Pseudo-Book (Heap of Papers!) to hold a subset my printouts / photocopies of papers related - inter alia - to my Thesis on the topic of Personal Identity. Those I'm currently reading (allegedly).
"Bonhomme (Vincent), Etc. - General Anesthesia: A Probe to Explore Consciousness"
Source: Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 1 August 2019, Volume 13, Article 36
- General anesthesia reversibly alters consciousness, without shutting down the brain globally. Depending on the anesthetic agent and dose, it may produce different consciousness states including:-
→ a complete absence of subjective experience (unconsciousness),
→ a conscious experience without perception of the environment (disconnected consciousness, like during dreaming), or
→ episodes of oriented consciousness with awareness of the environment (connected consciousness).
- Each consciousness state may potentially be followed by explicit or implicit memories after the procedure. In this respect, anesthesia can be considered as a proxy to explore consciousness.
- During recent years, progress in the exploration of brain function has allowed a better understanding of the neural correlates of consciousness, and of their alterations during anesthesia. Several changes in:-
→ functional and effective between-region brain connectivity,
→ consciousness network topology, and
→ spatio-temporal dynamics of between-region interactions
have been evidenced during anesthesia.
- Despite a set of effects that are common to many anesthetic agents, it is still uneasy to draw a comprehensive picture of the precise cascades during general anesthesia.
- Several questions remain unsolved, including:-
- the exact identification of the neural substrate of consciousness and its components,
- the detection of specific consciousness states in unresponsive patients and their associated memory processes,
- the processing of sensory information during anesthesia,
- the pharmacodynamic interactions between anesthetic agents,
- the direction-dependent hysteresis phenomenon during the transitions between consciousness states,
- the mechanisms of cognitive alterations that follow an anesthetic procedure,
- the identification of an eventual unitary mechanism of anesthesia-induced alteration of consciousness,
- the relationship between network effects and the biochemical or sleep-wake cycle targets of anesthetic agents, as well as
- the vast between-studies variations in dose and administration mode, leading to difficulties in between-studies comparisons.
- In this narrative review, we draw the picture of the current state of knowledge in anesthesia-induced unconsciousness, from insights gathered on propofol, halogenated vapors, ketamine, dexmedetomidine, benzodiazepines and xenon.
- We also describe how anesthesia can help understanding consciousness, we develop the above-mentioned unresolved questions, and propose tracks for future research.
COMMENT: See Bonhomme - General Anesthesia: A Probe to Explore Consciousness for the full text.
"Bregman (Rutger) - Why Garbagemen Should Earn More Than Bankers"
Source: Evonomics.com, 22nd April 2016
- The way things are is not the way they have to be. Our economy, our taxes, and our universities can all be reinvented to make real innovation and creativity pay off. “We do not have to wait patiently for slow cultural change,” the maverick economist William Baumol challenged more than 20 years ago. We don’t have to wait until gambling with other people’s money is no longer profitable; until sanitation workers, police agents, and nurses earn a decent wage; and until math whizzes once again start dreaming of building colonies on Mars instead of starting their own hedge funds.
- In the end, it’s not the market or technology that decides what has real value, but society. If we want this century to be one in which all of us get richer, then we’ll need to free ourselves of the dogma that all work is meaningful. And, while we’re at it, let’s also get rid of the fallacy that a higher salary is automatically a reflection of societal value.
- Then we might realize that in terms of value creation, it just doesn’t pay to be a banker.
- This essay is adapted from Utopia for Realists1: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders, and a 15-Hour Workweek by Rutger Bregman.
- Utopia for Realists originated on The Correspondent, the ad-free journalism platform that serves as an antidote to the daily news grind.
In-Page Footnotes ("Bregman (Rutger) - Why Garbagemen Should Earn More Than Bankers")
- I’m assuming this is the same book as "Bregman (Rutger) - Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There". Maybe the US edition?
- And I assume it’s based on Chapter 7: Why It Doesn’t Pay To Be A Banker.
- Of course, he’s referring to investment bankers and their hi-tech support staff. For most banking staff, it doesn’t pay (particularly well) to be a banker in the traditional meaning of the words.
"da Cunha (Rui Vieira) - Will I ever Be a Cyborg?"
Source: Retrieved from Academia.edu
- Eric Olson’s animalist1 view relies on the premise that person is not a fit candidate to be a substance2 concept, in Wiggins’s terminology. Instead, he claims, animal3 is what best serves as the answer to what we most fundamentally are4 and what determines our persistence conditions.
- Proposing a thought experiment5 concerning inorganic replacement, I aim to show that Olson’s animalist view cannot accommodate our very strong intuitions about such cases. And that result occurs even after trying two possible readings of Olson’s account of an organism’s persistence conditions.
- My claim is then that animalism either fails on its own grounds or requires some adjustments to what exactly an organism6 is and what its persistence conditions are.
COMMENT: Retrieved from Academia.edu, 5 August 2020
"Dresser (Sam) - How to not fear your death"
Source: Aeon, 19 August 2020
- This is a “Guide” from Psyche - presumably aimed at those who are troubled at the thought of their own deaths, rather than dispassionately interested in the Philosophy of Death1.
- That said, there are no links to counselling services, so it may be a non-standard “Guide”.
- It does, however, follow the standard format, ie:-
- Need to know
- What to do
- Key points
- Learn more
- Links & books
- Precis & analysis (broken down into the five-part structure of the paper):-
- Need to know
- We don’t normally think of our future or impending deaths, but circumstances eventually place before us the fact that “(we) are but a fleeting speck of an event in the infinite history of the Universe”. This remark is interesting on two counts:-
- Life2 as an event.
- Most of our life is lived – mindless of our impending doom – as the life of Ivan Ilych3 until a crisis wakes us up.
- Thomas Nagel argued that death is the “great deprivation”: there is always more life to be lived that death takes away.
- So, the fear of death is a fairly rational preoccupation. How can it be overcome? Two options mentioned – but not otherwise considered in this paper – are:-
- To plan for a sequel to this life in a new, happier realm: Resurrection4.
- Take life as cyclical. Death is a mere interlude. I take this as a reference to Reincarnation5.
- While these have “something to recommend them”, they are set aside here and the rest of the paper proceeds on the assumption that “you exist, but one day you won’t”.
- Unfortunately – though this is not really spelt out – this undermines much of the comfort Epicurianism can provide. As Shakespeare - Hamlet Act III, Scene I ('To be, or not to be') puts it:
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
- The idea that we should be grateful for life’s finitude – in providing focus and avoiding eternal tedium – is left until the final section; after the Key Points, in the “Learn More” Section. See the Makropulos Case6, which – for some reason – is not actually referenced.
- What to do
- A Brief introduction7 to Epicurus and his school is given. They are not as generally understood – but they claim that goal of the good life is relief from pain and suffering and hence moderation is recommended. The fear of death interferes with the enjoyment of life, which is why it’s important that the matter is resolved.
- This can be achieved in the usual three steps:-
- If death is the end, then any attempt to imagine ourselves being dead leads to contradiction. Being dead isn’t an experience anyone can have. Rather unhelpfully, I thought, the author adds that “Death isn’t really a thing at all”. Whoever thought it was?
- In De Rerum Natura8, Lucretius gives the Symmetry Argument. We were not bothered by the period of our non-existence before our birth, so why be worried by our non-existence after our death? I doubt many people go along with the alleged symmetry, because of the asymmetry of time. Prior to your conception, there was no “you”, and therefor no-one suffered loss by non-existence. But after your birth, there is a “you” who can suffer loss. More might be said.
- Examine how much nothingness is to be feared. When dead, you are then not being deprived of anything, because you don’t exist. Of course, we may fear the process of dying. But “being dead” isn’t a problem at the time; yet, we are deprived of the goods we might have expected if our life is unexpectedly cut short. It is a bad thing if we’ve prudently deprived ourselves of X in order to achieve Y later, and then are prevented from enjoying Y by premature death. But explaining who is hurt at the time Y would have been enjoyed is difficult. The author has an odd comment – that someone who died centuries ago isn’t “more dead” than someone who died last week. OK, but what’s the relevance of this fact? I suppose we might say that someone who died prematurely last week would now be enjoying life, while that’s not true of someone who died centuries ago. But, any harms that accrued to someone on account of lost opportunities didn’t accrue to them when they were dead. That said, there are difficult questions as to whether the dead can be harmed (eg. by posthumously blackening their names).
