Footnote 57:
  • Why am I necessarily embodied, if what makes me a person is an FPP and I am fundamentally a person? Am I fundamentally a human person?
  • Baker doesn’t specify whether this alternative body that might constitute me in the future needs to be a human body.
Footnote 58: Footnote 61:
  • So, I imagine, for Baker, not only am I not must fundamentally a human animal, I’m not most fundamentally a human being either.
  • Because of a developmental criterion, Baker will avoid Olson’s “fetus problem”, and deny that she was ever a fetus. In so doing, she insists on a presently exercisable capacity that has actually been reached in development (even if not exercised). I’m not clear where this leaves the moral status of fetuses (or infants) for Baker, given the rift she places between persons and non-persons.
Footnote 62:
  • Baker doesn’t believe that persons are immaterial souls – and presumably doesn’t think there are any such things. Why does she mention Aquinas at all?
  • But what did Aquinas mean by a “rational soul”. Is he using the term in the Aristotelian sense, the dualistic sense or some hybrid concept?
Footnote 63:
  • A 12-week-old fetus has no FPP, so is not a person. Indeed “quickening”, while it seems to indicate a degree of somatic integration – the first movements – is not a psychological stage at all.
  • So, the “certain level of development” of the human organism required for being (identical to?) a human being is not that required for being (constituting) a person.
Footnote 64:
  • Reference to morality seems to pop in prematurely here – though Baker will move on to this.
Footnote 65:
  • There is something wrong with Baker’s contrast. The psychological facts depend on – supervene on – the biological facts. Without the appropriate biology, the psychological fact can’t exist (in the absence of dualism, which Baker agrees is false).
  • But maybe she is right that conceptually there is no connection.
  • But we’re talking metaphysics which is orthogonal to human concepts.
Footnote 66:
  • So, for Baker, those without a FPP are not morally accountable. This seems to tie in somewhat with "Frankfurt (Harry) - Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person", who distinguishes persons from wantons who lack second-order desires.
  • However, presumably wantons do have a FPP, so Baker would take them to be persons. Yet we need to reserve judgement on these issues until we have seen how Baker spells out the FPP.
Footnote 68:
  • Surely ontological independence is central to substancehood, and persons can’t exist without supervening on something more fundamental, so aren’t properly basic, even for Baker. That said, animals themselves supervene on the matter of which they are constituted, so aren’t basic substances either.
  • This is where I part company with Baker. If human animals – or at least fully functioning ones – are mentioned, then so are persons because all the properties of a person are instantiated by that fully-functional human animal; and that human animal is a person.
  • There, the “is” is not the “is” of constitution, but indicates a property or status. Like “is the Queen of England”. A world containing Elizabeth Windsor in a republican Britain is not ontologically impoverished.
  • Yet is this right? The concept QUEEN OF ENGLAND still exists, there would just be nothing exemplifying it. So maybe there would be an ontological impoverishment if that’s what persons are.
  • Alternatively, what if PERSON is a phase sortal – like CHILD. Is a world crowded with human animals, but no children, ontologically impoverished. Maybe it is – it would certainly be an imperilling situation for the human race. Even so, a world containing human animals under the age of 18, and human children, must not double-count the number of basic substances in its inventory.
  • Baker could appeal to derivatives here, but only if a human child is constituted by a human animal. So, there might be no thinking child problem (by analogy with Olson’s TA problem) – the animal thinks derivatively in virtue of constituting a child. But say the child is so mentally retarded as not to constitute a person. Then we have only two things co-located – a human animal and a human child, but no human person, whereas normally we would have (for Baker) all three.
Footnote 72: Footnote 73:
  • Does this make PERSON a natural kind term?
  • Were there students prior to the concept STUDENT? If so, is STUDENT a natural kind term? Can we not just apply concepts retrospectively?
Footnote 74:
  • I agree with Baker here. The term BIOLOGICAL PERSON seems something of an oxymoron if contrasted with PSYCHOLOGICAL PERSON – since PERSON seems to essentially involve psychology.
  • But again, maybe it doesn’t – maybe PERSON could be taken as implying nothing more than that an individual has certain rights, with others having responsibilities towards her. The whole area is theory-laden, as Baker points out.
Footnote 75:
  • I have a similar gripe about Olson using “people” as the plural of “person”. “People” is often used just to mean “human beings”, so using it to mean “persons” can either cause confusion, or be an attempt to suggest without argument that there’s no difference between the two terms.
  • Care needs to be taken in this whole area to distinguish and clarify terms, but maybe any clarification is tendentious in one way or another.
Footnote 79:
  • Baker will need to explain how persons exist equally fundamentally alongside their bodies (neither is more fundamental than the other, but both have a degree of independent existence, at least modally).
  • A similar explanation is required for statues and clay. This is the challenge to the CV.
Footnote 80:
  • So, Baker is happy that cyborgs are persons.
  • It’s an open question whether a human animal with its organic parts replaced by inorganic ones would (or could) maintain a FPP. It’s an empirical question, most likely – though could we ever know whether a purely mechanical individual experienced phenomenal consciousness?
  • Moreover, even if we grant the possibility of inorganic consciousness, a really important question is whether during the siliconisation process we would have a single FPP, or the gradual fading away of one and the gradual rise of another. Presumably this question could be resolved empirically by asking the person(s) concerned, though not any time soon.
Footnote 82:
  • The real question is whether Baker is right in her claim that being a person is an essential property of anything. The analogy would be being an animal is an essential property of an animal (which is why she claims that if an animal’s parts are wholly replaced by inorganic parts, we no longer have an animal) – and this seems right.
  • But being a child isn’t an essential property of a child, except qua child. It all depends on what substance concept the individual falls under. CHILD isn’t a substance concept, but a phase of a substance concept (HUMAN ANIMAL).
  • So the question is whether PERSON is a substance concept. Baker asserts that it is; but what arguments does she have, and what arguments can be brought against this assertion?
Footnote 83:
  • What are we to make of this final claim? In what sense can persons die?
  • Death is a biological event that doesn’t seem to be something that can happen to persons as such. They can cease to be, but this doesn’t even require the death of the animal. All that needs to happen is that the animal irrevocably loses the property of being a person (or constituting one, in Baker’s terms).
Footnote 84:
  • Interestingly, Thomson takes PERSON to be the singular of PEOPLE. This seems odd, as though CATS had priority over CAT.
Footnote 85:
  • Baker’s objection to collectivism runs counter to many theories of the person, which has reciprocity, agency, patiency, language and such-like as central qualifications for personhood.
  • Baker reverts to the Cartesian individual looking out (and introspectively in) via the FPP.
Footnote 87:
  • For Baker, as for everyone in this context, the brain is well and truly part of the body and is not contrasted with it.
  • So, while – as a matter of fact – the particular brain that I possess sustains my mental life – including my FPP – presumably some other brain might have done so – and some yet other brain might do so in the future if I’m resurrected and brains are parts of resurrection bodies.
  • Also, given the siliconization possibility, my FPP might be sustained by some non-brain (by something that is functionally isomorphic to, but not identical to, a brain).
Footnote 88:
  • Yet we might not have done so, and until recently in evolutionary terms, hadn’t done so, so what’s the relevance of all this?
Footnote 89:
  • Just how biologically significant are these functions?
  • Surely the ontologically (and morally) significant divide is between those organisms that are phenomenally conscious and those that aren’t – those that feel and those that don’t. Are the anticipatory and retrospective mental terrors felt by those with a FPP really worse than the physical pains felt by any sentient being?
  • The anticipation of the dentist may be worse than the experience – but only because the experience isn’t that bad. But I dare say the experience of dentistry in the absence of anaesthetic is worse than the anticipation of it.
Footnote 90:
  • Most human beings seem to care little for the refined intellectual activities Baker finds definitive of human personhood. Does this mean they are not persons?
Footnote 91:
  • “Merely” is a weasel word.
  • Historically / causally human organisms may have acquired the properties they have in order to act as more efficient survival machines for their genes, but there are no evaluative consequences of this fact, if it is a fact.
  • As Baker herself notes, “we” have to some extent transcended evolution – by developing the capacity to manipulate our own and future generations’ genes.
  • The questionable claim on Baker’s part is the attribution of these facts to some ontological novelty – a person – rather than to the organisms themselves.
Footnote 92:
  • This is as far as I got in 2014-5 when I last looked at this Chapter.
  • I doubt I’ll be able to go into as much detail as I continue with the Chapter and Book as a whole.
Footnote 93:
  • Well, genes aren’t ‘smart’ – in the sense of ‘intelligent’ – in any meaningful sense, so any mammal, bird, fish, … is smarter than its genes.
Footnote 94:
  • It strikes me that some animals decide to do likewise if their situation is inappropriate: eg. pandas in zoos.
Footnote 95:
  • I’m unimpressed with this argument.
  • Evolution may have produced organisms for the survival and reproduction of their genes, but some organisms – namely us – are now trying to take control of their own destiny, independent of what their genes ‘want’.
  • This doesn’t mean the arrival of a new ontological kind over and above this new type of organism, but the development and transcendence of origins of an existing one. The ontological novelty is in the arrival of homo sapiens, one of whose typical properties is that of being a person that can act so as to override what its genes have programmed it to do.
Footnote 96:
  • This is symptomatic of a ‘slide’: as soon as something is explained as something that non-human animals con do (or, like consciousness, experience) it no longer counts as what makes us ‘uniquely human’ and therefore doesn’t count as an ontological novelty.
  • Obviously, there’s bound to be some fuzzy boundary between homo sapiens and other animals, otherwise we wouldn’t be a distinct kind, but nothing non-biological can be drawn from this.
Footnote 98:
  • Well, indeed it does: but, this is a property of homo sapiens, typical members of which have a FPP. There’s nothing over and above this – no reason to reify the FPP.
Footnote 100:
  • This is an odd way of putting it. Is she allowing for some non-human animals to be persons? It seems not, as she immediately gives ‘non-human animal’ as an example of a being lacking a FPP.
  • Does Baker anywhere consider whether the other Great Apes have a sense of Self, via passing the Mirror Test?
  • Maybe this doesn’t matter for her, as she presumes (probably rightly) that the non-human Great Apes do not have moral self-improvement amongst their goals. But then how many human beings seriously have such goals? We tend to (think we ought to) keep the morals slapped into us as children, and rebel when we think God isn’t looking. All this is part of being social beings and this moral conformity and rebellion may apply to other ‘higher’ animals. But few human beings think much about improving their moral character other than at times of existential crisis or where their moral slackness catches them out.
Footnote 101:
  • This dallying with determinism of Baker’s part is interesting. Is this just ‘for the sake of the argument’? It may be worth looking at "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - What is Human Freedom?" to gather her considered views.
  • What she seems to be saying is that we are still special even if determined. But this ‘specialness’ applies to us as members of the species homo sapiens, which have certain ‘personal’ properties.
Footnote 103:
  • She means – presumably – that it’s irreducible to something simpler, like √3 in the calculation of square roots. So, √48 is 4√3, with √3 being the surd.
Footnote 104:
  • This is rather a high bar for a dog to jump over. Also, how would we ever know? But I’m willing to believe it.
  • There is an attempt about to suggest that animals do have the concept of death – see "Monso (Susana) - What animals think of death" and other works by Susana Monsó. But this isn’t quite the same thing as Baker demands.
Footnote 108:
  • But, the person inherits all its properties from the animal that constitutes it. Consequently, if there is a break, it’s at the ‘animal’ level.
  • At least it looks that way, though some properties are had ‘derivatively’ and others not.
Footnote 109:
  • Surely this argument is very weak. What’s intended by ‘insignificant’? It’s well-known that very small errors in the DNA sequencing can have catastrophic effects and cause horrible syndromes in humans, surely ‘significant’ but as far as ‘counting base pairs’ is concerned it would be ‘insignificant’. But, we don’t need to look outside of biology to explain any of this.
  • Also, just where else do we look?
Footnote 110:
  • What other persons can be assumed here without argument?
  • What about David Wiggins’s argument that all persons – insofar as we can conceptualise them – are animals?
  • I would agree, though, that there can be non-human persons (traditionally ‘Martians’), but wouldn’t they be biological, albeit with a different biology?
  • However, I’m also willing to posit computers one day being persons; and maybe angels, though we’ve no idea what sort of being these might be. And God.
  • But what has all this got to do with human persons? All it shows is that persons don’t form a natural kind.
Footnote 111:
  • I suppose it is the same question, apart from the pejorative tone of ‘nothing but’.
  • Animalists don’t deny that we are ‘very special’ animals, but we are identical to animals nonetheless.
Footnote 112:
  • I broadly accept this rejection! There may be some continuity between human beings and the higher animals in moral and cognitive capacities. Indeed, there is some overlap between some animals and some (young, or mentally impaired) human beings; but there is a gulf between typical members of the species homo sapiens and typical members of any other species.
Footnote 113:
  • Well, as argued before, relatively small differences in DNA can have enormous cognitive and physical consequences without needing to invoke any non-biological agency.
  • After all, the great apes share a lot of their DNA with cabbages, but there’s no mysterious non-biological fact needed to explain the ‘gap’ in their cognitive and somatic abilities.
Footnote 114:
  • I have to admit to being mystified by this argument, whatever it is. If biology explains the FPP, what more is there to the discussion? Then we’re just special animals.
  • How could we animals have a FPP presently grounded in an organism that’s incapable of providing it? So, biology is certain to explain its origin, even if biologists don’t know what the explanation is.
Footnote 115:
  • See Wikipedia: Genetic Fallacy.
  • I couldn’t see how this (what, precisely?) was a relevant application of the expression, or that it’s a fallacy at all.
  • The Genetic Fallacy might have been in operation in supposing that because our bodies arose as survival machines for their genes, that that is what they are. But she seemed happy with our bodies being survival machines, just provided that we are not our bodies.
Footnote 116:
  • She doesn’t mention who – or what category of philosopher – has been ‘influenced’ by this article.
  • I would need to read this influential work in order to be influenced by it.
  • My intuition is that life is properly a biological phenomenon, though the term can be used metaphorically for other continuing states or events.
Footnote 117:
  • This thought doesn’t encourage me to reconsider my objections to functionalism.
  • I’d need to read the paper to find out exactly what Boyd means
Footnote 120:
  • This is the key point. Baker’s presumption all along is that ‘person’ is a substance-term, rather than an honorific referring to a substance – the human animal.
  • If this is denied, then all the rest of Baker’s argument is most likely empty blather.
Footnote 121:
  • This is not the same as siliconization – the brain stays intact in this TE. Also, Baker only refers to the body’s ‘organs’ being replaced – she doesn’t mention the skeleton, muscles and so on.
  • So, this TE is effectively one of Cyborgisation.
  • Presumably, the idea is that – with its nutritive functions taken over by hardware, the body is no longer an organism. But this is doubtful to me – the organism still retains a lot of cells which would metabolise. We would have – it seems to me – a mutilated organism, though not the maximally-mutilated BIV.
  • But I dare say the TE could be modified to remove these objections.
Footnote 122:
  • Indeed – it’s just an ability.
  • Presumably most people never ask or consider this question.
  • Also, as we organisms develop, all sorts of abilities come to fruition (even if the ability is never utilised, in response to my objection above).
  • Why does any of this represent an ontological change? Beyond the appearance of a Phase Sortal, that is?
Footnote 133:
  • This account of a Person seems rather circular. Can the FPP be explained without reference to Person?
Footnote 138: Footnote 139:
  • This is important, as it might be argued that the causal powers of artifacts are not in them but in us, who created them and react to them as we do.
  • Having said that, it may be that a lot of the causal powers of persons are artifactual in that they depend on us for their effectiveness. Crocodiles are happy to eat people without considering any moral scruple.
  • Since Baker rejects the brain-state example, the only non-artifactual example given here is that of genes and their DNA. But, what causal powers do genes have that their constituting DNA doesn’t?
  • Also, is ‘constitution’ univocal in all the examples? Is it occasionally mereological – the traditional idea of constitution – as in the case of genes and their DNA?
Footnote 141:
  • Do all persons with such a capacity actually exercise it? Are some totally unreflective? Is this learned in society? In only certain societies? Why is it so important?
Footnote 142:
  • She doesn’t say why, nor where in the Tractatus this image occurs, nor its relevance.
  • There’s a diagram of the eye and the visual field at 5.6331. Wittgenstein doesn’t think the visual field is like the diagram. Why did Baker mention Wittgenstein at all?
  • But it is, I suppose, important to notice the difference between most sentient creatures ‘window on the world’ and what Baker has in mind for a FPP.
Footnote 147:
  • Are animalists reductionists, eg. if they claim – as I do – that a human person is a Phase Sortal of a Human Animal? What are students reduced to by recognising them as phase sortals?
  • Also, are animalists committed to viewing everything in sub-personal terms?
Footnote 152:
  • She doesn’t mention her own Christian Materialist views at this point. I suspect her of trying to head off criticisms that she holds the philosophical views she does for pre-philosophical religious reasons.
Footnote 155: Footnote 157:
  • This modal stipulation is important, and will feature a lot in Baker’s arguments.
Footnote 159:
  • I’m not sure what to say about these commitments and prognostications at the moment. We’ll see how important they are for her arguments in due course.
  • I suspect them of being rather dubious and at odds with what’s known about – or at least argued over in – psychology: for instance, modularity of mind, the Freudian unconscious, MPD, Commissurotomy and the like.
  • I noted that Baker’s commitment to ‘medium-sized dry goods’ is at variance with Peter Van Inwagen’s approach.
Footnote 160:
  • I’ve not really bothered considering whether this list is exhaustive.
  • I do wonder, though, whether persons per se are the sort of thing that have persistence conditions and form a single Kind for science to investigate.
  • Baker would claim that a person persists only insofar as the same FPP persists. But just what are the persistence conditions of a FPP, and how is science to investigate it?
  • Baker’s Practical Realist approach can be seen as a temporising measure until science catches up.
  • But, if Person is a Forensic concept, has science really got anything to do with it? Of course, it has much to do with us, who are persons, but that’s a different matter and the cause of much dispute and confusion.
Footnote 166:
  • These are both artifacts. Is this significant?
  • One could argue that things exist intrinsically, but some of their properties are extrinsic.
  • So, the flag exists intrinsically as a piece of cloth, but it gains the property of being a flag in certain circumstances.
  • At the moment it’s not clear to me whether being a Person is an intrinsic or extrinsic property. Most of the properties of an individual that is a person are intrinsic, but some – ‘being loved’ for instance – are extrinsic; but there are no ontological implications here.
  • Consider ‘mere Cambridge changes’.
Footnotes 167, 168: Footnote 171:
  • Constitution is used in two distinct senses here. The stones constitute a heap in the mereological sense, but that heap only constitutes a wall if there a people who build walls and find them useful for fulfilling various functions.
Footnote 174:
  • This sounds a bit circular, and doesn’t exclude the possibility of ontology outside the natural world – ie. the supernatural world – which baker believes in but doesn’t advertise here.
  • But the intent is to exclude immaterial things such as immaterial souls or minds existing in the absence of bodies.
  • Even so, Baker isn’t a materialist as commonly understood: she believes in supernatural immaterial beings (the very things that traditional materialists deny).
  • The dividing line is usually between naturalists and supernaturalists. Some naturalists will allow the existence of immaterial things like minds.
Footnote 175:
  • Is Baker equivocating over Constitution here, and slipping into its mereological usage?
  • Just what do atoms constitute other than – in themselves – the elements and – in combination – various molecules?
  • Or, is this case parallel to that of her ‘wall constituted by stones’ case?
  • But atoms constitute a dog only in the mereological sense – dogs live on in the absence of dog-lovers (see "Pierce (Jessica) - The posthuman dog"!).
Footnote 176:
  • My words – Baker doesn’t claim any mathematical relationship, only that things with more causal powers are more significant.
  • This claim – while maybe reasonable – is an intuition rather than a fact.
  • Also, ‘significance’ isn’t part of the natural order, and depends on the evaluator. Human persons aren’t significant to crocodiles other than as a source of food, and so are less significant – for crocodiles – than wildebeest.
Footnote 181:
  • So, what are – in Baker’s view – the persistence conditions of bodies? Is it her job to know? How does it affect her programme?
  • The persistence of lumps of clay may be arbitrary, but the persistence of Organisms has a principled explanation (probably as partaking in a Process – a Life). This is why taking Organisms rather than Bodies as what Human Persons are (or are constituted by) is the better move.
Footnote 182:
  • Well, yes. Isn’t this Emergentism?
  • See my Note on Reductionism (explanatory and ontological).
  • By appearing to go against explanatory reduction, isn’t Baker going against the whole aim of science?
Footnote 184:



"Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Very Idea of Constitution"

Source: Baker (Lynne) - Persons and Bodies, Chapter 2

Paper Comment

For the full text, follow this link (Local website only): PDF File1.

Write-up2 (as at 28/09/2022 10:24:58): Baker - The Very Idea of Constitution

Introduction
Author’s Abstract3
  1. Provides a technical account of the idea of constitution. The basic idea of constitution is this: when certain kinds of things are in certain kinds of circumstances, things of new kinds, with new kinds of causal powers, come into existence. For example, when a certain combination of chemicals is in a certain environments, a thing of a new kind—an organism—comes into existence. A world without organisms, even if it contained the “right” combination of chemicals but in the “wrong” environment, would not have the same things in it as a world with organisms. So, constitution makes an ontological difference. It guarantees ontological plurality.
  2. The relationship of constitution is ubiquitous. It is not peculiar to human persons and their bodies. It holds between rivers and aggregates of water molecules, between statues4 and pieces of marble, between genes and groups of DNA molecules, between stop signs and octagonal pieces of metal. If x constitutes y at t, then x and y are spatially coincident at t, but they not identical. If x constitutes y at t, then x and y have different persistence conditions5. Identity is a necessary relation; constitution is contingent. (Indeed, I use the notion of constitution to solve problems that others try to solve by notions of contingent identity6, temporal identity7, relative identity8 and so on. The idea of constitution has an advantage over these other views in that the idea of constitution does not compromise the classical notion of identity in its strict Leibnizian form.) I provide a definition of ‘x constitutes y at t’ in order to show that the idea of constitution-without-identity does not suffer from obvious incoherence.
  3. If x constitutes y at t, then x and y share many of their properties: x weighs 100 lbs. at t if and only if y weighs 100 lbs. at t; x is worth $10,000 at t if and only if y is worth $12,000 at t. Each of these properties has its source in either x or y. If a piece of bronze constitutes a statue9 at t, then what exists at t is a statue-constituted-by-a-piece-of-bronze10, whose weight has its source in its being (constituted by) a piece of bronze, and whose value (usually) has its source in its being a statue11. This observation leads to the notion of ‘having properties derivatively.’ The piece of bronze has its weight nonderivatively; the statue12 has its weight derivatively. The statue13 has its value nonderivatively; the piece of bronze has its weight derivatively. To have a property derivatively is to constitute, or be constituted by, something that has the property independently of its constitution-relations. Only some properties are subject to being had derivatively. All this is spelled out in two definitions. The notion of having a property derivatively explains why if x and y both weigh 100 lbs. at t, and x and y are not identical, it does not follow that there is an object that weighs 200 lbs. where x is at t.
  4. The idea of constitution is decidedly nonreductive. As long as x constitutes y, x has no independent existence. If x continues to exist after the demise of y, then x comes into its own, existing independently. But during the period that x constitutes y, “what the thing really is” — y, constituted by x — is determined by the identity of y. So, what is in front of you when you go to a museum is a statue14 (constituted, perhaps, by a piece of bronze). What the thing most fundamentally is a statue15; but it is constituted by a piece of bronze.
Sections
  1. A Description of Constitution
  2. The Road to Essentialism
  3. A Definition of ‘Constitution’
  4. Having Properties Derivatively
  5. Conclusion



