Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View
Baker (Lynne Rudder)
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Oxford Scholarship On-Line Abstract

  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 View1 of human persons, as I call it, a human person is a person in virtue of having a first-person perspective, and is a human person in virtue of being constituted by a human body (or human animal)2.
  2. Thus, the Constitution View3 aims to give our animal natures their due, while recognizing what makes human persons ontologically distinctive. The Constitution View4 contrasts with two other leading accounts of human persons: Animalism5 and Immaterialism. Like Animalism6 but unlike Immaterialism, the Constitution View7 holds that human persons are material beings; like Immaterialism but unlike Animalism8, the Constitution View9 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 animals10, 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 I11?” That ability is a first-person perspective. 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 View12 of human persons: the idea of a first-person perspective, 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 View13 Explained” (Chapters 4-6), uses these two ideas to give an account of human persons.
    • Part III, “The Constitution View14 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 View15 by contrasting it with its competitors, Animalism16 and Immaterialism.
  5. Now turn to Persons and Bodies in greater detail.

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:-


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 perspective. We persons have such a perspective essentially, whereas animals, even human animals3, have it only accidentally. (Consider a human animal4 in a persistent vegetative state5.) This metaphysical essence is also what is ethically most special about us: only a creature with a first-person perspective 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 conditions6 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 animals7, 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 statues8 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 are9 metaphysically and of what is special about us ethically.


COMMENT: Review of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View".




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

Footnote 1:
  • Therre is no introduction as such, ad 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 (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View" 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:-


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:-


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".


COMMENT:




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: Also, the cognitive capacities of non-human animals is now of great interest to cognitive ethologists (Wikipedia: Cognitive ethology and "Griffin (Donald) - Animal Minds") and others, and the cognitive continuity between the higher animals and ourselves is ignored by Baker and her ilk.

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 (Click here for Note).

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:-


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
Write-up Note1 (Full Text reproduced below).

Oxford Scholarship Online Abstract2
  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 View3 of human persons, as I call it, a human person is a person in virtue of having a first-person perspective, and is a human person in virtue of being constituted by a human body (or human animal)4.
  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, this involves 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 perspective. 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 View14 of human persons: the idea of a first-person perspective, 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 View15 Explained” (Chapters 4-6), uses these two ideas to give an account of human persons.
    3. “The Constitution View16 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 View17 by contrasting it with its competitors, Animalism18 and Immaterialism.
  6. Chapter 1 sets out the task. Persons and Bodies will answer three questions:
    1. What am I19 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


Write-up20 (as at 17/04/2018 21:04:19): Baker - Persons in the Material World

This note controls 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.

Oxford Scholarship Online Note:
  • Chapter 1 sets out the task. Persons and Bodies will answer three questions:
    1. What I am21 most fundamentally?
    2. What is a person?
    3. How are human persons related to their bodies?
  • Section Headings:-
    1. Three Questions
    2. Beyond Biology
    3. An Overview
    4. A Philosophical Stance

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 person22, 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 (Constitution23).
  7. Persons have a capacity24 for a FPP. Human persons are, in addition to this, constituted by “a body25 that is an organism of a certain kind – a human animal”.
  8. Mindedness is not the dividing line between persons and non-persons. Many mammals26 have conscious mental states, beliefs and desires.
  9. Baker briefly summarises the FPP as “(the ability to) conceive27 of one’s body and mental states as one’s own”.
  10. We are not “just28 animals” – we are persons.