- The author points out that there’s a distinction between concern about you – or others’ – deaths insofar as they impact on others and insofar as they impact on themselves. It is rational to worry about who will have to pay off your debts after you die, or about the future deaths of those you care about, but not about how things will be for you after you die. I think it is rational for you now to be concerned about what will result from your efforts – your projects – after you die; such concerns affect your peace of mind now, but are something you can attempt to do something about while you are alive. But it’s not rational to imagine yourself – dead – gnashing your teeth as people scrap everything you spent your life building up.
- The author concludes by asking whether Epicurus is successful at allaying our fears of death, and decides that in general he is not, except when we are in an appropriate mood. He says “the argument isn’t strong enough”, but doesn’t say why. My view, as I mentioned above, is that the argument just assumes that death is the end, and no one can be sure that it is, however rational it might be to assume so. Anyway, he suggests that James Warren argues for the use of Epicurianism as a form of cognitive therapy.
- The author’s “key points9” are as follows:-
- The end of your existence is inevitable. The question is whether or not you should fear it.
- Epicurus, and many others besides, have argued that there are reasons not to fear death.
- His argument, essentially, is this: when you are alive, death is nothing. When you are dead, life is nothing.
- The argument is meant to relieve only some of the fear of death and to give you a new vista from which to enjoy your own fleeting time on Earth. Banishing all fear of death would turn you into something barely human, as fanatics the world over have amply demonstrated.
- Philosophy can be a useful meditation on what it is to live well. Thinking about one’s own death can focus one’s attention on what it is that makes life so valuable.
- Learn more
- We are referred to "Nagel (Thomas) - Death" (1970) for the “deprivation view” of death being a harm to the one who dies. It is claimed that this gives us a reason to fear death, but I suspect this isn’t the same claim: it might be that death is a harm, but not one that we should fear, but accommodate: maybe by – while not failing to think long-term, also adjust our desires so that whatever we do – however prudentially inspired or dependent on future contingencies for its success – is also fulfilling in the short term. Live for the moment.
- We are also referred to Ben Bradley’s Well-Being and Death who compares possible worlds to the effect that the one in which (eg.) Frank Ramsey lived longer than his 26 years is better than the actual world. The author points out that this loses sight of the first-person perspective10 and I would add (again) that while the actual world is worse than the one in which Ramsey lives on, for us and for Frank, there is no reason for him to fear his early demise.
- We now get to the “positive good” of death in giving shape and focus to our lives, and avoiding endless tedium and repetition. As noted previously, he doesn’t reference the Makropulos Case11. But he’s right to say that “the fact of death makes life more brilliant and precious”. “Embodiment” is mentioned in this context, as though it’s the problem with immortality. I can’t see the connection, given how important embodiment is for us as essentially-embodied beings (I would claim). I don’t find the transhumanists12’ hopes of (almost) eternal disembodied existence13 any more appealing (though I’m not sure “living in a computer” is in fact disembodied).
- A reading list is supplied:-
- "Kagan (Shelly) - Death": “Excellent. Packed with material, a comprehensive syllabus and compelling lectures, it’s a great place to start.”
- "Luper (Steven) - The Philosophy of Death": “Probably the academic standard right now”
- "Critchley (Simon) - To Philosophize Is to Learn How to Die": by the “wonderful” Simon Critchley – of whom I’d not heard, presumably because his interests and publications are in Continental Philosophy. “When I first watched it, I found it spellbinding and I’m glad to say that it still is. ”
- "Bradley (Ben), Feldman (Fred) & Johansson (Jens) - The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Death": “An invaluable resource, with essays covering many of the primary topics in the philosophy of death, though mostly from an analytic perspective (so not a lot of cross-cultural work going on here);
are highly recommended.”
- "Mitsis (Phillip) - When Death Is There, We Are Not: Epicurus on Pleasure and Death", and
- "Broome (John) - The Badness of Death and the Goodness of Life"
- A couple of books on Epicurus:-
- Catherine Wilson - How to Be an Epicurean: The Ancient Art of Living Well (2019) "The best recent book on Epicurus."
→ See also Catherine Wilson - Aeon - Wilson - How to be an Epicurean14
- James Warren - Facing Death: Epicurus and his Critics15 (2004) "by a premier scholar of Epicureanism; for a more demanding and academic treatment of the subject, you could hardly do better".
- Aeon - Ehrenfeld - Why Epicurean ideas suit the challenges of modern secular life16
- YouTube: Einzelgänger - Epicurus - The Philosophy of Pleasure: “A short and easily digestible video on Epicurus’ wider philosophy – beyond his overcoming the fear of death – by the online ‘philosophical entertainer’ Einzelgänger.”
- Aeon - Fingarette - Being 9717
- Final Comments:
- The fly in the ointment is that no-one can really know for sure that death is the end.
- I agree that – if death is the end – imagining “being dead” makes no sense.
- I’m unimpressed by the symmetry argument – someone who has never existed cannot suffer loss by failing to come into existence, while …
- Death was a harm to someone who did exist, though not something to be feared.
- I don’t agree that banishing all fear of death would make us inhuman (like suicide bombers). I wouldn’t count at least some of those who are at least alleged to have gone to their deaths cheerfully (Socrates, Hume, …) as inhuman.
- I’m not convinced that an unending life would be intolerable, though I agree that the brevity of our lives gives them focus. At least it should, but we still tend to live them as though we are immortal until close to the end.
In-Page Footnotes ("Dresser (Sam) - How to not fear your death")
Footnote 8: Footnote 9:
- I seem to have quite a lot on Epicurus. Follow the link.
Footnote 15: This book is rather expensive for me to buy, and probably too peripheral for me to read, though it looks fascinating. The Amazon book description is as follows:-
- These appear before the most interesting part of the Guide!
- Consequently, some “key points” are omitted.
- The ancient philosophical school of Epicureanism tried to argue that death is "nothing to us." Were they right? James Warren provides a comprehensive study and articulation of the interlocking arguments against the fear of death found not only in the writings of Epicurus himself, but also in Lucretius' poem De rerum natura and in Philodemus' work De morte. These arguments are central to the Epicurean project of providing ataraxia (freedom from anxiety) and therefore central to an understanding of Epicureanism as a whole. They also offer significant resources for modern discussions of the value of death - one which stands at the intersection of metaphysics and ethics. If death is the end of the subject, and the subject can not be benefited nor harmed after death, is it reasonable nevertheless to fear the ceasing-to-be? If the Epicureans are not right to claim that the dead can neither be benefited nor harmed, what alternative models might be offered for understanding the harm done by death and do these alternatives suffer from any further difficulties? The discussion involves consideration of both ethical and metaphysical topics since it requires analysis not only of the nature of a good life but also the nature of personal identity and time. A number of modern philosophers have offered criticisms or defences of the Epicureans' views. Warren explores and evaluates these in the light of a systematic and detailed study of the precise form and intention of the Epicureans' original arguments.
- Warren argues that the Epicureans also were interested in showing that mortality is not to be regretted and that premature death is not to be feared. Their arguments for these conclusions are to be found in their positive conception of the nature of a good and complete life, which divorce the completeness of a life as far as possible from considerations of its duration. Later chapters investigate the nature of a life lived without the fear of death and pose serious problems for the Epicureans being able to allow any concern for the post mortem future and being able to offer a positive reason for prolonging a life which is already complete in their terms.
"Gagliano (Monica) - The mind of plants: Thinking the unthinkable"
Source: Communicative and Integrative Biology, 10, 2017
- Across all species, individuals thrive in complex ecological systems, which they rarely have complete knowledge of. To cope with this uncertainty and still make good choices while avoiding costly errors, organisms have developed the ability to exploit key features associated with their environment.
- That through experience, humans and other animals are quick at learning to associate specific cues with particular places, events and circumstances has long been known; the idea that plants are also capable of learning by association had never been proven until now.
- Here I comment on the recent paper that experimentally demonstrated associative learning in plants, thus qualifying them as proper subjects of cognitive research.
- Additionally, I make the point that the current fundamental premise in cognitive science — that we must understanding the precise neural underpinning of a given cognitive feature in order to understand the evolution1 of cognition and behavior — needs to be reimagined.
COMMENT: For the full text, see Gagliano - The mind of plants: Thinking the unthinkable
"Howard-Snyder (Daniel) - The Skeptical Christian"
Source: Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion, 2017
- This essay is a detailed study of William Alston’s view on the nature of Christian faith, which I assess in the context of three problems:
- the problem of the skeptical Christian,
- the problem of faith and reason, and
- the problem of the trajectory.
- Although Alston intended a view that would solve these problems, it does so only superficially. Fortunately, we can distinguish Alston’s view, on the one hand, from Alston’s illustrations of it, on the other hand.
- I argue that, although Alston’s view only superficially solves these problems, Alston’s illustrations of it suggest a substantive way to solve them, a way that I sketch briefly.
