Theo Todman's Web Page

For Text Colour-conventions (at end of page): Click Here

Personal Identity - Research - Proposal

The topic1 I wish to research2 is “Personal Identity”, with the focus3,4,5,6 on the ontology7 of, and persistence criteria for, human persons8 and related sortals9. Since it is a contingent fact that all existents that are universally agreed to be persons are members of the species homo sapiens10, we must start with human beings in deciding what persons are.

I will scrutinise certain basic assumptions that I accept. Firstly, that the “identity” involved in personal identity is the ordinary logical notion11. Secondly, that some form of physicalism12 in the philosophy of mind is true and central to the topic. Thirdly, while it is analytic that survival involves identity, that what matters in survival13 is both physical14 & psychological15 continuity16.

In considering what a person is, I will need to consider somatic17, forensic18 and psychological19 issues, and, in particular, focus on self-consciousness20 and the first-person perspective21. I will need to consider semantic and conceptual22 issues as well as ontological issues.

I will focus on two views, namely Animalism23 and the Constitution View24. I must consider just what Baker and others mean by “constitution”, and evaluate the cogency of the supposedly knock-down “too many minds” argument25 that Olson and others have raised against it.

Key questions are whether or not the concept of a person is a natural kind concept26, and whether the various views take persons sufficiently seriously27. That is, are persons no more than phase sortals28 of certain animals29 or are they ontological novelties, as Baker suggests?

I will consider the usual problem cases, whether obtained from clinical observation30 or thought experiment31, including brain transplant, fission32, fusion33, duplication34, replication35 and metamorphosis36. In particular, I want to compare forward37 and backward psychological continuity and the role of normal causality38 in preserving identity. However, I need to consider whether all talk of first-person perspectives depends on a, presumably non-existent, Cartesian Ego39.

Since I’m particularly averse to “closest continuer”40 theories, I am tempted by four-dimensionalism41 and shared person-stages as a solution to some of the paradoxes where, otherwise, awkward choices have to be made. Since there are acknowledged difficulties for the perdurantist in not being able to count42 tokens of persons and other sortals, I need to address the attempted solutions43.44

I conclude this document (by way of an end-note) by considering the thought experiment of teletransportation45 to rehearse the key issues. I would need to repeat this exercise for all the favourites, including Unger’s Siliconisation46 and Williams’s backup/restore47.48

Note last updated: 26/09/2007 20:41:17


Footnote 1: (Background)

This study originated as a discussion document for my first (and only) tutorial when I was registered for the MPhilStud in 2005. I’ve resurrected it as a research proposal, and added a fair amount of material, but the notes probably attempt too much at this stage. Additionally, I’ve forgotten where the references are from, and haven’t had time to hunt them out. The first few pages are probably important in the context of my current application. The notes are very much “work in progress”. I’ve removed all the acknowledgements of muddle that appeared in the immediately previous edition, but they are to be understood passim.

Note last updated: 12/08/2007 10:17:46


Footnote 2: (Research - Internet Technology)

Another of my interests is a metaphilosophical project to use internet technology in the service of philosophy. Already in this little document I have felt the need for many levels of footnoting. I wish to use this course of study as an experiment in implementing some ideas and developing some technology that’s easy to use and freely available. It strikes me that any philosophical proposition is embedded in a host of other propositions held dear by its espouser, or depends on reasoning that's difficult to display in print. Cascading hyperlinks, contextual pop-ups and the like come to mind as potential aids to lucidity. Making such functions easy to generate and maintain would be difficult, so I see some prototyping coming along as part of my PhD scratch-work. Maybe the whole idea depends on epistemological foundationalism, but I think it’s consistent with coherentism. Either way, it would rather mercilessly expose one's ignorance and biases. I understand that the thesis will have to be written up traditionally.

Note last updated: 12/08/2007 10:17:46


Footnote 3: (Research - Focus)

Vastly more will be researched and written up than can be included in a 70,000-word thesis, though maybe some of this surfeit can be included in a book and in the above-mentioned internet site.

The issues in general philosophy that will require investigation in support of this research include:-

  • Concepts
  • Causation
  • Change3
  • Consciousness
  • Free Will5
  • Intuition and Thought Experiments
  • Modality7
  • Natural Kinds
  • Psychopathology9
  • Substance
  • Time11
  • Vagueness12
  • Etc ….
Additionally, this project overlaps somewhat with a more ambitious one in the Philosophy of Religion13.

Note last updated: 12/08/2007 10:17:46


Footnote 3.3: (Change)

Plug Note1

  • Change is obviously the central problem that questions of identity address. Just what changes can an object undergo while remaining the same thing?
  • That said, I’m not clear whether there will be much extra to say here other than what is covered under the heads of persistence and such like.
  • Maybe just two things for now:-
    1. If I understand things aright, change is something that happens to substances, and the question of identity is whether or not that substance remains the same substance after some change. Change is not relevant (or at least persistence through change isn’t relevant) under (at least) a couple of philosophical positions:-
      1. If we adopt a mereological essentialist position, whereby the things that exist are regions of space-time and their contents. Then, a things just is a collection of particles, and if one of these is destroyed, then so is the thing. This leads to the denial that there are any ordinary things, like chairs or animals, as they are always losing and gaining parts, and so only exist as the same thing momentarily.
      2. If we adopt a perdurantist account of persistence, the things that exist are space-time worms. A thing is not wholly present at a time, only its temporal stage is. The thing as a whole exists timelessly. Does the thing therefore change? Maybe not, but questions of persistence still apply, though maybe only pragmatically. Just what aggregate of stages are usefully described as a persisting thing? A four-dimensional naturalist might insist that exemplars of natural kinds – particularly organisms – have a greater claim to existence than arbitrary assemblages of stages.
    2. Another important matter is that (on many accounts) it is the rate of change that is critical. Everyone seems to agree that you cannot just swap out all the parts of a thing at the same time and claim that you have the same thing, whereas the assumption is that a thing can persist through change (pace the views in the bullet above) provided the changes occur slowly enough and piecemeal enough. After all, organisms replace all their parts over time (it is said) yet remain the same organism (ditto). It strikes me that there’s a degree of vagueness about how quickly the changes can take place without violating the persistence conditions of the object. Also, in the case of organisms, historically it has been supposed that the changes would take place naturally, but transplant surgery allows unnatural change. The transplanted organ will either by assimilated or rejected by the organism. If it is assimilated, especially if it’s hidden from view, we don’t feel any qualms about saying that is has become part of the organism, which has persisted through the change. I’m doubtful if we’d be so comfortable about the successful transplantation of visible parts, like limbs, particularly if only “accepted” by the use of immunosuppressant drugs.
  • A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
    1. "Arnold (Keith) - The Subject of Radical Change", Arnold, 1978
    2. "Aune (Bruce) - Changing Things", Aune, 1985
    3. "Baxter (Donald L.M.) - Loose Identity and Becoming Something Else", Baxter, 2001
    4. "Bottani (Andrea C.) - The Puzzle of Change", Bottani, 2001
    5. "Brody (Baruch) - The Theory of Change", Brody, 1980
    6. "Browning (Douglas) - Sameness Through Change and the Coincidence of Properties", Browning, 1988
    7. "Campbell (Scott) - Rapid Psychological Change", Campbell, 2004
    8. "Carter (William) - Change", Carter, 1990
    9. "Denkel (Arda) - Theon’s Tale: Does a Cambridge Change Result in a Substantial Change?", Denkel, 1995
    10. "Haslanger (Sally) - Persistence, Change, and Explanation", Haslanger, 1989
    11. "Heller (Mark) - Things Change", Heller, 1992
    12. "Hinchliff (Mark) - The Puzzle of Change", Hinchliff, 1996
    13. "LePoidevin (Robin) - Change", LePoidevin, 2003
    14. "Lowe (E.J.) - How Real Is Substantial Change?", Lowe, 2006
    15. "Lowe (E.J.) - Identity Over Time and Change Of Composition", Lowe, 2002
    16. "Mellor (D.H.) - Change", Mellor, 1998
    17. "Mortensen (Chris) - Change and Inconsistency", Mortensen, 2015
    18. "Ujvari (Marta) - Cambridge Change and Sortal Essentialism", Ujvari, 2004
    19. Also, see Bob Doyle: Change (http://metaphysicist.com/problems/change/).
  • This is mostly a place-holder. Currently, mostly see the categorised reading-list.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.

Note last updated: 14/01/2017 20:18:14


Footnote 3.5: (Free Will)

This may be somewhat peripheral to my concerns, unless free-will should prove essential to our concept of a PERSON. Maybe Dennett’s views in "Dennett (Daniel) - Elbow Room - The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting" will be of interest.

This is mostly a place-holder. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

Note last updated: 18/12/2010 19:58:05


Footnote 3.7: (Modality)

Plug Note1

  • Modality – the logic of possibility and necessity – is important to my thesis because discussions of Personal Identity often range over possible – rather than merely actual – events that an individual may encounter and which may call that individual’s continued existence into doubt.
  • This is particularly the case with the numerous popular thought experiments (TEs), one of which – Teletransportation – has a link to this Note (the bungled duplication case, and what this has to say about the standard singular case).
  • Modality also features in the arguments over the logic of identity – in particular the standard view that Identity is a necessary relation, contra the heretical positions.
  • I doubt I need to get into Modal Realism (Lewis) or other discussions about what modality reduces to ontologically.
  • The same goes for the intricacies of Modal Logic, though a quick read through "Girle (Rod) - Modal Logics and Philosophy" might be beneficial.
  • I need to review my old notes on "Kripke (Saul) - Naming and Necessity".
  • The topic found its way into an early note on the Focus of my research, but didn’t find its way into Chapter 4, which deals with basic metaphysical issues. Maybe it should be there?
  • "Sturgeon (Scott) - Zombies and Ghosts" has a useful categorisation of types of modality, and their relation to conceivability and genuine possibility.
  • There are lots of books and papers in the reading list below, but I suppose the following are the ones to start with:-
    1. "Hale (Bob) - Modality", Hale, 1997
    2. "Hawley (Katherine) - Modality", Hawley, 2004
    3. "Jubien (Michael) - Modality", Jubien, 1997
    4. "MacBride (Fraser), Ed. - Identity and Modality", MacBride, 2006
    5. "Melia (Joseph) - Modality", Melia, 2003 and
    6. "Williamson (Timothy) - Armchair Philosophy, Metaphysical Modality and Counterfactual Thinking", Williamson, 2005.
  • This is a place-holder. See the categorised reading-list below.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.

Note last updated: 14/01/2017 20:18:14


Footnote 3.9: (Psychopathology)

Psychopathological cases are useful as real-life thought-experiments for teasing out issues in the topic of personal identity, as in psychology generally. The underlying assumption is that pathological cases have lessons for the general non-pathological case.

This is mostly a place-holder. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

Note last updated: 18/12/2010 19:58:05


Footnote 3.11: (Time)

Plug Note1






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 11: Footnote 12: Footnote 13: Footnote 14: Footnote 15:

Note last updated: 21/09/2017 00:10:05


Footnote 3.11.8: (Time Travel)

Plug Note1

  • From the perspective of Personal Identity, Time travel enters into various thought experiments. It is sometimes taken as a knock-down argument against Endurantism, because if you travel back in time to talk to your former self, it doesn’t look as though you can be wholly present at a particular time, as different “time slices” of “you” are located in different places at the same time. Perdurantism isn’t worried by this TE.
  • See "Ehring (Douglas) - Personal Identity and Time Travel".
  • Otherwise, it may be best to start with an issue of the Monist
    → "Varzi (Achille) - Time-Travel".
  • A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
  • This is mostly a place-holder. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.

Note last updated: 25/09/2017 17:42:43


Footnote 3.12: (Vagueness)

Plug Note1

  • There can be clear paradigm cases even though it’s vague whether something is a paradigm case.
  • So there can be vague boundaries to the concept PERSON.
  • Also, maybe there can be persons of varying degrees.
  • Maybe some higher mammals possess all the qualities of persons to a reduced degree.
  • See also the topic of Vague Identity
  • A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
    1. Also, see Bob Doyle: Vagueness (http://metaphysicist.com/problems/vagueness/).
  • This is mostly a place-holder. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.

Note last updated: 14/01/2017 20:18:14


Footnote 3.13: (Religion)

This project has been pending since 1991 but is one I now wish to progress in parallel with my research into Personal Identity, as it was the motivation for me taking up the formal study of philosophy in the first place.

For the next few weeks, however, it must remain on hold. The interested reader can refer to the relevant section of my website, but note that (as of June 2007) this part of the site hasn’t been touched since 2001, and the paper in question is 10 years older, so displays the eccentricities symptomatic of the autodidact.

Note last updated: 12/08/2007 10:17:46


Footnote 4: (Research - Distractions)

While I’m admitting to potential distractions, I must mention another, which is to get an MSc in mathematics by the time I’m 60. While this wouldn’t start until I’d completed my PhD, a fair amount of “warming up” would be required in parallel. I'd like to do some philosophy of mathematics one day, but my handling of the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos was a complete disaster, so abject that I'm in need of some rehabilitation (on the grounds that those that can’t do shouldn’t philosophise). I'd been tempted to return to chess and bridge, but these are fundamentally a waste of time, and I'm hopeful that mathematics (pursued at a much more leisurely pace than the cracking one Cambridge required of its unfortunate undergraduates) might press the same buttons. Maybe being good at mathematics (in the "Cambridge" sense), like being able to play the violin in tune, is just a special skill that some people have and others can never acquire; and that if you don't have it, you should just concentrate on the talents you do have. What worries me is that philosophy is much less constrained by the merciless exposure of falsehoods or rewarded by the discovery of certain truths, and that the discipline of mathematics might be a good foil. Yet people who've excelled in both mathematics and philosophy (eg. Pascal, Leibniz, Russell) don’t seem to have treated philosophy as a poor relation. The two disciplines involve, however, completely different ways of thinking - from the narrowest to the widest possible focus.

Note last updated: 12/08/2007 10:17:46


Footnote 5: (Thesis - Method & Form)

Form of the Argument

  1. The thesis will present an abductive argument (as in my BA Dissertation “Poverty of Stimulus Arguments for Innate Grammar”), that is, an inference to the best explanation of the data.
  2. That’s why I have to consider so many aspects of the subject, so many thought experiments and so much clinical2 data. Into which story does it all best fit?
  3. I may have to reject some recalcitrant thought experiments as ill-formed, but I do not wish to ignore anything significant.
  4. For some time, I have considered Animalism as the most likely account of what human beings are, and I propose this thesis to evaluate the arguments for and against it, using the rival “Constitution View” as a foil.

Method
  • Over the years I have read a lot of books and papers on the topic of Personal Identity.
    1. For some, I have made extensive on-line write-ups.
    2. For others, the write-up is incomplete, or sketchy.
    3. For yet others, I have (more or less) extensively annotated the margin (in so doing ruining many an expensive volume!).
    4. Finally, some have simply been read (and probably forgotten).
  • I have also written numerous Notes on almost every aspect of the subject, though many of them are place-holders awaiting filling-out. These Notes link to the Books and Papers, either explicitly or thematically, and to one another.
  • Follow this Link4 for an explanation of the various Objects in my Research database, though the Note needs updating in the light of changes since 2010.
  • All this has resulted in a huge unfocussed cobweb of material, which needs to be subjected to some order and completeness. This has started by outlining the Chapters of the Thesis5, and specifying the limited subset of the problem I intend to address in detail.
  • For most Chapters, my approach to producing the first draft of the Chapter will be as follows:-
    1. Determine which Notes that I have written are relevant to this Chapter.
    2. Fill out any Note-place-holders with whatever’s in my head!
    3. Use the reading lists associated with these Notes to establish a limited reading list for the Chapter.
    4. Review whatever I’ve written, in whatever format, on the items in the derived reading lists, and make necessary cosmetic changes in the process of evaluating the items.
    5. Segregate6 this reading list into:-
      … Higher versus lower priority,
      … Read versus unread,
      … Annotated (by hand) versus unannotated
      … Those with an Abstract or Note Write-up versus those without
    6. Cull items that are unlikely to be addressed in the next two years and list them as specifically excluded. I may pick up on these at a later stage of the project, but in the short term the culling process will be essential for making across-the-board progress.
    7. Determine why the residue are important and relevant – if they are – and briefly document the reasons.
    8. Migrate any Book or Paper Abstracts that I have written (as distinct from copied from elsewhere) to Write-Up Notes.
    9. If the Book or Paper is important enough, migrate any hand-written annotations to a Write-Up Note, and complete any important incomplete Write-Up Notes.
    10. Write and maintain a Chapter Summary, motivating and summarising the Chapter. Use this to ensure I don’t get side-tracked.
    11. Incorporate the key points of Write-Up Notes into the Topic Notes.
    12. Incorporate the highest level thoughts from the Topic Notes into the Main Text of the Chapter.
  • In principle, these actions should be effected in number sequence, though there will be some iteration, particularly with the last point, which presents my research findings in their most accessible form for outside interested parties.
  • There are many important papers that are on the reading lists that I have not read. At this stage, I do not intend to read them until I have processed all those papers that I have read. This will require discipline!
  • Most of the “detailed working” of the Chapter should be retained in the topic Notes and Write-ups. The Chapter should be fairly high-level at this stage, with hyperlinks to more detailed or supportive work.
  • I need to have some method of evidencing how far along this trial I have got for each Chapter, but this can wait until there is some progress to report.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 2: I am unsure how much of this I have actually attended to – but it is important to keep it in mind.

Footnote 6: I need to develop a method for this – one probably variable depending on the length of the list.

Note last updated: 22/07/2014 22:23:31


Footnote 5.4: (Website Generator Documentation - Database Objects)

Most of the papers in this website are made up of hyperlinked Notes, which are small sections of text which themselves link to other Notes, and so on. Such documents are supposed to be viewed on-line, but I recognise that not everyone likes to read in this way. In particular, while this is a good way of chasing up details of an argument, it can be difficult to see the overall picture. It is also difficult to scribble in the margins of a web-page. So, printable versions will be required until technology for marginal annotation improves (but note that you can copy and paste my printable versions into MS Word and annotate those if you want to save trees).

There are several parameters (explained below) that are accounted for in the file-name of the printed Note:-

  1. The depth of scan.
  2. Whether the Printed Note is archived.
  3. Whether all inter-Note references are indicated.
  4. Whether Private Notes are printed.
  5. Whether Reading Lists are included.
There are, in general, hyperlinks to an appropriate selection of printable Notes that satisfy these options.

Within the printable note itself, there are no “inter-Note” hyperlinks, though the links to external websites and to Book and Paper summaries within the reading lists work.

A straight print of a frames-based page only prints the first page, which is why most professional sites have printable versions of their pages to allow printing of the full document, and without the other frames interfering. My printable pages do this, of course, but the main difficulty is to print the footnotes (pages hyperlinked to within the site: I don't make any attempt to print the results of linking to external sites).

Printing all the footnotes associated with the main Note precisely once in a sensible sequence is a particular challenge. This is firstly because (intentionally or otherwise) a referential loop may occur. Secondly, we don't want to print the same note more than once if it is referred to on multiple occasions (which is part of the point of having separable notes in the first place). Finally, we don't necessarily want to print Notes when they first appear, but in some sort of sensible sequence.

Depth of Scan
To address the first of these problems, I have introduced a depth of scan, so that we don't loop endlessly. This also allows topics to be looked at in greater or lesser depth. Consequently, several printed Notes may appear for the same underlying Note. Also, where a Note in another Notes Group is referenced, I only print the Note itself, not its footnotes. This is to avoid the printed Notes ballooning with irrelevancies.

Inter-Note Referencing
Secondly, I only print footnotes once within any particular printed Note. There are two options. In the first, all the footnote indicators appear as in the on-screen version as superscripts (subscripts in the case of private notes which don’t appear on the published website), but those that are duplicated refer forward or backward to where the footnote actually appears. Since this can lead to a lot of clutter in certain circumstances, I have an alternative view whereby (for a footnote that's "not printed here") both the subscript / superscript and the “Note forwarding Note” are omitted. There are then gaps in the sequencing of the superscripts. I’ve decided to leave this in to alert the reader to the existence of the omitted references. The alternative “all footnotes showing” view can be consulted it required.

