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Personal Identity

Physicalism

(Text as at 18/12/2010 19:58:05)

(For earlier versions of this Note, see the table at the end)


Basically, I reject any form of mind-body dualism or immaterialist monism. There are no souls1, if a soul is an immaterial substance separable from a body2. But, I need to investigate Zimmerman’s recent “emergent dualism” (see "Zimmerman (Dean) - Reply to Baker's 'Christians Should Reject Mind-Body Dualism'"), despite the fact that his main motivation is a desire to conform to a traditionalist reading of Christian doctrine. Given my focus on physicalism, I will need to give some attention to the identity and persistence criteria3 of material objects as such. There are too many versions of physicalism for its endorsement to deliver much without clarification, so I will need to pursue the matter in some detail. For the moment, I simply wish to note (or claim) that:

  1. “The physical” encompasses both body and brain4 (ie. the physical criterion5 of personal identity would be satisfied if continuity of brain were essential for the persistence of the person).
  2. The brain is more important than other physical organs for the persistence of the human being6 or the human person7.
Consequently, I think it worthwhile to conduct a detailed investigation into the functional roles of the various parts of the brain, CNS (Central Nervous System) and PNS (peripheral ...) and how these and the residue of the body are coupled together. Such matters may be relevant to the realism of the various thought experiments8 about brain transplants9, cerebrum transplants and such-like.

It is, however, debatable how important these details are. For example, debates seem to continue about the possible identity of pain and C-fibre-firing, when it’s now acknowledged by all the participants in such debates that the physical realisation of pain-states in mammals requires a lot more than C-fibres. The assumption seems to be that the details don’t matter and that similar arguments could be constructed whatever the physical realisation of mental states might be.



Printable Versions:



Previous Version of this Note:

Date Length Title
12/08/2007 10:17:46 1951 Physicalism



Note last updated Reading List for this Topic Parent Topic
18/12/2010 19:58:05 Physicalism Bodily Continuity

Summary of Note Links from this Page

Body Brain Human Beings Human Persons Persistence Criteria
Physical Continuity Souls Thought Experiments Transplants  

To access information, click on one of the links in the table above.




Summary of Note Links to this Page

Closest Continuer Functionalism Naturalism Research - Proposal Thesis - Current Stance

To access information, click on one of the links in the table above.




Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note

Author Title Medium Extra Links Read?
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Closest Continuer Paper Medium Quality Abstract   Yes
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Current Position Paper Medium Quality Abstract   Yes
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Functionalism Paper Medium Quality Abstract   Yes
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Naturalism Paper Medium Quality Abstract   Yes
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Physicalism Paper Medium Quality Abstract   Yes



References & Reading List

Author Title Medium Source Read?
Blakemore (Colin) & Greenfield (Susan), Eds. Mindwaves: Thoughts on Intelligence, Identity and Consciousness Book - By Subtopic (via Paper By Subtopic) Low Quality Abstract Blakemore (Colin) & Greenfield (Susan), Eds. - Mindwaves: Thoughts on Intelligence, Identity and Consciousness No
Corcoran (Kevin) Nothing-But Materialism Paper - By Subtopic Medium Quality Abstract Corcoran (Kevin) - Rethinking Human Nature, Chapter 2 13%
Corcoran (Kevin) Rethinking Human Nature: A Christian Materialist Alternative to the Soul Book - By Subtopic (via Paper By Subtopic) Medium Quality Abstract Corcoran (Kevin) - Rethinking Human Nature: A Christian Materialist Alternative to the Soul 13%
Crane (Tim) & Mellor (D.H.) There is No Question of Physicalism Paper - By Subtopic Mind 99.394, April 1990, pp. 185-206 No
Hawley (Katherine) Science as a Guide to Metaphysics? Paper - By Subtopic High Quality Abstract Synthese, 149 (2006), pp. 451-470 25%
Hirsch (Eli) Physical Identity Paper - By Subtopic   No
Jaworski (William) Mind and Multiple Realizability Paper - By Subtopic Low Quality Abstract The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, June 2008 25%
Kagan (Shelly) Death Book - By Subtopic (via Paper By Subtopic) Medium Quality Abstract Kagan (Shelly) - Death Yes
Kagan (Shelly) The nature of persons: dualism versus physicalism Paper - By Subtopic Low Quality Abstract Open Yale Courses, 2007 Yes
Markosian (Ned) What are Physical Objects? Paper - By Subtopic Medium Quality Abstract Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61, No. 2, Sep., 2000, pp. 375-395 No
Murphy (Nancey) I Cerebrate Myself: Is there a little man inside your brain? Paper - By Subtopic High Quality Abstract Books and Culture 5/1 (Jan-Feb 1999), p. 24 Yes
Papineau (David) Physicalism and the Human Sciences Paper - By Subtopic Papineau's Website; C. Macdonald and G. Macdonald (eds) Emergence No
Peterson (Michael) & VanArragon (Raymond) Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Religion Book - Cited (via Paper Cited) High Quality Abstract Bibliographical details to be supplied 39%
Pollock (John L.) How to Build a Person: A Prolegomenon Book - By Subtopic (via Paper By Subtopic) Medium Quality Abstract Pollock (John L.) - How to Build a Person: A Prolegomenon 6%
Pollock (John L.) The Physical Basis For Mentality Paper - By Subtopic Low Quality Abstract Pollock - How to Build a Person, Chapter 4 No
Schneider (Steven) Identity Theory Paper - By Subtopic Low Quality Abstract The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, June 2009 No
Searle (John) Minds and Brains Without Programs Paper - By Subtopic Blakemore & Greenfield - Mindwaves No
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Physicalism Paper - By Subtopic Medium Quality Abstract   Yes
Van Inwagen (Peter) Dualism and Materialism: Athens and Jerusalem? Paper - By Subtopic Faith and Philosophy 12: 475-88, 1995 No
Van Inwagen (Peter) Metaphysics Book - By Subtopic (via Paper By Subtopic) Medium Quality Abstract Van Inwagen (Peter) - Metaphysics 20%
Van Inwagen (Peter) The Nature of Rational Beings: Dualism and Physicalism Paper - By Subtopic Van Inwagen (Peter) - Metaphysics, Chapter 10 No
Wiggins (David) Identity, Necessity and Physicalism Paper - By Subtopic   No
Zimmerman (Dean) Reply to Baker's 'Christians Should Reject Mind-Body Dualism' Paper - Cited Low Quality Abstract Peterson (Michael) & Van Arragon (Raymond) - Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Religion, 2004 Yes



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