COMMENT: For the full text, see Howard-Snyder - The Skeptical Christian
"Howard-Snyder (Daniel) - Was Jesus Mad, Bad, Or God?…Or Merely Mistaken?"
Source: Faith and Philosophy, 2004
- A popular argument for the divinity of Jesus goes like this. Jesus claimed to be divine, but if his claim was false, then either he was insane (mad) or lying (bad), both of which are very unlikely; so, he was divine.
- I present two objections to this argument.
- The first, the dwindling probabilities objection, contends that even if we make generous probability assignments to the relevant pieces of evidence for Jesus’ divinity, the probability calculus tell us to suspend judgement on the matter.
- The second, and more telling objection in my opinion, the merely mistaken objection, contends that it is no less plausible to suppose that Jesus was neither mad nor bad but merely mistaken than that he was divine.
- I’ve been interested in the “MBG” argument – which I believe to be unsound – for some time. See my Note Mad, Bad or God?1.
- I’ve not yet read Howard-Snyder’s paper, but:-
- The first objection seems to be that it’s not compelling that Jesus actually claimed to be God in the first place. I agree (but note that this is orthogonal to the question whether Jesus was or is God, whatever that identity-statement may be taken to mean).
- The second is the substance of the paper. Again, I agree, though it needs careful handling. It’d be easier to argue that Jesus was mistaken in some lesser claim. While – contra C.S. Lewis – claiming to be “God” isn’t as mad as claiming to be a poached egg, it’s still pretty barmy if claimed so baldly (and falsely).
COMMENT: For the full text, see Howard-Snyder - Was Jesus Mad, Bad, Or God?…Or Merely Mistaken?.
"Insole (Christopher J.) - Realism and Anti-Realism"
Source: The Oxford Handbook of the Epistemology of Theology, Edited by William J. Abraham and Frederick D. Aquino, June 2017
- The chapter argues that the search for a single construal of the realism/anti-realism distinction is misguided. There are more or less apt versions of the distinction, each framed with a specific set of interests. The terms of art, ‘realist’ and ‘anti-realist’, are not helpfully construed as applying across whole domains (‘science’, ‘religion’, ‘ethics’), or thinkers, but at the level of particular statements.
- As such, the distinction has less in common with categorizations such as ‘theist/atheist’, or ‘empiricist/rationalist’, and more in common with (contestable, but still useful for many) terms of art such as ‘a priori/a posteriori’ and ‘analytic/synthetic’.
- The chapter explores four alternative construals of the distinction: cognitivist, ontological, epistemological, and semantic. When we get to the more subtle construals of semantic anti-realism/realism, it is unclear what precisely (if anything) is at stake in the debate.
"Kotak (Aakash) - The Hybrid Theory of Personal Identity"
Source: Retrieved from Academia.edu
- Philosophers don't face a choice between the biological truism that we are human animals and the magnetic thesis that we would go with our cerebra. These central claims are reconcilable.
- One option is to assert that our substance kind is HUMAN ANIMAL and that cerebra can constitute humans. As we've seen, however, this stance is difficult to motivate.
- A second option is to assert that our substance kind is LOCKEAN PERSON and that HUMAN ANIMAL is our phase kind. But those who do so are saddled with the repugnant consequence that infants cease to exist at the onset of rationality and self-awareness.
- A third option is to endorse the Hybrid Theory1. What I hope to have shown is that this option is loaded with promise.
The Hybrid Theory2 captures the most promising answer to the question: what are we? The task now is to add to the account by addressing two related questions:
- For one thing, Hybrid Theorists avoid the varied difficulties brought to light by the well-known too-many-thinkers objection to neo-Lockeanism, chief among which is the epistemic problem canvassed here.
- For another, Hybrid Theorists can handle the potentially problematic divergence-case in a metaphysically robust way.
- And for yet another, Hybrid Theorists tell a superior story to both animalists and neo-Lockeans about how we come into existence and the kinds of change we can survive. This benefit in particular is well worth the ontological cost.
Given that we have already derived facts about the kind to which the Hybrid Theorist assigns us from facts about animals and Lockean persons, I see no reason why satisfactory answers should be out of the Hybrid Theorist's reach.
- what are our persistence conditions, and
- What is our fundamental nature?
Relevant Reading List (relevance indicated in footnotes)
- "Arnadottir (Steinvor Tholl) - Functionalism and Thinking Animals", Árnadóttir, 20103
- "Ayers (Michael R.) - Locke (Vol 2 - Ontology)", Ayers4
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View", Baker, 20005
- "Blatti (Stephan) & Snowdon (Paul), Eds - Animalism: Introduction", Baker, 20166
- "Berniunas (Renatas) & Dranseika (Vilius) - Folk Concepts of Person and Identity: a Response to Nichols and Bruno", Berniūnas & Dranseika, 20167
- "Blatti (Stephan) - A New Argument for Animalism", Blatti, 20128
- "Blatti (Stephan) - Headhunters", Blatti, 20169
- "Blatti (Stephan) & Snowdon (Paul), Eds - Animalism: Introduction", Blatti & Snowdon, 201610
- "Boorse (Christopher) - Wright on Functions", Boorse, 197611
- "Campbell (Tim) & McMahan (Jeff) - Animalism and the Varieties of Conjoined Twinning", Campbell & McMahan, 201612
- "Dretske (Fred) - Knowledge and the Flow of Information", Dretske, 198113
- "Fodor (Jerry) - Psychosemantics", Fodor, 198714
- "Gallois (Andre) - Occasions of Identity : a Study in the Metaphysics of Persistence, Change, and Sameness", Gallois, 199815
- "Gillett (Carl) - What you are and the evolution of organs, souls and superorganisms: a reply to Blatti", Gillett, 201316
- "Hawley (Katherine) - How Things Persist", Hawley, 200117
- "Hawley (Katherine) - Fission, Fusion and Intrinsic Facts", Hawley, 200518
- "Johnston (Mark) - 'Human Beings' Revisited: My Body is Not an Animal", Johnston, 200719
- "Johnston (Mark) - Remnant Persons: Animalism's Undoing", Johnston, 201620
- "Liao (S. Matthew) - Twinning, Inorganic Replacement, and the Organism View", Liao, 201021
- "Locke (John), Nidditch (Peter) - An Essay Concerning Human Understanding", Locke, 197522
- "Madden (Rory) - Human Persistence", Madden, 2016a23
- "Madden (Rory) - Human Persistence", Madden, 2016b24
- "Millikan (Ruth Garrett) - An Input Condition for Teleosemantics? Reply to Shea (and Godfrey-Smith)", Millikan, 200725
- "Nichols (Shaun) & Bruno (Michael) - Intuitions about Personal Identity: An Empirical Study", Nichols & Bruno, 201026
- "Noonan (Harold) - The Closest Continuer Theory of Identity", Noonan, 198527
- "Noonan (Harold) - Animalism Versus Lockeanism: A Current Controversy", Noonan, 199828
- "Nozick (Robert) - Philosophical Explanations", Nozick, 198129
- "Olson (Eric) - Human People Or Human Animals", Olson, 199530
- "Olson (Eric) - Was I Ever a Fetus?", Olson, 199731
- "Olson (Eric) - Personal Identity", Olson, 2002a32
- "Olson (Eric) - Thinking Animals and the Reference of 'I'", Olson, 2002b33
- "Olson (Eric) - What Does Functionalism Tell Us About Personal Identity", Olson, 2002c34
- "Olson (Eric) - An Argument for Animalism", Olson, 200335
- "Olson (Eric) - Animalism and the Corpse Problem", Olson, 200436
- "Olson (Eric) - What are We? A Study of Personal Ontology", Olson, 200737
- "Olson (Eric) - The Remnant-Person Problem", Olson, 201638
- "Parfit (Derek) - Personal Identity", Parfit39
- "Parfit (Derek) - We Are Not Human Beings", Parfit, 201640
- "Shoemaker (Sydney) - Self, Body, and Coincidence", Shoemaker, 199941
- "Shoemaker (Sydney) - Persons, Animals, and Identity", Shoemaker, 200842
- Sydney Shoemaker (201143). On What We Are. In S. Gallagher (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Self (pp. 352-71). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- "Snowdon (Paul) - Persons, Animals, and Ourselves", Snowdon44
- "Sosa (Ernest) - How Must Knowledge Be Modally Related to What Is Known?", Sosa, 199945
- "Van Inwagen (Peter) - Material Beings", Van Inwagen, 199046
- "Wright (Larry) - Functions", Wright, 197347
COMMENT: Retrieved from Academia.edu, 11 August 2020
In-Page Footnotes ("Kotak (Aakash) - The Hybrid Theory of Personal Identity")
- Árnadóttir – Functionalism and Thinking Animals –
- Ayers: Locke - Ontology – Allegedly, p. 291 – ie. of "Ayers (Michael R.) - Neo-Lockean and Anti-Lockean Theories of Personal Identity in Analytic Philosophy" - rejects the view that “we go with our cerebrum” but rather supports the view that “… the conviction that one goes with one's cerebrum is a 'profound illusion' resulting from the consideration of the movement of one's 'rationality, self-awareness and memory... with their seat in the brain'”. I’ve not read the whole of this Chapter recently, but know that Ayers would reject Teletransportation as a means of transport, so that the feeling of the teletransportee of having travelled would be an illusion. But I couldn’t find any explicit references to Cerebra on p. 291, though the immediate context is of transplants (of equine gonads).