Comments on the above16
  1. Chapter 2 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Very Idea of Constitution") provides a technical account of the idea of constitution. The basic idea of constitution is this: when certain kinds of things are in certain kinds of circumstances, things of new kinds, with new kinds of causal powers, come into existence. For example, when a certain combination of chemicals is in a certain environments, a thing of a new kind – an organism – comes into existence. A world without organisms, even if it contained the “right” combination of chemicals but in the “wrong” environment, would not have the same things in it as a world with organisms. So, constitution makes an ontological difference. It guarantees ontological plurality.
    • So – according to Baker – an organism is “constituted by” its chemicals? It’s true that an organism is not identical to its chemicals – because it can lose or gain matter. So, while it is constituted by chemicals, it is not constituted by any bunch of chemicals in particular (though it is constituted by certain types of chemicals).
    • While “new causal powers” is important to constitution, it’s a thorny issue. I suspect that there are different forms of causation that are confused. For instance:-
    • What causal powers do (human) persons have over and above those of the (human) animals that constitute them.
    • Do statues have any causal powers over and above the matter that constitutes them. No doubt Baker thinks that they “cause” people to steal them, on account of their relation to an art-world. But are the causative powers really in them, or in the world in which they are embedded? It certainly seems to be different from the causative powers of an animal, which does things using its own resources. Tied in with agency / patiency and the philosophy of action generally?
    • Note that "Merricks (Trenton) - Objects and Persons" denies existence to proposed entities without (extra) causal powers; statues being one kind rejected.
  2. The relationship of constitution is ubiquitous. It is not peculiar to human persons and their bodies. It holds between rivers and aggregates of water molecules, between statues and pieces of marble, between genes and groups of DNA molecules, between stop signs and octagonal pieces of metal. If x constitutes y at t, then x and y are spatially coincident at t, but they not identical. If x constitutes y at t, then x and y have different persistence conditions. Identity is a necessary relation; constitution is contingent. (Indeed, I use the notion of constitution to solve problems that others try to solve by notions of contingent identity, temporal identity, relative identity and so on. The idea of constitution has an advantage over these other views in that the idea of constitution does not compromise the classical notion of identity in its strict Leibnizian form.) I provide a definition of ‘x constitutes y at t’ in order to show that the idea of constitution-without-identity does not suffer from obvious incoherence.
    • I suspect that there are lots of different meanings that can be given to constitution, some less objectionable than others.
    • Just what is supposed to be going on? Is this some sort of emergence of properties? Is constitution “matter plus organisation” or “thing plus further organisation”?
    • Rivers are not constituted by their water molecules, but additionally by their sediments, not to mention their banks, beds and locations. Also, as they are vague objects, there may be conventional elements (just where does the Nile start?). I’m not sure how pervasive these issues are.
    • Note (as usual) that the constitution relation between statues and marble can involve pieces or portions – portions have their parts essentially, while pieces don’t. Can statues be said to be constituted by either?
  3. If x constitutes y at t, then x and y share many of their properties: x weighs 100 lbs. at t if and only if y weighs 100 lbs. at t; x is worth $10,000 at t if and only if y is worth $12,000 at t. Each of these properties has its source in either x or y. If a piece of bronze constitutes a statue at t, then what exists at t is a statue-constituted-by-a-piece-of-bronze, whose weight has its source in its being (constituted by) a piece of bronze, and whose value (usually) has its source in its being a statue. This observation leads to the notion of ‘having properties derivatively.’ The piece of bronze has its weight nonderivatively; the statue has its weight derivatively. The statue has its value nonderivatively; the piece of bronze has its weight derivatively. To have a property derivatively is to constitute, or be constituted by, something that has the property independently of its constitution-relations. Only some properties are subject to being had derivatively. All this is spelled out in two definitions. The notion of having a property derivatively explains why if x and y both weigh 100 lbs. at t, and x and y are not identical, it does not follow that there is an object that weighs 200 lbs. where x is at t.
    • There appear to be a couple of textual corruptions in the above paragraph. Most obviously the trailing “where x is at t”. And Baker wants to say that “The statue has its value nonderivatively; the piece of bronze has its value derivatively” (not weight).
    • Does the piece of bronze have its value derivatively in two senses?
      1. Because the piece is made of bronze (if it was made of something slightly different, or if the bottom dropped out of the market for bronze, its value would differ).
      2. In virtue of constituting a statue.
    • But surely, the bronze isn’t worth the value of the statue, derivatively or not? It’s worth its scrap value, considered as a piece of bronze – ie. in the absence of an art-market that values this statue. It’s true (I think) that what is constituted inherits some of its properties from whatever constitutes it, but it’s not clear to me that the converse is true, and hence that the “iff” in Baker’s claim is incorrect. However, maybe Baker has to insist on this claim to avoid the charge that there are really two things present. She wants her constitution relation to be almost identity, but not quite.
    • The whole issue of value is thorny. Value is a relational rather than intrinsic property. The value of a statue can change without any change to the statue itself. But the properties of persons seem to be intrinsic (though they may also be valued). Isn’t the first-person perspective17 intrinsic to the person (and to the animal)?
    • Note, however, that Baker’s definition only claims sharing of “many” properties, not all – so if she wants she can exclude values.
  4. The idea of constitution is decidedly nonreductive. As long as x constitutes y, x has no independent existence. If x continues to exist after the demise of y, then x comes into its own, existing independently. But during the period that x constitutes y, “what the thing really is” – y, constituted by x – is determined by the identity of y. So, what is in front of you when you go to a museum is a statue (constituted, perhaps, by a piece of bronze). What the thing most fundamentally is a statue; but it is constituted by a piece of bronze.
    • What does Baker mean by “nonreductive”? That the constituting thing is not more important than the constituted? It’s as though the constituted thing “takes over” the constituting thing. This is reductive in the wrong direction (maybe). It seems to be the wrong way round. Surely the piece of bronze still exists when it constitutes the statue – and independently of the statue. The statue only exists because people appreciate it as such.
    • It’s not clear to me how good a model artefacts are for Baker’s other candidates – particularly persons.
    • Can we really take seriously the idea that as an animal (in the normal course of maturation) develops a first-person perspective18, it cease to be primarily an animal and becomes primarily a person?
    • There seem to be two levels of constitution in the case of the bronze. It is constituted mereologically and structurally by an ordered collection of atoms – a different collection at different times. This is what is normally meant by “constitution”. Then there’s Baker’s sense, where the piece of bronze constitutes a statue (she says), but all of a piece. The only real difference between the statue and the bronze piece is evaluative. That is, if the piece (qua piece) can have any shape you like. In Gibbard’s TE, we’re allowed to mould Lump1 into a ball, and it still exists, though Goliath doesn’t. See "Gibbard (Allan) - Contingent Identity".
    • How does constitution work if we don’t know what the thing is. Is Baker a universalist (or whatever the term is) with respect to things? Ie. does the contents of any disconnected agglomeration of spacetime segments constitute a thing?



This text below is my detailed review of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Very Idea of Constitution", Chapter 2 of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View". The main text is my interpretation of what Baker says, with my specific comments and objections appearing as footnotes.

0. Introduction
  1. Baker will give a very general and technical account of Constitution19 which doesn’t just apply to Persons and their Bodies. The usual examples.
  2. There are three reasons to be explicit about the concept of constitution.
    1. Constitution is not Identity.
      • See:-
        → "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Why Constitution is Not Identity".
      • If so what? A unity relation intermediate between identity and separate existence. Open to caricature and accusations of incoherence, so needs careful exposition.
      • Footnote on the Trinity warning Christians against assuming incoherence.
    2. Constitution – for Baker – is non-standard:
    3. Constitution is a genuine unity-relation (according to Baker):
  3. So, according to Baker’s account, Constitution is not identity in the strict Leibnizian sense22, but is similar to it.
  4. Similar, because the coincident objects23 share a lot of their properties,
  5. But not Identity because if the coincident objects are of different kinds24 they have different persistence conditions. Baker will focus on this distinctness, but – for instance – the statue and the clay are not separate independently existing individuals. So, Baker will argue that Constitution is a third category intermediate between identity and separate existence.
  6. Baker supports all the above with a few footnotes:-
    1. This is a general account, and it is possible to differ on its applications. We can agree that a lump of metal is distinct from the artifact it constitute while denying that a Person is distinct from her body.
    2. Baker takes identity to be strict and necessary, and not Relative25, Contingent26 or any other form of ‘faux identity’. She refers to "Yablo (Stephen) - Identity, Essence, and Indiscernibility", where Stephen Yablo uses the term ‘contingent identity’ to refer to things that are ‘distinct by nature but the same in the circumstances’ saying that is misleading27 to use ‘contingent identity’ to refer to a relation that is not identity.
    3. Baker admits that rather than introduce Constitution to explain why the statue differs from its piece of marble we can invoke 4D28,29. Then, only the Statue-stage is strictly identical to its Marble-stage, but the full space-time worms are not identical. She doesn’t attempt to discuss the matter here. We’re referred to
      → "Lewis (David) - Survival and Identity" (postscript), and – for a critique of temporal parts – to
      → "Thomson (Judith Jarvis) - Parthood and Identity Across Time".

1. A Description of Constitution
  1. Parts of this Section first appeared in "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Unity without Identity: A New Look at Material Constitution".
  2. … to be supplied.

2. The Road to Essentialism
  1. … to be supplied.

3. A Definition of ‘Constitution’
  1. Baker provides a definition of Constitution. This is so technical, that it might as well be quoted verbatim30 so I can then comment on it.
  2. Firstly,
    • Let being an F be x's primary-kind property, and let being a G be y's primary kind property, where being an Fbeing a G, and let D be G-favorable circumstances.
    • Let F* be the property of having the property of being an F as one's primary-kind property, and let G* be the property of having the property of being a G as one's primary-kind property.
  3. Then:-
    (C) x constitutes y at t =df
    1. x and y are spatially coincident at t; and
    2. x is in D at t; and
    3. It is necessary that: ∀z[(F*zt & z is in D at t) → ∃u(G*ut & u is spatially coincident with z at t)]; and
    4. It is possible that: (x exists at t & ~∃w[G*wt & w is spatially coincident with x at t]); and
    5. If y is immaterial, then x is also immaterial.
  4. Parts of this Section first appeared in "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Unity without Identity: A New Look at Material Constitution".
  5. … to be supplied.

4. Having Properties Derivatively
  1. Baker defines the notion of having properties derivatively. This is so technical, that it might as well be quoted verbatim31
  2. Firstly,
    In order to define the notion of having properties derivatively, I need to define a notion that I shall use in the definition of 'having a property derivatively': the notion of having a property independently of constitution relations. Let H range over properties that are neither alethic properties, nor are identity/constitution/existence properties, nor are properties such that they are rooted outside times at which they are had, nor are hybrid properties.
  3. Then:-
    (I) x has H at t independently of x's constitution relations to y at t =df
    1. x has H at t, and
    2. Either
        1. x constitutes y at t, and
        2. x's having H at t (in the given background) does not entail that x constitutes anything at t.
      Or
        1. y constitutes x at t, and
        2. x's having H at t (in the given background) does not entail that x is constituted by something that could have had H at t without constituting anything at t.
  4. And:-
    (D) x has H at t derivatively =df There is some y such that:
    1. it is not the case that: x has H at t independently of x's constitution relations to y at t; &
    2. y has H at t independently of y's constitution relations to x at t.
  5. … to be supplied.

5. Conclusion
  1. The bulk of this section – the longer first of two paragraphs – is so compressed and useful that it’s worth quoting in full. The bullets are mine:-
    • Constitution is a relation of genuine unity that stops short of identity.
    • During the period that x constitutes y, there are not two separate things.
    • If x constitutes y at any time, then y is a unity that encompasses x during the time that x constitutes y.
    • Constitution is as close to identity as a relation can get without being identity.
    • Constitution is close enough to identity so that if x constitutes y at t, then certain properties – those that are neither alethic, nor constitution/identity/existence, nor rooted outside the times at which they are had, nor hybrid properties that x would have had if x had not constituted y – are — solely on account of the fact that x constitutes y at t — properties of y at t derivatively.
    • And vice versa.
    • And the fact that y has such properties at t is not a different fact from the fact that x has them at t and x constitutes y at t.
    • For any property that y has at t derivatively, the fact that y has it at t derivatively just is the fact that at t, y is constitutionally related to some x that has the property at t independently of being constitutionally related to y.
  2. Baker’s idea of constitution is quite general, but will be applied to Persons and their Bodies in the Chapter 4 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Constitution View of Human Persons").
  3. It depends only on ‘familiar logical notions’ and the notions of primary-kind properties and ‘circumstances32’. While the latter two notions leave a degree of vagueness, she hopes the idea is sufficiently clear for further application.




In-Page Footnotes ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Very Idea of Constitution")

Footnote 2:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (28/09/2022 10:24:58).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 3: Footnote 16: Footnote 21:
  • Is this Essentialist universally agreed?
  • After all, if it was would there still be a Sorites paradox? Maybe; we could still argue whether the heap remained a heap even if we agreed that the removal of a grain means it is no longer the same heap. Not a useful stance though. The Sorites ought to apply to “same heap” as well as to “heap”.
Footnote 27:
  • I agree with Baker’s rejection of deviant so-called identities.
  • It’s not clear what Stephen Yablo means here without reading his paper. From the Introduction, he seems to be saying that you can’t have Essentialism without Contingent Identity. If so, so much the worse for Essentialism, in my view.
Footnotes 30, 31: Footnote 32:
  • I don’t know what this means at the moment.



"Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The First-Person Perspective"

Source: Baker (Lynne) - Persons and Bodies, Chapter 3

Paper Comment

For the full text, follow this link (Local website only): PDF File1.