The referencing convention is effectively the Tractatus standard, but with full-stops separating the level of references. So, the 5th footnote on the main form appears as Footnote 5: (Title); the 3rd footnote on that note appears as Footnote 5.3: (Title2); the 7th footnote on that note as Footnote 5.3.7 (Title3); and so on.

Deciding when to print a Note is an art in itself. Currently all I do is print the Note in the place in which it appears as high up the hyperlinking hierarchy as possible. I ought probably to take into account the fact that each Note has encoded a “Natural” parent, and print it below that parent where possible; but I’ve not done this yet.

Archived Notes
The Notes pages are dynamic, but each time a Note is changed, the previous version is archived and can be accessed by a hyperlink at the bottom of the Note. This version crystallises the view at that time (ie. all the Notes linked-to from that archived Note are the currently latest archived versions; to achieve this, a Note is archived as soon as it is entered. The printable versions follow this pattern, and earlier versions archived whenever the main Note is changed (this is still work in progress as I can’t store printable versions of all Notes, to any depth, each time anything within range changes. Or at least I don’t think so.)

Private Notes
There are two “privacy” systems in operation. The first allows me to flag a Note as private, in which case a polite message appears on the public site. The second method is to put the Note in a password-protected area. I have a flag that allows printed Notes to include or exclude “flagged as Private” Notes. I think a Note in the secure area would print if it were referred to by a Note from a non-Secure area.

Reading Lists
Some Notes have associated reading lists. These arise either because the Note (or a referenced Note within the depth of scan) directly references a Book or Paper, or indirectly via the association between the Note Title, and the Sub-Topic of the Books and Papers. A list of papers (together with hyperlinks to the Paper or Book summaries within the website is produced. This element is currently under development, as the lists (in author sequence) are very long. Currently, a reference appears if it is directly cited, or priority 1-3 within the first level of hyperlinking, or priority 1 below that. Consequently, I’ve allowed the Notes to be printed with or without reading lists.

Note that all this is an on-going research project.

Note last updated: 13/01/2015 19:07:41


Footnote 5.5: (Thesis - Outline)

The Thesis seems to fall naturally into three sections (other than the Introduction and Conclusion); namely, Chapters 2-5 (setting up the problem), chapters 6-9 (Olson and Baker’s views contrasted); and Chapters 10-11 (testing the preferred solution). Consequently, I anticipate my Thesis having the following chapters:-

  1. Chapter 011: Introduction
  2. Chapter 02: What are We?
  3. Chapter 033: What is a Person?
  4. Chapter 04: Basic Metaphysical Issues
  5. Chapter 055: Persistence and Time
  6. Chapter 06: Animalism and Arguments for It
  7. Chapter 07: The Constitution View and Arguments for It
  8. Chapter 08: Arguments against Animalism
  9. Chapter 09: Arguments against the Constitution View
  10. Chapter 1010: Thought Experiments
  11. Chapter 11: Resurrection
  12. Chapter 1212: Conclusion
I’ve started a Note13 listing “parked” future reading.

For convenience, brief abstracts (as currently intended) of the above chapters are given below. I have included hyperlinks in the above list to my initial thoughts on these topics (and to reading lists and plans for further research) by way of further clarification. I’ve also included links from the “Thought Experiment” abstract below, for the same reason. The reading lists are rather full, and I’ll need to whittle them down to those I actually intend to read (and, better, address).

Chapter abstracts
  1. Introduction: Something like this document, but in narrative form, maybe including a brief historical general survey of Personal Identity.
  2. What are We? : The topic “personal identity” has historically presupposed that we are (in the sense of “identical to”, or “most fundamentally”) persons, whereas I (along with other animalists) claim that we are identical to human animals. “We” requires explanation. This chapter will sort out the topic of discussion for the Thesis as a whole.
  3. What is a Person?: This Chapter will canvass the various views and consider how important issues in this area are to my main concern of our identity.
  4. Basic Metaphysical Issues: Substances and sortals are central to the persistence of anything, and in particular to my claim that persons are phase sortals of human animals (the substances). I need to address the concept of a SOUL as souls are the major counter-claim to the persisting entity being an animal; or at least popularly so. The question of Natural Kinds arises in considering whether PERSON is a natural kind concept.
  5. Persistence and Time: A number of thought experiments that feature in the following chapter seem to fail if perdurantism is true (because the reduplication objections fail). Depending on whether any of these are critical to my arguments, I may need to consider the impact of perdurantism. But this complex area may be a step too far within a fairly limited word-count. I’m also unsure whether it should feature before or after the account of Thought Experiments.
  6. Animalism and Arguments for it: This Chapter describes what Animalism is, with an excursus on animals and organisms and their persistence. It puts forward the arguments in favour of animalism, those against being reserved for a later Chapter. It focuses on the account of Eric Olson, the primary contemporary exponent of Animalism.
  7. The Constitution View and Arguments for it: This Chapter gives an account of Lynne Rudder Baker’s thesis that human persons are not identical to human animals, but are – temporarily at least – constituted by them.
  8. Arguments against Animalism: A discussion of the arguments against animalism, as given by those of anti-animalist persuasion and defended by the principal animalists (with a focus on Olson), with a critique.
  9. Arguments against the Constitution View: A discussion of the arguments against the Constitution View, focusing on the principal animalists, with a critique. In particular, I intend to critique Olson’s “thinking animal” argument against the Constitution View (though I think this argument is unnecessary for Olson to establish the case for Animalism).
  10. Thought Experiments: Any account of personal identity needs to give an account of what is going on in the various thought experiments that have been thought relevant to the topic. It’s also the area that’s most fun. Indeed, I think that the entire Thesis will be an exercise in inference to the best explanation. It needs to account for our intuitions (if there is a universal response) or explain them away as confused. I will firstly briefly consider the propriety of using thought experiments in this domain of enquiry, and then consider the usual suspects, such as:
    • Fission, fusion and replication in general
    • Commissurotomy
    • Multiple Personality Disorder
    • Brain-state Transfer
    • Brain Transplants
    • Teletransportation
    • Siliconisation
    • Etc?
  11. Resurrection: If mind-body substance dualism is false, and we are identical to human animals, then the only possibility for post-mortem existence is some form of bodily resurrection. Since the body is destroyed at death, it would seem that any resurrected individual could only be a copy of the original. It might think of itself as the resurrected pre-mortem individual, but it would be wrong. Consideration of arguments by Peter Van Inwagen in this respect. This chapter is likely to be controversial, so needs to be very carefully argued, and factually correct concerning what is actually believed by intellectually Christians and Muslims (unlike what seems to be the case with most swipes against religion). Maybe I should also cover reincarnation.
  12. Conclusion: Brief summary of the above;
    • We are human animals,
    • Human persons fall under phase sortals of the concept HUMAN ANIMAL,
    • The person is inseparable from the animal,
    • The animal is utterly destroyed at death,
    • Substance dualism is false, and
    • Consequently (given the sort of thing we are) resurrection or any other post-mortem survival is impossible for us.

Note last updated: 05/04/2016 23:19:41


Footnote 5.5.1: (Thesis - Chapter 01 (Introduction))

Abstract

  • The Thesis seems to fall naturally into three sections (other than this Introduction and the Conclusion); namely,
    1. Setting up the problem (Chapters 2-5),
    2. Olson and Baker’s views contrasted (Chapters 6-9); and
    3. Testing the preferred solution (Chapters 10-11).
  • Consequently, I intend my Thesis to have the following chapters:-
    1. Chapter 01: Introduction
    2. Chapter 02: What are We?
    3. Chapter 03: What is a Person?
    4. Chapter 04: Basic Metaphysical Issues
    5. Chapter 05: Persistence and Time
    6. Chapter 06: Animalism and Arguments for It
    7. Chapter 07: The Constitution View and Arguments for It
    8. Chapter 08: Arguments against Animalism
    9. Chapter 09: Arguments against the Constitution View
    10. Chapter 10: Thought Experiments
    11. Chapter 11: Resurrection
    12. Chapter 12: Conclusion



Research Methodology
  • Follow this Link for a generic statement of how I intend to pursue each Chapter.
  • The method is broken down into 12, possibly iterative, stages.
  • Follow this Link for my progress dashboard on these tasks.
  • The methodology for this Chapter differs somewhat from most other Chapters in that there is little real work, other than background reading and checking that the Thesis as a whole hangs together.
  • However, I do need to record while reading the general surveys anything that needs to go into the Historical Survey or Motivating Statement.
  • Another couple of “clearing up” tasks14 specific to this Chapter are:-
    1. To ensure that all the Papers on Identity that I have actually read are referenced somewhere15 in this Thesis.
    2. To ensure that all the Notes on Identity that I have actually produced are referenced somewhere16 in this Thesis.



Motivating Statement17
  1. Why should we care about the topic of personal identity and the possibility of life after death? Put this way, the question hardly needs answering, as it’s just about the most important question to be posed by a reflective (if selfish) person. Yet, the question is difficult, and has had many attempted solutions offered – and while some philosophers think there is no problem left to solve, there is no consensus as to the answer.
  2. My favourite solution – in the sense of the one I think most likely to be correct, rather than necessary the one I’d like to be correct – namely Animalism – that we are human animals and that consequently death is the end of us – is only supported by around 17% of philosophers, according to a recent poll18 with about twice as many supporting some form of psychological view.
  3. In one sense it is just obvious that we are – in some sense of that weasel word – human animals. But then the problem cases kick in – whether real-life or thought experiments that may never be real-life possibilities.
  4. About 36% of the respondents in the aforementioned survey though we could survive teletransportation – though 31% thought that the result would be death.
  5. Transhumanists think we can be uploaded to computers.
  6. Further detail to be supplied.



Main Text
  • For convenience, brief abstracts (as currently intended) of the above chapters are given below. I have included on-going hyperlinks from the above links to my initial thoughts on these topics (and to reading lists and plans for further research) by way of further clarification. The reading lists are rather full, and I’ll need to whittle them down to those I actually intend to read (and, better, address).
  • Chapter Abstracts
    1. Introduction: See above for a motivating statement and below for a brief historical general survey of the topic of Personal Identity.
    2. What are We?: The topic “personal identity” has historically presupposed that we are (in the sense of “identical to”, or “most fundamentally”) persons, whereas I (along with other animalists) claim that we are identical to human animals. “We” requires explanation. This chapter will sort out the topic of discussion for the Thesis as a whole.
    3. What is a Person?: This chapter will canvass the various views and consider how important issues in this area are to my main concern of our identity.
    4. Basic Metaphysical Issues: Substances and sortals are central to the persistence of anything, and in particular to my claim that persons are phase sortals of human animals (the substances). I need to address the concept of a SOUL as souls are the major counter-claim to the persisting entity being an animal; or at least popularly so. The question of Natural Kinds arises in considering whether PERSON is a natural kind concept.
    5. Persistence and Time: A number of thought experiments that feature in Chapter 10 seem to fail if perdurantism is true (because the reduplication objections fail). Depending on whether any of these are critical to my arguments, I may need to consider the impact of perdurantism. But this complex area may be a step too far within a fairly limited word-count. I’m also unsure whether it should feature before or after the account of Thought Experiments.
    6. Animalism and Arguments for it: This Chapter describes what Animalism is, with an excursus on animals and organisms and their persistence. It puts forward the arguments in favour of animalism, those against being reserved for a later Chapter. It focuses on the account of Eric Olson, the primary contemporary exponent of Animalism.
    7. The Constitution View and Arguments for it: This Chapter gives an account of Lynne Rudder Baker’s thesis that human persons are not identical to human animals, but are – temporarily at least – constituted by them.
    8. Arguments against Animalism: A discussion of the arguments against animalism, as given by those of anti-animalist persuasion and defended by the principal animalists (with a focus on Olson), with a critique.
    9. Arguments against the Constitution View: A discussion of the arguments against the Constitution View, focusing on the principal animalists, with a critique. In particular, I intend to critique Olson’s “thinking animal” argument against the Constitution View (though I think this argument is unnecessary for Olson to establish the case for Animalism).
    10. Thought Experiments: Any account of personal identity needs to give an account of what is going on in the various thought experiments that have been thought relevant to the topic. It’s also the area that’s most fun. Indeed, I think that the entire Thesis will be an exercise in inference to the best explanation. It needs to account for our intuitions (if there is a universal response) or explain them away as confused. I will firstly briefly consider the propriety of using thought experiments in this domain of enquiry, and then consider the usual suspects, including the following:-
      • Fission
      • Fusion
      • Replication
      • Commissurotomy
      • Multiple Personality Disorder
      • Brain-state Transfer
      • Brain Transplants
      • Teletransportation
      • Siliconisation
      • Transhumanism
    11. Resurrection: If mind-body substance dualism is false, and we are identical to human animals, then the only possibility for post-mortem existence is some form of bodily resurrection. Since the body is destroyed at death, it would seem that any resurrected individual could only be a copy of the original. It might think of itself as the resurrected pre-mortem individual, but it would be wrong. Consideration of arguments by Peter Van Inwagen in this respect. This chapter is likely to be controversial, so needs to be very carefully argued, and factually correct concerning what is actually believed by intellectually-aware Christians and Muslims (unlike what seems to be the case with most swipes against religion). Maybe I should also cover reincarnation.
    12. Conclusion:
      • We are human animals,
      • Human persons fall under phase sortals of the concept HUMAN ANIMAL,
      • The person is inseparable from the animal,
      • The animal is utterly destroyed at death,
      • Substance dualism is false, and
      • Consequently (given the sort of thing we are) resurrection or any other post-mortem survival is impossible for us.



Brief historical general survey of the topic of Personal Identity
  1. To be supplied.



Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed33
  1. In this Chapter I will consider the following papers or book chapters (together with some others referenced by these). There are doubtless many more that are relevant and which will be addressed in the course of the thesis, but these are probably sufficient to get us going.
  2. The purpose of this Chapter is to introduce and motivate the Thesis. As such, I need to situate it in the history of the topic. This is done in a number of introductory books, General Surveys, or collections of Papers that are standard fodder in courses on Personal Identity.
  3. Consequently, I will review the various Surveys of Personal Identity that feature in the standard reading lists, both to demonstrate that I’ve read them, and to ensure I’ve missed nothing major.
  4. If a Paper in a Collection or Chapter in an Introduction is specific to a later Chapter in this Thesis, its consideration may be reserved until a later Chapter, even if the Book itself is not. These will be noted in due course.
  5. As the topic of Personal Identity stems primarily from Locke’s account, I need a brief statement of what this is. Most of the relevant material will appear in due course in the anthologies, but I few items not anthologised are listed below.
  6. Other works were considered and either cut or reserved for later, as indicated below. The easiest way to see all the works considered is via the reading list at the end of this Note.
  7. Introductory or General Books
  8. Standard Collections
  9. Locke



The Cut
  1. Various works were considered for this Chapter, but were either reserved for consideration in other Chapters, or were rejected, at least for the time being.
  2. Priority Works to be read later for other Chapters:-
  3. Secondary Works to be “parked” for the time being:



Links to Notes
  1. General Surveys,
  2. Locke,
  3. Maybe others (to be supplied).





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 14: These will be left until all Chapters have completed Task 7.

Footnote 15:
  • This may either be “as utilised” or “as ignored”.
  • Follow this link.
  • As of mid-Oct 2014, this task is now complete!
Footnote 16:
  • This may either be “as utilised” or “as ignored”.
  • Follow this link .
Footnote 17: This will explain why I’ve undertaken this research, and encourage the reader to continue.

Footnote 18: Footnote 33:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
  • The author’s surname is repeated in the text to make it easier for me to see what’s going on in the encoded text I work on.
Footnote 34: As this is a PhD Thesis in my general subject-area, I ought at least to have read it!

Footnote 35: Somewhat elementary, but worth (re-)reading quickly

Footnote 36:
  • This is a course of lectures on Metaphysics, at the advanced undergraduate / beginning graduate level.
  • All the issues raised – in the discussion of standard papers – many of them covered elsewhere in my Thesis – are useful background.
Footnote 37: This is a set of papers for discussion in a research seminar. Most are probably covered elsewhere, but in case not …

Footnote 38: For a review, see "Lerner (Berel Dov) - Review of "Personal Identity and Ethics: A Brief Introduction" by David Shoemaker".

Footnote 39: Decide where to park the various Chapters of this book after reading the précis.

Footnote 40: Harris is an interesting case, in that it includes three important papers and three that are off-topic, but important in illustrating the divergent usages of the term “identity”.

Footnote 41: This is more recent than the others.

Footnote 46: But note that Baker’s account of constitution differs from the mereological account assumed in Rea’s anthology.

Footnote 47: The works by Reuscher and Trupp are too eccentric to be given any priority.

Footnote 48: The works by Slors may be worth reading as a fairly contemporary defence of the psychological view; just not yet.

Footnote 49: The work by Vesey is too out of date for a priority item.

Note last updated: 05/04/2016 23:19:41


Footnote 5.5.3: (Thesis - Chapter 03 (What is a Person?))

Abstract

    This chapter will canvass the various views of what Persons are and consider how important issues in this area are to my main concern of our identity.



Research Methodology
  • Follow this Link for a generic statement of how I intend to pursue each Chapter.
  • The method is broken down into 12, possibly iterative, stages.
  • Follow this Link for my progress dashboard on these tasks.



Chapter Introduction
  1. The main philosophical argument about Persons is whether PERSON is a substance-concept in its own right, or whether it is parasitic on other substance-concept(s).
  2. My own view is that Human Persons are phase sortals of human animals, but other philosophers have more robust views of persons and think of them as substances in their own right.
  3. Famously, Locke held this view, and Lynne Rudder Baker is a contemporary exponent – her view being that human persons are constituted by, but not identical to, human animals.
  4. In this thesis, I’m only concerned with human persons, and – like most philosophers – allow that there can be non-human persons (God, gods, angels, aliens, robots, etc.)
  5. All this is predicated on deciding just what PERSONS are, which in turn depends somewhat on whether we take PERSON to be a natural kind concept, or something that is socially constructed and so not something the correct definition of we can discover.
  6. Further text to be supplied.



Main Text
  1. To be supplied.



Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed7
  1. In this Chapter I will consider the following papers or book chapters (together with some others referenced by these). There are doubtless many more that are relevant and which will be addressed in the course of the thesis, but these are probably sufficient to get us going.
  2. Reductionism
  3. Many aspects of these papers will need to be either ignored or reserved for other chapters.
  4. The motivation for these works is as follows:-
    • To be supplied.



The Cut
  1. There had already been a lot of cutting in the various selections of the original reading list – the reading lists attached to the Notes run on and on – and these items just represent the works in my possession (though I have sought out all that I’ve heard of that look relevant).
  2. However, the items in the lists following were given some attention, and have been culled – at least temporarily – from the lists above, where they originally appeared. I’ve not always given a reason as I’ve not studied them sufficiently closely. But, you have to draw a line somewhere.
  3. I’m well aware that the cut has not been sufficiently rigorous. Further items beyond the items below are likely to be culled when I come to process them.



Links to Notes
  1. The primary Notes are:-
    • Person,
    • Human Persons,
    • Non-Human Persons,
    • Reductionism,
    • Simple View
    • Taking Persons Seriously,
    • First-Person Perspective.
  2. No doubt there are others:-
    • To be supplied.



Final Remarks
  1. This is work in progress.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 7:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
  • The author’s surname is repeated in the text to make it easier for me to see what’s going on in the encoded text I work on.
Footnote 8: This is very elementary, but short and maybe entertaining.

Footnote 9: Read this as an example from the Animal Liberation movement.

Footnote 10: This is rather introductory to Parfit’s ideas, so read it quickly for that purpose.

Footnote 11: Restrict a close reading to Part 3 (Personal Identity).