- Baker – Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View –
- Baker – Animalism vs. Constitutionalism –
- Berniūnas & Dranseika: Folk concepts of person and identity – Disputes the “experimental philosophy” claims of Nichols & Bruno that our intuitions are that “we go with our cerebrum”.
Footnote 9: Footnote 10:
- Blatti – A new argument for animalism –
- Blatti & Snowdon – Animalism: Introduction –
- Boorse – Wright on Functions –
- Campbell & McMahan – Animalism and the Varieties of Conjoined Twinning –
- Dretske – Knowledge and the Flow of Information –
- Fodor – Psychosemantics –
- Gallois – Occasions of Identity –
- Gillett – What you are and the evolution of organs, souls and superorganisms: a reply to Blatti –
- Hawley – How Things Persist –
- Hawley – Fission, Fusion and Intrinsic Facts –
- Johnston: “Human Beings” Revisited
- Supporter of the view that the cerebrum is the “minimal proper part of the human central-nervous-system upon which cognition sufficient for Lockean personhood depends”.
- Argues that “we go with our cerebrum” and raises the 'Remnant-Person Problem'.
- Johnston: Remnant Persons
- Examples of the distinction between Substance Kinds and Phase Kinds.
- Objections to TEs: our concepts aren’t up to deciding on Cerebrum transplants, etc, as they only deal with generalities and allow of exceptions.
- The ‘No Creation’ principle. This is the claim – in the case of a cerebrum transplant – that if this Cerebrum is a person, and it’s not the same person as the original person, then you’ve created a person by simply removing non-neural tissue (the rest of the body) that wasn’t suppressing personhood. I think this would work better with Whole Brain Transplants, as Cerebrum transplants leave behind the brain stem.
- Thinks that (p. 111) empirical research supports the idea that the cerebrum supports our mental processing and ensures the same Lockean person.
- Liao – Twinning, Inorganic Replacement, and the Organism View –
- Locke – An Essay Concerning Human Understanding –
- Madden: Human Persistence –
- Madden: Thinking Parts – denies Johnston’s ‘No Creation’ principle.
- Millikan: An Input Condition for Teleosemantics? –
- Nichols & Bruno: Intuitions about Personal Identity – Provides empirical support for the claim that our intuitions are that “we go with our cerebrum”.
- Noonan: The closest continuer theory of identity –
- Noonan: Animalism versus Lockeanism –
- Nozick: Philosophical Explanations –
- Olson: Human People or Human Animals? – (Alleged) instigator of the view that the cerebrum is the “minimal proper part of the human central-nervous-system upon which cognition sufficient for Lockean personhood depends”.
- Olson: Was I Ever a Fetus? –
- Olson: Personal Identity –
- Olson: Thinking Animals and the Reference of 'I' –
- Olson: What Does Functionalism Tell Us about Personal Identity? –
- Olson: An Argument for Animalism –
Footnote 37: Footnote 38:
- Olson: Animalism and the Corpse Problem –
- Olson: The Remnant-Person Problem
- Discusses “brain eliminativism”.
- Accepts “No Creation” (p. 149 & 151); but I think he therefore thinks – on this account – that while the displaced cerebrum is a person, it is not “you”, who remain the residual animal.
- Parfit: Personal Identity –
- Parfit: We Are Not Human Beings
- Supporter of the view that the cerebrum is the “minimal proper part of the human central-nervous-system upon which cognition sufficient for Lockean personhood depends”.
- Considers a case “similar to” one in which a cerebrum is extracted and kept on life support.
- “Believes we are the 'conscious, thinking, and controlling parts of human beings' (p. 38)”
- Shoemaker: Self, Body, and Coincidence –
- Shoemaker: Persons, Animals, and Identity –
Believes 'we are constituted by biological animals' (p. 370)” Footnote 44:
- Shoemaker: On What We Are – “
- Snowdon: Persons, Animals and Ourselves –
- Sosa: How Must Knowledge Be Modally Related to What Is Known? –
- Van Inwagen: Material Beings –
"Liao (S. Matthew) - Twinning, Inorganic Replacement, and the Organism View"
Source: Ratio, 4th January 2010
- In explicating his version of the Organism View1, Eric Olson argues that
- You begin to exist only after twinning is no longer possible and that
- You cannot survive a process of inorganic replacement.
- Assuming the correctness of the Organism View, but pace Olson, I argue in this paper that the Organism View does not require that you believe either proposition.
- The claim I shall make about twinning helps to advance a debate that currently divides defenders of the Organism View, while the claim I shall make about inorganic replacement will help to put the Organism View on a par with its rival views by allowing it to accommodate a plausible intuition that its rivals can accommodate, namely, the intuition that you can survive a process of inorganic replacement.
- Both claims, I shall also argue, are important for those who are interested in the identity condition of a human organism, even if they do not hold the view that you are essentially an organism.
COMMENT: Retrieved from Academia.edu, 5 August 2020
"Meincke (Anne Sophie) - Human Persons – A Process View"
Source: Forthcoming in: Was sind und wie existieren Personen? (What are Persons and how Do They Exist?), ed. by Jörg Noller, Münster: Mentis
- What are persons and how do they exist? The predominant answer to this question in Western metaphysics is that persons, human and others, are, and exist as, substances, i.e., ontologically independent, well-demarcated things defined by an immutable (usually mental) essence. Change, on this view, is not essential for a person’s identity; it is in fact more likely to be detrimental to it.
- In this chapter I want to suggest an alternative view of human persons which is motivated by an appreciation of their biological nature. Organisms, human and non-human, are dynamical systems that for their existence and persistence depend on an on-going interaction with the environment in which they are embedded. Taking seriously this most fundamental human condition leads to recognising human persons as processes, i.e., as entities for the identity of which change is essential. It also implies a holistic view of the human mind.
- The Metamorphoses of the Substance View of Human Persons
- Towards a Process View of the Human Person
Notes – by Author’s Section
- First Thoughts / Author’s Abstract
- First Thoughts
- This is a very important – and contemporary – challenge to my ideas on Personal Identity in general and Animalism1 in particular.
- As the author’s Abstract notes, the Process View2 is in opposition to the Substance3 view presupposed by almost all other theories (whether they explicitly acknowledge it or not), with the possible exception of those espousing a Perdurantist4 account of persistence.
- I liked the attempt to bring together the mental and the biological5, but felt that the paper left out (by focusing mostly on the social6 aspect of being a person; I’ve clearly not given it enough focus!) much of what Daniel Dennett – and especially Lynne Rudder Baker – take as central to being a Person7.
- I wondered whether this theory is more about what Animals8 are, rather than what Persons9 are. Meincke seems to take it as obvious that we are10 animals (and also persons).
- While it’s important to recognize continuities in the natural world, any theory that ends up with fish11 as persons – let along plants12 – is getting silly.
- Like any novel view, it’s not clear whether some of the standard problems that appear to be side-stepped by this approach just pop up again in another guise (how are processes individuated? Do we have [Problems of the Many] for processes, etc.), and that – while solving some problems – the Process view causes others to arise.
- I’ve now read the paper and made my usual copious marginal annotations; I’m in the process of writing up a detailed appraisal and critique, as below.
- Author’s Abstract
- I wondered whether a substance having an essence13 was the same as having essential properties14. I understand what essential properties are supposed to be, but not what an essence would be.
- I wondered whether a thing’s essence might be its (Natural15) Kind16 membership?
- I feel that saying that change is essential for an entity’s identity was too strong. It is true that organisms do need to continually change in order to maintain themselves in existence, but would we want to say that a deep-frozen organism had ceased to exist? The transhumanists17 would probably disagree. Then again, if an organism died, as all must, does its corpse need to change in order to continue existing? It’s true that it would change, but this seems to be a contingent matter. Finally, does a diamond carefully preserved continue to exist?