Write-up2 (as at 28/09/2022 10:24:58): Baker - The First-Person Perspective

Introduction
Author’s Abstract3
  1. Develops the notion of a first-person perspective4. A first-person perspective5 is the ability to think of—to conceive of—oneself in the first-person without recourse to any name or description or demonstrative. A first-person perspective6 is necessary for any form of self-consciousness7, and is sufficient for some forms of self-consciousness8. Evidence that a being has a first-person perspective9 comes from the person’s ability to think a thought expressible as, e.g., “I wonder how I shall die.” The second occurrence of ‘I’ in a first-person sentence, with a psychological or linguistic verb and an embedded first-person sentence indicates that the being has a first-person perspective10.
  2. Nonhuman animals are conscious (some chimpanzees may even be able to refer to themselves), but as far as we can tell, they do not have first-person perspectives11 in the sense. They don’t wonder how they will die, or hope that they have a painless death or any other such thing. I argue for the irreducibility of the first-person perspective12, and argue that other views of self-consciousness13 (e.g., Rosenthal’s, Armstrong’s, Dennett’s) are inadequate.
Sections
  1. First-Person Phenomena
  2. Features of the First-Person Perspective14
  3. Indispensability of the First-Person Perspective15
  4. A Look at Other Views
  5. Conclusion



Comments on the above16
  1. Chapter 3 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The First-Person Perspective") develops the notion of a first-person perspective17. A first-person perspective18 is the ability to think of – to conceive of – oneself in the first-person without recourse to any name or description or demonstrative. A first-person perspective19 is necessary for any form of self-consciousness, and is sufficient for some forms of self-consciousness. Evidence that a being has a first-person perspective20 comes from the person’s ability to think a thought expressible as, e.g., “I wonder how I shall die.” The second occurrence of ‘I’ in a first-person sentence, with a psychological or linguistic verb and an embedded first-person sentence indicates that the being has a first-person perspective21.
    • Note the importance of “I” rather than a name. Is there (at most) a single FPP22 per human animal? Is “multiple occupancy” a problem for Baker – can a human animal constitute more than one person at a time (or – a different question – serially)?
  2. Nonhuman animals are conscious (some chimpanzees may even be able to refer to themselves), but as far as we can tell, they do not have first-person perspectives23 in the sense. They don’t wonder how they will die, or hope that they have a painless death or any other such thing. I argue for the irreducibility of the first-person perspective24, and argue that other views of self-consciousness (e.g., Rosenthal’s, Armstrong’s, Dennett’s) are inadequate.



This text below is my detailed review of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The First-Person Perspective", Chapter 3 of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View". The main text is my interpretation of what Baker says, with my specific comments and objections appearing as footnotes.

0. Introduction
  1. If a person is constituted by a body to which she is not identical, what accounts for the difference?
  2. Baker’s answer – to be defended in this chapter – is that the Person28 has a FPP29 essentially while her Body30 has it contingently.
  3. She sees this situation as analogous to the statue / piece-of-marble31 case. The statue is essentially related to an artworld, while the marble has that property contingently. She claims that the capacity for a FPP plays the same role32 as being related to an art-world.
  4. The capacity for a FPP enables an inner life which -says Baker – makes its owner a fundamentally different kind of thing to something without it. So, I am closer ontologically to an intelligent Martian than I am to a horse or an early-term fetus.
  5. Baker claims that an Animal – human or not – can exist without33 an inner life – but a Person cannot.
  6. She does – however – deny that any of this is Cartesian – our inner lives are not ‘prior to34’ the natural world.
  7. Constitution and the FPP will be combined to develop the CV35 in the next chapter – Chapter 4 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Constitution View of Human Persons"). This Chapter will simply describe the FPP in more detail.
  8. Baker claims that recognition of the FPP is required both for ontological reasons and for psychological explanation. She will argue that the FPP underlies all36 forms of self-consciousness.
  9. Well, she will look at some recent accounts of self-consciousness to show the indispensability of the FPP. Like Constitution, the FPP is of general application with many metaphysical implications.

1. First-Person Phenomena
  1. … to be supplied.

2. Features of the First-Person Perspective37
  1. … to be supplied.

3. Indispensability of the First-Person Perspective38
  1. … to be supplied.

4. A Look at Other Views
  1. … to be supplied.

5. Conclusion
  1. Baker hopes to have shown:-
    • What the first-person perspective is and how those with a first-person perspective differ from merely sentient beings;
    • That the first-person perspective has a non-Cartesian feature of being relational in a certain sense39;
    • That the idea of a first-person perspective is indispensable for a comprehensive theory of reality; and
    • How theories of self-consciousness overlook the first-person perspective at their peril.
  2. In the next Chapter ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Constitution View of Human Persons") Baker will try to show that it is the FPP that distinguished Persons40 from non-Persons and that the FPP – and hence persons – are ineliminable from a comprehensive view of reality.
  3. Much of this Chapter appeared in "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The First-Person Perspective: A Test For Naturalism".




In-Page Footnotes ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The First-Person Perspective")

Footnote 2:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (28/09/2022 10:24:58).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 3: Footnote 16: Footnote 32:
  • Why is this the case? In what way? The FPP is an intrinsic property, had by the animal, whereas a relation to an artworld is extrinsic.
  • I would have a FPP irrespective of whether anyone said I did – ie. even if there were no other persons.
  • Am I missing something?
Footnote 33:
  • What is really being claimed here? Is it the capacity for an inner life or the exercise thereof?
  • If it’s the capacity, then almost all human animals have it. If it’s the present exercise, then we’d have persons as intermittent objects, which can’t be what Baker intends.
  • So, according to Baker, the Human Animal – qua animal – is still no more than an animal, but has its intermittent inner life in virtue of constituting a person. Is it the animal that provides the continuous existence that the person lacks?
Footnote 34:
  • I’m not sure why this term ‘prior to’ is used – the sense are ‘conceptually, ontologically, temporally’.
  • It might be worth teasing out what these three senses might mean.
Footnote 36:
  • Surely many animals differentiate themselves from their environment and from other animals. They can be jealous, for instance. Isn’t this a sense of self-consciousness? If an animal resents another for being rewarded when it is not, doesn’t this show a sense of self.
Footnote 39:
  • Relationality is crucial for Baker’s claim that Persons are – from the sense of Constitution – comparable to artifacts which need relational properties to motivate the need for constitution.
  • I don’t currently remember what these relational properties of Persons are supposed to be.



"Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Constitution View of Human Persons"

Source: Baker (Lynne) - Persons and Bodies, Chapter 4

Paper Comment

For the full text, follow this link (Local website only): PDF File1.

Write-up2 (as at 28/09/2022 10:24:58): Baker - The Constitution View of Human Persons

Introduction
Author’s Abstract3
  1. Applies the notions of constitution and of a first-person perspective4 to the issue of human persons. A person is a being with a first-person perspective5; a human person (at t) is a person constituted by a human body (at t). Human persons are essentially embodied; they can never exist without some body or other, but they do not necessarily have the bodies that in fact constitute them. E.g., it is possible that parts of a person’s human body are replaced by bionic parts until the person is no longer human; still the same person would continue to exist (now constituted by a bionic body) as long as the first-person perspective6 stayed intact.
  2. So, although a human person cannot exist unembodied, she may come to be constituted by a different body from the one that actually constitutes her. If she came to be constituted by a bionic body, she would no longer be a human person. But she would still be a person as long as she existed. A human person is most fundamentally a person, not an animal—just as a bronze statue7 is most fundamentally a statue8, not a piece of bronze. Two separate human persons that exist at the same time are individuated by their bodies. A human person’s body at a time distinguishes her from all other separate persons at that time.
  3. A human person and the body that constitutes her are a unity9, in the same way that a bronze statue10 and the piece of bronze that constitutes it are a unity11. Unlike the statue12, however, I have a first-person relation to my body. Properties that my body has nonderivatively are my properties derivatively. E.g., I have the property of being left-handed and of having brown eyes derivatively; the nonderivative bearer of these properties is my body. When I attribute to myself such properties, I am thinking of myself-as-my-body. On the other hand, I have the property of being employed or of having asked a question nonderivatively; my body is the derivative bearer of these properties. When I attribute to my body properties that I have nonderivatively, I am thinking of my-body-as-myself.
Sections
  1. What a Human Person Is
  2. Mental Properties
  3. Theses about Human Persons
  4. My Body / Myself
  5. Conclusion



Comments on the above13
  1. Chapter 4 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Constitution View of Human Persons") applies the notions of constitution and of a first-person perspective14 to the issue of human persons. A person is a being with first-person perspective15; a human person (at t) is a person constituted by a human body (at t). Human persons are essentially embodied; they can never exist without some body or other, but they do not necessarily have the bodies that in fact constitute them. E.g., it is possible that parts of a person’s human body are replaced by bionic parts until the person is no longer human; still the same person would continue to exist (now constituted by a bionic body) as long as the first-person perspective16 stayed intact.
    • I think this is all wrong; there’s no mention of the brain here, nor of “paring down” a human organism until we’re left with a brain. Just where does the FPP17 arise? Mostly in the brain, even though this might be disputed. How much of an animal can be replaced before it ceases to be an animal? Is the brain more important than other bits? If the brain were siliconized (for instance) would it retain a FPP18? In particular, would it remain phenomenally conscious, or would be have a zombie? Is this an empirical or conceptual question? Could we ever know the answer, other than from the inside, and how could that person convince anyone else, given that a zombie would be as persuasive?
    • What’s the motivation for human persons being essentially embodied? Are human persons essentially human? Baker allows for a human person to be bionicised – and says (in the next paragraph) that while such a being remains a person, it would no longer be a human person. HUMAN PESON is some form of compound kind for Baker, I think19. What makes having a body essential to a human person, if it’s not essential that they have a human body? Bodies aren’t essential to persons as such, by Baker’s lights.
    • Baker’s view about persistence is that it’s sameness of FPP20 that individuates a person, so why is bodily continuity necessary – Baker’s examples involve gradual change of one body into another. Is this critical, or does Baker allow for immaterial gaps in the same person?
  2. So, although a human person cannot exist unembodied, she may come to be constituted by a different body from the one that actually constitutes her. If she came to be constituted by a bionic body, she would no longer be a human person. But she would still be a person as long as she existed. A human person is most fundamentally a person, not an animal—just as a bronze statue is most fundamentally a statue, not a piece of bronze. Two separate human persons that exist at the same time are individuated by their bodies. A human person’s body at a time distinguishes her from all other separate persons at that time.
    • Baker says that a human person is most fundamentally a person and not an animal (ie. “a human”). So is it only human persons that are essentially embodied – is it the case (for Baker) that the person that is currently a human person might ultimately be incorporeal? As a Christian, she would no doubt allow the human person to become a spiritual person, with a spiritual body (whatever that is). What about a spirit? Persons as such don’t need to be embodied – God is a person and is not embodied – so could the same FPP21 that once belonged to a human person be exemplified by a being that is not embodied? If not, why not? And what would then constitute that person? Is constitution something that only matter can do?
    • Bodies individuate human persons – OK. So, Baker is committed to denying the existence of MPD22 – at least if this implies a multiplicity (as is claimed) of FPPs23? And what individuates the person that is currently a human person, when later she may be a person of some other kind? Again, the body; some other body? Is that why it is essentially embodied? What individuates spirits?
    • What maintains the FPP24 of a human person? If the brain, what would make that very same FPP25 hop from one brain to another?
    • Isn’t the statue most fundamentally a piece of bronze? The disappearance of the art-world is a mere Cambridge-change from the perspective of the piece of bronze. Are we to suppose that the statue – that very same statue – could come to be constituted by something else? Maybe – if the changes are gradual enough? Though surely what is valuable about an art-work is not its form, but its body? Monetary value, that is. We value the fact that it’s the very object that some great artist produced. If it’s gradually repaired over time so that none of it is the work of the master, isn’t its value diminished? Cf. Da Vinci’s Last Supper.
  3. A human person and the body that constitutes her are a unity, in the same way that a bronze statue and the piece of bronze that constitutes it are a unity. Unlike the statue, however, I have a first-person relation to my body. Properties that my body has nonderivatively are my properties derivatively. E.g., I have the property of being left-handed and of having brown eyes derivatively; the nonderivative bearer of these properties is my body. When I attribute to myself such properties, I am thinking of myself-as-my-body. On the other hand, I have the property of being employed or of having asked a question nonderivatively; my body is the derivative bearer of these properties. When I attribute to my body properties that I have nonderivatively, I am thinking of my-body-as-myself.
    • Is the unity-relation between statues and their pieces of bronze really the same as that between the person and her body – given that the persistence conditions of artefacts and organisms – and the factors that make for a statue or a person – are so different? Is this a fair analogy? Statues are statues in virtue of something else external to themselves. Are persons such in virtue of something external?
    • What is a “first person relation” in this context? I have a first person relation to my statue, if I own it, but it’s not the same as the relation I bear to my body (in Baker’s – or most people’s – opinion). What does Baker mean?
    • This paragraph is important for indicating what Baker means by the having of properties derivatively and non-derivatively. But we need to press the examples.
    • We can understand, I think, that a person – if personhood is taken to be fundamentally a psychological concept – is left-handed in virtue of her body. But is it right to define persons in virtue of FPPs26 and psychology? Isn’t a ballet-dancer the person she is partly in virtue of her body, and isn’t she diminished as a person if maimed? Has her FPP27 changed? I think it has, but has remained the same FPP28, so Baker can accommodate this.
    • Eventually, maybe, I will not have any of the corporeal properties I now have – nor most of the mental ones. The question is how best to account for this within the context of a single persistent entity. The FPP29 is (I think) under-described by Baker, and its persistence conditions are not made clear. Baker has it that it is irreducible (see above). Does this mean it’s an all-or-nothing thing? Identity is, indeed, all or nothing. But, as I’ve said before, the persistent thing with psychological properties is the brain – the Cheshire Cat – and not the FPP30, which is simply the Cheshire Cat’s smile.
    • Just who or what is employed? If I’m employed in some role that doesn’t demand a FPP31, or worries about immanent death, isn’t it the human animal that’s employed. If I employ a washer-up, do I care whether she has a FPP32? And if that FPP33 somehow migrates away, do I then employ what then constitutes it, even if it’s not then fit for purpose? Aren’t our legal commitments motivated by the human predicament? So, do employment laws apply to non-humans – immortals with no bodily worries, for instance?
    • Can the distinction between myself-as-my-body and my-body-as-myself really be maintained without relative identity?