Footnote 12: May be useful both as a take on Strawson, and for Plantinga’s own views.

Footnote 13: Stanley got into a debate with Jen Hornsby, though not on this topic, so it’ll be interesting to see how he argues.

Footnote 14: This is a difficult book with which I expect to have little sympathy, but one that has to be read.

Footnote 15: This is rather elementary, and ought to have been reviewed in Chapter 1.

Footnote 16: This paper may be important, but is too long (and difficult) for a first pass through the literature

Footnote 17: Too similar to "Lowe (E.J.) - Substance and Selfhood", which was read for Chapter 2.

Note last updated: 05/04/2016 23:19:41


Footnote 5.5.5: (Thesis - Chapter 05 (Persistence and Time))

Abstract

    A number of thought experiments that feature in Chapter 10 seem to fail if perdurantism is true (because the reduplication objections fail).
  • Depending on whether any of these are critical to my arguments, I may need to consider the impact of perdurantism.
  • But this complex area may be a step too far within a fairly limited word-count.
  • I’m also unsure whether it should feature before or after the account of Thought Experiments.



Research Methodology
  • Follow this Link for a generic statement of how I intend to pursue each Chapter.
  • The method is broken down into 12, possibly iterative, stages.
  • Follow this Link for my progress dashboard on these tasks.



Chapter Introduction
  1. Any discussion of identity over time – of anything – needs to have some discussion of just what it is for something to persist, and what we take time to be.
  2. Additionally, as noted in the abstract, depending on our approach to time and persistence, some of the troubling thought experiments that worry us about the persistence of human persons are resolved, though we get nothing for nothing. As is usual in philosophy, a gain here is compensated for by a loss somewhere else. We need to determine these losses, and agree that they are “worth it”.
  3. Further text to be supplied.



Main Text
  1. To be supplied.



Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed4
  1. In this Chapter I will consider the following papers or book chapters (together with some others referenced by these). There are doubtless many more that are relevant and which will be addressed in the course of the thesis, but these are probably sufficient to get us going.
  2. The references are segregated by sub-topic, as below, but there is much overlap.
  3. Time:
  4. Time Travel5:
  5. Modality / Possible Worlds7:
  6. Persistence:
  7. Survival9:
  8. Endurantism:
  9. Perdurantism:
  10. Exdurantism:
  11. Many aspects of these papers will need to be either ignored or reserved for other chapters.
  12. The motivation for these works is as follows:-
    • To be supplied.



The Cut
  1. There had already been a lot of cutting in the various selections of the original reading list – the reading lists attached to the Notes run on and on – and these items just represent the works in my possession (though I have sought out all that I’ve heard of that look relevant).
  2. However, the items in the lists following were given some attention, and have been culled – at least temporarily – from the lists above, where they originally appeared. I’ve not always given a reason as I’ve not studied them sufficiently closely. But, you have to draw a line somewhere.
  3. I’m well aware that the cut has not been sufficiently rigorous. Further items beyond the items below are likely to be culled when I come to process them.



Links to Notes
  1. Time,
  2. Time Travel,
  3. Persistence,
  4. Persistence Criteria,
  5. Survival,
  6. Endurantism,
  7. Perdurantism,
  8. Exdurantism.



Final Remarks
  1. This is work in progress.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 4:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
  • The author’s surname is repeated in the text to make it easier for me to see what’s going on in the encoded text I work on.
Footnote 5:
  • I thought I’d written somewhere that this – fun though it might be – is a bridge too far. But it is relevant.
  • I’ll expand the reading list based on the items already listed.
Footnote 6: And the rest of an interesting 2005 edition of The Monist.

Footnote 7:
  • This is parked here until it finds its final resting place.
  • If I do cover possible worlds, I’ll need more material than this.
Footnote 8: This might also be useful for perdurantism, or for the logic of identity.

Footnote 9:
  • There is some overlap – as far as papers reviewed are concerned – between this Section and the “Does Identity Matter” Section in Chapter 4.
  • This Chapter focuses on the meaning of “Survival”, while the previous chapter focuses on its relation to Identity, and the importance of identity for survival.
  • But, I think they should probably be covered in the same place, and probably not here.
Footnote 10: These three papers by Butterfield are very specialised, and this one is very long, and may be left to one side for now.

Footnote 11: This looks like an important paper, which rejects the “proofs” of 4D based on the “coincidence” TEs.

Footnote 12: Another important-looking paper, also against perdurantism, along similar lines to the above.

Footnote 13: Oderberg seems to be arguing that Perdurantism is an unwanted consequence of a common-sense notion of persistence.

Footnote 14: I’m not sure whether this belongs here, but it looks an interesting paper.

Footnote 15: I don’t have the paper!

Footnote 16: This is an ethical rather than metaphysical discussion.

Note last updated: 05/04/2016 23:19:41


Footnote 5.5.10: (Thesis - Chapter 10 (Thought Experiments))

Abstract

  • Any account of personal identity needs to give an account of what is going on in the various thought experiments that have been thought relevant to the topic. It’s also the area that’s most fun. Indeed, I think that the entire Thesis will be an exercise in inference to the best explanation. It needs to account for our intuitions (if there is a universal response) or explain them away as confused. I will firstly briefly consider the propriety of using thought experiments in this domain of enquiry, and then consider the usual suspects, including the following:-
    1. Fission
    2. Fusion
    3. Replication
    4. Commissurotomy1
    5. Multiple Personality Disorder2
    6. Brain-state Transfer
    7. Brain Transplants3
    8. Teletransportation
    9. Siliconisation
    10. Transhumanism



Research Methodology
  • Follow this Link for a generic statement of how I intend to pursue each Chapter.
  • The method is broken down into 12, possibly iterative, stages.
  • Follow this Link for my progress dashboard on these tasks.



Chapter Introduction
  1. To be supplied.



Main Text
  1. To be supplied.



Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed6
  1. In this Chapter I will consider the following papers or book chapters (together with some others referenced by these). There are doubtless many more that are relevant and which will be addressed in the course of the thesis, but these are probably sufficient to get us going.
  2. I have segregated the papers by sub-topic, but some would fit into more than one category.
  3. Theory
  4. Brain State Transfers7
  5. Brain Transplants
  6. Commissurotomy
  7. Fission
  8. Fusion
  9. Multiple Personality Disorder
  10. Replication
  11. Siliconisation8
  12. Teletransportation
  13. Transhumanism10
  14. Many aspects of these papers will need to be either ignored or reserved for other chapters.
  15. The motivation for these works is as follows:-
    • To be supplied.



The Cut
  1. There had already been a lot of cutting in the various selections of the original reading list – the reading lists attached to the Notes run on and on – and these items just represent the works in my possession (though I have sought out all that I’ve heard of that look relevant).
  2. However, the items in the lists following were given some attention, and have been culled – at least temporarily – from the lists above, where they originally appeared. I’ve not always given a reason as I’ve not studied them sufficiently closely. But, you have to draw a line somewhere.
  3. I’m well aware that the cut has not been sufficiently rigorous. Further items beyond the items below are likely to be culled when I come to process them.



Links to Notes
  1. Propriety of Thought Experiments
  2. Principal Examples:-
    • Fission
    • Fusion
    • Replication
    • Commissurotomy
    • Multiple Personality Disorder
    • Brain-state Transfers
    • Brain Transplants
    • Teletransportation
    • Siliconisation
    • Transhumanism.



Final Remarks
  1. This is work in progress.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: This is more an experiment than a thought-experiment, as commissurotomies are actual.

Footnote 2:
  • Again, this is – allegedly – an existent pathology rather than a TE.
  • Moreover, it might be better situated in Chapter 9 (Click here for Note) as a critique of the idea of an individuating FPP.
Footnote 3: We need to distinguish Whole-Brain Transplants (WBTs) from single or double Cerebrum transplants, and these from brain-tissue transplants, which shade off into Brain State Transfers.

Footnote 6:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
  • The author’s surname is repeated in the text to make it easier for me to see what’s going on in the encoded text I work on.
Footnote 7:
  • There must be many more papers than the classic one by Williams (and commentaries thereon) – I just haven’t got them correctly categorised.
  • Under this head should be included references to “Brain Zaps” and the like.
Footnote 8: Footnote 9:
  • Tye seems to be discussing brain-partition, with silicon transceivers. But he uses Unger’s term “zippering”.
  • He is indebted to Arnold Zuboff, who may be worth following up.
Footnote 10: Footnote 11: I’ve read this book, but it’s insufficiently philosophical for its arguments – such as they are – to be worth considering as a priority.

Footnote 12: Cover in the next Chapter.

Note last updated: 05/04/2016 23:19:41


Footnote 5.5.12: (Thesis - Chapter 12 (Conclusion))

This Chapter will summarise the claims and arguments of the Thesis, namely that:-

  • We are human animals,
  • Human persons fall under phase sortals of the concept HUMAN ANIMAL,
  • The person is inseparable from the animal,
  • The animal is utterly destroyed at death,
  • Substance dualism is false, and
  • Consequently (given the sort of thing we are) resurrection or any other post-mortem survival is impossible for us.


This is a place-holder.

Note last updated: 03/03/2016 06:05:46


Footnote 5.5.13: (Thesis - Later Reading)

Introduction

  1. The reading-list for my Thesis is already too long to manage, and – I have no doubt – new material will always be coming up that I ought to be aware of.
  2. I ought also to keep up to date with what’s going on in other areas of Analytic Philosophy.
  3. As a Cambridge Alumnus, I have access to JSTOR (Web Link (http://www.jstor.org/)) and thereby to some of the philosophical journals. The access to the text is not up-to-date, but I ought to inculcate a discipline to:-
    • Check the TOCs of the most recent issues, and mark them for future interrogation, and
    • Check the most recent issues with content, and briefly review what’s there, downloading where it looks useful.
  4. occasionally, I’ll come across a paper sufficiently important to include amongst the primary reading, but in general these items will be queued for later.

Journals1
  1. American Philosophical Quarterly (1964-2010)
  2. Analysis (1933-2008; 2009-2013)
  3. Behavior and Philosophy (1990-2010)
  4. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (1950-2006; 2007-2013)
  5. Canadian Journal of Philosophy (1971-2008)
  6. Erkenntnis (1975-2010; 2011-2013)
  7. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice (1998-2010; 2011-2013)
  8. Human Studies (1978-2010; 2011-2013)
  9. Hypathia (1986-2008; 2009-2012)
  10. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion (1970-2010; 2011-2012)
  11. The Journal of Ethics (1997-2010; 2011-2013)
  12. Journal of Philosophical Logic 91972-2010; 2011-2013)
  13. The Journal of Philosophy (1921-2008)
  14. Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes (1939-2010)
  15. Mind (1876-2006; 2007-2012)
  16. The Monist (1890-2008; 2009-2014)
  17. Noûs (1967-2003; 2004-2012)
  18. Philosophical Issues (1991-1998)
  19. Philosophical Perspectives (1987-1995)
  20. The Philosophical Quarterly (1950-2008; 2009-2012)
  21. The Philosophical Review (1892-2008; 2009-2011)
  22. Philosophical Studies (1950-2010; 2011-2013)
  23. Philosophy (1931-2008; 2009-2012)
  24. Philosophy and Phenomenal Research (1940-2008; 2009-2013)
  25. Philosophy & Public Affairs (1971-2008; 2009-2013)
  26. Phronesis (1955-2008; 2009-2013)
  27. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association (1927-2010)
  28. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (1887-2008; 2009-2013)
  29. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society: Supplementary Volumes (1918-2008; 2009-2013)
  30. Religious Studies (1965-2008; 2009-2013)
  31. The Review of Metaphysics (1947-2010)
  32. Synthese (1936-2010; 2011-2013)

Items Extracted2 or Noted




In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: The dates for which I have access to free Text appear in brackets, with a second date-range where appropriate, for papers that can be purchased (or borrowed in hard-copy).

Footnote 2:
  • These have been downloaded.
  • Some Extracted (and maybe “Noted”, which have not been downloaded) papers relate to topics in which I have an interest outside the domain of my Thesis.

Note last updated: 13/01/2015 19:07:41


Footnote 6: (Thesis - Current Stance)

The purpose of this Note is to provide a periodic refocusing of what my thoughts and beliefs about the topic of Personal Identity currently are. My intention is – this time at least – to start with a blank sheet rather than to revise the previous version1. In this way it will reflect my recent reading and concerns rather than ancient history. As a second pass I will add links to other Notes that elaborate further on particular issues. That way, it will remind me to improve them as needed.

  1. What are we? If we look at a dog, say, and ask what it is, the answer to such a question is obvious – it’s a dog. It may be our pet – with a name – a particular individual, but when we ask what kind of thing it is, it’s a member of the species. canis lupus. So, when we look at ourselves, the obvious answer is that we are human beings – specifically human animals, members of the species homo sapiens. That is the answer posited by the Animalists, amongst whose number – broadly speaking – I place myself, who accept the biological view8 of personal identity.
  2. If this is true, then our persistence conditions are the same as those of other animals – the great apes, say, under which category we fall, biologically speaking. Why is this not the end of the story? Well, this is because – despite being a species of great ape – human beings are special in that we have enhanced cognitive capacities. We are morally accountable. In sum, we are persons, and have a “first person perspective” (FPP) on the world – something most philosophers deny to other animals – and care about our futures and agonise over our past mistakes. Lynne Rudder Baker claims this perspective makes an ontological difference, rather than being – as I think – a special property of human beings that may or may not be had in particular cases. Baker accuses the animalists of not taking persons seriously.
  3. Since at least John Locke, this fact of our mental exceptionalism has tempted philosophers to say that it’s our psychological continuity that is more important for our identity-preservation than our physical continuity. This view still has its supporters – not only for those such as Dean Zimmerman and Richard Swinburne who believe in immaterial souls – but for the many who think that psychological continuity and connectedness is constitutive of the identity of persons. It is also implicit in the ideas of the Transhumanists20 who think that – come the Singularity – we might be capable of being uploaded21 to computers22 and thereby live almost forever23.
  4. Before proceeding we have to say something brief and sketchy about identity and persistence. “Identity” – in the sense of “numerical identity25” – is a relation a thing holds to itself and to nothing else. A is identical to B if A and B are the very same thing. It is an equivalence relation, being transitive, reflexive and idempotent; and, many of the sticking points in the philosophy of personal identity arise from this fact. It has nothing to do with “identity” as a sociological concept. John may be said “not to be the same person” since he took heroin, but he is still John and still the same person, properly speaking; it’s just that his personality has changed. It also has nothing to do with “narrative identity27” which is the story we tell about ourselves in an attempt to make sense of our lives. It has also nothing to do with “exact similarity”: my television may be “identical” to yours, but that doesn’t mean I can have yours if mine breaks. They are – or were – exactly similar, but are distinct.
  5. “Persisting” is what a thing does in continuing in existence. There are what are called “persistence conditions” – specific to a kind of thing – that set out what vicissitudes a thing can survive if it is to remain that very same thing. There are sometimes hard cases, and there can seem sometimes that there is an element of convention: is a particular club still the same clubs after it has lost all its original members, changed its name, and so on? But we can’t accept that our own existence is a matter of convention, though this could seem the case with the once-dominant psychological view of personal identity: just how much psychological connection could I lose with my former self and still be me? However, things seem simpler and more objective for organisms, which persist despite exchanging material with the environment and changing many of their properties, provided they are caught up in a complex and hopefully long drawn-out event known as a “life32”.
  6. Most Anglophone philosophers are physicalists these days (though maybe most non-philosophers are unreflective dualists). This gives physicalist philosophers a problem if they have hopes of post-mortem survival. If the human organism is totally destroyed – eg. by cremation, explosion, or eating of worms – just how does the very same individual get from this life to the next37? Christian Materialists38 have had a go at thinking this through, and acknowledge the difficulties. Peter Van Inwagen attempted to show that it is at least logically possible by having God snatch away the dying body immediately pre-mortem, replacing it with a simulacrum. Dean Zimmerman – while himself a dualist – has suggested a “falling elevator” model to help out his materialist friends, whereby there is immanent causation (by some unknown natural or supernatural process) between the dying body and the resurrection one so that the dying individual escapes in the nick of time to the next world without loss of numerical identity. Others claim that God’s omnipotence is sufficient and is sovereign even over the laws of logic, so that problems raised by identity being an equivalence relation can be overcome by brute force. Maybe so, but without the constraints of logical possibility, we have no way of arguing the matter, so let’s not bother.
  7. However, most Christian materialists prefer an alternative. They recognise that getting from here to the next world with temporal or spatial gaps raises difficult questions as to whether the numerical identity of the individual is preserved but adopt an alternative solutions – the Constitution View. On this thesis, the person is distinct from the human animal – “just as” the statue44 is distinct from its constituting marble – so that the very same person – tagged by the unique “first person perspective” noted above – can be constituted first by its earthly body, and subsequently by its heavenly one.
  8. Some Animalists have what they think of as a knock-down argument against the Constitution View. Eric Olson calls it the “Thinking Animal46” argument. If the person and the animal are distinct things, albeit co-located, there are too many thinkers – because the animal can certainly think, as can the person, so we have two thinkers where we thought we had one – which is one problem; and there’s another – how do we know which we are, the person or the animal? I’m not impressed by this argument. There are several “multiple occupancy” conundrums that have been claimed at one time or another to deny the existence of things we are sure do exist. Dion and Theon47, Tib and Tibbles48, the “problem of the many49” and so on. We just need to sort out our rules for counting. Also, the whole question of three- versus four-dimensionalism (4D) – whether a persisting thing is wholly present at a time – or whether only a temporal part is present, the thing as a whole being a “space-time worm” – bears on the question of counting. If different things can share stages – say the person and the human animal, or the statue and the clay – then we have to be careful how we count. In the case of a future fission – whereby two space-time worms share their past stages, but will ultimately diverge – we might not know how many to count at a time, but it will not matter for practical purposes.
  9. I think the idea of a first-person perspective is important. It is this that provides the pull against animalism when linked to various thought experiments (TEs) that we’ll come on to presently. However, I still don’t like the Constitution View. My objection is that the FPP is a property of something else – like a smile – in this case of a human animal, though the smile might belong to a cat. You can’t take the very same smile from one cat and place on another (it would be at best an exactly similar smile) – let alone have a disembodied smile like that of the Cheshire Cat. Similarly, you can’t take the very same FPP from one body and plop it onto another. True, it might be a qualitatively exactly similar FPP, but not the same one. What’s to stop that FPP being plopped on several resurrection bodies? Which would be numerically identical to me, given that they can’t all be, in the absence of 4D?
  10. What are the temptations for not sticking with the animalist approach – which ought these days to be the default position in the absence of anything more compelling? As noted, the apparent lack of expectation of an afterlife is one incentive to look elsewhere, so “elsewhere” is a favourite for those who can’t bear the thought of their selves expiring with their bodies. We’ve noted the Christian dualists and materialists, but what about the Transhumanists? There’s the relatively metaphysically uninteresting case of cryoscopy followed by repair and resuscitation; there we have material continuity, and no possibility of reduplication, though some might claim there is too much outside interference for identity to be preserved. But, what about the “hope” of “you” being uploaded to a computer? There seems to be an idea about that “we” are really software (or data), when we are clearly material beings. If we are software, it is said, then we might “run” on different hardware. I have two issues with this, apart from the immense technical obstacles to be overcome both in “scanning” the “real you” and providing a computer of sufficient power to run your program and the virtual world for you to experience, Matrix-like. Firstly, what sort of thing is a program? It’s an interesting question whether a program has persistence conditions. Is Windows 10 the same program as Windows 0? Whatever the answer to this question is, a program would seem to be a kind of universal58 rather than a particular, and “we” are particulars. This leads to a reduplication objection. Say we developed a sophisticated program that could run on an open-ended number of exactly similar robots. No two of these would be numerically identical to one another – they would be distinct, though exactly similar. So, were the program to be a simulation of your brain, it could run – presumably – on an open-ended number of computers – and these computers (or computer partitions) would not be identical to one another, so none of them could be you, as you could only be one of them, and there’s no principled way of saying which. The same objection prevents Star Trek-like teletransportation – were it possible – being identity-preserving. I might also add that no “program” is – in itself – conscious, though a machine that runs it might conceivably be. Mind you, there are arguments here as well – originated by John Searle – at least for digital computers. Incidentally, the transhumanists seem to imagine unending computer life as a secular heaven, but it could just as easily be a form of hell.
  11. So, I remain wedded to my view that we are human animals with the persistence conditions of such. “Person” is not a substance term, but an honorific that refers to some substance during some periods of its existence when it has the requisite mental and moral properties to qualify. “Person” is a Phase Sortal (like “teacher”) that – in the case of “person” – applies to most humans most of the time, but need not apply to all humans all the time. There are ethical consequences for this view, but they are not as dramatic as is sometimes urged. Non-persons don’t have moral responsibilities, as is already recognised for demented or infant humans, and all non-human animals. The obverse – that persons have no moral obligations towards non-persons65 – or that non-persons have no rights – is the sticking point, and ought to be reflected in a more humane treatment of all non-persons rather than that we might contemplate sending human non-persons as well as non-human non-persons to the slaughter-house.
  12. So, what are the problems for animalists? There are several. Some – like the so-called “corpse problem” (is my corpse me – only dead – if not, where does it come from? It doesn’t have the persistence conditions of an organism) are relatively easy to overcome. Recently, I’ve discovered that animalists – like (but for different reasons) those who think we are essentially persons – allegedly have a “fetus problem”. Animalists – saying that we are essentially animals – have (it seems) to say that we were once foetuses – which appears to be what our animal once was. But was this fetus once a proper part of its mother? There’s work currently going on to suggest that this is so – and if so, just when did the new human animal come into existence? However, I don’t think any of this seriously threatens animalism. Maybe animalists should have considered the problem more than they have, but animals do come into existence sometime – presumably by the time of birth at the latest – and that’s enough for an animalist.
  13. The real problems for animalism stem from the force of thought experiments such as the “brain transplant intuition”. An animalist seems forced to say that I would not “go with my brain” in the circumstance where my brain is transplanted into another body, when it seems to most people that I would. The alleged reason for this is that at least some animalists consider the brain to be “just another organ” that we might lose like we might lose a kidney, provided the animal is kept alive. Doubts about this have led some to think that we are not “really” whole human animals but proper parts thereof, maybe not brains72 as such, but brains and a few other bits. This does seem comical. Just how large am I – would I fit into a hat-box, as Olson asks?
  14. My view is that I am currently (thankfully) a whole human animal. My wife works in the NHS with amputees, and they are also whole human animals, though they lack parts that most of us have. No doubt they could lose more parts – and some diabetics sadly do. So, we might view a “brain in a vat” – one ready for transplant – as a “maximally mutilated” human animal. Maybe – in the case of a brain transplant – a prior animal has fissioned (divided into two) when the brain is extracted and we now have a case of the fusion of two animals (the brain from one fusing with the body of the other). It might be argued that our identity-logic isn’t quite up to deciding who is who in such circumstances, but the stakes seem high enough to demand an answer.
  15. I doubt whether the transhumanist hopes of augmenting our physical or mental attributes by effectively converting us into cyborgs77 is much of a threat to animalism. We don’t worry about our spectacles or our mobiles phones making us any less mammalian. Closer integration with AI applications is only the next step for the extended mind.
  16. So, is there any purchase in thought experiments that have my first person perspective persisting in cases where there is no identity preservation. Could it be the case that “it seems to me” that I have survived some vicissitude – a cerebrum78 transplant, say – but I am mistaken? Some philosophers argue that this happens every night – I go to sleep79, and when I wake up I just assume that I am identical to the individual who got into bed, but how do I know? I might be intellectually convinced by third parties one way or another, but how would this affect how it seems to me? Take the teletranportation case. Because of the reduplication objection (unless we are 4-dimensionalists), we should say that numerical identity is not preserved. But – if the technology works, and I am the teletransportee – the individual (or 77 duplicates) would (all) wake up convinced they were me, yet they must be deceived. Thankfully, reduplication is not a problem for whole-brain transplants, but it is for idempotent half-brain transplants, though I think the identity problem there occurs during the fissioning process rather than when the half-brains are implanted.
  17. I continue to think that there is a distinction to be made between forward and backward psychological continuity, though I don’t see how third parties – or even second parties – could tell the difference. It makes all the difference to me if I go to sleep and someone else wakes up thinking they are me – as against the normal case where I go to sleep and I wake up. In the former case – for me – there’s just an endless nothingness, while in the latter case my experiential life carries on. However, backward psychological continuity – what it feels like looking back – is the same for a survivor and one who only thinks he’s survived.
  18. In the case of the split brain transplant, however, how is it all supposed to work, experientially? Neurosurgery is – even today – carried out on substantially conscious patients, as that way there’s a quick feedback loop to tell the surgeon whether he’s destroying any important areas of cognitive function. What would it be like to “fission”? Maybe I lack the imagination, but it seems to me that my First Person Perspective would go along with whatever was the dominant hemisphere, assuming this “seat of consciousness” is initially located in one hemisphere or the other. If it is not, then it would presumably be destroyed and two new ones would be created in this miracle operation. Either way, this would sit comfortably with the logic of identity which would not be violated, as at most one of the recipients would be me. I can imagine being ripped apart psychologically, but I can’t imagine going two ways.
  19. Of course, there are physical and metaphysical issues with the whole idea of brain transplants – the physical structure of the brain reflects “its” body, and mental faculties are not fully localised, so it’s not just the immensely complex task of “wiring up” the brain to its new body that presents a challenge. Half-brain transplants are even more problematical as in the TEs the brain stem is not split, but only the cerebra are supposed to be transplanted. It’s not clear to me whether there is pervasive confusion here and that these thought experiments are underspecified to the degree of incoherence. Some philosophers – eg. Kathleen Wilkes – think TEs are unhelpful in the philosophy of personal identity, and that our concepts are not up to being probed in this way. I’m not so sure – the TEs are about us, not our concepts.
  20. There is finally the question whether there is any such thing as “the Self”, which is what is supposed to have this FPP. Some contemporary philosophers argue that the Self is an illusion that the brain generates. Others – such as David Hume – have argued; and others – such as Galen Strawson – do argue that when they introspect they find no evidence of a persisting Self. I don’t know where they are coming from, as I can’t think of anything more certain. But a Buddhist-inspired83 “no-self” view makes the animalist’s life easier, if maybe less interesting.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • Found from the list below.
  • Note that this paper is not intended as a status report.
  • This version has links to the various other Notes that expand on these issues further, and supply extensive reading lists.