- The Metamorphoses of the Substance View of Human Persons
- Towards a Process View of the Human Person
- "Aristotle, Lawson-Tancred (Hugh) - The Metaphysics" (2004).
- Aristotle (2016): The Categories19, transl. by E. M. Edghill, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
- Aurelius Augustine (2012): De trinitate, transl. by E. Hill (The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century, vol. I.5), Hyde Park, N.Y.: New City Press.
- "Bapteste (Eric) & Dupre (John) - Towards a processual microbial ontology" (2013).
- William Bechtel (2006): Discovering cell mechanisms, New York: Cambridge University Press.
- Bickhard, M. (2011): “Systems and Process Metaphysics20”, in: Handbook of Philosophy of Science. Philosophy of Complex Systems, Vol. 10, ed. by C. Hooker21, Amsterdam: Elsevier, 91-104.
- Ancius Boethius (1918): Contra Eutychen et Nestorium, in: Theological Tractates and the Consolation of Philosophy, transl. by H. F. Stewart & E. K. Rand, London & Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
- "Calvo (Paco) - The philosophy of plant neurobiology: a manifesto" (2016).
- Campbell, R. (2015): The Metaphysics of Emergence, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
- "Chalmers (David) & Clark (Andy) - The Extended Mind". (1998).
- "De Jesus (Paulo) - Autopoietic Enactivism, Phenomenology and the Deep Continuity Between Life and Mind" (2016).
- John Dupré. (2012): Processes of Life. Essays in the Philosophy of Biology, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- "Gosling (Samuel D.) - Personality in Non-human Animals" (2008).
- Martin Heidegger (1962): Being and Time22. Transl. by J. Macquarrie & E. Robinson. Malden: Blackwell.
- Martin Heidegger (1988): The Basic Problems of Phenomenology, transl. by A. Hofstadter. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
- "Hershenov (David) - A Hylomorphic Account of Thought Experiments Concerning Personal Identity" (2008).
- Hölldobler, B. & Edward O. Wilson (2008): The Superorganism. The Beauty, Elegance and Strangeness of Insect Societies, New York: Norton.
- Honneth, A. (1995), The Struggle for Recognition: The Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
- David Hume (1964): A Treatise of Human Nature23, Volume I, ed. by A. D. Lindsay, London & New York: Dent & Dutton.
- Hutchins, E. (1996): Cognition in the Wild, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
- "Jaeger (Johannes), Irons (David) & Monk (Nick) - The Inheritance of Process: A Dynamical Systems Approach" (2012).
- "Jaeger (Johannes) & Monk (Nick) - Everything flows: A process perspective on life" (2015).
- Jonas, H. (1966): The Phenomenon of Life: Toward a Philosophical Biology, Evanston: Northwestern University Press.
- Immanuel Kant (1998): The Critique of Pure Reason24, (The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant), transl. and ed. by P. Guyer & A. Wood, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- "Koslicki (Kathrin) - Aristotle's Mereology and the Status of Form". (2006).
- "Lewis (David) - Survival and Identity" (1983a).
- Lewis, D. K. (1983b): “Postscripts to ‘Survival and Identity’”, see above.
- "Lewis (David) - On the Plurality of Worlds" (1986).
- "Locke (John), Nidditch (Peter) - An Essay Concerning Human Understanding" (1987).
- E.J. Lowe (2008): “A Defence of Non-Cartesian Substance Dualism25”, in: Psycho-Physical Dualism Today: An Interdisciplinary Approach, ed. by A. Antonietti et al., Lanham et al.: Lexington Books, 167-183.
- "Machamer (Peter), Darden (Lindley) & Craver (Carl F.) - Thinking about Mechanisms" (2000).
- "MacIntyre (Alasdair) - After Virtue" (1984).
- "Marmodoro (Anna) - Aristotle’s Hylomorphism without Reconditioning" (2013).
- Humberto Maturana & Francisco J. Varela (1980): Autopoiesis and Cognition: The Realization of the Living, (Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science), Dordrecht et al.: Reidel.
- "Meincke (Anne Sophie) - Body or Organism? Eric T. Olson’s Charge of Cartesianism against the Bodily Criterion of Personal Identity" (2010).
- "Meincke (Anne Sophie) - On the Battlefield of Metaphysics" (2015).
- "Meincke (Anne Sophie) - Personal Identity Without Personality? Remarks on a Neglected Relation" (2016).
- "Meincke (Anne Sophie) - Metaphysics: On the Being-There of What There Is" (2017).
- "Meincke (Anne Sophie) - Do Human Embryos Have a Disposition to Personhood?" (2018a).
- "Meincke (Anne Sophie) - Bio-Agency and the Possibility of Artificial Agents" (2018b).
- "Meincke (Anne Sophie) - Persons as Biological Processes: A Bio-Processual Way Out of the Personal Identity Dilemma" (2018c).
- "Meincke (Anne Sophie) - Autopoiesis, Biological Autonomy and the Process View of Life" (forthcoming a).
- "Meincke (Anne Sophie) - How to stay the same while changing" (forthcoming b).
- "Menary (Richard) - Introduction to the special issue on 4E cognition" (2010).
- Alvaro Moreno & Matteo Mossio (2015): Biological Autonomy. A Philosophical and Theoretical Enquiry, (History and Theory of the Life Sciences 12), Dordrecht: Springer.
- "Nicholson (Daniel J.) & Dupre (John), Eds. - Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology" (2018).
- David Oderberg (2007): Real Essentialism, (Routledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy 11), New York & London: Routledge.
- "Olson (Eric) - The Human Animal - Personal Identity Without Psychology" (1997).
- "Olson (Eric) - What are We? A Study of Personal Ontology" (2007): What Are We? A Study in Personal Ontology, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- "Parfit (Derek) - Reasons and Persons" (1987).
- "Rescher (Nicholas) - Process Metaphysics: An Introduction to Process Philosophy" (1996).
- Edmund Runggaldier (2006): “The Aristotelian Alternative to Functionalism and Dualism”, in: Die menschliche Seele. Brauchen wir den Dualismus?, ed. by B. Niederbacher & E. Runggaldier, Frankfurt on the Main: Ontos, 221-248.
- Edmund Runggaldier (2008): “Operatio demonstrat substantiam”, in: Was sind menschliche Personen? Ein akttheoretischer Zugang, ed. by B. Niederbacher & E. Runggaldier, Frankfurt on the Main: Ontos, 17-35.
- Gilbert Ryle (2000): The Concept of Mind26, London: Penguin Books.
- Jean-Paul Sartre (2007): Existentialism is a Humanism, transl. by C. Macomber, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.
- "Schechtman (Marya) - The Constitution of Selves" (1996).
- "Seibt (Johanna) - Beyond Endurance and Perdurance: Recurrent Dynamics" (2008).
- "Seibt (Johanna) - Process Philosophy" (2016).
- "Simons (Peter) - Processes and Precipitates" (2018).
- "Skewes (Joshua) & Hooker (Cliff) - Bio-Agency and the Problem of Action" (2009).
- Spann (née Anne Sophie Meincke), A. S. (2012): “Substanz, Relation oder beides: Augustinus und Heidegger zur Frage ‘Was sind Personen?’” (“Substance, Relation or Both: Augustine and Heidegger on the Question ‘What are Persons?’”), in: Crossing Borders. Grenzen (über)denken. Beiträge zum 9. Internationalen Kongress der Österreichischen Gesellschaft für Philosophie in Wien, ed. by A. Dunshirn, E. Nemeth & G. Unterthurner, 2012, 839-847.
- Spann (née Anne Sophie Meincke), A. S. (2013): "Meincke (Anne Sophie) - Without Metaphysics, please!? Transtemporal Personal Identity as Practical Reality".
- Spann (née Anne Sophie Meincke), A. S. (2014): "Meincke (Anne Sophie) - Bio-Agency: Can Organisms Act?".
- "Swinburne (Richard) - Dualism Intact" (1996).
- "Taylor (Charles) - Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity" (1989): Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Thomas Aquinas (1998): On Being and Essence, in: Selected Writings of Thomas Aquinas, transl. by R. McInery, London: Penguin Books.
- Evan Thompson (2007): Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
- "Van Inwagen (Peter) - Material Beings" (1997).
- Francisco J. Varela (1979): Principles of Biological Autonomy, (The North-Holland Series in General Systems Research 2), New York: Elsevier.
- "Varela (Francisco J.) - Neurophenomenology: A Methodological Remedy for the Hard Problem" (1996).
- "Varela (Francisco J.) - Patterns of Life: Intertwining Identity and Cognition" (1997): “Patterns of Life: Intertwining Identity and Cognition”, Brain and Cognition 34, 72-87.