This text below is my detailed review of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Constitution View of Human Persons", Chapter 3 of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View". The main text is my interpretation of what Baker says, with my specific comments and objections appearing as footnotes.

0. Introduction
  1. Baker asks what it means for – in normal parlance – for a Person34 to ‘have’ a Body35?
  2. The CV36 provides an answer – it is to be Constituted37 by a Body, as explained in Chapter 2 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Very Idea of Constitution").
  3. A Person is not a separate thing to the constituting Body any more than is the case with the Statue38 and the constituting marble.
  4. Nor is a Person identical to the constituting body since the person cannot exist without the capacity for a FPP39 (as defined in Chapter 3 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The First-Person Perspective"), while the body could.
  5. This chapter provides the detail on how Persons relate to their Bodies.

1. What a Human Person Is
  1. … to be supplied.

2. Mental Properties
  1. … to be supplied.

3. Theses about Human Persons
  1. … to be supplied.

4. My Body / Myself
  1. … to be supplied.

5. Conclusion
  1. Human Persons40 – while they are Animals41 are not just Animals, according to Baker.
  2. This is so even if the capacity for a FPP42 is the product of natural selection.
  3. This is because – says Baker – Animals43 are essentially biological – essentially regulated by their DNA.
  4. But – says Baker – Persons44 are essentially Psychological45 / Moral46 and have their capacity for a FPP essentially. This is so whether their FPP is regulated by DNA, silicon or whatever.
  5. So, the CV47 holds that – focusing on things that are non-derivatively Animals and things that are non-derivatively Persons – Persons48 (whether human or not) are of a different Kind49 to Animals50.
  6. But, because Human Persons51 are constituted by Animals, they can have biological as well as psychological or moral properties. The CV – allegedly – shows how this can be the case.




In-Page Footnotes ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Constitution View of Human Persons")

Footnote 2:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (28/09/2022 10:24:58).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 3: Footnote 13: Footnote 49:
  • An admitted virtue of the CV is that Persons can form a Kind.
  • It is usually taken that Persons can’t form a Kind because different categories of Person (Humans, aliens, angels, …) have different persistence conditions. But – on the CV – the uniform persistence criteria are sameness of FPP, however this is cashed out.



"Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Personal Identity Over Time"

Source: Baker (Lynne) - Persons and Bodies, Chapter 5

Paper Comment

For the full text, follow this link (Local website only): PDF File1.

Write-up2 (as at 28/09/2022 10:24:58): Baker - Personal Identity Over Time

Introduction
Author’s Abstract3
  1. Discusses the vexing problem of personal identity over time. In virtue of what is a person P1 at t1 the same person as a person P2 at t2? I canvass candidate answers to this question, and show that each fails:
    1. Sameness of person consists in sameness of body,
    2. Sameness of person consists in sameness of living organism (Animalism)4,
    3. Sameness of person consists in sameness of brain,
    4. Sameness of person consists in psychological continuity5,
    5. Sameness of person consists in sameness of immaterial soul.
  2. Then, I discuss my own view: sameness of person consists in sameness of first-person perspective6. Alas, my own view does not provide an informative criterion either. Although I can characterize noncircularly what it is to have a first-person perspective7 at a time, I know of no noncircular characterization of sameness of first-person perspective8 over time. Since nobody has an adequate and informative criterion of personal identity over time, I conclude that there is no adequate and informative criterion of personal identity over time: Sameness of person is not reducible to sameness of anything nonpersonal.
  3. Nevertheless, construing personal identity in terms of sameness of first-person perspective9 has its advantages.
    1. First, it avoids problems besetting the other views (e.g., species chauvinism, the duplication10 problem).
    2. Second, it accords well with our self-understanding: there is a fact of the matter whether some future individual is I, and that fact of the matter does not depend on the nonexistence of someone else.
    3. Finally, the idea of sameness of first-person perspective11 ties what it is to be a person over time with what it is to be a person in the first place.

Sections
  1. Other Views of Personal Identity over Time
  2. The Constitution View12 of Personal Identity over Time
  3. Is Bodily Transfer Possible?
  4. Conclusion



Comments on the above13
  1. Chapter 5 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Personal Identity Over Time") discusses the vexing problem of personal identity over time. In virtue of what is a person P1 at t1 the same person as a person P2 at t2? I canvass candidate answers to this question, and show that each fails:
    1. Sameness of person consists in sameness of body,
    2. Sameness of person consists in sameness of living organism (Animalism),
    3. Sameness of person consists in sameness of brain,
    4. Sameness of person consists in psychological continuity,
    5. Sameness of person consists in sameness of immaterial soul.
    • Well, each of these proposals needs to be taken on its merits, and Baker’s objections reviewed. Then, the best candidate needs to be compared with Baker’s alternative. The pros and cons as understood by Baker can only be considered by detailed consideration14 of her arguments in the book, which are not summarised here.
    • It is interesting, though, that Baker here correctly distinguishes between bodies and organisms. Why then – given that she appreciates the distinction – does she focus on bodies elsewhere in this discussion (and in the title of her book) when her target (Animalism) insists that we are organisms?
    • Note that, by Olson’s lights, she begs the question by insisting that the entity at the t1/t2 termini is in both cases a person.
    • That is, is (as Olson insists and Markosian15 agrees) the question of personal identity distinct from that of our identity?
  2. Then, I discuss my own view: sameness of person consists in sameness of first-person perspective16. Alas, my own view does not provide an informative criterion either. Although I can characterize noncircularly what it is to have a first-person perspective17 at a time, I know of no noncircular characterization of sameness of first-person perspective18 over time. Since nobody has an adequate and informative criterion of personal identity over time, I conclude that there is no adequate and informative criterion of personal identity over time: Sameness of person is not reducible to sameness of anything nonpersonal.
    • I see this as the main weakness in Baker’s position (apart from the ontological rants). She admits that she can provide no informative criterion. She adds “either”. But, surely, at least some of these alternative accounts can provide at least some sort of criterion of identity – though it may run into difficulties with vagueness.
    • So, I might agree that psychological criteria, and immaterial souls, are no better off than Baker’s proposals. But what’s wrong with the physical ones? Brains, bodies or organisms.
    • Bodies are a little bit problematical – because the persistence criteria of live ones seem to differ from those of dead ones, and if considered as mere localised hunks of matter, it doesn’t seem that they persist at all. It may be significant that Baker focuses on bodies as the main alternative to her view – choosing a view that’s obviously distinct, yet not very sound?
    • Lots of philosophers are convinced they have principled reasons for thinking that organisms exist, even when they deny the existence of bodies, or undetached proper parts of organisms – brains, for instance.
    • There is room for debate as to just when an organism becomes so mutilated or adulterated as to no longer exist (as an organism) but to have ceased to be and been replaced by something else. While we might admit that we are not brains, if a brain on life support is all that’s left of one of us, we can argue whether it is still an organism; I would say that it is, but one that is “maximally mutilated”.
    • What does "Wilson (Jack) - Biological Individuality - The identity and Persistence of Living Entities" have to say?
    • I need to read "Olson (Eric) - Review of Jack Wilson's 'Biological Individuality: The Identity and Persistence of Living Entities'" to get Olson’s views.
    • "Wilson (Jack) - Personal Identity Naturalized: Our Bodies, Our Selves" is particularly interesting as a contrast to Baker’s view, though Wilson’s ideas on the persistence conditions of organisms are developed earlier in the book – "Wilson (Jack) - Individuality and Equivocation" might be best.
    • Olson does admit that he has no watertight account of the persistence conditions of animals, but is happy to accommodate19 any suggestions as friendly improvements to his theory of personal identity.
  3. Nevertheless, construing personal identity in terms of sameness of first-person perspective20 has its advantages. First, it avoids problems besetting the other views (e.g., species chauvinism, the duplication21 problem). Second, it accords well with our self-understanding: there is a fact of the matter whether some future individual is I, and that fact of the matter does not depend on the nonexistence of someone else. Finally, the idea of sameness of first-person perspective22 ties what it is to be a person over time with what it is to be a person in the first place.
    • Species Chauvinism: I cannot see what necessary connection the other views have to this stance. However, as a matter of fact, some proponents of the “immaterial soul” view have denied souls to animals; and Wiggins has taken “person” and “human being” as synonyms (Olson points this out somewhere23).
    • Duplication24 Problem: just why is the CV view immune to this – or indeed not more exposed to the problem than some other views? Just what sort of thing is a FPP25 that prevents its duplication26? If there are two qualitatively identical human bodies, won’t the FPPs27 be qualitatively identical. Or, even logically identical, depending on what a FPP28 is? Baker insists (above) that human persons are individuated by their bodies - but their FPPs29 are what really matter. How does she deal with idempotent half-brain transplant TEs? Won’t she have the same problem as brain-theorists? Won’t both halves equally support a FPP30? And which one was me – or was I two all along, or did I bud a twin in the process of creating the idempotency? There may be answers to these questions, but the CV seems no better off than the brain view.
    • Facts of the Matter: crumbs. Without saying a lot more about how FPPs31 are individuated, how can this alleged fact be established? How can it be known? If Baker’s point about reduplication32 is unsound, then first person evidence is insufficient, as it is in any reduplication33 TE. It can seem to you that you are the same person, but you are deceived.
    • “Only x or y” : this is the principle opponents of closest-continuer theories adopt – so Baker’s view is not unique.
    • What it is to be the same x is what it is to be an x in the first place: this, again, isn’t unique to Baker’s view, but is the standard reason why criteria of identity are useful for helping to define what sort a thing falls under.



This text below is my detailed review of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Personal Identity Over Time", Chapter 5 of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View". The main text is my interpretation of what Baker says, with my specific comments and objections appearing as footnotes.

0. Introduction
  1. Baker distinguishes two questions about the identity of persons:-
    1. Synchronic: What is it to be a Person? Her answer is – for Persons34 in general – to have a FPP35; and, for non-derivative36 Human Persons37, to be a Person constituted by a Human Organism38.
    2. Diachronic: What is it to be the same person at two different times? Baker claims that all proposed answers to this question are – like her own – ‘unilluminating39’ – or ‘clearly false40’. She is also willing to agree that PID is a primitive notion41. She considers the difficult to be supplying sufficient conditions for sameness of person over time without presupposing sameness of person. So, she thinks all Reductive42 accounts of PID are bound to fail. But – like43 "Noonan (Harold) - Personal Identity" – she thinks that non-reductive accounts can be materialistic.
  2. Baker has a footnote in response to the claim in "Olson (Eric) - Persistence" that philosophers of PID falsely assume44 that what is once a person is always a person. Baker denies begging any questions because it is axiomatic to the CV that anything that is non-derivatively a person is essentially a person.
  3. She has a rather obscure footnote saying she’s not saying anything about person stages45 or temporal parts46.
  4. Baker quotes several authors47 in support of the Simple View48, mostly taken from "Zimmerman (Dean) - Immanent Causation":-

1. Other Views of Personal Identity over Time
  1. Various alternative criteria of identity49 are considered. Baker points out that criteria of identity are metaphysical claims (what it takes for something to be the same) rather than epistemological claims (how we come to know that this is the case).
    1. Sameness of person consists in sameness of body50,
    2. Sameness of person consists in sameness of living organism51 (Animalism52),
    3. Sameness of person consists in sameness of brain53,
    4. Sameness of person consists in psychological continuity54,
    5. Sameness of person consists in sameness of immaterial soul55.
  2. … to be supplied.