Note last updated: 11/10/2017 06:25:55


Footnote 6.6: (Biological View)

Plug Note1






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.

Note last updated: 10/04/2017 23:38:24


Footnote 6.16: (Transhumanism)

Plug Note1






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.

Note last updated: 02/07/2017 10:36:29


Footnote 6.16.4: (Chimera)

Plug Note1

  • Chimeras are animals – or maybe humanoids2 – made up of parts of animals from different species.
  • They were originally mythical beasts (Web Link (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimera_(mythology))), improbable amalgams of lion, goat and snake, though mules (Web Link (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mule), the off-spring of a male donkey and a female horse) are chimeras as the parents are of different species with different numbers of chromosomes.
  • My only reference for this topic is "Savulescu (Julian) - Should a human-pig chimera be treated as a person?". This brief paper focuses on the ethics of using (future) pig-human chimeras as sources of (human) transplant-organs or neural matter.
  • The paper’s rhetorical question is rather ludicrous as there would never be any intention3 of engineering pigs with the attributes needed to qualify as a person, nor the need to do so even in the case of neural tissue (which would remain in the petri-dish4).
  • Whether such a beast – whether hybridised with a human or not – were to qualify as a person ought to be based on its cognitive capacities and not merely on its chromosomes.
  • It is possible that this topic might relate to transhumanism. Rather than adding small quantities of human to pig, we might add quantities of animal to human. This would be the case in organ transplants – where an essentially normal organ is transplanted – but it might be the case that augmentative strategies could be adopted whereby humans are enhanced with bodily features (or, say, the physiological infrastructure) of animals, much as in the case of cyborgs, but with organic rather than inorganic parts.
  • There is currently, no categorised reading-list for this topic.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 2: The mythical centaur is an example.

Footnote 3:
  • Admittedly, "Ishiguro (Kazuo) - Never Let Me Go" considers the cloning of human beings so their organs can be harvested, but this is presumably because it is deemed to be the technologically simplest solution.
Footnote 4:
  • I’m admittedly unclear about this.
  • But the idea of developing neural structures within a pig-human chimera and transplanting these structures into a human head is as far-fetched as brain transplants, so can be ignored for now.

Note last updated: 10/04/2017 23:38:24


Footnote 6.17: (Uploading)

Plug Note1






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 6: From a quick look, "Dainton (Barry) - Future Selves" may be a useful follow-up.

Footnote 7: See Talk 1 by Paul Broks.

Note last updated: 31/08/2017 19:35:02


Footnote 6.18: (Computers)

Plug Note1






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 11: I can’t get into this in any detail.

Footnote 13: Footnote 14: Footnote 15: The list is rather long, and will need pruning when I get down to this topic.

Footnote 16: See "Block (Ned) - The Computer Model of the Mind" for a shorter version.

Footnote 17: See "Sanford (David H.) - Where Was I?" for a follow-up (with a commentary by Dennett).

Footnote 18: This paper no doubt considers the use of computers for simulating situations other than minds, so might not be directly relevant.

Footnote 19: "Gelernter (David) - Mirror Worlds" is more a prediction of the internet, and is probably (even) less relevant.

Footnote 20: This seems somewhat tangential, as it’s not focused on simulating persons, but it might be useful background.

Footnote 21:
  • There’s quite a lot by Searle that is relevant, but it’s important not to get dragged in too far into his “outlier” perspective – unless, of course, he’s right!
  • It may be best to start with the whole of the book from which this paper is taken, ie. "Searle (John) - Minds, Brains and Science: The 1984 Reith Lectures".
Footnote 22: See also "Searle (John) - Is the Brain's Mind a Computer Program? MIT Comments".

Note last updated: 31/08/2017 19:35:02


Footnote 6.18.3: (Mind)

Plug1 Note






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.

Note last updated: 22/09/2015 22:39:22


Footnote 6.19: (Immortality)

This is a sub-topic of Life-after-death, the other being Resurrection.

In the Biblical Christian tradition, God is the only being with natural immortality (see 1 Timothy 6:16 “God … who alone is immortal”, NIV), but Plato (and his Platonising Christian followers) had it that the (human) soul is also naturally immortal. So, the Biblical view is rather that God gives or denies immortality to whoever he wishes (and there is consequently no need to eternally roast the immortal souls of the wicked).

St, Paul has it that “the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53, NIV). This is in the context of the resurrection of the just at the return of Christ.

In the context of identity theory, it is doubtful whether the very same thing can at one time be perishable and at another time immortal, because a thing’s persistence-conditions are taken to be essential properties of the sort it is, and a single thing cannot change sort.

As such, (as "Johnston (Mark) - Surviving Death" notes), natural immortality of the soul is the only hope for post-mortem survival. But this hope is itself dashed by the lack of empirical evidence for the existence of the substantial soul, immortal or otherwise.

It does seem incongruous to talk about post-mortem immortality – how can something that has died be immortal? The idea, no doubt, is that it is the body that the soul occupied that was mortal. Hence, the soul needs a new immortal body to be clothed with. That seems to be the Pauline picture, though debated by the “Conditional Immortality” people.

I have some other notes on this and related topics as part of Philosophy of Religion and my Blog:-

  • Death-and-Eternal-Life6,
  • Resurrection7, and
  • Resurrection(Metaphysics)8.


This is mostly a place-holder. Currently, see the categorised reading-list, which requires some pruning in order to fit to identity-related issues only.

Note last updated: 03/08/2013 23:44:10


Footnote 6.19.6: (Death and Eternal Life)

This is a place-holder: see the reading-list below. The most highly recommended texts (marked with “*”) are Phillips and Thomas. Some others in the automatically-generated list are those I’ve collected over the years.

Peter Vardy’s lecture hand-out was "Vardy (Peter) - Death and Eternal Life".

The hand-out for the student-led Seminar was by Pete Mansell – "Heythrop Student - Seminar Paper: Philosophy of Religion - I Will Survive".

Following a discussion with Peter Vardy, I intend to do both my Dissertation (12,000 – 15,000 words) and the long (4,000-word) essay for this Module on this general area. Rather than my originally-intended question “Can a human being have eternal life?”, I’ll probably treat both dualism and the general possibility of post-mortem survival divided between the two pieces of work.

I have a (skeleton) Note on Death as part of my PhD studies into Personal Identity; only useful currently for the reading list. Of particular interest are:-


Books/Articles




In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 4: In addition to an introduction, questions for discussion and advice on further reading, these are:- Footnote 5: The recommended Chapters are:- Footnote 6: I’ve taken the 2000 – Second – Edition.

Footnote 7: This is to subvert the thought that we (only) have eternal life now.

Note last updated: 26/12/2010 13:14:53


Footnote 6.19.7: (Resurrection)

Of course, there were disagreements amongst the Greeks on this issue, as on everything else. Aristotle had a different view of the soul, as the Form of the body, rather than as some immaterial substance that could separate from the body. So, maybe resurrection wasn’t foolishness to all the Greeks. However, Aristotle (who antedated the development of the doctrine) might have had logical objections. One of my research interests is to investigate whether resurrection is metaphysically possible. That is, is a resurrected or reincarnated being a deceived simulacrum of that which died, or that very being itself. Assuming apparent resurrections or reincarnations to be possible, of course.

Sylvia’s Response: Christ’s Resurrection; Metaphysics

Note last updated: 12/08/2007 10:17:46


Footnote 6.19.8: (Resurrection (Metaphysics)) (CORRESPONDENT)

How can you investigate whether resurrection is metaphysically possible? The only evidence we have for it is in the Bible, if we believe it!

Theo’s Response

Note last updated: 12/08/2007 10:17:46


Footnote 6.21: (Numerical Identity)

To quote the Synopsis of "DeGrazia (David) - Human Identity and Bioethics":

    When philosophers address personal identity, they usually explore numerical identity: what are the criteria for a person's continuing existence? When non-philosophers address personal identity, they often have in mind narrative identity: Which characteristics of a particular person are salient to her self-conception?
DeGrazia explores both conceptions, and acknowledges a debt to Eric Olson for the former and Marya Schechtman for the latter.

This is a place-holder. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

Note last updated: 27/06/2011 18:57:36


Footnote 6.23: (Narrative Identity)

Plug1 Note

  • Narrative identity isn’t really an account of numerical identity, but is dependent on it. It is analogous to the PV, but is closer to what most non-philosophers usually mean by “personal identity”; saying someone is “no longer the same person” implies such a change in personality that their life no longer fits into a single narrative.
  • The most convenient introduction is probably in "Shoemaker (David) - Personal Identity and Ethics", section 2.3 (Web Link (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/identity-ethics/#NarCri)).
  • To quote:-
    • what makes some feature mine may actually be making reference to a non-numerical type of identity, a type of identity we are thinking of when addressing the familiar question of an identity crisis: “Who am I really?” This is the question of identity as proper attributability, as providing an account of one's true self and the various attributes genuinely belonging to it.
    • the Narrative Criterion of Personal Identity: what makes an action, experience, or psychological characteristic properly attributable to some person (and thus a proper part of his or her true identity) is its correct incorporation into the self-told story of his or her life. … Narrative identity is thus really about a kind of psychological unity, but not just an artless or random unity.
    • for that subject of experiences to be a person, a genuine moral agent, those experiences must be actively unified, must be gathered together into the life of one narrative ego by virtue of a story the subject tells that weaves them together, giving them a kind of coherence and intelligibility they wouldn't otherwise have had. This is how the various experiences and events come to have any real meaning at all — rather than being merely isolated events — by being part of a larger story that relates them to one another within the context of one life
    • What explains my special sort of concern for myself is that I'm in fact an extended narrative ego — not some time-slice concerned about the well-being of some future time-slice — and I'm constantly extending that narrative into the future, so my concern is global, a concern for the whole self I'm creating via this story, the whole self whose various parts are mine.
    • what makes some past action mine (for which I'm eligible for praise or blame) is that it flowed from my central values, beliefs, and experiences, that there's a coherent story I may tell uniting it to the other elements of my life.
  • Shoemaker sees a problem:-
    • What matters to us with respect to all of our practical concerns is that we ourselves continue to exist: it's a necessary presupposition of my rational anticipation, self-concern, possibilities for compensation, and so on that I myself persist, but this is an issue of numerical identity. Another way to put this is that one can't be a person, on the narrative view, unless one gathers up the various experiences one has as a subject of experiences into a coherent narrative, but then the identity of that subject of experiences must be preserved across time for its experiences to be so gathered up.
    • If narrative identity depends on numerical identity, then it is as subject to fission-problems as accounts of numerical identity.
  • See the categorised reading list below. A fairly full reading list might be:-
    1. "Alexander (Ronald) - The Self and Narrative Identity", Alexander
    2. "DeGrazia (David) - Human Persons: Narrative Identity and Self-Creation", DeGrazia
    3. "Schechtman (Marya) - The Narrative Self-Constitution View", Schechtman
    4. "Shoemaker (David) - Personal Identity and Self-Regarding Ethics - Alternative Approaches", Shoemaker_David
    5. "Teichert (Dieter) - Narrative, Identity and the Self", Teichert
    6. "Thomas (Laurence) - Group Autonomy and Narrative Identity: Blacks and Jews", Thomas
  • This is a place-holder.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.

Note last updated: 16/08/2015 13:30:43


Footnote 6.29: (Life)

  1. There are (at least) two sub-topics that fall under this topic:-
    • Lives: Life as an (extended) event – the career of an individual.
    • Life: Life as a biological process.
  2. I assume that lives can be had by individuals that do not have (biological) life, but think it unhelpful to talk of non-biological individuals as “alive”, except in a figurative sense.
  3. Life – and its correlate, death, is a biological process, on which the word of the biologist (maybe as clarified by the philosopher) is final.
  4. So, interesting philosophical questions about Life include:-
    • Just what is (biological) life?
    • When does biological life begin? This is presumably an empirical question, the answer to which will vary from species to species.
    • Are there borderline cases of life?
    • When does life cease? Again, the answer to this question will be species-dependent.
    • Can life intermit? Does it make sense to say that so-and-so died (on the operating table, say) and then revived?
  5. Interesting philosophical questions about Lives include:-
    • How are lives individuated?
    • What sort of things can have lives?
    • How closely coupled is the life of a human organism with the life of a human person?
    • Can a life lived courtesy of a human organism be continued after the death of that organism?
  6. A starting point for Life is "Wilson (Jack) - Biological Individuality - The identity and Persistence of Living Entities".
  7. Similarly, for Lives: "Wollheim (Richard) - Living", from "Wollheim (Richard) - The Thread of Life".
  8. For a discussion of the possibility of Life after Death, see this Note.


This is a place-holder. Currently, mainly see the rather diminutive reading list below.

Note last updated: 04/07/2014 22:46:34


Footnote 6.34: (Life After Death)

This is an umbrella-note for the ways in which post-mortem survival might be actualised, namely:-

  • Resurrection,
  • Reincarnation, or
  • Immortality of the Soul.
I have some other notes on this and related topics as part of Philosophy of Religion and my Blog:-
  • Death-and-Eternal-Life,
  • Resurrection, and
  • Resurrection(Metaphysics).
Johnston thinks (in "Johnston (Mark) - Surviving Death") that there’s a forensic need for post-mortem survival of some sort, as otherwise there’s no incentive to be good, and hopes to provide it by a radical redefinition of what the person is. But this strikes me as changing the subject.