- Francisco J. Varela, Evan Thompson & Eleanor Rosch (1991): The Embodied Mind27, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
- "Wiggins (David) - Sameness and Substance Renewed" (2001).
- "Wiggins (David) - Activity, Process, Continuant, Substance, Organism" (2016).
In-Page Footnotes ("Meincke (Anne Sophie) - Human Persons – A Process View")
Footnote 11: Footnote 12: Footnote 18:
Footnote 19: See "Aristotle - Aristotle 1".
- This is a full list, for my own use and doesn’t include full bibliographical detail where I have the work in question (follow the link for this).
- If I don’t have the edition in question, but have an alternative, I’ve provided that in a footnote.
Footnote 20: Footnote 21: Footnote 22: See "Heidegger (Martin), Macquarrie (John) & Robinson (Edward) - Being and Time".
Footnote 23: See "Hume (David), Mossner (Ernest) - A Treatise of Human Nature"
Footnote 24: See "Kant (Immanuel), Kemp Smith (Norman) - Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason".
Footnote 25: Footnote 26: See"Ryle (Gilbert) - The Concept of Mind"
"Meincke (Anne Sophie) - Persons as Biological Processes: A Bio-Processual Way Out of the Personal Identity Dilemma"
Source: Everything Flows. Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology, ed. by D. J. Nicholson & J. A. Dupré, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, 357-378.
- Persons exist longer than a single moment in time; they persist through time. Strikingly enough, we are still in need of a theory that makes this natural and widespread assumption metaphysically comprehensible. Metaphysicians are deeply divided on how to account for personal identity and on whether there is such a thing at all. Many have actually cast doubt on the latter, thereby following the sceptical path famously taken by David Hume.
- The reason why we haven’t found so far a waterproof metaphysical justification for our everyday belief in personal identity might lie in the fact that personal identity is an illusion. It might, however, equally lie in the insufficiency of the explanatory approaches hitherto taken. Is it really, to speak with Hume, the question of personal identity that is ‘abstruse’, or do we rather have to blame the metaphysicians for having failed to grasp the problem correctly1?
- In this chapter I shall pursue the second of these two options. I take it that the accounts of personal identity put forward so far fail for fundamental reasons: they are committed to the wrong kind of ontology. In fact the debate on personal identity is stuck in a dilemma, manifest in the antagonism between reductionist theories, which reduce the identity of persons to weaker continuity relations, and non-reductionist theories, which declare it to be a primitive ‘further fact’. Personal identity is either eliminated or mystified.
- I wish to claim that this dilemma is a special case of a general dilemma of persistence, and that it can be overcome only if we replace the underlying metaphysical framework, shared by both sides of the debate, with a new one. Thing ontology, which gives priority to unchanging static things, must give way to process ontology, which takes process and change to be ontologically primary.
- I shall defend this claim in three steps:
- First, I shall briefly present the dilemma of personal identity.
- Second, I shall identify the thing-ontological roots of the dilemma. These roots can be traced — through reductionism’s and non-reductionism’s disagreements on what persons are (bundle theory vs substance theory), on what constitutes reality most fundamentally (Humean ontology vs substance ontology) and on what persistence is (perdurantism2 vs endurantism3) — back to a striking similarity: the disappearance of change on both sides.
- On the basis of this analysis, I shall demonstrate, third, how acknowledging the biological nature of human persons and switching to a process-ontological framework4 accordingly lays the foundations for a convincing account of personal identity exactly by rehabilitating change.
- I shall conclude by highlighting the most important assets and implications of such a move, as well as by indicating key tasks for further elaborating a bioprocess view of personal identity.
- Pre-print retrieved from Academia.edu, 5 August 2020
- Published version retrieved from Oxford Scholarship Online - Open Access - on 10 October 2020.
- Hard copy filed in "Various - Papers on Desktop".
In-Page Footnotes ("Meincke (Anne Sophie) - Persons as Biological Processes: A Bio-Processual Way Out of the Personal Identity Dilemma")
- Interestingly, Hume’s own position on this matter is ultimately not entirely clear either, as evidenced by the famous ‘Appendix on Personal Identity’ in his Treatise, where he complains about the result of his philosophical analysis being no less absurd than the absurdities it was meant to overcome; see Hume 1966: 317. See also the detailed discussion in Meincke 2015 (ch. 3.1).
"Meincke (Anne Sophie) - Processual Animalism: Towards a Scientifically Informed Theory of Personal Identity"
Source: Meincke (Anne Sophie) & Dupre (John), Eds. - Biological Identity: Perspectives from Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Biology
- Animalism is the view that we are biological beings, i.e., organisms or animals, and have biological persistence conditions. Personal identity, properly understood, is biological identity.
- In this chapter, I discuss this core animalist tenet, arguing for three claims:
- The Harmless Claim: animalism has not yet sufficiently explicated its key notion of biological identity;
- The Not-so-harmless Claim: a large part of what animalists do say about biological identity is in tension with what biologists and philosophers of biology say about biological identity;
- The Radical Claim: animalism cannot provide a convincing account of personal identity so long as the notion of biological identity employed is based on the metaphysical assumption that organisms are substances or things composed of (smaller) things.
- I argue that only processual animalism which recognises organisms as processes can deliver a truly convincing account of biological and, hence, personal identity, thus overcoming a characteristic dilemma faced by psychological accounts of personal identity, rather than repeating it.
- Anne Sophie Meincke concludes the dialogue by arguing for ‘Processual Animalism’: a version of animalism that is based on the view that organisms are (continuant) processes.
- This proposal is motivated by the critical diagnosis that the animalist understanding of the key notion of biological identity is in conflict with our best contemporary science.
- Meincke shows this with respect to the two criteria of biological identity through time proposed by the animalists Eric Olson and Peter Van Inwagen, the Biological Continuity Criterion and the Life Criterion. The former proves unable to handle branching cases, such as the case of monozygotic twinning, prompting empirically questionable ad-hoc claims, while the latter invokes an empirically implausible view of a biological life as a well-individuated event.
- Meincke further argues that these difficulties have their ultimate roots in the thing ontological framework presupposed by animalism, and suggests that animalism adopt a (non-four-dimensionalist) process ontological framework instead.
- Meincke then explains how such a processual and scientifically informed notion of biological identity, complemented by a processual theory of mammalian pregnancy, resolves the branching problem for animalism and lays the foundations for a convincing comprehensive account of our identity through time that integrates biological and personal aspects.
COMMENT: Printout filed in "Various - Papers on Desktop".
In-Page Footnotes ("Meincke (Anne Sophie) - Processual Animalism: Towards a Scientifically Informed Theory of Personal Identity")
"Meincke (Anne Sophie) & Dupre (John) - Biological Identity: Why Metaphysicians and Philosophers of Biology Should Talk to One Another"
Source: Meincke (Anne Sophie) & Dupre (John), Eds. - Biological Identity: Perspectives from Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Biology
- Analytic metaphysics has recently discovered biology as a means of grounding metaphysical theories. Long-standing metaphysical puzzles are being reconsidered in the light of biological perspectives or concepts. These include the problems of personal identity and material constitution, which are increasingly being addressed by appeal to a biological understanding of identity.
- This development within metaphysics is in significant tension with the growing tendency amongst philosophers of biology to regard biological identity as a deep puzzle in its own right: recent studies especially of symbiosis and of the evolution of multi-cellular organisms, and the inherently dynamical character of living systems as revealed by systems biology and developmental biology, pose manifold and intricate challenges for a satisfying account of biological identity, ruling out an appeal to any unproblematic notion thereof.
- In this introductory chapter, we describe these challenges but also the need for an appreciation of the metaphysical questions and implications lurking in the background. Taken together, these observations demonstrate the importance of a dialogue between metaphysics and the philosophy of biology, which the present collection of essays aims to initiate.
- Biological Identity in Metaphysics and in the Philosophy of Biology
- Why Metaphysicians and Philosophers of Biology Should Talk to One Another
- Overview of the Dialogue to Follow1
COMMENT: Printout filed in "Various - Papers on Desktop".
In-Page Footnotes ("Meincke (Anne Sophie) & Dupre (John) - Biological Identity: Why Metaphysicians and Philosophers of Biology Should Talk to One Another")
- This section contains useful precis of the other Chapters in the book, which I intend to extract in due course.
"Noller (Jorg) - Beyond Animalism and Constitutionalism: The Person as A Form of Life"
Source: Retrieved from Academia.edu
- Two of the most prominent ontological theories of personal identity are Eric Olson’s animalism1 and Lynne Rudder Baker’s constitution view2.