2. The Constitution View56 of Personal Identity over Time
  1. … to be supplied.

3. Is Bodily Transfer Possible
  1. Baker finds the traditional TEs57 about bodily transfer – such as (Locke58’s) Prince and the Cobblerutterly convincing59’ when considered from the first-person perspective:-
    1. Now, she imagines (what is presumably) a Reduplication Objection61: suppose lots of other people also look in their mirrors and see the same unfamiliar body, and that these people are psychologically continuous with her. Each of these people think they are Lynne Rudder Baker (LB).
    2. So – as we have seen – one is right (namely LB) and the others are wrong. No-one – including the person who actually is LB – can be sure that they are LB.
    3. (If I am LB), you might be able to convince me that I’m not LB, but you won’t be able to convince me that I’m not me, or that I don’t exist. Even though “LB” and “I” rigidly designate the same person, I might have amnesia so not realise that I am LB even though I have no doubt that I am me.
    4. So, if lots of people woke up thinking they were LB, perhaps no-one could discover who was LB, but I would know with certainty which one was I, and each of the others would know with certainty which one was they. But only one of these – namely LB – would be right in thinking she was me (ie. was LB). Each of the others might think they were LB, but they couldn’t believe that they were “I”.
    5. Since each FPP includes a relation to a body, and each of us has a different body, none of the others can have my FPP.
    6. So, it seems conceivable to me (LB) that I – with my FPP – could wake up in a different body. And no matter how many others are both physically and psychologically indistinguishable from me , none can have my FPP. I would always know which one was I even if – on the one hand – others thought they were LB or – on the other – I did not think I was LB.
  2. So, given what she sees as the ‘intuitive plausibility’ of such TEs, she’d need a lot of convincing before accepting that body transfer is metaphysically impossible62. She’d not be put off my not understanding how it might work.
  3. But she wants to consider a (then) recent (1997) argument by Peter Van Inwagen (PVI, in "Van Inwagen (Peter) - Materialism and the Psychological-continuity Account of Personal Identity") that claims to dislodge all such TEs.
    1. PVI argues that the following combination of philosophical beliefs is inconsistent63:-
      → Materialism
      → Realism about Human Persons and their endurance64 over time
      → The possibility of bodily transfer
    2. Baker notes that PVI’s argument – if successful – would – with the associated assumptions – make body transfer metaphysically impossible. However, it is aimed at those who support the PV65, which Baker says she does not.

  4. … to be supplied.

4. Conclusion
  1. Baker thinks that Descartes66 was right on many things:-
    1. I know with certainty that I exist67.
    2. It is a brute fact that a particular experience is mine, and that a particular experience yesterday was mine, whether I remember it68 or not.
    3. My FPP shows itself in69 my ability to conceive of an experience as mine.
  2. It’s not altogether clear which of these thoughts Baker attributes to Descartes, and which to herself, but I doubt it is important where we draw the line. She continues …
  3. ‘Oddly’ the FPP has been neglected in accounts of PID. Even the memory criterion70 is stated by giving conditions stated in impersonal terms: for x to remember71 doing A, x must be identical to the doer of A.
  4. It is the FPP that makes questions of PID even more intractable than other questions of identity, for example72 of ships or cats.
  5. So, PID is a vexing question. Baker has canvassed the alternatives and found that none is satisfactory in wholly non-personal terms.
  6. The CV provides a – theoretically unsatisfying – account of PID in terms of sameness of FPP. There are three points alleged in its favour.
    1. It avoids problems faced by other accounts – eg. Reduplication73 and Species Chauvinism74.
    2. The CV sits well with our self-understanding that there is a fact of the matter75 whether some future individual is I, and this fact doesn’t depend on the non-existence of another person.
    3. The criterion of sameness of FPP unites76 the synchronic and diachronic questions of PID.
  7. Hence, Baker considers her account superior to its rivals.




In-Page Footnotes ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Personal Identity Over Time")

Footnote 2:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (28/09/2022 10:24:58).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 3: Footnote 13: Footnote 36:
  • Human Animals are Persons derivatively – according to Baker – because they constitute – temporarily, at least, Human Persons.
Footnote 38:
  • Baker seems rather sloppy about what constitutes Human Persons: she uses Human Bodies, Human Animals and Human Organisms interchangeably.
Footnote 39:
  • For sameness of FPP or Soul, there just is nothing to say.
Footnote 40:
  • False in what sense? Incoherent or counter-factual? And false as to what? As an account of the persistence of Persons, or of Bodies, Animals, Brains or Psychologies?
Footnote 41: Footnote 43:
  • Most of Noonan’s book is expository and critical of other views. He’s supportive of the Simple View, but I missed his materialism. I will re-read in due course.
  • Baker’s reference is to the First Edition (1989) rather than the Second (2003).
Footnote 44:
  • Olson is correct in this. It is tacitly assumed without argument that persons are essentially so, when this need not be the case if personhood isn’t a substance term.
Footnote 47:
  • Interestingly, none of these appear in my Note on the Simple View, as of July 2022.
  • What Baker actually says is that these authors have held that ‘ … there can be no informative criteria of diachronic personal identity’.
Footnote 59:
  • This is probably just an Intuition, though Baker seems to have an argument for it. Not a good one, but I’ll leave commenting on it – and anything else in this Section – until I’ve analysed the lot!
Footnote 63:
  • This is surprising, as PVI – as far as I know – believes all these three claims.
  • I wonder whether Baker has him right? PVI is arguing against the PV.
Footnote 64:
  • I assume he’s using ‘endurance’ in the technical sense of Endurantism
Footnote 67:
  • I think this is fair enough. Contrary to the Nihilists, it is clearer that I exist than is any philosophy that says I don’t.
  • However, this clarity has nothing to say about what I am.
  • Baker shares Descartes’ intuition that she is a ‘thinking thing’, but Olson doesn’t.
Footnote 68:
  • This seems to take a stance against presentism.
  • Isn’t it the case, for presentism, that if there’s no present evidence for a past event, that event no longer exists?
  • What is Baker’s philosophy of Time?
Footnote 69:
  • We need to watch out for slipperiness in the concept of a FPP.
  • I may know that I ate the sausage. Does a dog not know that he ate the sausage? Does he not then have an FPP?
Footnote 71:
  • This is partly an analysis of what ‘remembering’ means, and as this presupposes identity over time, quasi-memory was introduced.
Footnote 72:
  • The persistence of ships – and other artifacts – is vexing because – since they do not fall under natural kind concepts, there may be no non-conventional fact of the matter.
  • Cats – and other animals – do, however, fall under natural kind concepts, so we might hope to find out all the facts about their persistence conditions, though there will be epistemological doubts introduced by vagueness.
  • Does Baker think that identity questions for human animals are relatively non-vexing?
Footnote 73: Footnote 74:
  • She must be joking! The CV is tweaked so that no non-human animals quality for constituting a person.
  • Also, there’s no species-chauvinism in Animalism.
Footnote 75: Footnote 76:
  • Well, so does Animalism - we are animals, and have the persistence conditions of animals.



"Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Importance Of Being a Person"

Source: Baker (Lynne) - Persons and Bodies, Chapter 6

Paper Comment

For the full text, follow this link (Local website only): PDF File1.

Write-up2 (as at 28/09/2022 10:24:58): Baker - The Importance Of Being a Person

Introduction
Author’s Abstract3
    Discusses the importance of personhood. Only persons can be moral agents or rational agents. Persons have many cognitive and practical abilities that beings lacking first-person perspectives4 lack. Only beings with first-person perspectives5 can know that they are going to die; only such beings can envisage alternative possibilities for their own futures, or seek self-understanding. Only beings with first-person perspectives6 can have ideals or can try to change themselves to conform better to their ideals. Human persons are not only the products of evolution7, but (unlike any other finite beings) only human persons can deliberately change the course of evolution8 — not only by artificial breeding, but more directly by genetic engineering.
Sections
  1. Moral Agency
  2. Rational Agency
  3. Some Cognitive and Practical Capacities
  4. Unity of Consciousness9
  5. Conclusion



Comments on the above10
  1. Chapter 6 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Importance Of Being a Person") discusses the importance of personhood. Only persons can be moral agents or rational agents. Persons have many cognitive and practical abilities that beings lacking first-person perspectives11 lack. Only beings with first-person perspectives12 can know that they are going to die; only such beings can envisage alternative possibilities for their own futures, or seek self-understanding. Only beings with first-person perspectives13 can have ideals or can try to change themselves to conform better to their ideals. Human persons are not only the products of evolution14, but (unlike any other finite beings) only human persons can deliberately change the course of evolution—not15 only by artificial breeding, but more directly by genetic engineering.
    • There seems to be a sudden slide in the above from persons to human persons.
    • I need to look at Baker’s arguments for her assertion that “Only persons can be moral agents or rational agents”. Are there any – or is it just “obvious”?
    • What is said of persons is analytic/tautological – as this is just how Baker defines a person in the first place. No-one doubts that personhood is important – at least to those who qualify as persons.
    • In what sense of “know” is it that only those with a FPP16 can know they are going to die? Do sci-fi robots without phenomenal consciousness know such things? How do they obey Asimov’s Laws otherwise? All sorts of feedback loops are possible for self-improvement without a sense of self. All that’s required is that one be a self, not that one knows that you are one.
    • What has rationality got to do with a FPP17? Isn’t a chess-playing machine rational? Aren’t lots of persons highly irrational?
    • Why – as a matter of logic rather than fact – are human persons the only beings that could – rather than have – affect the course of evolution18 – and why does this matter in this context? In any case, is it the human person or the human animal that has done this. Couldn’t the Matrix’s Sentinels do it? I agree that how FPPs19 arose is irrelevant.



This text below is my detailed review of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Importance Of Being a Person", Chapter 6 of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View". The main text is my interpretation of what Baker says, with my specific comments and objections appearing as footnotes.

0. Introduction
  1. Baker contrasts what is most ontologically20 important about Human Persons21:-
    1. According to the CV22 it is that they are Persons23
    2. According to Animalism24 it is that they are Animals25.
  2. In this Chapter Baker hopes to show the difference26 being a person makes.
  3. It is the FPP27 – in virtue of which we are Persons – that gives rise to What Matters28 – to us and about us.
  4. We matter to ourselves in a way that Animals without a FPP cannot – logically speaking – matter to themselves29. Non-human Animals may seek to survive and reproduce, but only beings with a FPP can have a concept of their futures and seek to shape them so they can become the kind of beings they want to be30.
  5. So, for Baker, animals that don’t constitute persons can’t matter to themselves31 in the way that those that do. The FPP allows us to conceive of ourselves in a unique way.
  6. Baker thinks that any dismissal of this ‘incalculable’ significance of being a Person as being ‘merely parochial’ involves a degree of self-deception.
  7. As an example: while we can be amazed at the vastness of the universe and of our comparative insignificance, we still are left with moral problems (how to care for aging parents is her example). Persons are important beyond their own interests as the ‘bearers of normativity32’.
  8. This new normativity manifests itself in two ways:-
    1. Those with a FPP are moral agents who are subject to moral judgement:-
      • A person who torments babies is ‘reprehensible’, but a cat who torments mice33 is not.
      • Lions who violently kill and eat gazelles have nothing to account for; from a biological perspective, this event is a positive good ... at least for the lion.
      • Baker admits that elephants mourn their dead, and chimpanzees care for their sick, but if on other occasions they display what is from a human perspective ‘reprehensible’ behaviour it makes no sense to blame them34.
      • Dogs get praise or blame when being trained, but our words don’t carry the weight they would do for persons capable of reflecting on35 what they have done.
    2. Beings with a FPP are rational agents engaging in normative activities:-
      • What is necessary to be a fully rational agent is not just to have goals and pursue them but to be able to evaluate these goals36.
      • So, while higher animals like cats, dogs and chimpanzees exhibit instrumental rationality – means-end reasoning – as non-persons they cannot submit their goals to scrutiny and ask whether these goals are appropriate.
      • A person who never considers whether his goals are appropriate is irrational37, but we wouldn’t say this of a cat.
      • Indeed, lacking a FPP, it is metaphysically impossible for a cat to evaluate his goals.
      • The difference being a person makes cannot be overestimated38.
      • Baker admits that moral and rational agency are worthy of a life-time’s study, but hopes in this Chapter to show that the FPP is central to what they are.

1. Moral Agency
  1. … to be supplied.

2. Rational Agency
  1. … to be supplied.

3. Some Cognitive and Practical Capacities
  1. … to be supplied.

4. Unity of Consciousness39
  1. … to be supplied.

5. Conclusion
  1. According to Baker, all and only Persons40 have a FPP41, so the importance of being a Person is the same as the importance of having a FPP.
  2. Baker doesn’t care about how the FPP came about – it may well be a product of natural selection; what’s important for her is that it is ‘unique and unlike anything else in nature’ and makes possible much of what matters42 to us.
  3. What is made possible by the FPP is:-
    → Our inner lives
    → Moral Agency
    → Rational Agency
  4. Having an FPP43 makes an ontological difference ‘in the universe’.
  5. Much of what is distinctive about us and what we care about most deeply – our ideals, values, life plans, being rational and moral agents – depends on our being Persons. On the CV44, we are most fundamentally Persons and our uniquely characteristic abilities – which require a FPP – stem directly from45 the type of being we are.
  6. In contrast to this – says Baker – if, as Animalism46 has it, we are most fundamentally animals, then such abilities don’t stem from what we are – human organisms – as these can persist without a FPP. She claims that having a FPP is irrelevant47 to the kind of being we are, according to animalism.
  7. Baker concludes by repeating the thought that the CV connects what is most important to us with what we most fundamentally are.