1. Three Questions

1.1 What I am29 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 fundamentally30 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 an article by Eleonore Stump.
    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 my31 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). Baker32 accuses the animalists33 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 person. Locke’s 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 necessarily34 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-person35 question. Only beings that can ask “what am I36?” have a FPP. Asking third-person questions such as “what are they?” or “what is a human being?” is not enough.
  5. Human Beings: 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 CV37, “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’s38 view that a human fetus becomes a human being at “quickening” – when it first acquires a rational soul – at about 12 weeks39.
  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 / moral40 term. Being a person depends on psychological facts, while41 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 accountable42 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. Substances: 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 persons43 would be seriously incomplete. The same goes for properties: 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 artefacts) 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 PERSON – unknown to Aristotle, derived from the Latin persona, meaning “mask”, highlighted by Trinitarian theology, and acquiring forensic properties via Locke. We are referred to "Poole (Ross) - On Being a Person" for more information44, though from a different viewpoint (in fact one antithetical to Baker’s own).
  4. Baker notes, however, that persons have been around for longer45 than the concept PERSON.
  5. To illustrate what some see as an ambiguity in the term PERSON, Baker now addresses the usage in "Feldman (Fred) - The Survival of Death" ("Feldman (Fred) - Confrontations with the Reaper: A Philosophical Study of the Nature and Value of Death", p. 101). Feldman distinguishes “biological46 persons47” (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 not a biological person. Baker takes this to be an extreme form of animalism, begging the question against the CV, and abusing the term PERSON.
  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 bodies48 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 person49 would still exist, but the human (animal) would not.
  7. Phase Sortals: 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 property50 of being a person without ceasing to exist. She closes with the obscure claim that “if a person died51 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 “people52” as against “persons”. But her reason is instructive. It is that PEOPLE is a collective53 term and she wants to answer Descartes question “what am I54?”, 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 bodies55.

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 interveners56 in, the evolutionary process. We have uniquely57 invented lots of good intellectual58 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 “merely59” 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.
  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.

3. An Overview

4. A Philosophical Stance

… Further details to be supplied60




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

Footnote 2: Introduction to the book as a whole.

Footnote 20:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (17/04/2018 21:04:19).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 22: 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 23: 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 24:
  • 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.
  • Note that even asking the question – using the reference “I” – seems to beg it.
Footnote 25:
  • 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 26:
  • 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 27:
  • 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 28:
  • 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 30:
  • 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 31:
  • 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 32: 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 33:
  • 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.
Footnote 34:
  • 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 35: Footnote 37:
  • 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 38:
  • 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 39:
  • 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 40: Reference to morality seems to pop in prematurely here – though Baker will move on to this.

Footnote 41:
  • 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 42:
  • 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 43:
  • 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 44: See "Trendelenberg (Adolf) - A Contribution to the History of the Word Person" for more on ancient and early modern history.

Footnote 45:
  • 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 46:
  • 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 47:
  • 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 48:
  • 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 49:
  • It’s an open question whether a human animal with it organic parts replaced by inorganic ones would (or could) maintain an 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 50:
  • 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 51:
  • 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 52: Interestingly, Thomson takes PERSON to be the singular of PEOPLE. This seems odd, as though CATS had priority over CAT.

Footnote 53:
  • 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 55:
  • 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 siliconisation possibility, my FPP might be sustained by some non-brain (by something that is functionally isomorphic to, but not identical to, a brain.
Footnote 56: 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 57:
  • 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 58: 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 59:
  • “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.
  • 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.



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

Source: Baker (Lynne) - Persons and Bodies, Chapter 2
Write-up Note1 (Full Text reproduced below).

Oxford Scholarship Online Abstract
  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 statues2 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 conditions3. 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 identity4, temporal identity5, relative identity6 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 statue7 at t, then what exists at t is a statue-constituted-by-a-piece-of-bronze8, 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 statue9. This observation leads to the notion of ‘having properties derivatively.’ The piece of bronze has its weight nonderivatively; the statue10 has its weight derivatively. The statue11 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 statue12 (constituted, perhaps, by a piece of bronze). What the thing most fundamentally is a statue13; 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


Write-up14 (as at 18/12/2010 19:58:05): Baker - The Very Idea of Constitution

This note controls my detailed review of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Very Idea of Constitution", Chapter 2 of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View". I’ve pirated the Oxford Scholarship Online summaries as a temporary expedient.

OSO Note:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 value 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.
  • 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 is a statue; but it is constituted by a piece of bronze.
  • Section Headings:-
    1. A Description of Constitution
    2. The Road to Essentialism
    3. A Definition of ‘Constitution’
    4. Having Properties Derivatively
    5. Conclusion

… Further details to be supplied15




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

Footnote 14:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (18/12/2010 19:58:05).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.



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

Source: Baker (Lynne) - Persons and Bodies, Chapter 3
Write-up Note1 (Full Text reproduced below).

