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Personal Identity

Concepts

(Text as at 25/08/2009 21:38:53)

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


See "Unger (Peter) - I Do Not Exist" for the importance of concepts. Unger’s answer to the problem of vagueness – as exemplified by the “disappearing chair” problem (atom-wise annihilation of the chair … just when does it cease to be?) is that there never were any chairs, just our concept of a chair and atoms arranged chair-wise. We sit on the atoms, not on the concept, but we describe the atom-heap as a chair. But this concept is vague, or there is a family resemblance, so sometimes it’s not clear whether it applies or not. The big question is whether natural-kind1 objects exist independently of our conceptual schemes. Certainly they do as atom-heaps, unclear whether they do as concepts. So, various atom-heaps carry on existing, but whether our concepts carry on applying is vague.

Others (Van Inwagen2?) take the view that only mereological simples and organisms exist, which seems to be a similar view.

There seems to be something special about natural-kind concepts, the persistence of whose exemplars (unlike those of artefact-concepts) don’t in any sense seem to depend on us and our concepts. Is PERSON3 a natural kind concept? If it isn’t, then are we simply left with rather inconsequential semantic4 arguments?

Are the arguments above really saying above that artefacts don’t exist? Presumably artefacts depend on us for their existence as artefacts5, though not as lumps of matter. Baker6 argues that a new ontological7 entity (a painting) comes into existence because of the relation of an object (a canvas plus paint appropriately distributed) to an art-world. I need to press Baker here. Are all her analogies truly analogous? Given evolution, even species-concepts (paradigms for natural kind concepts) are mobile rather than being eternally fixed. Yet Baker seems to think that it’s a relation to evolutionary history that makes an animal8 what it is (as distinct, presumably, from atoms arranged animal-wise).



Printable Versions:



Table of the Previous 2 Versions of this Note:

Date Length Title
26/11/2007 23:25:26 1995 Concepts
12/08/2007 10:17:46 1748 Concepts



Note last updated Reading List for this Topic Parent Topic
25/08/2009 21:38:53 Concepts Semantics

Summary of Note Links from this Page

Animals Artifacts Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity) Baker Natural Kinds
Ontology Person Semantics    

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




Summary of Note Links to this Page

Counting Persons Methuselah Person Research - Focus 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?
Olson (Eric) Persistence Paper High Quality Abstract   Yes
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Concepts Paper Medium Quality Abstract   Yes
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Counting Persons Paper Medium Quality Abstract   Yes
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Current Position Paper Medium Quality Abstract   Yes
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Methuselah Paper Medium Quality Abstract   Yes
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Person Paper Medium Quality Abstract   Yes
Wilson (Jack) Beyond Horses and Oak Trees: A New Theory of Individuation for Living Entities Paper High Quality Abstract   Yes



References & Reading List

Author Title Medium Source Read?
Baker (Lynne Rudder) Everyday Concepts as a Guide to Reality Paper - By Subtopic Low Quality Abstract The Monist, Vol. 89, No. 3, Coming into Being and Passing Away (July 2006), pp. 313-333 6%
Baron (Samuel) & Miller (Kristie) Our Concept of Time Paper - By Subtopic Low Quality Abstract B. Mölder, Arstila & P. Ohrstrom (eds.), Philosophy and Psychology of Time. Springer, 2015. pp. 29-52 5%
Carruthers (Peter) Invertebrate concepts confront the Generality Constraint (and win) Paper - By Subtopic Medium Quality Abstract R. Lurz (ed.), The Philosophy of Animal Minds. CUP, 2009 8%
Dretske (Fred) Concepts and Meaning Paper - By Subtopic Dretske - Knowledge and the Flow of Information, 1981, Chapter 9 No
Dretske (Fred) Knowledge and the Flow of Information Book - By Subtopic (via Paper By Subtopic) Low Quality Abstract Dretske (Fred) - Knowledge and the Flow of Information 15%
French (Peter) & Wettstein (Howard), Eds. Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol XXVIII) - The American Philosophers Book - By Subtopic (via Paper By Subtopic) Low Quality Abstract French (Peter) & Wettstein (Howard), Eds. - Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol XXVIII) - The American Philosophers No
Goodman (Russell B.) James (1842-1910) on the Nonconceptual Paper - By Subtopic French (Peter) & Wettstein (Howard), Eds. - Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol XXVIII) - The American Philosophers No
MacDonald (Graham) Perception & Identity - Essays Presented to A J Ayer with His Replies Book - Cited (via Paper Cited) Medium Quality Abstract Bibliographical details to be supplied 2%
Machery (Edouard) Concepts: Investigating the Heterogeneity Hypothesis Paper - By Subtopic Sytsma - Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Mind, Chapter 8 No
Margolis (Eric) & Laurence (Stephen), Eds. Concepts - Core Readings Book - By Subtopic Low Quality Abstract Margolis (Eric) & Laurence (Stephen), Eds. - Concepts - Core Readings No
McGinn (Colin) Conceptual Causation: Some Elementary Reflections Paper - By Subtopic Medium Quality Abstract Mind, New Series, Vol. 100, No. 4, Mind and Content (Oct., 1991), pp. 573-586 17%
Miller (Kristie) On The Concept Of Sexual Perversion Paper - By Subtopic Low Quality Abstract The Philosophical Quarterly (1950-), Vol. 60, No. 241 (October 2010), pp. 808-830 No
Stephan (Achim) Are Animals Capable of Concepts? Paper - By Subtopic Low Quality Abstract Erkenntnis, Vol. 51, No. 1, Animal Mind (1999) (pp. 79-92) No
Sytsma (Justin), Ed. Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Mind Book - By Subtopic (via Paper By Subtopic) Low Quality Abstract Sytsma (Justin), Ed. - Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Mind 2%
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Concepts Paper - By Subtopic Medium Quality Abstract   Yes
Unger (Peter) I Do Not Exist Paper - Cited Low Quality Abstract MacDonald - Perception & Identity - Essays Presented to A J Ayer with His Replies, 1979 Yes
Wiggins (David) Continuants: Their Activity, Their Being, and Their Identity Book - By Subtopic (via Paper By Subtopic) Medium Quality Abstract Wiggins (David) - Continuants: Their Activity, Their Being, and Their Identity 8%
Wiggins (David) The Concept of the Subject Contains the Concept of the Predicate Paper - By Subtopic Low Quality Abstract Wiggins (David) - Continuants: Their Activity, Their Being, and Their Identity 11%



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