In-Page Footnotes ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Importance Of Being a Person")

Footnote 2:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (28/09/2022 10:24:58).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 3: Footnote 10: Footnote 26:
  • We need to keep a look out here – no-one doubts that it’s important to be a person. The issue is whether it makes an ontological difference over and above the ontological significance of the thing that is that person.
Footnote 29:
  • Non-human animals have a ‘window on the world’ – there is something it is like to be them (even though we can’t put ourselves in their shoes). They have an interest in continuing to exist. They have fears and immediate expectations, but not usually any ‘plans’ (I would agree that squirrels only instinctively plan for the winter).
  • However – while this is enough for them to be accounted Persons according to "Francione (Gary) - We must not own animals" – which, for the lower animals, I take to be a considerable stretch – it’s not enough for Baker.
Footnote 30:
  • Not all Human Beings care that much about this – they are Wantons, with no second-order desires.
  • Also, once pivotal life-moments are out of the way, life for most just consists in getting on with things in a relatively unreflective way.
  • Of course, a crisis may bring on a period of reflection in a way that doesn’t seem possible for animals (but how can we really know).
Footnote 31:
  • This – superficially at least – sounds absurd. Things can matter to you, and you can matter to yourself, even if you’ve no interest in tinkering with your moral properties.
Footnote 33:
  • Domestic cats are not social animals, so can’t be trained to conform to human sensibilities. But the same is not true of dogs, who can be trained and do respond to their owners’ displeasure (and not just behaviouristically, or for reward or to avoid punishment).
  • Human children also have to be trained, and up to a certain age – depending on the child – it makes little sense to blame them for their moral indiscretions.
  • Puppies are trained in social ways by their mothers. No doubt there is some form of morality in all social animals – just not our morality.
Footnote 34:
  • This is correct, as far as it goes.
  • There’s a lot of criticism of the importance of the ‘moral agent’ versus ‘moral patient’ distinction in the animal rights movement. We are moral agents, so have greater responsibilities for moral patients than do non-human animals, who are moral patients only. The fact that they are not moral agents should have no impact on how we treat them: the fact that carnivores would eat prey animals – given the chance – has nothing to do with whether we should eat prey animals.
  • All this is fine and good, but has nothing to say about whether being a moral agent is something really important, as it obviously is. I don’t part from Baker over this.
Footnote 35:
  • Again, this is largely analogous with the training of young children who don’t really reflect on what they have done, but react in a behaviouristic way to the sensation of being praised or blamed.
Footnote 36:
  • The evaluation has to be in a moral sense – whether we morally ought to be pursuing these goals.
  • No doubt non-human animals can evaluate their goals instrumentally: it’s no use pursuing that squirrel any more if it has run up a tree.
Footnote 37:
  • Is this really the case? A person might pursue the goals usual in his society without ever really considering whether he should challenge them. I can’t see what’s irrational about this, even though – as Socrates said – the unexamined life is not worth living. But this is a deep philosophical stance: the examined life might be superficially less pleasurable, and it’s not obviously irrational to pursue a pleasurable life.
Footnote 38:
  • This is Baker’s intuition, but if I don’t share it, what can she do except shout louder?
  • Being a person is important, but I dare say choosing a definition of Person that hardly anyone exemplifies for much of their lives makes Baker’s Ontological claims rather doubtful. It’s good for people to evaluate their goals and worry about their deaths, but most people spend most of their lives doing neither. Of course, non-human animals are not so constituted for this to be an option for them.
Footnote 42:
  • What matters to us is often stated as our relationships and our projects. Parfit claims we can have what matters to us even if these are carried on by those with whom we are not strictly-speaking identical.
  • These factors are applicable to some non-human animals. Dogs – for instance – often have strong bonds with their owners, and no-doubt these matter to them. They don’t have ‘plans’ in the way some of us do, but they have expectations ‘walkies’ that matter to them.
  • I suspect them of being persons of reduced degree, with a diminished FPP.
  • OK – they don’t worry about death, but they fear it if it’s imminent, just as we do. They don’t aim at moral improvement, but they want to fit into social life, just as we do, and ‘behaving’ is a prerequisite for that.
Footnote 43:
  • Baker’s account of the FPP is gerrymandered to exclude all non-human animals. Who’s to know they have no inner lives (they dream, after all). Also, they are rational to some degree. Social animals have the ability to follow social norms that are appropriate to their species.
  • The FPP – as defined by Baker, so going well beyond a ‘mere’ perspective – a ‘window on the world’ – is certainly important, but – as I’m always saying – the ontological novelty is in the animals that have it.
Footnote 45:
  • According to Baker, these abilities are ‘constitutive’ of being a person, not properties of a person; ‘constitutive’ being used in its normal philosophical sense, not in Baker’s specialised terminology.
  • Baker has all sorts of fudges to say why human beings who don’t yet – or don’t any more – have these abilities are still to be accounted Persons, rather than having ceased to exist.
Footnote 47:
  • This is a caricature of animalism, which may say that psychology has nothing to do with our persistence conditions, but doesn’t say that psychology – and in particular a FPP, however this is defined – isn’t an important property of the kind of animal – a human animal – that we are.
  • The ontological novelty is the species homo sapiens, whose typical exemplars have sophisticated psychological properties encapsulated in the idea of a FPP.



"Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Coherence Of the Idea of Material Constitution"

Source: Baker (Lynne) - Persons and Bodies, Chapter 7

Paper Comment

For the full text, follow this link (Local website only): PDF File1.

Write-up2 (as at 28/09/2022 10:24:58): Baker - The Coherence Of the Idea of Material Constitution

Introduction
Author’s Abstract3
    Defends the coherence of the general idea of constitution (without identity) from a number of published criticisms. Here are two examples. First is the criticism that two things consisting of the same atoms (e.g., a statue4 and a piece of bronze) cannot differ in kind; this criticism is answered by a discussion of essential properties. Second is the criticism from counting: that if x is spatially coincident with y, and x not= y, and x is a statue5 and y is a statue6, then where x is there are two statues7. The second criticism is answered by a discussion of the distinction between having a property derivatively and having a property nonderivatively. Also, Chapter 7 discusses criticisms stemming from mereology and supervenience8.
Sections
  1. Constitution and Incoherence
  2. Constitution and Mereology9
  3. Constitution and Supervenience10
  4. Conclusion



Comments on the above11
  1. Chapter 7 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Coherence Of the Idea of Material Constitution") defends the coherence of the general idea of constitution (without identity) from a number of published criticisms. Here are two examples:-
    1. First is the criticism that two things consisting of the same atoms (e.g., a statue and a piece of bronze) cannot differ in kind; this criticism is answered by a discussion of essential properties.
    2. Second is the criticism from counting: that if x is spatially coincident with y, and x not= y, and x is a statue and y is a statue, then where x is there are two statues. The second criticism is answered by a discussion of the distinction between having a property derivatively and having a property nonderivatively.
  2. Also, Chapter 7 discusses criticisms stemming from mereology and supervenience12.
    • Incoherence: Objection 1: Don’t some philosophers who are proto-animalists (eg. Wiggins) argue for this position – eg. "Wiggins (David) - On Being in the Same Place at the Same Time" – so is this really much of an objection to the CV?
    • Incoherence: Objection 2: This is Olson’s TA argument13. I have some sympathy with Baker here – but what about "Fine (Kit) - A Counter-Example To Locke's Thesis"? I didn’t like this argument, but it may be sound.
    • Mereology: Baker’s account of constitution differs from the standard one of a material object being constituted by its parts. I can’t remember whether this is the objection here, but she can use words how she wishes, provided she’s clear about what she means and doesn’t slide from her use to the traditional one.
    • Supervenience: I can’t remember the precise objection here, either, but Baker’s account of constitution – and of having properties derivatively – does sound a bit like supervenience. I suppose supervenience doesn’t make substance-claims. Baker wants the Person to be a different substance to the animal, and not merely to supervene on it.



This text below is my detailed review of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Coherence Of the Idea of Material Constitution", Chapter 7 of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View". The main text is my interpretation of what Baker says, with my specific comments and objections appearing as footnotes.

0. Introduction
  1. In this Chapter, Baker will address issues that have been raised against the very idea of ‘Constitution without identity’ (CWI); the next chapter ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Coherence Of the Constitution View of Human Persons") will deal with specific issues raised for the application of the principle to Persons and their Bodies.
  2. Baker claims that many philosophers just refuse to take CWI seriously. However, only "Lewis (David) - On the Plurality of Worlds", p. 25214 is invoked at this point – Lewis thinks it ‘reeks of double-counting’. The discussion is confused somewhat be Lewis’s example of ‘dishpan’ which is American English for a washing-up bowl. So, we have a dishpan and – according to Lewis – a ‘dishpan-shaped’ piece of plastic. Baker thinks this is tendentious and gets its traction from humour. She thinks ‘S-shaped’ would be more neutral15. We count by sortal, says Baker, and ‘piece of plastic’ is a different sortal from ‘dishpan’.
  3. Baker rehearses the case of the gold statue – the statue doesn’t survive being melted down for scrap. We might decide to do this if the statue is ugly and worth no more than its scrap value. So, there are practical as well as theoretical reasons supporting CWI.
  4. Baker sets the scene by repeating the definition of CWI from Chapter 2 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Very Idea of Constitution"). These are so technical, that they might as well be quoted verbatim16 so I can then comment on them17.
  5. Firstly,
    • Let being an F be x's primary-kind property, and let being a G be y's primary kind property, where being an Fbeing a G, and let D be G-favorable circumstances.
    • Let F* be the property of having the property of being an F as one's primary-kind property, and let G* be the property of having the property of being a G as one's primary-kind property.
  6. Baker has a footnote motivating the distinction between F and F* (and G & G*). The reason is that some x may have the property of being an F derivatively. In that case, x is an F, but being an F is not x’s primary-kind property. Introducing F* restricts cases of F to those for which being an F is their primary-kind property.
  7. There are then three definitions, (C), (I) and (D), where H is a property that is neither18 alethic, nor constitution/identity/existence, nor rooted in times outside those at which it is had:-
    • (C) x constitutes y at t =df
      1. x and y are spatially coincident at t; and
      2. x is in D at t; and
      3. It is necessary that: ∀z[(F*zt & z is in D at t) → ∃u(G*ut & u is spatially coincident with z at t)]; and
      4. It is possible that: (x exists at t & ~∃w[G*wt & w is spatially coincident with x at t]); and
      5. If y is immaterial, then x is also immaterial.
    • (I) x has H at t independently of x's constitution relations to y at t =df
      1. x has H at t, and
      2. Either
          1. x constitutes y at t, and
          2. x's having H at t (in the given background) does not entail that x constitutes anything at t.
        Or
          1. y constitutes x at t, and
          2. x's having H at t (in the given background) does not entail that x is constituted by something that could have had H at t without constituting anything at t.
    • (D) x has H at t derivatively =df There is some y such that:
      1. it is not the case that: x has H at t independently of x's constitution relations to y at t; &
      2. y has H at t independently of y's constitution relations to x at t.
  8. Baker notes – after the definition (C) – that many abjections to CWI are based on failure to distinguish having properties derivatively and non-derivatively. This is the motivation for (I) and (D).
  9. Baker has a footnote to the effect that – in Chapter 4 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Constitution View of Human Persons") she modified (D) to (D’) by adding a clause to accommodate ‘hybrid properties’. However, she knows of no additional objections that this modification raises, so sticks to (D) here.
  10. Baker will now consider three kinds of objection:-
    1. That CWI leads to incoherence.
    2. That Baker’s account of Constitution involves relations of things of different kinds, rather than19 the relation of parts to wholes.
    3. The relation of Constitution to theories of Supervenience.

1. Constitution and Incoherence
  1. … to be supplied.

2. Constitution and Mereology
  1. … to be supplied.

3. Constitution and Supervenience20
  1. … to be supplied.

4. Conclusion
  1. Baker has now surveyed the objections against material CWI. Some objections regard Constitution saying as no more than that two things can occupy the same place at the same time. Baker claims that CWI is a much richer notion and she thinks she has rebutted various charges against it.
  2. Any comprehensive account of reality has some features that are less than desirable, and every philosopher has to bit one bullet or another, and she’s owned up to21 which she is prepared to bite.
  3. But CWI means she doesn’t have to bite certain bullets that other accounts22 might:-
    1. CWI doesn’t have to tamper with classical, strict identity, nor with our deep-seated intuitions about what exists.
    2. CWI doesn’t have to posit contingent identity23, relative identity24 or temporary identity25
    3. It doesn’t involve unusual persistence conditions. We’re referred to "Burke (Michael) - Preserving the Principle of One Object to a Place: A Novel Account of the Relations Amongst Objects, Sorts, Sortals, and Persistence Conditions"
    4. It doesn’t deny the existence of ordinary objects26 such as artifacts, artworks or people.
    5. It doesn’t need to deny that 3D objects endure27 through time.
  4. Additionally, says Baker, CWI has other virtues:-
    1. It provides a unified account of material reality with no gaps between things with intentional states and those without.
    2. It is compatible with materialism in the form of global supervenience.
    3. It is non-reductive in that it recognises the ‘genuine reality’ of things that matter to us – the familiar medium-sized things of out everyday lives.