Oxford Scholarship Online Abstract
  1. Develops the notion of a first-person perspective. A first-person perspective 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 perspective is necessary for any form of self-consciousness2, and is sufficient for some forms of self-consciousness3. Evidence that a being has a first-person perspective 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 perspective.
  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 perspectives 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 perspective, and argue that other views of self-consciousness4 (e.g., Rosenthal’s, Armstrong’s, Dennett’s) are inadequate.
Sections
  1. First-Person Phenomena
  2. Features of the First-Person Perspective
  3. Indispensability of the First-Person Perspective
  4. A Look at Other Views
  5. Conclusion


Write-up5 (as at 18/12/2010 19:58:05): Baker - The First-Person Perspective

This note controls my detailed review of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The First-Person Perspective", Chapter 3 of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View". I’ve pirated the Oxford Scholarship Online summaries as a temporary expedient.

OSO Note:
  • Develops the notion of a first-person perspective. A first-person perspective 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 perspective 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 perspective 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 perspective.
  • 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 perspectives in the required 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 perspective, and argue that other views of self-consciousness (e.g., Rosenthal’s, Armstrong’s, Dennett’s) are inadequate.
  • Section Headings:-
    1. First-Person Phenomena
    2. Features of the First-Person Perspective
    3. Indispensability of the First-Person Perspective
    4. A Look at Other Views
    5. Conclusion

… Further details to be supplied6




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

Footnote 5:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (18/12/2010 19:58:05).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.



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

Source: Baker (Lynne) - Persons and Bodies, Chapter 4
Write-up Note1 (Full Text reproduced below).

Oxford Scholarship Online Abstract
  1. Applies the notions of constitution and of a first-person perspective to the issue of human persons. A person is a being with a first-person perspective; 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 perspective 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 statue2 is most fundamentally a statue3, 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 unity, in the same way that a bronze statue4 and the piece of bronze that constitutes it are a unity. Unlike the statue5, 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


Write-up6 (as at 18/12/2010 19:58:05): Baker - The Constitution View of Human Persons

This note controls my detailed review of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Constitution View of Human Persons", Chapter 4 of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View". I’ve pirated the Oxford Scholarship Online summaries as a temporary expedient.

OSO Note:
  • Applies the notions of constitution and of a first-person perspective to the issue of human persons. A person is a being with first-person perspective; 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 perspective stayed intact.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Section Headings:-
    1. What a Human Person Is
    2. Mental Properties
    3. Theses about Human Persons
    4. My Body / Myself
    5. Conclusion

… Further details to be supplied7




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

Footnote 6:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (18/12/2010 19:58:05).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.



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

Source: Baker (Lynne) - Persons and Bodies, Chapter 5
Write-up Note1 (Full Text reproduced below).

Oxford Scholarship Online Abstract
  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)2,
    3. Sameness of person consists in sameness of brain,
    4. Sameness of person consists in psychological continuity3,
    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 perspective. Alas, my own view does not provide an informative criterion either. Although I can characterize noncircularly what it is to have a first-person perspective at a time, I know of no noncircular characterization of sameness of first-person perspective 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 perspective has its advantages.
    1. First, it avoids problems besetting the other views (e.g., species chauvinism, the duplication 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 perspective 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 View4 of Personal Identity over Time
  3. Is Bodily Transfer Possible?
  4. Conclusion


Write-up5 (as at 14/03/2015 11:36:58): Baker - Personal Identity Over Time

This note controls my detailed review of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Personal Identity Over Time", Chapter 5 of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View". I’ve pirated the Oxford Scholarship Online summary as a temporary expedient.

Oxford Scholarship Online Abstract
  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),
    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.
  2. Then, I discuss my own view: sameness of person consists in sameness of first-person perspective. Alas, my own view does not provide an informative criterion either. Although I can characterize noncircularly what it is to have a first-person perspective at a time, I know of no noncircular characterization of sameness of first-person perspective 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 perspective has its advantages.
    1. First, it avoids problems besetting the other views (e.g., species chauvinism, the duplication 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 perspective 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 View of Personal Identity over Time
  3. Is Bodily Transfer Possible?
  4. Conclusion


… Further details to be supplied6




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

Footnote 5:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (14/03/2015 11:36:58).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.



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

Source: Baker (Lynne) - Persons and Bodies, Chapter 6
Write-up Note1 (Full Text reproduced below).