This is mostly a place-holder. Currently, see the categorised reading-list, which requires some pruning in order to fit to identity-related issues only.

Note last updated: 03/08/2013 23:44:10


Footnote 6.35: (Christian Materialism)

Plug1 Note






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 6: To be checked & corrected in due course.

Footnote 7:
  • Actually this has become rather an exhaustive list – there’s lots of interesting stuff to get through.
  • As a mitigant, many of these papers will be covered under other Notes.
Footnote 8: Works by, or about, Lynne Rudder Baker are mostly covered elsewhere – eg: Click here for Note.

Footnote 9: Corcoran is very much a supporter of Lynne Rudder Baker.

Footnote 10:
  • Murphy is only the (co-)editor of two of these books, and many / most of the contributors will have Christian affiliation of some sort (probably Catholic).
  • However, I have not listed the other contributors / editors directly unless they are otherwise well-known (to me).
  • I have, however, listed Murphy’s contributions to the edited collections.
Footnote 11:
  • There are so many potentially-relevant papers by Van Inwagen that I’ve had to decide whether to list them all or only some …
  • “All” is more useful, without repeating those in the books listed – except from anthologies edited by Van Inwagen.
Footnote 12:
  • I’m not sure how committed (if at all) Lowe was to Christianity, nor how important he was as a philosopher (he died in 2014).
  • He did once argue for the modal ontological argument against Oppy, but in "Bourget (David) & Chalmers (David) - What Do Philosophers Believe?" he’s only down as “leaning towards” theism.
  • The TLS Obituary (Web Link (https://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/people/jonathan-lowe-1950-2014/2010845.article)) described him as “one of the leading philosophers of his generation” but made no mention of any religious faith.
  • See his Durham page: Web Link (https://www.dur.ac.uk/philosophy/ejlowepages/).
  • This list may therefore be too much.
Footnote 13: I’ve not bought the book as it is too expensive!

Footnote 14: This (rather than hylomorphic) is the chosen spelling!

Note last updated: 31/08/2015 00:15:50


Footnote 6.41: (Statue and the Clay)

Plug Note1






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.

Note last updated: 14/01/2017 20:18:14


Footnote 6.43: (Thinking Animal Argument)

Plug1 Note






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 9: For years, Olson trotted this argument out at every opportunity.

Footnote 10:
  • Usually invoking vagueness / fuzzy boundary considerations.
  • Which of the many cats (give or take a few atoms) is the “real cat”? There’s no principled reason / I can’t know which.
  • So there are no cats, or if there are, I can’t know which of the many cat-a-likes is the real cat.
Footnote 11:
  • I accept Moore’s “two hands” argument – nothing is plainer than that I have two hands, so any metaphysical or epistemological theory that says I haven’t, or can’t know that I have, must have something wrong with it.
  • I do know that there are arguments against the existence of hands and other “arbitrary undetached parts”, so maybe it’s safer to stick to cats.
Footnote 14: Look at "Ray (Greg) - Williamson's Master Argument on Vagueness". Is it relevant?

Footnote 15: And no-doubt other papers in "Olson (Eric), Etc. - Abstracta Special Issue on "The Human Animal"".

Note last updated: 04/07/2015 13:37:55


Footnote 6.44: (Dion and Theon)

Plug Note1






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 9: I’ll treat of the variant form of Tibbles the Cat under that Note.

Footnote 10: It is, of course, moot whether this “thing” is a man (or cat) – or even whether it exists at all.

Footnote 11: I’ve filched this material from "Burke (Michael) - Dion and Theon: An Essentialist Solution to an Ancient Puzzle".

Note last updated: 14/01/2017 20:18:14


Footnote 6.45: (Tibbles the Cat)

Plug Note1






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.

Note last updated: 14/01/2017 20:18:14


Footnote 6.46: (Problem of the Many)

Plug Note1






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.

Note last updated: 14/01/2017 20:18:14


Footnote 6.55: (Universals)

Plug Note1

  • My research is Personal Identity, so what have Universals to do with this?
  • Well, not a lot – except David Lewis introduced them as an example to distinguish perdurance from endurance – Universals being analogous to enduring entities as they are (allegedly) wholly present in each particular that possesses the property covered by the Universal. So, (a particular shade of) redness is (said to be) wholly present in each red object.
  • There’s also a connection with Natural Kinds. In "Hawley (Katherine) & Bird (Alexander) - What are Natural Kinds?", the authors suggest that Natural Kinds are “Complex Universals”.
  • I also – probably heretically – have the view that Universals themselves might have persistence conditions. My example is that of a book. “Pride and Prejudice” is a book – but both a Universal that can be variously instantiated in physical books, or (now) eBooks. But it (or a better example) might go through several editions. What makes all these editions “of the same book”?
  • I have touched upon Universals in various write-ups:-
    1. "Baillie (James) - What Am I?": see write-up.
    2. "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Response to Eric Olson": see write-up7.
    3. "Fine (Kit) - A Counter-Example To Locke's Thesis": see write-up8.
    4. "Markosian (Ned) - Three Problems for Olson's Account of Personal Identity": see write-up.
  • They also appear in Animadversions on talks at Heythrop by:-
    1. Snowdon10
    2. Haldane11
  • There is a potential relationship between Universals and Properties – realists contend that properties are Universals, and "Moreland (J.P.) - Universals" attacks the question of universals via that of properties. So, a consideration of "Mellor (D.H.) & Oliver (Alex), Eds. - Properties: Oxford Readings in Philosophy" might be in order.
  • Leading on from this, I might also review my BA-finals essay on the Third Man Argument (Web Link (http://www.theotodman.com/PlatoThirdMan.pdf)), which deals with the problems caused by properties and universals.
  • A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
    1. Also, see Bob Doyle: Abstract Entities (http://metaphysicist.com/problems/abstract_entities/).
  • This is mostly a place-holder. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.

Note last updated: 14/01/2017 20:18:14


Footnote 6.55.7: (Baker - The Human Animal: Response to Olson)

This paper is a review of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Response to Eric Olson", which is itself a response to "Olson (Eric) - Replies to Baker, Markosian & Zimmerman".

Baker has two objections to Olson’s reply to her objections to Animalism:

  1. That Olson accused her of mis-describing her own view, and
  2. That Olson accused her of making a simple logical error.
She raises two technical points, both related to her Constitution View (CV) that she had not had time to elaborate on during her initial response to Olson:-
  1. The “Key Distinction”: between having properties derivatively and non-derivatively.
  2. Not all properties can be had derivatively.
According to Baker, properties are had derivatively if they are had in virtue of the individual being constituted by something else that has them non-derivatively. The derivative and non-derivative having of properties is exhaustive. This is the Key Distinction (KD).

She says that the KD shows that some Fs have their persistence conditions (PCs) in virtue of being Fs while others do not. She notes that persistence conditions only apply to primary-kind properties (introduced without definition). If F is a primary-kind property, then all and only non-derivative F’s have their PCs in virtue of being Fs.
  • PCs are sortal-related, and “what it is to be an F is what it is to (continue to) be”. If F is the property that defines the Sort, you can’t have an F that doesn’t have PCs in virtue of being an F. I presume that SORT and PRIMARY KIND are synonyms. However, TEACHER is not a Sort (or Primary Kind), so no teacher has her PCs in virtue of being a teacher, but in virtue of being a human being (pace Baker). Teachers as such don’t have PCs. The big issue here is whether PERSON is like TEACHER, in not being a Sort. It’s not clear that we need the concept of constitution or the KD to explain these differences in PCs. What is Baker’s view of teachers – are they constituted by human animals too – or just properties of human animals (or maybe persons)?
  • Baker doesn’t mention substances - but are they pre-supposed by talk of Kinds, or are these orthogonal concepts? Are the major accounts of persistence (endurantism, perdurantism, exdurantism) orthogonal to ideas about substances – ie. does endurantism presuppose substances, and perdurantism deny them?
  • If substances are the key to this debate, is it the case that PERSON is not a substance-term, but only a property of a substance? In that case, it is the human animal that has the FPP, and it is this that qualifies it to be a person. So, the person’s PCs are the PCs of an appropriate animal (one capable at some time of having a FPP).
  • We might ask about the persistence of a personality, but it’s not clear what a personality is. Personalities seem to be able to develop, but they seem rather abstract. Are they collections of properties? They can’t really be universals, as universals are timeless and changeless.
As an example – and application – Baker says that her body is an animal non-derivatively, and has its PCs in virtue of being an animal. There’s lots to say here:-
  1. Olson (and I) would disagree bodies are animals in any sense. Olson probably denies that (living) bodies exist, though he probably agrees that corpses exist, and organisms certainly exist. I’m not impressed by co-location arguments, though I’m not quite sure what the relation of an animal to its body is – presumably some form of constitution.
  2. My difference with Baker is not with constitution per se, but with ontological priorities. Baker has it that there are two substances involved (the person and the animal, or the statue and the clay) and that one is temporarily constituted by the other. But in my view one is not a substance – the statue cannot exist apart from the clay, and the person cannot exist apart from the animal. The ontological priority is that x constitutes y, for periods of x’s existence, but for the whole of y’s existence.
  3. The PCs of a body differ from those of an animal – at least if the body is taken to persist as a corpse, as is often said.
As a second example, Baker says that she is an animal derivatively, and does not have her PCs in virtue of being an animal. This is just Baker’s main thesis, and doesn’t require any further comment here.

As for Baker’s second technical point, she gives three examples of properties that cannot be had derivatively:-
  1. Those expressed by “constitutes”.
  2. Those expressed by “is identical with”.
  3. Those rooted outside the time that they are had – such as “started out as an embryo”.
I couldn’t see any explicit reference to this point in the subsequent discussion. However, they do have applications to the case in hand. If the second example were allowed, then Baker might be identical to a human animal derivatively, and consequently have the PCs of a human animal, which she denies. And if the third were allowed, then only being an animal derivatively would not protect her from having been a fetus, or about to be in a PVS. I couldn’t quite get my head around the first example. If it were allowed, then Baker might be self-constituting. I need to follow-up on this.

She then applies (the first of) these distinctions to Olson’s response. She looks at what is wrong with the apparently valid:-
  1. I am an animal
  2. Every animal started out as an embryo
    Therefore,
  3. I started out as an embryo
Baker’s response is that the argument, as it stands, is ambiguous, and doesn’t work however it is disambiguated. The problem is with premise (2). If it claims that all animals, derivative or otherwise, started out as embryos, then it is (by Baker’s lights) false, as she (being a person essentially, and only an animal derivatively) did not start out as an embryo. She couldn’t have, because embryos aren’t persons, and she is essentially a person (she says). The alternative, making both the premises true, leads to an invalid argument:-
  1. I am an animal derivatively
  2. Everything that is an animal non-derivatively started out as an embryo
    Therefore,
  3. I started out as an embryo
I presume that the same repair has to be made for all sorts of (human) substitutes for “I” … student, professor, bus-inspector, but that it gets a bit wobbly is we get less intellectual – toddler, baby, neonate, chimpanzee, individual in a PVS, and so on.

Baker makes further application of the KD, claiming that it:-
  1. Answers Olson’s worries about ‘separate existence’,
  2. Defeats Olson’s claim that if x constitutes y at t, then x and y are numerically different, and
  3. Answers Olson’s “epistemological question” about how someone non-identical to an organism can know this alleged fact.
My immediate responses to these claims are as follows:- :-
  1. Separate existence: What was this worry? Presumably that (according to Olson’s view of Baker’s ontology) we have two things rather than one. If so, it’s the same worry is Baker answers in the next point.
  2. Constitution and Numerical Difference: this is really awkward, it seems to me. Baker is claiming that the person and the human organism are not “numerically different”. But what is “numerical difference”. Normally we’d say that two things are “numerically the same” if they are identical, but Baker denies this – one thing is not identical to the thing that constitutes it (because it might have been constituted by something else, yet identity is a necessary relation, and the existences may not be coterminous – so we’d have a failure of Leibniz’s Law).
  3. Epistemological Questions: Maybe the KD does answer this worry, but Baker doesn’t explain how here. Presumably the knowledge isn’t immediate, but is a metaphysical deduction.
Baker sees a single thread of misunderstanding in Olson’s response to her. Indeed, he doesn’t so much refute her arguments as ignore them, a complaint I think can be sustained. She says a whole Section of a Chapter of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View" is devoted to this topic. Presumably this is part of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Very Idea of Constitution", though it could be part of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Constitution View of Human Persons", or "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Coherence Of the Idea of Material Constitution", or "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Coherence Of the Constitution View of Human Persons". I need to follow-up on this when reviewing these chapters.

Baker agrees that Identity is a necessary relation, but thinks there are two ways non-identical x, y can be related at time t:-
  1. By being constitutionally related, and
  2. By having separate existence.
These two ideas are “explicitly defined in familiar terms” (presumably in the aforementioned Section). The idea, presumably, is that where we don’t have identity we can either have completely separate things (apples and pears, or apple1 and apple2) or two things that nevertheless are not “separate existences”. This would be impossible on a perdurantist view (as the temporal worms are clearly distinct when not coterminous), but on an endurantist view (where a thing is “wholly present” at each time, is not obviously false.

Baker has another rant about Olson and whether she might have misunderstood him. While acknowledging that he believes that there are persons (though we should note that Olson avoids this term, preferring people), he ignores what’s distinctive about them. “On Olson’s view, being a person is no more fundamental to what we are than is being a fancier of fast cars”.

She makes a closing assertion that it is not her view that all value or matters of significance to us have ontological significance. However, she doesn’t explain where the boundaries lie.

Note last updated: 18/12/2010 19:58:05


Footnote 6.55.8: (Fine - A Counter-Example to Locke's Thesis)

This essay is a review of "Fine (Kit) - A Counter-Example To Locke's Thesis".

Author’s Abstract: Locke's thesis states that no two things of the same sort can be in the same place at the same time. The thesis has recently received extensive discussion, with some philosophers attempting to find arguments in its favour and others attempting to provide counter-examples. However, neither the arguments nor the counter-examples have been especially convincing; and it is my aim, in this short note, to present what I believe is a more convincing counter-example to the thesis.