- Whereas animalism argues that we are essentially animals and merely accidentally persons, the constitution view holds that we are essentially persons and derivatively animals.
- In my paper, I shall argue that both theories fall short. A transformative approach to personal identity, as I develop it, must avoid the dilemma of reductionism and dualism with regard to the relationship between bodily organism and person, as manifested in the debate between animalism and constitution view.
- Personal identity is not so much about the addition of properties to an animal body, but about the transformation of the animal life. The difference between animal and person is therefore not categorical or generic, but specific: personal properties are nothing additional to an animal body, but expressions of the personal life form.
COMMENT: Retrieved from Academia.edu, 5 August 2020
"Otsuka (Michael) - Personal Identity, Substantial Change, and the Significance of Becoming"
Source: Erkenntnis (2018) 83:1229–1243
- According to philosophers who ground your anticipation of future experiences in psychological continuity and connectedness1, it is rational to anticipate the experiences of someone other than yourself, such as a self that is the product of fission or of replication2.
- In this article, I concur that it is rational to anticipate the experiences of the product of fission while denying the rationality of anticipating the experiences of a replica.
- In defending my position, I offer the following explanation of why you have good reason to anticipate the experiences of your post-fission successor but not your replica: in the former case, you become (i.e., substantially change into) somebody else, whereas, in the latter case, you are merely replaced by somebody else.
COMMENT: For the full text, see Otsuka - Personal Identity, Substantial Change, and the Significance of Becoming.
"Rosen (Victoria) - One Brain. Two Minds? Many Questions"
Source: Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 2018 Spring; 16(2): R48–R50
- For several decades, split-brain research has provided valuable insight into the fields of psychology and neuroscience. These studies have progressed our knowledge of hemispheric specialization, language processing, the role of the corpus callosum, cognition, and even human consciousness.
- Following a recent empirical paper by Pinto et al. (2017a) and review by Volz and Gazzaniga (2017), a debate has ensued about the nature of conscious perception of visual stimuli in split-brain patients.
- This exchange is an ideal platform for generating discussion about both the implications of recent findings and the interpretation of results from split-brain studies in general.
COMMENT: See Rosen - One Brain. Two Minds? Many Questions.
"Ross (Alex) - Black Scholars Confront White Supremacy in Classical Music"
Source: The New Yorker, 21 September 2020
See Ross - Black Scholars Confront White Supremacy in Classical Music.
"Sauchelli (Andrea) - The animal, the corpse, and the remnant-person"
Source: Philosophical Studies: Published online on 20 April 2016
- I argue that a form of animalism that does not include the belief that ‘human animal’ is a substance-sortal has a dialectical advantage over other versions of animalism.
- The main reason for this advantage is that Phase Animalism, the version of animalism described here, has the theoretical resources to provide convincing descriptions of the outcomes of scenarios problematic for other forms of animalism.
- Although Phase Animalism rejects the claim that ‘human animal’ is a substance-sortal, it is still appealing to those who believe that our nature is continuous or of a similar kind to that of other physical entities.
COMMENT: Retrieved from Academia.edu, 21 August 2020
"Tzinman (Rina) - Against the Brainstem View of the Persistence of Human Animals"
Source: A. Blank (ed.), Animals: New Essays. Philosophia (forthcoming)
- In this paper I will discuss Eric Olson’s account of the persistence of human animals.
- I will first show that Olson is committed to the view that brainstem persistence is necessary and sufficient for the persistence of human animals.
- I will then show flaws in the account by discussing two thought experiments.
- The upshot of the discussion is that any future account of human animal persistence, and thus any animalist account of our own persistence, should steer away from accounting for human persistence via the brainstem.
COMMENT: Retrieved from Academia.edu, 5 August 2020
"Tzinman (Rina) - Memory, Organisms and the Circle of Life"
Source: Draft. Retrieved from Academia.edu
- Suppose an evil scientist, Mona, captures Moe and transposes all of Moe’s mental life into another human organism, Doe. The human organism (previously) associated with Moe, remains intact and alive. At some point, Mona decides to use the body for other purposes, and suffocates it until all its vital functions cease and rigor mortis sets in. Mona thinks that she didn’t kill Moe because he persists as Doe, given that his entire mental life has been transposed to Doe. Therefore, whereas the remaining human animal that was associated with Moe ceases to live, Moe continues to exist.
- Mona is a psychological-continuity theorist of personal identity. According to psychological continuity theories, we are essentially psychological beings and have psychological persistence conditions. According to one such theory, the memory view, our persistence conditions are given in terms of memory.
- By contrast, some theorists, namely animalists, would argue that Moe persists as the human animal, and not as Doe; we are necessarily human animals, and not psychological beings. Accordingly, animalists think that Moe persists as long as the human animal (with which he is identical) persists. However, while animalists agree that Moe just is the human animal, and that he persists as long as it persists, they disagree about whether he (i.e. the human animal) ceases to exist at death or can persist through death as a corpse1. There are two main factions within the animalist camp, which provide two distinct answers to the question of when we – human animals – cease to exist. According to the organic animalist camp human animals persist so long as they are alive; necessarily, we are living human animals. According to the somatic animalist camp we are identical to human animals, but these human animals might persist through death as corpses2 (I am borrowing the terminology “organic animalism” and “somatic animalism” from Blatti, 2014).
- In this paper, I will argue that organic animalists cannot specify the persistence conditions of human animals in a non-circular way. The structure of the paper will be as follows.
- In section 1 I will discuss organic animalism and raise a circularity problem for it.
- In section 2 I will discuss an analogous worry affecting the memory view.
- Then I will argue that existing solutions for the circularity worry about the memory view (section 3) cannot be transposed to help organic animalists with the circularity problem affecting their persistence criterion (section 4).
- I will then ask whether we can solve the circularity problem in some other way, by starting with the question of what kind of a thing, and specifically what kind of an event, a life is. I will argue that on any plausible construal of events, we land in one version or other of the circularity problem.
- I will conclude that the organic animalist’s usual way of understanding organism persistence is hopelessly circular.
"Van Inwagen (Peter) - Dualism and Materialism: Athens and Jerusalem?"
Source: Faith and Philosophy 12: 475-88, 1995
- The thesis that dualism is a Greek import into Christianity and that the Christian hope of eternal life does not presuppose dualism has recently begun to win adherents. This paper is a defense of this thesis.
- One philosophical argument for dualism (that dualism best explains the phenomenon of sensuous experience) is briefly discussed and is rejected.
- The body of the paper addresses the relevant creedal and biblical data. The paper closes with a discussion of the question whether the doctrine of the Resurrection of the Dead, on which the Christian hope of eternal life is founded, presupposes dualism.
- Most Christians seem to have a picture of the afterlife that can without too much unfairness be described as "Platonic." When one dies, one's body decays, and what one is, what one has been all along, an immaterial soul or mind or self, continues to exist. One then faces judgment and is "sent" to heaven or to hell.
- Christians who are particularly well-instructed (by current standards), will know that they are supposed to believe in something that doesn't fit this picture too well, something called the Resurrection of the Dead; if pressed, they will perhaps say that the burden of the doctrine of the Resurrection of the Dead is that eventually God will give everyone a body again — one of those mysterious and apparently pointless procedures for which God no doubt has some good reason that He has mercifully chosen not to bother us with (like Confirmation).
- This picture of the afterlife obviously presupposes Platonic or Cartesian dualism. I want to explain why I find this doctrine unsatisfactory, both as a Christian and as a philosopher. (But, as my title no doubt suggests, I'm going to have more to say about my religious difficulties with dualism. And my discussion of religious difficulties with dualism will be centered on the afterlife.)
- I intend these notes to be fairly brief, picking up key points of interest rather than providing a detailed commentary. I also intend to focus on the metaphysics rather than the Biblical exegesis, other than to note how the discussion of the awkward passages agrees or otherwise with accounts I’ve read in the past.
- I’ve no real interest in a detailed investigation of the merits of Dualism1, as I think it’s a lost cause for which I have no inclination.
- Peter Van Inwagen2 deals with Dualism in Chapters 10 and 11 of "Van Inwagen (Peter) - Metaphysics", ie. in:-
→ "Van Inwagen (Peter) - The Nature of Rational Beings: Dualism and Physicalism", and
→ "Van Inwagen (Peter) - The Nature of Rational Beings: Dualism and Personal Identity".
I need to read these chapters and note the arguments. The style doesn’t seem to be as compressed or taxing as most analytical philosophy.
- In this paper PvI notes that “property dualism”, if it means anything at all, seems to presuppose substance dualism, which is therefore the focus of discussion.