In-Page Footnotes ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Coherence Of the Idea of Material Constitution")

Footnote 2:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (28/09/2022 10:24:58).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 3: Footnote 11: Footnote 14: Footnote 15:
  • But dishpans aren’t S-shaped. Surely, this is equally tendentious?
  • It’d be difficult in the case of statues to say that the clay was other than statue-shaped, though we might say that it was man-shaped (if appropriate). Or a serviette ring might be torus shaped. There will be examples that are non-tendentious in either direction.
Footnote 16: Footnote 17: Footnote 18: Footnote 19:
  • While Baker’s definition of Constitution is eccentric – and, it seems to me, rather gerrymandered – surely this is no more than an accusation of abuse of terminology; Baker should really use Constitution*, or some other term.
Footnote 21:
  • Unfortunately, she doesn’t list them here.
Footnote 22:
  • Presumably those involved in other accounts of Constitution, rather than of reality generally.
Footnote 23: Footnote 24: Footnote 25: Footnote 26:
  • We’re referred to Peter Unger as a denier of ordinary things, and Peter Van Inwagen likewise (though he allows the existence of organisms).
  • There’s no reference for the denial of the existence of ‘people’, though see "Unger (Peter) - I Do Not Exist" (a view Peter Unger subsequently retracted).
Footnote 27:



"Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Coherence Of the Constitution View of Human Persons"

Source: Baker (Lynne) - Persons and Bodies, Chapter 8

Paper Comment

For the full text, follow this link (Local website only): PDF File1.

Write-up2 (as at 28/09/2022 10:24:58): Baker - The Coherence Of the Constitution View of Human Persons

Introduction
Author’s Abstract3
    Defends the coherence of the application of the idea of constitution to human persons. I discuss the misleading conception of constitution (which I have spelled out in detail) as mere coincidence of two different thing, another version of the “how many” problem, a charge of linguistic incoherence stemming from the reference of ‘I’. I show at length that the Constitution View4 has a coherent account of the relation between an early-term fetus5 and the person that it comes to constitute later. Finally, I reply to a counterexample concerning ghosts made of ectoplasm.
Sections
  1. Constitution is Not Mere ‘Coincidence’
  2. The “How Many” Problem and Linguistic Coherence
  3. Is There a “Fetus6 Problem”?
  4. A Counterexample on Offer
  5. Conclusion



Comments on the above7
  1. Chapter 8 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Coherence Of the Constitution View of Human Persons") defends the coherence of the application of the idea of constitution to human persons. I discuss the misleading conception of constitution (which I have spelled out in detail) as mere coincidence of two different thing, another version of the “how many” problem, a charge of linguistic incoherence stemming from the reference of ‘I’. I show at length that the Constitution View has a coherent account of the relation between an early-term fetus and the person that it comes to constitute later. Finally, I reply to a counterexample concerning ghosts made of ectoplasm.
    • Olson merely ignores Baker’s arguments against “mere coincidence” and insists on double-counting. I need to check carefully whether Baker’s arguments really are persuasive.
    • Baker claims not to have a “fetus problem” – another of Olson’s complaints against her. I think it is right that Baker doesn’t have the problem in the way that other psychological views8 might. Baker just claims that the fetus doesn’t constitute a person, so she doesn’t need it to suddenly pop out of existence to be replaced by something else. The animal continues from conception (or maybe implantation) to death, but the person is only constituted by that animal for a temporal segment (or, possibly a collection thereof).
    • What is the ghost/ectoplasm objection? It sounds like a misunderstanding of anything Baker might hold.



This text below is my detailed review of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Coherence Of the Constitution View of Human Persons", Chapter 8 of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View". The main text is my interpretation of what Baker says, with my specific comments and objections appearing as footnotes.

0. Introduction
  1. This Chapter will seek to show that the specific application of CWI to Persons and their Bodies can meet the accusation of incoherence9.
  2. The most serious objection to the CV is from Animalism10, which claims that – rather than being constituted by animals – we are identical to them.
  3. She will first reply to various ‘coincidence’ objections, which she hopes to show would not apply to the CV unless it is misunderstood as Baker develops it.
  4. Next she addresses three problems supposed to follow from my non-identity to an animal:-
    1. ‘How many’ Problem
    2. ‘Linguistic Incoherence’ Problem
    3. ‘Fetus’ Problem
  5. Finally, Baker will respond to a supposed counter-example to people being constituted by their bodies.

1. Constitution is Not Mere ‘Coincidence’
  1. … to be supplied.

2. The “How Many” Problem and Linguistic Coherence
  1. … to be supplied.

3. Is There a “Fetus11 Problem”?
  1. … to be supplied.

4. A Counterexample on Offer
  1. … to be supplied.

5. Conclusion
  1. Baker thinks she’s now dealt with all objections known to her to the application of CWI to Persons and their Bodies. She will now move on to its positive benefits.
  2. Portions of this Chapter first appeared in12 "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - What Am I?".




In-Page Footnotes ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Coherence Of the Constitution View of Human Persons")

Footnote 2:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (28/09/2022 10:24:58).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 3: Footnote 7: Footnote 9: Footnote 12:



"Baker (Lynne Rudder) - In Favour Of the Constitution View"

Source: Baker (Lynne) - Persons and Bodies, Chapter 9

Paper Comment

For the full text, follow this link (Local website only): PDF File1.

Write-up2 (as at 28/09/2022 10:24:58): Baker - In Favour Of the Constitution View

Introduction
Author’s Abstract3
  1. Concludes the book with reasons to accept the Constitution View4. It really is a materialistic5 view. It can accomplish almost everything that a dualist wants without the burden of dualism. It takes persons seriously in a specified sense: Being a person is relevant to the fundamental kind of individual that one is; elimination of any person would be elimination of an individual; having mental states is relevant to what a person is. No other materialist6 view takes persons seriously in all three of these respects.
  2. The Constitution View7 explains how it is that, although we are set apart by our first-person perspectives8, we are still animals. Hence, the Constitution View9 locates human persons in the material world. The general idea of constitution (without identity) allows for a metaphysics that is both materialistic10 and nonreductive. This general conception of constitution supports an ontological pluralism that honors the genuine variety of kinds of individuals in the world.
Contents
  1. Yes, Materialism11
  2. Dualism and its Desiderata
  3. Taking Persons Seriously12
  4. Materialistic13 Competitors
  5. Conclusion



Comments on the above14
  1. Chapter 9 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - In Favour Of the Constitution View") concludes the book with reasons to accept the Constitution View. It really is a materialistic15 view. It can accomplish almost everything that a dualist wants without the burden of dualism. It takes persons seriously in a specified sense: Being a person is relevant to the fundamental kind of individual that one is; elimination of any person would be elimination of an individual; having mental states is relevant to what a person is. No other materialist16 view takes persons seriously in all three of these respects.
  2. The Constitution View explains how it is that, although we are set apart by our first-person perspectives20, we are still animals. Hence, the Constitution View locates human persons in the material world. The general idea of constitution (without identity) allows for a metaphysics that is both materialistic21 and nonreductive. This general conception of constitution supports an ontological pluralism that honors the genuine variety of kinds of individuals in the world.
    • Nothing much to add here, except to repeat that all the benefits of the CV would seem to be available if we say that human persons are human animals, distinguished from other animals by having the special, though temporary, property of being a person.
    • Of course, this doesn’t satisfy Baker’s hidden agenda, of wanting an account of human persons that allows for resurrection or some other form of eternal existence.



This text below is my detailed review of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - In Favour Of the Constitution View", Chapter 9 of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View". The main text is my interpretation of what Baker says, with my specific comments and objections appearing as footnotes.

0. Introduction
  1. In this final Chapter, Baker wants to review the benefits of the CV that she has introduced throughout the book, expand on some of them, and add a few more.
  2. The aim of the Chapter is to stress the strengths of the CV and its advantages over its rivals.

1. Yes, Materialism22
  1. … to be supplied.

2. Dualism and its Desiderata
  1. … to be supplied.

3. Taking Persons Seriously23
  1. … to be supplied.

4. Materialistic24 Competitors
  1. … to be supplied.

5. Conclusion
  1. Baker repeats the analogy25 of Sculptures and Human Persons from the perspective of CWI:-
    1. Sculpture: is distinguished from its piece of marble by its relation to an artworld. It has a physical nature in virtue of being constituted by a piece of marble. It has its aesthetic nature by being non-derivatively a sculpture.
    2. Human Person: is distinguished from the human animal by its FPP (or its capacity for one). Has a biological nature by being constituted by a human organism and a psychological / moral nature in virtue of being non-derivatively a person.
  2. Both CWI and the CV were (says Baker) shown to be coherent in Chapters 7 & 8 ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Coherence Of the Idea of Material Constitution" & "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Coherence Of the Constitution View of Human Persons"). But, there are more things in their favour. Baker lists four:-
    1. The CV of Human Persons shows how they are related to their bodies in a completely general way without any special pleading for persons. CWI gives a comprehensive definition of ‘material thing’.
    2. The CV is superior to its competitors in providing realism and determinacy about Persons. It’s compatible with our deep-seated intuitions26 without resorting to immaterialism. She cites Locke27’s ‘Prince and Cobbler’.
    3. The CV grounds what is unique to us (moral and rational agency) in our ontological difference28 from other things. Hence, it’s distinguished from Animalism29, which claims that the most important fact about us ontologically is that we are animals, whereas the CV claims that what’s most about us ontologically is that we have a FPP30. The CV ties together what we are with what matters to us and what is important about us with what we most basically are. The evolution of the FPP – if this is true – does not detract from the fact that31 beings with a FPP are fundamentally different from other beings.
    4. The CV explains why – despite our distinctive FPPs – we are ‘still animals and straightforwardly part of nature’. Constitution means that we have an animal nature just as32 Michelangelo’s David has a marble nature. So, the CV locates human persons firmly in the material world while accommodating our special FPPs that set us apart from other animals.
  3. In addition, CWI has many other virtues:-
    1. CWI can be spelled out using (C) as explained in Chapter 2, supplemented by the notion of ‘having properties derivatively’.
    2. CWI achieves what certain deviant logics of identity33 try to achieve, but retaining the classical meaning of ‘Identity’.
    3. CWI allows for a metaphysics that is nonreductive without being anti-materialistic. It is consistent with global supervenience34 of all properties on fundamental physical properties. That stops it being anti-materialistic. But it denies ‘intrinsicalism’, which claims that an object’s nature and identity is determined by the properties of the fundamental particles that constitute it. Hence it’s nonreductive.
    4. CWI supports ontological pluralism for the genuine variety of kinds of individuals in the world.
  4. Between the Big Bang and now many things have come into existence, either naturally or man-made. The CV sits comfortably in all this.




In-Page Footnotes ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - In Favour Of the Constitution View")

Footnote 2:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (28/09/2022 10:24:58).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 3: Footnote 14: Footnote 25:
  • I still can’t see the cogency of this analogy. In fact, the more I think about it, the more absurd it seems, not least because there can be no analogy of any depth between artifacts and naturally-occurring organisms.
  • What makes a sculpture a sculpture is an extrinsic property – it requires people to consider it to be a sculpture.
  • What makes a person as person is (according to Baker, but not unreasonably) a FPP. But, this is an intrinsic property.
  • The sculpture is tightly bound to its piece of marble. Any other piece of marble that looked like this sculpture would be a copy. It’s not possible to port this sculpture to a different infrastructure. It’s hardware not software.
  • As Baker is a materialist, any psychological properties of a person are also tightly bound to the organism that has them. But, Baker wants these to be portable to another infrastructure. But, this is no more possible than for the sculpture. We are wetware, not software.
  • We share many psychological properties with the higher animals, to whom Baker denies an FPP. I would say they do have a FPP, though ‘first person’ is in the grammatical sense rather in the ‘death pondering self-improving’ form that Baker requires.
  • Moral properties may well be partly extrinsic – depending on being part of a community; but there is only a difference of degree with other social animals.
Footnote 26: Footnote 28:
  • This is more transparently grounded in our being very special animals.
Footnote 31:
  • Of course, this ‘fact’ is denied by many, who see a continuity and matters of degree.
Footnote 32:
  • As I’ve remarked elsewhere, I doubt the cogency of this analogy.
  • But, even if it is a valid analogy, it may not work as Baker wants it to.
  • Michelangelo’s David can’t escape the particular piece of marble from which it is made (though – denying mereological essentialism – it might be repaired; but – as it’s an artifact – it is somewhat arbitrary how much repair it can stand). Some other piece of marble that looked the same would be a copy. It’s an essential property of Michelangelo’s David that it was made by Michelangelo.
  • However, Baker wants our FPP to be able to hop to another body at resurrection.


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