Fine notes that those who disagree with Locke’s thesis include:-


… while those that support it include:-
Discussion
  1. Why do I care about this paper? Would I be more comfortable, metaphysically speaking, if its conclusions were true or false? This paper was referenced in "Fine (Kit) - The Non-Identity of a Material Thing and Its Matter", which I was reviewing, and which argues that a physical thing and its matter are distinct, yet co-located. Fine, in a footnote, claims that bolder assertions are also true – namely that physical things of the same sort can be co-located, even necessarily so. I was hoping that this short paper would shed light on Fine’s commitments that might make the longer and more difficult paper easier to understand and assess. It is disappointing in this respect, because Fine doesn’t consider the linguistic arguments in favour of monism that are addressed at length in the later paper. It is, however, interesting in its own right. Ultimately, my concerns are to do with personal identity, and at the end of this discussion I consider some of the possible consequences the paper has for this area of research.
  2. In the paper presently under discussion, Fine wants to show that it is possible for two physical things of the same sort to be co-located. His example is of a pair of letters – epistles, not alphabetic characters – sent between a husband and wife. The outgoing letter is written on one side of the paper and the returning letter on the other.
  3. For some reason not explained, the writing is effected by scorch-marks rather than by pen and ink. Presumably the intent is not to modify the paper by the addition of extraneous matter – ink – that might lead to the quibble that as a result the returning letter was not the same physical thing as the outgoing letter. Alternatively, the complaint might be that the husband’s letter consists in the paper and his ink, while the wife’s consists in the paper and her ink (or, maybe, the husband’s ink is already part of the wife’s letter’s infrastructure by this stage – though this asymmetrical view is harder to maintain), and consequently that the two letters are non-coincident and non-identical. Using scorching may be an attempt to finesse this issue, and while scorching does modify the paper – by oxidising it – it is less obvious that any writer’s letter “exclusively owns” the additional oxygen bound to its side. So, while the physical thing changes following each inscripturation, it’s not so obviously arguable in the case of scorching that there are two partially overlapping but non-identical physical things at the end of the process.
  4. The critic could dig his heels in and say firstly that inscripturation necessarily modifies the physical structure of the paper, and secondly that a letter necessarily consists in the piece of paper plus or minus whatever matter has been added (in the normal case) or subtracted (in the case of incised writing) in the process of writing the letter.
  5. The first claim is probably true, and is important because we are talking about physical things. However,
    • Modifying the physical structure does not necessarily involve adding or subtracting matter – it could involve a simple rearrangement (as is suggested later in this paper).
    • Moreover, we might argue that we might still say something despite no change whatsoever to either the matter or the structure of the original letter, to the effect that “I have nothing to say”, “it’s over” or an open-ended set of possibilities based on past history. This would arise in case the husband’s letter is simply returned. The meaning of a letter is dependent on many factors external to it, and to the manner and context of its sending. What is not said can be as significant as what is said.
    • Finally, it might even be possible to send a null (physical) letter. In The Poisoner (a French-language film set in post-war France – see Web Link (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Besnard) for the real-life background) the accused, acquitted and now demised Madame Besnard bequeaths to Simone (a reporter) a letter that Simone hopes will explain all. Yet the envelope is empty, heightening the uncertainty about her guilt. This null letter conveys information – though whether it is a tacit admission of guilt (in that the final opportunity for self-exculpation has been let slip), or simple playfulness remains unclear and might depend on a tacit understanding between Madame Besnard and Simone. Note that while in this example it might claimed that the envelope is part of the letter, and thus that the letter is not null, the text is null.
  6. The second claim is not implausible, but does not apply in the case of inscripturation by rearrangement. But even if it is correct, there may be better objections to Fine’s example, based either on an alleged confusion of a letter as a physical thing and as a kind of universal, or on the notion of constitution. We will come back to these possibilities later.
  7. Fine’s first example therefore purports to show that we can have two distinct physical things of the same sort – the husband’s letter and the wife’s letter – that occupy the same place at the same time. He gives the obvious reasons why this is the case for all four aspects of the claim. These are:-
    • The two objects are of the same sort.
    • They are coincident – at least at certain times.
    • They are distinct.
    • They are physical things.
  8. Drawing parallels with the distinctions between extreme, moderate and mild monists made in "Fine (Kit) - The Non-Identity of a Material Thing and Its Matter", this example is analogous to a counter-example to the position exemplified by the extreme monist, who identifies “two” things if “they” coincide at any time or times (but does not insist that they have to do so at all times).
  9. Note, however, that monism is a view about a thing and its matter, not about co-located items of the same sort. Even so, the three-fold analogy is worth pursuing.
  10. Fine next considers a second case analogous to that rejected by the moderate monist who only makes the identification if the coincidence occurs at all times within a world, and where both exist in that world at all times where either does. This case is set up by two people simultaneously scorching their messages on different sides of a piece of parchment stopping a hole in a wall.
  11. Finally, Fine considers a third case analogous to those rejected by the mild monist, who only makes the identification if the coincidence occurs at all times within all possible worlds. This case involves writing two letters simultaneously in two languages (Prittle and Prattle) that happen to coincide as far as their written text is concerned (in this short letter) but diverge as far as their meaning is concerned. So, while there is only one act of writing, and only one written text, two letters with different meanings are written. Fine claims that at all times in all possible worlds we have two distinct physical objects of the same sort occupying the same place at all times at which either exists.
  12. So, what, if anything, is wrong with these examples? The extreme and moderate forms are essentially analogous, while the mild case requires additional special treatment.
  13. Problems with the extreme and moderate examples: we need to consider the four “pillars” of the argument – I don’t think there are any other points at which we might cavil.
    • Same Sort: no problems that I can see. They are letters and LETTER is a sort.
    • Coincidence: I think we can get round any of the problems alluded to above. We might, for instance, build our letters out of micro-Lego so that writing the letter just involves rearranging some surface pieces.
    • Distinctness: here, we have to be clear on just what things are distinct, if they are indeed distinct. Qua physical object, we might argue that only one thing is present. Qua universal, there are two things present. While universals aren’t actually physically located anywhere, tokens of them can be. So, we might claim that a single physical thing is a token of two different universals. While there are two universals tokened, there is only one physical thing that tokens both. This explanation seems especially attractive in the mild monist example and leads on to the discussion in the following bullet. Alternatively, we might say that there is one physical thing present, which admittedly changes over time as physical things do, but that it constitutes first one letter, and then two letters. We might leave it open whether the letter that is constituted is itself a physical thing, but the usual position (eg. that of Lynne Rudder Baker) would be that it is a physical thing, and a distinct physical thing (though not of the same sort), but not something so distinct from the thing that constitutes it that we have to count two things.
    • Physical things: a letter, and what counts as the same letter, is subject to ambiguity. Letters are both particulars and universals. Take St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. This was once a physical letter written on papyrus. The original physical letter has long-since ceased to exist, but many copies (or copies of copies of ... copies) of it still exist. All of these are imperfect copies, no doubt. Some of the copies are now on computer disks and some very imperfect ones will be in peoples’ memories. To what does the term “St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans” (or, for that matter, “Shakespeare’s Hamlet”) presently refer? Not, I would suggest, to some long-lost manuscript, or some particular copy of a definitive published edition, but to a virtual text, the precise contents of which is a bit fuzzy. Maybe there’s (at any time) a true text “in the light of the best current scholarship”, so that the logical letter can evolve over time (as the “standard text” changes), just as – though in a different way – the physical letter can evolve over time (by having another letter written on the back, by being used as a palimpsest, or simply by becoming tatty).
  14. Is this particular / universal distinction really relevant here? To demonstrate that we have two physical things in the same place at the same time, Fine asks to what would we point when asked where the first letter is, and where the second letter, and it would indeed be to the same physical thing. But if asked of a computer image, or a photograph, whether this is the first letter, we would have to agree (provided it was a true representation). Now, is this a right analogy? Is it the letter, or an image of the letter, or a copy of the letter that we point out when we point to some physical thing other than the physical thing on to which the author’s definitive text was first splurged out? That is, on seeing a true photocopy, and being asked whether it is the letter I wrote, should I reply yes or no? Does the question relate to the text or the thing?
  15. Consider letters written by famous people. What the collector is after here is the autograph – that particular physical thing that the famous hand wrote on, together with the marks actually made. Different tokens in the author’s hand might be equally valuable, but a mere photocopy would not be. Alternatively, take Leibniz’s personal annotated copy of Locke’s Essay. The particular value of that physical book lies in it having Leibniz’s actual scribblings on it. A photocopy would not count, however interesting.
  16. So, objections based on type / token distinctions probably fail but, alternatively, could we say that a letter is a phase sortal of a piece of paper? Or, more accurately, that a token of a letter is a phase sortal of whatever physical medium expresses it? In that case, the one continuant physical thing is the piece of paper (or parchment, or assembly of micro-Lego), which undergoes various changes consistent with it remaining a piece of paper (or whatever) but which for periods of its existence has the property of being a letter or letters.
  17. Additional problems with the mild example: this is interesting, and whether we’re convinced by it depends on our modal intuitions. The example is convincing (subject to the above concerns about the metaphysical status of letters) just in case the closest worlds are those in which Prattle and Prattle stay divergent (as far as the text-string in the letters is concerned). What we want is that any world that contains the letter written in Prittle also contains the letter written in Prattle co-located. But why should the vocabulary and grammar of Prittle stay constant across these worlds? Or do we just say that those worlds in which Prittle and Prattle diverge from their real-world exemplars are worlds in which the original letters don’t exist. But then can’t we suggest a counterfactual like, “if the grammar of Prattle had been different, the Prattle-interpretation of this Prittle-letter wouldn’t have been so amusing”. In any case, Fine should have given some more justification for his claim.
  18. In the above, we must focus, as Fine does, on the necessary divergence. Fine doesn’t consider variations in Prittle and Prattle, but only considers the act of writing. He assumes that the four pillars of his general argument remain sound, namely sameness of sort, coincidence, distinctness and physicality, and that the only issues are to do with the necessary truth of these pillars. This is right, but which of the pillars is most at risk of modal divergence? He doesn’t discuss the first and fourth, as these don’t differ from the earlier examples. He focuses on the second – necessary coincidence. It is to be noted, though unremarked by Fine, that he gives up on scorching and allows ink to be used – presumably because there are now no available quibbles on the “coincidence” front due to ink-ownership claims since – as there is only one act of writing – both letters are necessarily written simultaneously using the same materials. He does discuss distinctness – they are distinct because they are in different languages – but he doesn’t discuss necessary distinctness. What would be a counter-example? I think this is where the argument breaks down. Can’t there be worlds in which Prittle and Prattle coincide (at least as far as the text of the letter is concerned) and consequently there’s only one letter?
  19. Could we modify the mild monist example in any way to improve it? This is not easy. Say we tried to do away with the possible divergent or convergent languages, for instance having the same English text that means different things to different people, in some indexical manner? For example, “Do what I told you to do last Friday”, where the action may be different. But is the meaning the same, and if it is the same, do we have distinct letters? I think we could argue that they are distinct, Yet even so, how would this state of affairs vary across possible worlds? The actions would not necessarily be different, so maybe this example doesn’t work either. But if the letters are different if their intended recipients are different (even if the instruction is the same), does the example stand up? But are the recipients necessarily different?
  20. What lessons can be learnt or parallels drawn from all this? I’m really interested in people, and personal identity, so what applications can be made? Here are some very brief pointers.
    • Firstly, some views of persons effectively consider them as some form of tokened universal. This seems to be the view of those who think I would survive teletransportation where only information is transmitted. This view is probably consistent with the thought that I am an essentially physical being, and does not rely on substance dualism (indeed, it probably denies it); this is probably what the psychological view reduces to for the physicalist. Again, it is often said that I am defined by my psychology, and that anything appropriately psychologically continuous with me, or psychologically connected to me, is (identical to) me. This runs up against reduplication objections that cannot always be resolved by arbitrary “closest continuer” choices. The consequence of this may be that I am viewed as some sort of universal that may be multiply tokened, or maybe tokened to various degrees. Yet some tokens (like the autograph letter) are more important than others – in particular, the token (if any) in which my first-person perspective – my actual window on the world, not some qualitatively exactly similar one – persists.
    • Secondly, persons may be considered as phase sortals of other things, such as human animals. On this view, in contrast to Baker’s Constitution View, there are not two substances overlapping – a person and a human animal – but one substance that possesses especially interesting properties at certain times, and is consequently worthy of special treatment, and at other times is a less interesting “mere human animal” for which (maybe) such special treatment is purely sentimental. The human being might qualify as a person only during phases of its existence, when it possesses the right psychology. In the case of the letters, there is one substance – the physical bit of paper (singed or not, variously inky, incised or rearranged) that for phases of its existence has the property of being a letter, and at some times has the property of being two letters simultaneously. Yet there is only one physical thing and not two coincident physical things. Can there be co-located persons? This is the view of those who believe Multiple Personality Disorder indicates two persons rather than a divided personality. We can see how this overlapping might take place for less significant phase sortals than PERSON – STUDENT for instance. A student might also be considered as a phase sortal of a human being. The Cambridge student might overlap temporally with the Birkbeck student. Yet there is only one substance – the human being, and not two or three overlapping substances. In particular, the Birkbeck student and the Cambridge student are not two distinct co-located physical things.
    • Thirdly, Constitution. If the letter is constituted by the physical thing that “is” it, then that physical thing can constitute two letters simultaneously, yet without any co-location of multiple physical things. If the letter is thought of as being something over and above the thing that (presently constitutes it), maybe we have a parallel to Lynne Rudder Baker’s view of the constitution of human persons by their bodies. But Baker doesn’t think of persons as universals, but as essentially physical beings. Also, she wouldn’t allow for multiple realisation or multiple tokening. There can only be one physical thing (at a time) with my first person perspective (it is claimed; though how this is so, and how determined, is left unclear). Additionally, she has persons as ontologically distinct from the human animals that constitute them. Is this true of letters, or is a letter constituted by its paper and ink in a different way from that in which a person is said to be constituted by her body? Probably. What if the same letter can be constituted by different physical structures. For example (a) St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans or (b) if the scorching set fire to the letter in Fine’s original example – is any replacement letter the same letter or a different one? There are obvious parallels in the case of personal identity with the claim that originally exercised Locke – that resurrection should make sense.
    • Finally, necessary distinctness. Are there any parallels in the field of personal identity research to Fine’s necessary co-location of physical objects of the same sort? Indeed, we haven’t really considered whether there are any contingent co-locations for persons. Presumably this is the case on the psychological view of personal identity where we have multiple personality disorder. In that case, there are two persons physically co-located, though maybe they are only intermingled, depending on how their psychology is physically realised. I cannot see that such a case could ever be necessary.
  21. Conclusion: Do I think Fine’s examples stand up, and do I really care? I think I must reject the idea that two physical things of the same sort can be co-located. My rejection isn’t because I have any particular axe to grind, but because there are other ways of describing the situation that are more appealing.
    • This is partly an aesthetic judgement, but is a response to a rather odd claim. If multiple things of the same sort can be co-located, then some of our usual mass-term notions go wrong, though maybe the count-term notions are unaffected.
    • So, while we can carefully inspect the sheet of paper and determine that there are two letters present (just as we’d have to do when inspecting 5 sheets – there might be one or more letters present; we can only tell by careful inspection), if we ask how much the two letters weigh, and whether when we put both letters on the scales they weigh as much as the combined weight of each of the two letters weighed separately, we run into trouble.
    • We should do everything we can in describing the situation to avoid such conundrums. So, we should choose one of the alternative descriptions – that we have one physical thing present, but that this one thing either tokens two other things, or constitutes two other things, or that these other things are phase sortals of that one physical thing.
    • We then have to answer various questions about the metaphysical status of these other things. It is for this reason that I prefer the phase sortal approach, because there’s no temptation to think that we have multiple co-located substances, as in Baker’s Constitution View, or of confounding universals and particulars (on the token view).
    • The examples that Fine gives are probably generalisable in some way to other artefacts whose identities are dependent on external factors. Statues are the usual favourite. It might be that a statue that had some iconic status in a culture is extracted from that culture and receives a completely different one in another. In that case, we have multiple co-located statues. We should take this case further – are statues tokened? Is Discobolos a universal, multiply tokened, or are all the statues (including the ancient Roman ones) mere copies of the Greek original.
    • Or, take the case of symbols – maybe this is just the ultimately miniaturised version of Fine’s final example – for example, the use of the swastika in modern European and Indian cultures. How many physical symbols are present when I see, and hurriedly remove, a swastika from an Indian gift? We have only one physical thing, but that thing tokens two ideas, or constitutes two symbols. Alternatively, we can adopt the phase sortal approach. For certain periods of its existence it has certain interesting properties or relations that make us want to describe it in a special way, and maybe in multiple ways, even of the same category, at the same time.

Note last updated: 18/12/2010 19:58:05


Footnote 6.55.10: (Snowdon - Naturalism and Metaphysics)

  1. Paul Snowdon provided no hand-out, so this is all we’ve got ... any footnotes are my own comments.
  2. Is the naturalistic worldview OK? The assumption – a “natural one” – is that naturalism excludes religion – that they are in opposition.
  3. So, what is naturalism?
    • It’s an “ism”. There are lots of “Ism’s” in philosophy. It’s useful to have a name, but we need a shared understanding.
    • Platonism appeared last – and the most despised – on Snowdon’s list of “isms”.
    • Naturalism (according to the “motivating blurb”) involves:-
      1). Rejection of the supernatural,
      2). Rejection of the spooky,
      3). The over-extension of the scope of science, going beyond science’s proper place.
  4. Spookiness: doesn't help. Many aspects of the physical world are spooky. Matthew Platt - it's a queer world. Mackie’s argument from queerness (against ethical realism; see "Mackie (J.L.) - The Subjectivity of Values") fails because the world is queer. Naturalism picks out all the things there are and doesn’t rule out spooky things. Supernaturalism isn’t necessarily spooky, so the rejection of spookiness isn’t part of naturalism1.
  5. Science: Is human activity aiming at the truth of certain things. It is not the only way of pursuing truth – alternatives are observation, history, mathematics, philosophy, ... So, we can’t say that science is the measure of all things. The method of science is secondary – it has to start from data obtained prior to science, so is not independent. There’s no reason to think that all truth is discoverable by science – hence other disciplines exist.
  6. So, does naturalism imply that all that exists is available for scientific investigation? This is probably correct, and there is no reason to claim that this is an over-extension in advance; this turns on there exist objects that science cannot investigate.
  7. While it’s true that naturalism opposes the supernatural, this is tautological and doesn’t help explain naturailism.
  8. Another irrelevance is the opposition between the natural and the artificial. Computers exist!
  9. Snowdon mentioned Snowdon (Peter) - Skepticism and Naturalism: Some Varieties, though I don't know with what intent2.
  10. Human beings have a nature, but this is too narrow for use here.
  11. So, Naturalism ( T-Naturalism; the T-World: where “T” stands for “Traditional”) is Space, Time and the things in Space and Time. This is an ontological / metaphysical thesis: this is all that exists3.
  12. But, this doesn’t tell you what things are in Space and Time – this is a matter for investigation. Nor does it mean that we know the nature of Space and Time – this is also for investigation, though we need an understanding. Space and Time are Natural Kind categories (just as Gold and Water are Natural Kind categories, whose natures are to be investigated).
  13. Worries: T-Naturalism doesn’t need to be the best account of naturalism. If arguments don’t work against T-Naturalism, they can be set aside. Arguments against T-Naturalism are all metaphysical.
  14. There is an Epistemological Asymmetry. There is no problem about the existence of the T-Natural world – it’s an epistemological “given”. If you want to extend whatever exists beyond the T-Natural world, you need arguments - so, the onus is on those who want to go beyond T-Naturalism. It is not up to T-Naturalism to prove that there is “nothing else”.
  15. This isn’t a verificationist intelligibility claim. Snowdon is happy that (some) things that go beyond T-Naturalism can be understood. Not that everything makes sense, but there’s no prohibition about going beyond T-Naturalism.
  16. Arguments against T-Naturalism: aren’t there elements of human discourse that commit us to going beyond T-Naturalism? Values, numbers, necessities ..? Those raising such difficulties have to block avoidance manoeuvres on the part of the T-Naturalist along the lines of “suppose it is true that such discourse is unacceptable without going beyond T-Naturalism, then so much the worse for such discourse”. We might decide that or commitment to T-Naturalism exceeds that to the discourse, so abandon the discourse (about values, numbers, …).
  17. The response of the T-Naturalist – other than abandoning the discourse, is to try to locate the truth-makers, or grounds, of this discourse in the natural world. This leads to ethical, modal or mathematical Naturalism.
  18. Re-interpretative … looks as if it has ontological / truth and … morality etc. “expressivists”. Religious people can adopt this approach … it undermines the naturalist / supernaturalist distinction … a pre-emptive strike4!





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: This seems a bit quick. Presumably what’s intended by “spookiness” is things like – well – spooks, which are paradigmatically supernatural. But they aren’t part of classical theism. Nothing could be less spooky than the traditional concept of an omnipotent, good deity … though some aspects (omniscience and omnipresence might seem a bit spooky)

Footnote 2: Here are the first couple of paragraphs of that brief book (sample pages filched from the web):-
  • The term "naturalism" is elastic in its use. The fact that it has been applied to the work of philosophers having as little in common as Hume and Spinoza is enough to suggest that there is a distinction to be drawn between varieties of naturalism. In later chapters, I shall myself draw a distinction between two main varieties, within which there are sub-varieties. Of the two main varieties, one might be called strict or reductive naturalism (or, perhaps, hard naturalism). The other might be called catholic or liberal naturalism (or, perhaps, soft naturalism). …
  • Each of these two general varieties of naturalism will be seen by its critics as liable to lead its adherents into intellectual aberration. The exponent of some sub-varieties of strict or reductive naturalism is liable to be accused of what is pejoratively known as scientism, and of denying evident truths and realities. The soft or catholic naturalist, on the other hand, is liable to be accused of fostering illusions or propagating myths. I do not want to suggest that a kind of intellectual cold war between the two is inevitable. There is, perhaps, a possibility of compromise or détente, even of reconciliation. The soft or catholic naturalist, as his name suggests, will be the readier with proposals for peaceful coexistence
Footnote 3: But, what about Universals, Numbers, etc.? Snowdon isn’t a Platonist, so where are they? He comes on to this later

Footnote 4: I seem to have missed the point at issue here, and my notes are defective

Note last updated: 18/12/2010 19:58:05


Footnote 6.55.11: (Haldane - Naturalism and the Mind)

  1. Haldane had an extensive hand-out ("Haldane (John) - Naturalism and Mind") but didn’t stick to it, being deflected by the (rather unsurprising) things Papineau had to say (in "Papineau (David) - The Argument for Naturalism about the Mind").
  2. Papineau’s arguments belong to a family2 (from Donald Davidson, David Lewis, and so on). Mind makes a difference, but both cause and effect are physical. Haldane thinks that the argument is less straightforward than it might seem.
  3. Scientific Explanation is a “privileged” route to knowledge.
  4. The “integral unity of substances”. Effects flow from the nature of things – which are not just lumps of stuff.
  5. The rejection of the supernatural – but another Haldane – an atheist – claimed that the world is stranger than we can3 think.
  6. In contemporary usage supernatural is really praeternatural4 – the miraculous – ie. beyond the ordinary powers of substances. Strictly, supernatural is the operation of grace.
  7. If we depart from physicalism, does this mean that we need to view the mind in praeternaturalist terms? No.
  8. There are three views of metaphysics:-
    • Metaphysics as science - Quine – scientism.
    • Metaphysics as a priori etc. This view is deflationary about ontology. Does whatever we talk about in a regulated and well-ordered manner exist? If so, then what we mean by saying that numbers exist is that there exists a well-ordered discourse that involves them. For realism about minds, we need more than just talk about them – we need them to make a difference.
    • Third5 option – not discussed?
  9. Arguments6 against physicalism in the philosophy of mind:-
    • a. Sensibility: Eg. consciousness. Not persuasive.
    • b. Intelligibility: Modality, etc.
  10. Substances (eg. water) are identified by their causal powers – whether active (abilities) or passive (liabilities). Eg. Acid has the ability to dissolve.
  11. Haldane is not impressed by the arguments from consciousness (as arguments against physicalism). It’s not obvious that consciousness isn’t part of the physical world. It’s “isomorphic” to the physical world – can turn up the volume. Consciousness is just a mode of receptivity to the physical.
  12. Aquinas: unpack. We have powers of categorisation into kinds. Universals are not material. There’s no such thing as the organ of thought. Deliberation is not over particulars (= actuals) but over possibles.
  13. To be continued7?





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 2: Track down the references in these philosophers.

Footnote 3: According to Wikipedia (Web Link (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Arthur_Stanley_Eddington)), “Though sometimes attributed to Eddington without citation, this seems to be derived from a statement by J. B. S. Haldane (Web Link (https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/J._B._S._Haldane)) in Possible Worlds and Other Papers (1927), p. 286: The Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.“

Footnote 4: See, for instance, Web Link (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preternatural).

Footnote 5: The hand-out has:-
  1. Metaphysics as science
  2. Metaphysics as prior to and independent of empirical knowledge
  3. Metaphysics as interpretative of empirical and other knowledge.
Footnote 6: Haldane had a (non-distributed!) hand-out with 20 arguments against physicalism.

Footnote 7: My notes run out at this point, but don’t indicate that there was more said – they run straight on to the Q&As. I’ve no idea what the point of Haldane’s talk was.

Note last updated: 18/12/2010 19:58:05


Footnote 6.62: (Animal Rights)

Plug1 Note






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 8: I’ve listed almost the lot – this will require sifting when I get down to serious work on the topic.