Oxford Scholarship Online Abstract
    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 perspectives lack. Only beings with first-person perspectives 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 perspectives can have ideals or can try to change themselves to conform better to their ideals. Human persons are not only the products of evolution, but (unlike any other finite beings) only human persons can deliberately change the course of evolution—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 Consciousness
  5. Conclusion


Write-up2 (as at 18/12/2010 19:58:05): Baker - The Importance Of Being a Person

This note controls 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". I’ve pirated the Oxford Scholarship Online summaries as a temporary expedient.

OSO Note:
  • 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 perspectives lack. Only beings with first-person perspectives 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 perspectives can have ideals or can try to change themselves to conform better to their ideals. Human persons are not only the products of evolution, but (unlike any other finite beings) only human persons can deliberately change the course of evolution – not only by artificial breeding, but more directly by genetic engineering.
  • Section Headings:-
    1. Moral Agency
    2. Rational Agency
    3. Some Cognitive and Practical Capacities
    4. Unity of Consciousness
    5. Conclusion

… Further details to be supplied3




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 (18/12/2010 19:58:05).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.



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

Source: Baker (Lynne) - Persons and Bodies, Chapter 7
Write-up Note1 (Full Text reproduced below).

Oxford Scholarship Online Abstract
    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 statue2 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 statue3 and y is a statue4, then where x is there are two statues5. 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 supervenience6.
Sections
  1. Constitution and Incoherence
  2. Constitution and Mereology
  3. Constitution and Supervenience7
  4. Conclusion


Write-up8 (as at 17/04/2018 21:04:19): Baker - The Coherence Of the Idea of Material Constitution

This note controls 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". I’ve pirated the Oxford Scholarship Online summaries as a temporary expedient.

OSO Note:
  • 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 statue 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 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. Also, Chapter 7 discusses criticisms stemming from mereology and supervenience9.
  • Section Headings:-
    1. Constitution10 and Incoherence
    2. Constitution and Mereology11
    3. Constitution and Supervenience12
    4. Conclusion

→ Further details to be supplied13




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

Footnote 8:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (17/04/2018 21:04:19).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.



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

Source: Baker (Lynne) - Persons and Bodies, Chapter 8
Write-up Note1 (Full Text reproduced below).

Oxford Scholarship Online Abstract
    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 View2 has a coherent account of the relation between an early-term fetus3 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 “Fetus4 Problem”?
  4. A Counterexample on Offer
  5. Conclusion


Write-up5 (as at 18/12/2010 19:58:05): Baker - The Coherence Of the Constitution View of Human Persons

This note controls 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". I’ve pirated the Oxford Scholarship Online summaries as a temporary expedient.

OSO Note:
  • 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 things, 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.
  • Section Headings:-
    1. Constitution is Not Mere ‘Coincidence’
    2. The “How Many” Problem and Linguistic Coherence
    3. Is There a “Fetus Problem”?
    4. A Counterexample on Offer
    5. Conclusion

… Further details to be supplied6




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

Footnote 5:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (18/12/2010 19:58:05).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.



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

Source: Baker (Lynne) - Persons and Bodies, Chapter 9
Write-up Note1 (Full Text reproduced below).

Oxford Scholarship Online
  1. Concludes the book with reasons to accept the Constitution View2. It really is a materialistic 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 materialist view takes persons seriously in all three of these respects.
  2. The Constitution View3 explains how it is that, although we are set apart by our first-person perspectives, we are still animals. Hence, the Constitution View4 locates human persons in the material world. The general idea of constitution (without identity) allows for a metaphysics that is both materialistic 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, Materialism
  2. Dualism and its Desiderata
  3. Taking Persons Seriously5
  4. Materialistic Competitors
  5. Conclusion


Write-up6 (as at 14/07/2019 18:05:46): Baker - In Favour Of the Constitution View

This note controls 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". I’ve pirated the Oxford Scholarship Online summary as a temporary expedient.

Oxford Scholarship Online
  1. Concludes the book with reasons to accept the Constitution View. It really is a materialistic 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 materialist 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 perspectives, 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 materialistic 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, Materialism
  2. Dualism and its Desiderata
  3. Taking Persons Seriously7
  4. Materialistic Competitors
  5. Conclusion


… Further details to be supplied8




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

Footnote 6:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (14/07/2019 18:05:46).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.


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