- I agree with PvI that “when I look into myself” I see that I am a living animal, albeit a human one. I also agree that introducing dualism complicates matters without adding anything of value.
- This implies that PvI is (or was) an Animalist3 as well as a Christian Materialist4.
- Dualism may – as PvI points out – appear to make the appearance of qualia more “understandable”, but only because we’ve no real idea what we’re imagining when we think we’re imagining an immaterial substance. The fact that I find it difficult to imagine how “mere matter” can generate qualia doesn’t mean it’s any easier to imagine this for an immaterial substance. I might add that – by scientific investigation – we can learn more and more about the organization of “mere matter”, which may ultimately help our imaginings, but no amount of reflection on immaterial substances gets us anywhere as we’re not learning anything new.
- I agree that Daniel 12:2 is the first OT reference to Resurrection; Ezekiel 37 refers to the political restauration of the nation of Israel to the Land. Also, Daniel states that the dead are asleep.
- Saul and the Witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28): PvI thinks – and I agree – that this is an awkward passage for Christians, whether dualists or materialists: would a necromancer really have the power to summon up Samuel from the dead?
- PvI notes that – while not being a textbook of metaphysics – the NT was composed in a world in which metaphysics was “in the air”. Greek metaphysical speculation – PvI thinks – was behind the question Paul addresses in 1 Corinthians: 155 concerning the specifics of the resurrection of the dead. How’s it supposed to work?
- PvI thinks 1 Corinthians: 156 is the only passage in the NT that addresses the issue. He quotes verses 36-45 as most relevant. I’m addressing the whole passage in the Note just linked to, so won’t try to expound it here, but just focus on the points PvI thinks are important.
- He addresses verse 37. What is sown isn’t the body that will be (resurrected) but a “naked kernel” (kokkos7).
- PvI thinks it’s wrong to assume that what’s meant by the “naked kernel” is the Platonic soul, which is variously clothed with the old body and then the resurrection body, on the grounds that (the adjective from) psuche is used of that which dies, and represents the “Adamic” life, in contrast to the spiritual (pneuma) life that animates the resurrection body.
- I’m not sure what either “life” is supposed to be. I can’t speculate on spiritual life, but we don’t want to be committed to any sort of vitalism where animal (including human animal) life is concerned. See my note on Life8.
- PvI now has an interesting paragraph on “body9” (soma). He doesn’t want it to be understood in the “strict Cartesian sense”. He points out that while even a contemporary analytic philosopher might loosely speak of a BIV10 as “not having a body”, strictly speaking the BIV is11 that person’s body.
- So, a Cartesian could claim that a person never lacks a body in the “strict Cartesian sense”, because the “naked kernel” – whatever that might turn out to be – would be that body.
- I’m not sure whether PvI goes along with this. Does he think that the “naked kernel” is a physical thing – something like a Luz bone12?
- PvI thinks that Paul doesn’t use soma in the strict Cartesian sense. So – I presume – he doesn’t treat the naked kernel as the person’s residual body (as the Cartesian view of the BIV would be) but as … what? He thinks that it will be ‘clothed’ with spiritual (but material) flesh and will have spiritual (but material) blood in its spiritual (but material) veins. So “flesh and blood” does inherit the kingdom of God, according to PvI, but it’s new flesh (and blood) that does so.
- I’m not sure whether this is a necessary doctrine for a Christian Materialist, but I still have a question about the role played by the ‘naked kernel’. Is it a necessary component for assuring the identity of the pre-and post-resurrection person? If so, does it persist into resurrection life, and is it of the appropriate spiritual material?
- All this seems to ignore any “seed” symbolism. The plant grows out of the seed, and uses some of the seed’s material. Is this relevant to resurrection by any sort of analogy?
- PvI’s final footnote states that the paper was originally read at “the Notre Dame conference on the Philosophy of Mind”. I don’t know anything more about this, but it’s surprising that so much Biblical exegesis could appear in a philosophy conference. It wouldn’t happen in the UK, other than at a theology college on a specifically “religious” topic (like Religion and Naturalism13, Heythrop College, 12 July 2010). However, University of Notre Dame has an explicitly Catholic ethos, though much of its research and teaching is secular. It’s noted that the conference was repeated for the Society of Christian Philosophers, and all those identified as commenting appear to be Christians.
- I see that Dean Zimmerman was the commentator, so maybe his response was a warm-up for the exchange:-
→ "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Christians Should Reject Mind-Body Dualism"
→ "Zimmerman (Dean) - Christians Should Affirm Mind-Body Dualism",
→ and further replies.
- William Hasker and Daniel Howard-Snyder are thanked for questions and comments.
COMMENT: Obtained from Van Inwagen - Dualism and Materialism: Athens and Jerusalem?.
In-Page Footnotes ("Van Inwagen (Peter) - Dualism and Materialism: Athens and Jerusalem?")
Footnote 2: Hereafter “PvI”.
- ‘Naked’ is ‘gymnos’, as is to be expected – so ‘bare’ in the usual translation really does mean – ‘naked’ – without clothes, and nor ‘mere’ or something like that.
- So, whatever is ‘sown’ requires clothing.
- I agree – a BIV is a “maximally mutilated” human organism.
- However, Eric Olson treats the brain as “just another organ” and would deny (if I understand him correctly) that the “body” was that organ – since it would have been the residue of the organism when the brain was removed from it.
- See my Notes on Brain Transplants and BIVs for my thoughts on this matter.
- This is discussed in "Chisholm (Roderick) - Which Physical Thing Am I? An Excerpt from 'Is There a Mind-Body Problem?'" and my notes thereon.
→ Wikipedia: Luz bone
→ Jewish Encyclopedia: Luz
→ Shapiro - Luz: The Mystical Bone of Resurrection
- It’s interesting that it’s an actual bone at one or other end of the spinal column, and that it seems to have been associated with resurrection by all three Abrahamic religions. There seems to be some confusion about which bone it is – either the coccyx (the tail-bone at the end of the sacrum) or the first cervical vertebra at the top. It might also be the cauda equina in the lower back, but this doesn’t look very indestructible.
- The idea that there’s a particular indestructible bone comes from a variant (and contextually silly) reading of Psalm 34:20 “he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken”, quoted in John 19:36 as a reason why Jesus’ legs weren’t broken. The variant reading is “one of his bones will not be broken”.
- Its supposed indestructibility is – of course – a fable.
"Various - Papers on Desktop"
Source: Various - Papers on Desktop
- If this pseudo-paper appears in "Various - Papers on Desktop" on its own, this indicates that there are no papers on my desktop!
- Otherwise, it can be ignored.
"Wikipedia - Turkish Language"
- Turkish (Türkçe), also referred to as Istanbul Turkish (İstanbul Türkçesi) or Turkey Turkish (Türkiye Türkçesi), is the most widely spoken of the Turkic languages, with around 70 to 80 million speakers, mostly in Turkey. Outside its native country, significant smaller groups of speakers exist in Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Northern Cyprus, Greece, the Caucasus, and other parts of Europe and Central Asia. Cyprus has requested that the European Union add Turkish as an official language, even though Turkey is not a member state.
- To the west, the influence of Ottoman Turkish — the variety of the Turkish language that was used as the administrative and literary language of the Ottoman Empire — spread as the Ottoman Empire expanded. In 1928, as one of Atatürk's Reforms in the early years of the Republic of Turkey, the Ottoman Turkish alphabet was replaced with a Latin alphabet.
- The distinctive characteristics of the Turkish language are vowel harmony and extensive agglutination. The basic word order of Turkish is subject–object–verb. Turkish has no noun classes or grammatical gender. The language makes usage of honorifics and has a strong T–V distinction which distinguishes varying levels of politeness, social distance, age, courtesy or familiarity toward the addressee. The plural second-person pronoun and verb forms are used referring to a single person out of respect.
COMMENT: See Wikipedia: Turkish Language.
"Wyatt (John) - Artificial intelligence and simulated relationships"
Source: Cambridge Papers, Vol. 28.3, December 2019
- Interactions with apparently human-like and ‘emotionally intelligent’ AIs are likely to become commonplace within the next ten years, ranging from entirely disembodied agents like chatbots through to physical humanoid robots.
- This will lead to new and troubling ethical, personal and legal dilemmas. Will the promotion of ‘relationships’ with machines contribute to societal wellbeing and human flourishing, or provide new opportunities for manipulation and deception of the vulnerable?
- As biblical Christians we are called to safeguard and to celebrate the centrality of embodied human-to-human relationships, particularly in essential caring and therapeutic roles, and in our families and Christian communities.
COMMENT: For the full text see Wyatt - Artificial intelligence and simulated relationships.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
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