Note last updated: 11/12/2015 10:23:31


Footnote 6.69: (Brain Criterion)

There will naturally be some overlap on this topic with the topics of brains and criteria.

The question is whether the brain – for human persons – is the be-all and end-all of the matter of personal identity for human persons. It is acknowledged by most that – conceptually at least – there can be persons that are not humans (ie. not members of the species homo sapiens) – whether these persons be non-human animals, computers, God, angels, aliens or whatever. Non-animals presumably have no brains, though aliens presumably have a brain-analogue, so brains cannot be identity-criteria for personhood as such (indeed, we might argue that there are no criteria for persons as such4). But for animal-persons (human or otherwise), the brain seems to occupy a central place, both as the seat of psychology (in the absence of an immaterial soul) and as the regulator of the body.

So, the story would go, X is the same person as Y iff6 X has the same brain as Y.

The trouble is – even if this claim is along the right lines – we can press matters further, and ask whether the whole brain is strictly necessary. If what impresses us is a brain-based psychological view, when what we imagine is “really the minimal me” is the pair of psychology-bearing cerebral hemispheres, then we might imagine (as some philosophers have) a case of fission, where – after equalising the hemispheres in psychological potency, we transplant one into another body lacking both hemispheres. Or, without needing anything so radical, me sever the corpus callosum in a commissurotomy, thereby (on this view) creating two persons in one body.

However, if we are animalists wondering what the “minimal animal” is, and it’s the command-and-control functions of the brain that impress us, then the paring-down process might10 be able to do without the cerebral hemispheres (or at least the psychology-bearing parts) altogether. So, brain-based views from different perspectives might come to different conclusions about the importance of the cerebral hemispheres – one view might make them essential, the other irrelevant to questions of identity (if not to “what matters”). It is an empirical question whether the brain-stem can be divided, and hence that the brain-based animalist approach is also subject to worries12 about fission.

Anyway, the appropriateness of the Brain criterion of personal identity depends on what we are – in particular whether we are (most fundamentally, or in the sense of numerical identity, which is not the same thing) human animals or persons constituted by them (or various other things). Only if we are brains, though I reject this idea under that head, will we adopt the brain criterion.

This is still mostly a place-holder. Currently, see the rather diminutive categorised reading-list.




In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 4: Hasn’t someone said this? Who? Wiggins (Click here for Note)? This is not to be confused with there being no criteria for identity, which is due to Merricks (eg. in "Merricks (Trenton) - There Are No Criteria For Identity Over Time").

Footnote 6: And, of course, “X and Y are both persons”, to cover the case where the brain is insufficient to support the property of personhood (Click here for Note).

Footnote 10: Much of this discussion has empirical aspects to it, and depends on the capabilities of real brains – though we might get into the choppy waters of more intricate TEs (Click here for Note), and wonder what might be the case if the biology went differently – but then we would most likely not be talking about our identity criteria, but of some other being.

Footnote 12: These worries about fission are essentially set to rest by adopting a perdurantist (Click here for Note) account of persistence. But, some consider the costs (mainly semantic, I think) of adopting this approach are too great.

Note last updated: 14/07/2013 23:02:24


Footnote 6.73: (Cyborgs)

Briefly, a Cyborg is a human being (or any organic being) with some inorganic parts. See the entry in Wikipedia (Web Link (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyborg)).

Compare and contrast with Android, and see also Siliconisation.

This is mostly a place-holder. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

Note last updated: 18/12/2010 19:58:05


Footnote 6.74: (Cerebrum)

Plug Note1






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.

Note last updated: 10/04/2017 23:38:24


Footnote 6.75: (Sleep)

Plug1 Note

  • I’d not intended to address this topic, but it appeared in Paul Broks’s contribution to "Smith (Barry C.), Broks (Paul), Kennedy (A.L.) & Evans (Jules) - What Does It Mean to Be Me?", in relation to Parfit’s Teletransportation TE.
  • Therein, the thought is that the “pulling yourself together” that the individual does on awaking is very closely analogous to what happens in the “reception pod” in teletransportation. If this is right, then either the awakening sleeper is not identical to the one who went to sleep, or the teletransportee is indeed identical to the individual who set off, and teletransportation is indeed a form of travel. I don’t believe any of this.
  • However I ought to add a few jottings, as it’s central to the Psychological View, which says – roughly speaking – that we are most fundamentally mental substances, and there has – since Descartes – been an issue about whether the thinking thing has to be continually thinking, and the dreamless sleep was the classic case of when it appeared not to be..
  • See the diminutive categorised reading list below, most of which seems relevant.
  • This is a place-holder.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.

Note last updated: 25/09/2015 19:16:19


Footnote 6.79: (Buddhism)

Buddhist teachings are relevant in two ways to personal identity:-

  1. The rejection of the importance of the Self. There are some connections to Parfit’s ideas.
  2. The insistence on Reincarnation.
I have to admit to being mostly ignorant of Buddhist teachings, and unsympathetic towards those I know of (other than the woolly “peace, love and compassion” stuff). A couple of Websites may be useful, though clearly they don’t focus on my research interests:-
  1. The Buddhist eLibrary (Web Link (http://www.buddhistelibrary.org/))
  2. The Dalai Lama’s site (Web Link (https://www.dalailama.com/))

I'm vaguely interested in Buddhism – though not from the religious angle – where my interests are strictly "Abrahamic" (Christianity, Judaism, Islam). It slightly impinges on my research topic, though in a rather negative way. The Buddhist claim is that the focus on the Self, together with attachments to anything whatever, is the cause of all the world's ills. No doubt there's something in this - but it's illicit or inordinate attachments that are the problem, not attachments as such. Attachments are what gives life meaning, and its selfishness, not selves, that is the problem. Anyway, some philosophers think it would be a "good thing" if the boundaries between one self and another were broken down so that we cared less about who was benefitted from our actions, just that our actions were beneficial - so we wouldn't care whether it was ourselves or our families or friends who benefitted, just that someone did. Despite the potential benefit to the world’s poor, this strikes me
… (a) as overly idealistic and
… (b) to ignore our proper responsibilities (ie. we have some greater responsibility - though not an exclusive one - for those close to us, because they are "our job" to look after).

Those philosophers that take a "psychological" view of our identity conditions - that we're psychological beings whose degree of connectedness to our future selves is psychological - some of whom think that we are somehow portable from one body to another - can make some sense of reincarnation. Those that are thoroughgoing materialist (like me) can't. I’m sure the Dalai Lama is a very nice man, but his position and authority depends on him being a reincarnation of someone else, which isn’t likely to be true.

Despite all the "peace and love" stuff, some of the ideas that Buddhism inherited from Hinduism strike me as being rather pernicious. It all stems from Karma and reincarnation - the idea that whatever we do in this life stores up good or ill for us the next time round. Maybe this (despite being based on metaphysical falsehoods) has some tendency to encourage some people to be less wicked than they might otherwise be (just like the threat of the eternal bonfire used to do for Christians), but it also has a tendency (for those who take the doctrine seriously) to encourage the thought that people deserve what they get because of what they did in a past life – so the poor deserve their poverty and the rich their wealth; all very convenient for those in power; though this isn’t the Dalai Lama’s take on things). No doubt the thought that any living thing might once have been human, or might in some future cycle be human, might lead to "universal compassion", but it's all a complete muddle metaphysically-speaking, and we should found our ethics on truths rather than falsehoods, it seems to me.

No doubt a Buddhist would have an answer to these concerns, and correct my many confusions.

This is a place-holder. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list.

Note last updated: 18/12/2010 19:58:05


Footnote 7: (Ontology)

What persons really are. Maybe it’s best to step back, with Locke, consider the sorts of thing that persist and establish the persistence conditions for these sorts: bodies, animals, human beings. The ontological question is whether persons are extra to this list. Baker holds the view that when a person comes into existence, so does a new entity, of a new kind. A world without persons would be ontologically impoverished. But is this so, or do existing entities simply gain new properties? We must even (on certain definitions of PERSON) ask whether there are11 any, or whether the term can be eliminated. See "Unger (Peter) - Why There Are No People" and "Unger (Peter) - I Do Not Exist". Since his sorites arguments eliminate all material entities with parts, not just persons, (and indeed only persons on the assumption that they are material entities with parts) I, along with the later Unger, wish to reject such conclusions.

This is mostly a place-holder. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

Note last updated: 18/12/2010 19:58:05


Footnote 7.11: (Nihilism)

Plug Note1






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 2: See the introduction to "Unger (Peter) - The Mental Problems of the Many" (2004) for a recantation.

Note last updated: 14/01/2017 20:18:14


Footnote 8: (Person)

I must first consider whether the debate on personal identity has been hijacked by a term (whose meaning has changed over time) that can now be dispensed with? Wiggins claims that the Greeks had no term for “person” (I need to re-read the paper by "Trendelenberg (Adolf) - A Contribution to the History of the Word Person" to double-check this). Have we always secretly been talking about human animal identity (probably referring to human beings rather than human animals) when we thought we were talking about something separate, namely persons?

I need to start with some conceptual analysis, though this may lead to somewhat arbitrary (ie. merely semantic or culture-relative) conclusions if PERSON isn’t a natural kind concept. I accept Locke’s conceptual distinction between Human Beings (“Men”), Persons and Substances. I accept Locke’s assertion that the rational parrot would be a person, but not a man – the latter essentially involving particular physical characteristics, the former specific mental characteristics.

Can any purely mentalistic definition of the concept PERSON, such as Locke’s definition of a person as …

  • “a thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself, the same thinking thing, in different times and places” ("Locke (John) - Of Identity and Diversity" - Essay II.27.2),
… be correct? I suspect not, because of the corporeal aspects we take as being essential to our self-image. But, when we think of ourselves in this corporeal way, is this qua ANIMAL or qua PERSON. But then, this “qua-ing” can lead to relative identity, and shows how difficult it is for me, at least, to maintain the strict logic of identity in these discussions. Some further, fairly random, thoughts:-
  • We must not ignore potential differences between the Person, the Self and the Individual.
  • I doubt the truth of the contention that one’s Self is the sum of one’s projects, one’s individual “identity”.
  • We must also note the potential for degrees of personhood.
  • Are persons essentially sentient? Or rational? And is rationality, like the mental generally, overstated by philosophers whose favourite habitat it is?
  • What about temporal gaps in sentience & rationality in the life of an individual – does the person pop in and out of existence?
  • What about legal persons: not companies, but the comatose, who still have estates (but then so do the deceased)?
  • How important is “person”, as against “sentient being” in my research concerns? The Cartesians denied sentience to animals and until recently there has been a down-playing of the capacities of animals, particularly their emotional capacities. Consequently, the persistence criteria for sentient non-humans may not have been given the focus they ought. I suspect that many of the thought experiments work just as well if we drop some of the more onerous requirements of personhood in such contexts. Some of the thought experiments play on the thought of “being tortured tomorrow”. While animals may not have the concept TOMORROW, I presume the higher animals have some capacity for anticipating future ills about to befall them. I wonder whether my research concerns should be about all beings that care about the future, whether or not they have a clear concept of it as their future.
I will probably start with Dennett’s six criteria of personhood (see "Dennett (Daniel) - Conditions of Personhood") …
  • rationality,
  • intentionality – “predicated of”
  • intentionality – “adopted towards”
  • reciprocation of the personal stance,
  • verbal communication and
  • consciousness
… in investigating what persons are. See the following essay19.

Note last updated: 16/06/2010 08:57:07


Footnote 8.19: (Daniel Dennett – Conditions of Personhood)

Dennett suggests that the concepts of “person” and “human being” are not necessarily co-extensive. He also distinguishes the two intertwined notions of personhood – moral and metaphysical. He defends the following 6 “themes” as necessary conditions of personhood:

  1. Persons are rational beings.
  2. Persons are beings to which states of consciousness are attributed, or to which psychological or mental or intentional predicates are ascribed.
  3. Whether something counts as a person depends in some way on an attitude taken toward it, a stance adopted with respect to it.
  4. The object toward which this personal stance is taken must be capable of reciprocating in some way.
  5. Persons must be capable of verbal communication.
  6. Persons are distinguishable from other entities by being conscious in some special way: there is a way in which we are conscious in which no other species is conscious. Sometimes this is identified as self-consciousness of one sort or another.
Dennett addresses 3 issues to do with these 6 themes:
  1. How (on his interpretation) are these 6 themes dependent on one another?
  2. Why are they necessary conditions of moral personhood?
  3. Why is it so hard to say whether they are jointly sufficient conditions for moral personhood?
In this essay, rather than address Dennett’s 3 issues directly, I wish to address the following 6 questions:
  1. Is Dennett right to separate the concepts of “person” and “human being”?
  2. Is Dennett right to distinguish moral from metaphysical personhood?
  3. Has Dennett the right set of themes?
  4. Has Dennett found the right interdependencies and priorities amongst his themes.
  5. What are Dennett’s reasons for predicating these conditions of personhood?
  6. Finally, is Dennett guided by a natural kind concept, by social convention or by other factors?
I have to admit that this is a first draft and something of a rushed job. My aim at this stage is to generate ideas quickly rather than ensure the argument is fully rigorous. I’m afraid I’ve used Dennett’s paper more as a jumping off point, and have not considered his actual arguments as much as I should. I’ve included hyperlinks to topics I’ve written before, as a way of airing them and avoiding needless repetition, though the primary aim of this essay is to provide some continuous text for discussion, rather than exemplifying the approach of my research proposal (from where these notes come) which is almost all footnotes.

My aim in reviewing this paper is to get some sort of handle on what a person might be. The aim of my thesis will be to demonstrate that human persons are phase sortals of human animals, and that consequently (given the falsehood of mind/body dualism) that such hoped-for events such as resurrection are metaphysically impossible. I’m not arguing for any of this here, just motivating the consideration of this topic.

Page references are to the 1997 Penguin edition of Brainstorms (Chapter 14).


Persons and Human Beings


Dennett claims that while any reader of his essay has to be person, the reader need not be a human being. The reader could be an alien, for instance. However, as far as I can see, to read Dennett’s essay with reward, only rationality, language use, phenomenal consciousness and intentional states are strictly required. The moral themes seem irrelevant, as does the consciousness of self (though a reader without this concept might find the essay initially rather dull, though maybe enlightening).

So, the reader might not be a moral person by Dennett’s lights. Dennett is probably right, though, that infants, “mental defectives” (how sensibilities have moved on since 1978, or whenever this Chapter was drafted) and the appropriately insane, would not get much out of his offering. However, the contemporary candidates of choice for human non-personhood tend these days to be moved closer to the termini of life, being (early) fetuses and those in a persistent vegetative state (though maybe the question is different – in Olson the question is whether “we” have psychological states essentially, and the claim is that “we” do not since “we” existed as fetuses, and may (for all we now know) persist into a PVS).

However, this leads on to our next question.


Moral and Metaphysical Persons


Dennett’s distinction between moral and metaphysical persons seems to change the topic of the conversation to one I’m less interested in. While it’s not always 100% clear (at least to me), the bulk of his essay is addressed to the topic of moral persons rather than metaphysical persons. Because he agrees that Frankfurt’s ideas about wantons are fruitful, Dennett excludes many human beings from the category “person” that I would prefer to include.

However, the motivation behind this distinction is whether or not the term “person” is a “free-floating honorific”, like “chic” (p. 268). He distinguishes the metaphysical notion of person (“an intelligent, conscious, feeling agent”) from that of the moral notion (one “who is accountable, who has both rights and responsibilities”). He wants to know whether being a metaphysical person is a prerequisite for being a moral person, something a metaphysical person can “grow into”, or whether metaphysical persons must be moral persons. He points out that we still in general react to the clinically insane (unless they are very far gone) as though they are metaphysical persons, even though they may not be treated as moral persons. Hence, the two terms are distinct, though being a metaphysical person does seem to be a necessary condition for being a moral person (with the exception of compound persons such as companies).


The Right Set of Themes?


I can’t really do better in defining what I think persons are than does Locke. An entity for which persistence matters; a thinking thing that can consider itself as itself; that is phenomenally conscious, and has a consciousness of self. This is approximately Dennett’s metaphysical person, though we mustn’t forget that Locke famously considered personhood a forensic concept.

Now on to Dennett’s specific themes:
  1. Rationality: I’m not sure how far rationality should be pressed, despite Dennett considering it “the most obvious” (p. 269). I don’t think it’s essential for a metaphysical person. However, the assumption of rationality is essential in all our dealings with other sentient entities (Dennett’s intentional stance won’t work otherwise), so it is probably essential for moral personhood. Even then, “predictability” might be more relevant than rationality.
  2. Intentional Predication: I’m happy with this, as it is a prerequisite for all mindedness (though not a sufficient condition). I’m happy that persons are minded beings, even if human beings aren’t always.
  3. The object of a stance: this seems to suggest that who is a person is in some sense “up to us”. Indeed Dennett says (p. 270) that it’s not just a stance taken in response to a metaphysical person, but is as least partly constitutive of a moral person (I paraphrase). This is definitely a predicate for moral persons only. While it might as a matter of fact be the case that certain metaphysical persons are socially ostracised so as to be treated as moral non-persons, this doesn’t make them non-persons in either the metaphysical sense or the moral sense (for a moral realist).
  4. Reciprocation: Again, this is necessary only for moral persons. A sociopath or convinced solipsist is still a metaphysical person.
  5. Verbal Communication: Presumably Dennett is not disbarring deaf mutes from personhood, nor Stephen Hawking were someone to tread on his laptop. Even so, the possession of a language of thought (along Fodor’s lines) is probably a prerequisite for rationality, but this doesn’t address Dennett’s themes of communication and reciprocal attitudes. Metaphysical persons incapable of communication might not be moral persons. I expect there are large questions about how a sense of self might arise without language. One would need to consider feral children. This might connect to a question I had in connection with the Language Acquisition Thesis (the claim that “learning a language is instrumental in the development of conceptual faculties in a human subject”). See the following link.
  6. Self-Consciousness: I think this is central to either metaphysical or moral personhood. See below under “Natural Kinds”. Dennett takes this form of consciousness (like language) to be the unique preserve of the human species, though I gather that both claims are not controversial (with the teaching of American Sign Language to bonobos, and the question whether passing the mirror test demonstrates a sense of self).

I have a question whether the properties Dennett requires of persons are their present properties or capacities, or whether entities that will, in the normal course of events, develop into persons, or which have in the past if not in the present possessed such capacities, count as persons. Is the property of being a person inalienable? Clearly capacities are more important than their present exercise (after all, we are not always rational or self-conscious, or even conscious at all; personhood is a state, not an activity).

This relates to whether human persons are phase sortals, of human beings, or whether they are human beings, period. It looks as though Dennett would deny the latter suggestion, given his insistence on certain properties that not all human beings share.

Interdependencies and Priorities amongst the Themes


This will mostly have to wait for future elaboration. Dennett (p. 271) claims that the 6 themes are given in the order of their dependence with the proviso that the first 3 are mutually interdependent. Enough to note here that an item I consider essential to metaphysical personhood, namely self-consciousness, appears at the bottom of Dennett’s list and so is presumably taken to be reliant on predicates only necessary for moral personhood. I would deny this connection.

Why These Themes?


This will also mostly have to be left until a later date.

As I note above, Dennett considers the order of the themes important, and considers that the earlier ones as prerequisites for the later ones. In particular, because we can adopt the intentional stance towards beings such as plants that have no mental states (“it grows that way because it wants to get to the light”), we need to move on to those that have real beliefs and desires. He is worried (p. 273) that we might get the themes in the wrong order by the premature invocation of the conscious knowledge or verbal expressibility of our beliefs to ensure their genuineness, but in any case these conditions are too strong as we have many beliefs that we’re either unaware of or cannot express. This is why he brings in his fourth theme, that of reciprocity. While we can adopt the intentional stance towards plants, they cannot return the favour. He also assumes this reciprocity fails for all non-humans, but I suspect he’s wrong. Maybe this is a step in the right direction, but adopting Frankfurt’s approach (however useful the concept of a wanton is) seems to me to be a step too far in this context (and even in Frankfurt’s context).


What Sort of a Concept is “Person”


At the beginning of his essay, Dennett asks whether the concept of a person is incoherent or obsolete. His answer is that it isn’t, because we cannot cease to regard others, and in particular ourselves as persons without contradiction (and refers us to "Dennett (Daniel) - Mechanism and Responsibility"). I’ve not pursued this question, but suspect that the fact that the question can be asked at all indicates that the concept of person isn’t a natural kind concept, at least not as the term “moral person” is defined by Dennett. There seem to be too many attitudinal issues and those that make certain sorts of societies cohere (even though these may arguably be the best sort).

I don’t seem to have written anything sensible on natural kind concepts. Maybe this is a next step. My intuition is that persons, whether metaphysical or moral, aren’t natural kind concepts, and that for human persons the appropriate natural kind concept is “human animal” (or maybe “human being”).

A critical question, however, is whether the emergence of self-consciousness signals the arrival of a new natural kind (as Lynne Rudder Baker alleges, taking “self-consciousness” to be the same as her “first-person perspective”).

Note last updated: 18/12/2010 19:58:05


Footnote 9: (Sortals)

Using Howard Robinson’s terminology ("Robinson (Howard) - Dualism (Stanford)"), the Ultimate Sort of a thing is that property without which the thing ceases to exist. However, an individual falling under a Phase Sortal can lose the property that defines the phase without ceasing to exist. Ultimate Sorts are presumably the same as Baker’s Primary Kinds, though I can’t remember if she has an analogue of a Phase Sortal. The standard example is of a HUMAN BEING (as the Ultimate Sort) and CHILD (as a Phase Sortal). So, is personhood an attribute of a human being, like “childhood”, that a human being can either possess or lack, or are persons ontologically separate from “their” human beings?

Wiggins argues that we can’t talk of the persistence8 conditions of anything until we know what sort it is. Olson claims that it’s futile to talk of the persistence conditions of persons per se – if human beings, God and angels are all persons – since their persistence conditions (assuming the existence of God and angels, for the sake of the argument) are completely different. This lack of a common set of persistence conditions would indicate that PERSON is not an Ultimate Sort.

I (intend to) discuss the sorts that we may fall under in the Note on “What are We?”.

This is mostly a place-holder. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

Note last updated: 18/12/2010 19:58:05


Footnote 9.8 (CORRESPONDENT)

On a view like Olson's, I take it, that:

(a) altho' a human animal can exist when it is not a person, insofar as we have genuine IDENTITY questions, these relate to human animals. (Perhaps Olson thinks 'person' is a phase-sortal, like 'teenager'. We don't raise questions about teenager identity AS SUCH),

(b) if we think angels are persons only because they satisfy some functional definition that we might give of what it takes to be a person, then we don't yet have any reason to think that what it takes for angels to persist has a bearing on what it takes for us to persist. (Again: we've chosen the wrong concept to answer identity questions with respect to.)

Note last updated: 21/10/2007 09:48:58


Footnote 10: (Homo Sapiens)

This page probably ought to say something about species, their reality and their status as natural kind concepts.

I don’t think it’s a conceptual truth that the only persons are human persons. Consequently, I do not deny personhood to extinct hominids, or (possibly) to the great apes, dolphins, Klingons, machines, gods, angels and such-like. However, I do think it’s an empirical truth that the only persons whose personhood we reliably know anything about are human persons, so think we should start there. Also, my main interest is in human persons, so this will be my initial focus. Since, I will need to consider whether human persons can exist in non-human bodies (transmigration, mechanisation, resurrection5 bodies) or even as disembodied6 minds7, so I will need to move on from this base camp.

This is mostly a place-holder8. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

Note last updated: 18/12/2010 19:58:05


Footnote 10.5: (Resurrection)

This will add interest, though hopefully some of the Islamist topicality will have gone by the time my Thesis is presented. As the motivation for this discussion is partly the occasionally pernicious effects of a belief in a resurrection to paradise, the metaphysical possibility of the resurrection of beings like us is very important. It is also important to millions of non-explosive Americans. The Thesis will aim to prove that resurrection requires substance dualism. I will need to ensure I understand just what is believed by intellectually-respectable Christians and Muslims (though the topical believers are not amongst the ranks of the intellectually respectable). Some discussion will be had about the orthodox Christian view being that there is no continuity of matter (the conundrum about the person consumed by cannibals was early recognised), and that the resurrection body is said to be in some sense a “spiritual” body.

A good place to start for an understanding of what resurrection meant to Christians prior to the modern era is "Bynum (Caroline) - Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200 - 1336".

As for the present worries of Christian philosophers, see the reading list – the best place for evaluating contemporary Christian philosophical views on the metaphysical possibility of resurrection is "Gasser (Georg), Ed. - Personal Identity and Resurrection: How Do We Survive Our Death?".

One thing that strikes me is that the resurrection of Christ, taken to be the guarantee of our own resurrection, is no such thing in the sense of “showing it can be done”. The physical and metaphysical issues in resurrecting Jesus (or Lazarus, or Jairus’s daughter, or any recently-deceased person whose body is substantially intact) are much less than in the case of those whose bodies have been destroyed. Indeed, it might one day be possible to resurrect the recently-deceased by way of microscopic repair; at least this seems conceivable, whereas the resurrection of a human being whose body has become dispersed and whose parts have been recycled doesn’t even seem to make sense (on a materialist account of what we human persons are).

This is mostly a place-holder. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list.

Note last updated: 03/08/2013 23:44:10


Footnote 10.6: (Disembodied Existence)

Plug1 Note






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 4: But there are worries whether disembodied existence is even coherent for concrete particulars.

Footnote 6: This may not be worth reading, if Lowe’s rubbishing review ("Lowe (E.J.) - Review of Peter Unger's - "All the Power in the World"") is anything to go by.

Note last updated: 12/07/2015 15:47:31


Footnote 10.6.5: (Thesis - Chapter 02 (What are We?))

Abstract

  1. The topic “personal identity” has historically presupposed that we are (in the sense of “identical to”, or “most fundamentally”) persons, whereas I (along with other animalists) claim that we are identical to human animals.
  2. “We” requires explanation. This chapter attempts to sort out the topic of discussion for the Thesis as a whole.
  3. I need to address the concept of a SOUL as souls are the major counter-claim to the persisting entity being an animal; or at least popularly so. The same goes for SELVES, and also for HUMAN BEINGS, insofar as these are supposed to be distinct from HUMAN ANIMALs.
  4. I also need to have some discussion of what is meant by the various other possibilities of what we are, but leave explications of PERSONs, BODIES and ANIMALs / ORGANISMs until later Chapters.
  5. I’m not quite sure where the possibility that we are BRAINs ought to go, but for the time being it’s here; and this leads on to the possibility (tacitly assumed in some TEs) that we might be individual CEREBRA.



Research Methodology
  • Follow this Link for a generic statement of how I intend to pursue each Chapter.
  • The method is broken down into 12, possibly iterative, stages.
  • Follow this Link for my progress dashboard on these tasks.
  • Progress on this Chapter is unusual in that it was the sample Chapter on which I was working with my Supervisor when registered for the PhD at Birkbeck.



Chapter Introduction
  1. This Chapter has the title “What Are We?”. The “We” is of some significance, as we will see in the course of this Thesis when we consider the social and reciprocal aspects of what it is to be a person. Nonetheless, should we not start with the singular, maybe even solipsist, question “What Am I?”, and expand out from there into the collective question? How we phrase our initial question has an impact on the course of our investigations, and may reflect our deepest presuppositions. The first-person question adopts the Cartesian stance of looking from the inside out, whereas the third-person question considers “us” collectively. The first-person question may presuppose that the answer to the question is that I am primarily a psychological being, whereas the third-person question may assume or expect the answer that I am fundamentally physical.
  2. Some of the potential answers to the question will be the same whether we phrase the question in the singular or the plural.
  3. Taking it in the plural for now, we need to distinguish, as candidates for what we might be on the physical side, (prefixing “human-” passim):-
    • Animals,
    • Organisms,
    • Bodies,
    • Beings, and
    • Brains.
  4. On the psychological side, I might be a self or, more popularly, a person. I might even be a non-essentially-embodied entity like a soul.
  5. I will consider all these options in due course; with the exception of a detailed discussion of the concept PERSON (which is reserved for the next Chapter), I will do so later in this chapter.
  6. Olson4 also considers whether we might be Humean bundles of mental states and events, and even the nihilist view that we don’t exist at all. I’m not sure I’ll have space for these, but need to remain aware of the possibilities and motivations for these positions.
  7. However, for the moment I want to consider some themes connecting the possible answers to our question. Firstly, does there have to be a single answer? I know that I, and presume that my readers also, fall happily under the concepts HUMAN ANIMAL, HUMAN ORGANISM and HUMAN BEING. I at least have a human body and a human brain, though I would initially feel reluctant to say that I am one of either of these things. I would certainly claim to be a SELF, and also a PERSON, as no doubt would my reader. So, cannot all these answers be correct?
  8. This raises the question of what I mean by saying what I am (or we are) something. In saying that I am any of these things, what sort of relation is the “am”? Am I using am in the sense of an identity relation, a constitution relation, ascribing a predicate, or have some other sense in mind?
  9. There are two kinds of questions I want to ask. Firstly, what sort of being am I identical to? Secondly, what sort of properties do I have; both metaphysically essential properties (those without which I would cease to exist), and those I merely consider essential (that is, “very important”, though I would continue to exist without them)?
  10. Any “is” that does duty for the identity relation inherits the formal properties of an equivalence relation; in particular, it is a transitive relation. Additionally, the “two” identical entities either side of the copula must satisfy Leibniz’s law; “they” share (at a time) all their properties; actual and modal, intrinsic and relational. So, if I am identical to a human animal, and also identical to a human person, then that human animal must be identical to that human person. This would mean that these “two” entities are really one. They co-exist at all times in all possible worlds where either of “them” exists, and share all their properties and relations, at any time and world. Everything that happens to “one” at a world and time happens to the “other” at those coordinates. This places strong logical constraints on how much cake I can have and eat. I may want to say that I am identical both to a human animal, and to a human person, yet claim that a human person has certain mental properties essentially, but deny that a human animal does. However, I am then claiming what is logically impossible, at least for the classical logic of identity that denies that such notions as relative identity are coherent. As we will see, this point is essential to the animalist case that we are not identical to human persons (given the claim that we are identical to human animals).
  11. My thesis addresses the topic of personal identity, but we might claim that what we’re really interested in is in our identity. Not that we have doubts as individuals as to which particular individual we are (as though I, as Bill Clinton, don’t know whether I am Bill Clinton or George W. Bush), but what sort of individual we are, together with worries about our persistence (how long we are going to last, and in what form). Historically, it has been a standard presupposition that what we are most fundamentally is persons, or at least that’s all we care about. So, concern about our identity has been elided with concern for personal identity, almost as though we thought that the two questions are the same. Animalists argue that the two questions are indeed different, but for convenience, and the historical continuity of the general topic under discussion, still say they are talking about personal identity.



Main Text
  1. To be supplied.



Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed5
  1. For this Chapter I have already worked on the various papers or book chapters under supervisory control. Where this is the case, for ease of reference, the analytical Note for each reference is hyperlinked directly.
  2. Additionally, I may need to consider other papers or book chapters in the following lists (together with some others referenced by these). There are doubtless many more that are relevant and which will be addressed in the course of the thesis, but these are probably sufficient to get us going. Some that I have considered have been culled or reserved for later.
  3. The General Question:-
  4. Brains / Cerebra
  5. Neurological Background
  6. Human Beings
  7. Selves32
  8. Souls34
  9. Nihilism
  10. Many aspects of these papers will need to be left for later chapters.



The Cut
  1. There had already been a lot of cutting in the various selections of the original reading list – the reading lists attached to the Notes run on and on – and these items just represent the works in my possession (though I have sought out all that I’ve heard of that look relevant).
  2. However, the items in the lists following were given some attention, and have been culled – at least temporarily – from the lists above, where they originally appeared. I’ve not always given a reason as I’ve not studied them sufficiently closely. But, you have to draw a line somewhere.
  3. The General Question
  4. Brains / Cerebra
  5. Human Beings
  6. Selves
  7. Souls



Links to Notes
  1. For an out-of-date skeleton giving a fuller reading list, follow this link.
  2. Candidates for what we are, considered in this Chapter:-
    • Human Beings,
    • Brains,
    • Cerebra,
    • Selves,
    • Souls,
    • Others to be Supplied?
  3. Candidates for what we are, considered in later Chapters:-
    • Animals,
    • Bodies,
    • Organisms,
    • Persons,
    • Nihilism.



Final Remarks
  1. This is work in progress.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 4: In "Olson (Eric) - What are We?"

Footnote 5:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
  • The author’s surname is repeated in the text to make it easier for me to see what’s going on in the encoded text I work on.
Footnote 12: The excerpt from Brandom raises some questions about the community we call “we”.

Footnote 15: Baker often expresses indebtedness to Roderick Chisholm, who is reviewed on that account.

Footnote 17: An annoying book, but one I ought to study.

Footnote 21: The book. From my perspective, probably the most important source for this Chapter.

Footnote 22: See also the Chapters on Brains and Souls in the subsequent reading-lists.

Footnote 26: Useful historical background, maybe!

Footnote 28: Lockwood might deny that this is his view, but he seems committed to it, as far as I can see.

Footnote 29: This maybe ought to be categorised as an “anti-soul” view.

Footnote 30: Some of the papers by Puccetti will be reconsidered in (or maybe reserved for – a couple already have been) Chapter 10.

Footnote 32:
  • This list is rather long, and contains many whole books. I may have to cull several of these further down the line.
  • However, the Self is important, as it’s the root of Baker’s FPP, and the motivator for all psychological theories of PI, so understanding just what it is supposed to be is central to my concerns.
Footnote 33: Alexander thinks that we are Selves, and that Selves are tropes – abstract particulars – which by my lights is about as far from the truth as you can get, so I need to consider his arguments carefully.

Footnote 34:
  • The comment about the prolixity of the reading list applies even more to Souls than Selves, without the positive connection my primary thesis.
  • However, if we were to be souls, this would solve the resurrection problem; so I need to thoroughly understand the reasons why we might be – but most likely are not – souls.
Footnote 35: This looks interesting, but is somewhat off-topic for a priority reading-list.

Footnote 36: This is rather elementary, and ought to have been reviewed in Chapter 01.

Note last updated: 05/04/2016 23:19:41


Footnote 10.7: (Souls)

Plug Note1






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 4: This is becoming a shelf-load, so “require” is rather strong!

Footnote 5: In general, if a book is noted, its Chapters are not.

Footnote 6: For reviews, see
→ "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Review of "Bodies and Souls, or Spirited Bodies?" by Nancey Murphy", and
→ "Hershenov (David) - Review of Nancy Murphy's "Bodies and Souls, or Spirited Bodies?"".

Footnote 7: Footnote 8: Also, Kagan’s follow-on lectures on the existence and immortality of the soul.

Note last updated: 01/08/2017 00:11:31


Footnote 10.7.2: (Soul Criterion)

Plug Note1






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 4: This is becoming a shelf-load, so “require” is rather strong!

Footnote 5: In general, if a book is noted, its Chapters are not.

Footnote 6: For reviews, see
→ "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Review of "Bodies and Souls, or Spirited Bodies?" by Nancey Murphy", and
→ "Hershenov (David) - Review of Nancy Murphy's "Bodies and Souls, or Spirited Bodies?"".

Note last updated: 01/08/2017 00:11:31


Footnote 10.8: (Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity))

This note is simply a place-holder, the point of which is to use the jump-table facility that appears dynamically at the bottom of this note to keep tabs on the areas of this website (within the above Note-Group) that await the most urgent attention.

If the table “Links to this Page” only contains the “Awaiting Attention” item, this means that there are no items waiting attention (since the “Awaiting Attention” item is the one that only links to pages such as this one).

Note last updated: 10/11/2007 13:17:46


Footnote 11: (Logic of Identity)

Plug Note1






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 5:
  • I currently have no Note for Indeterminate Identity.
  • I have it categorised under Vague Identity but it seems to me (rather unreflectively) that Vague Identity is a metaphysical position, whereas Indeterminate Identity may just be an epistemological position.
  • The ideas may coalesce in the work of Timothy Williamson – in particular in "Williamson (Timothy) - Identity and Discrimination".

Note last updated: 14/01/2017 20:18:14


Footnote 11.2: (Leibniz)

Plug Note1






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 2:
  • No doubt there’s a convention as to which is the “first” and which is the “second” of Leibniz’s Laws, but they are often confusingly combined into one law with two parts.
Footnote 6:
  • Barnes alleges that the Law is due to Aristotle rather than to Leibniz.
Footnote 7:
  • The papers reviewed by Bayliss (and the review itself) are all rather old, so I’ve not selected for further study all the papers reviewed in this brief article.

Note last updated: 11/10/2017 06:25:55


Footnote 11.2.4: (Thisness (Haecceity))

Plug1 Note






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 13: I’m dubious about both claims, but a strict animalist would accept the former – as my brain is “just another organ”, replacing it with another – but functionally equivalent – organ with which it is non-identical would not affect the identity of the animal any more than an artificial heart would.

Footnote 14: I don’t have this book, as it’s very expensive (£180), but I have a few chapters.

Footnote 15: This may be useful as it brings in Swinburne’s “Soul View” (Click here for Note).

Note last updated: 03/08/2015 13:42:14


Footnote 11.3: (Relative Identity)

Plug1 Note






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 4: I’m not sure if this is the correct terminology.

Footnote 5: See "Tobia (Kevin Patrick) - Personal Identity and the Phineas Gage Effect".

Footnote 9:
  • So, Phineas Gage continues to be the same substance (human being – or maybe human animal) despite a radical change of personality.
  • See my Note on Personality (eventually! - Click here for Note) for the individuation and persistence of “personalities”. Just what sort of thing are they? Universals? Tropes?
Footnote 11: As this list includes several whole books, it might be a bit much, though this is an important topic.

Footnote 12: I doubt this paper is really about Relative Identity, but more about Brain Transplants.

Note last updated: 05/07/2015 10:53:46


Footnote 11.3.10: (Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues))

Abstract

  • I need to discuss the logic of identity, survival and persistence, and even whether identity matters in survival.
  • Substances and sortals are central to the persistence of anything, and in particular to my claim that persons are phase sortals of human animals (the substances).
  • The question of Natural Kinds arises in considering whether PERSON is a natural kind concept.
  • Certain four-dimensional approaches to persistence do away with the substance concept, but I discuss this issue in the next Chapter.



Research Methodology
  • Follow this Link for a generic statement of how I intend to pursue each Chapter.
  • The method is broken down into 12, possibly iterative, stages.
  • Follow this Link for my progress dashboard on these tasks.



Chapter Introduction
  1. The purpose of this chapter is to clarify my views on a number of logical and metaphysical issues that are central to the core of this Thesis.
  2. I will also consider Derek Parfit’s claim that “Identity is not what matters in survival” in this Chapter.
  3. The coverage in the Chapter itself will have to be very brief lest it consume the word-count for the entire thesis. Most information – and in particular the bulk of the justification for my views – will remain in the Notes.
  4. Three background issues, namely my views on:-
    • Persistence and Time,
    • Thought Experiments, and
    • Constitution
    are covered elsewhere (follow the links above).
  5. Other topics may be added as they arise.



Main Text
  1. To be supplied.



Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed6
  1. In this Chapter I will consider the following papers or book chapters (together with some others referenced by these). There are doubtless many more that are relevant and which will be addressed in the course of the thesis, but these are probably sufficient to get us going:-
  2. Basic Metaphysics7
  3. Logic of Identity (General)
  4. Relative Identity
  5. Vague Identity
  6. Indeterminate Identity
  7. Contingent Identity
  8. Occasional Identity
  9. Criteria of Identity
  10. Substances
  11. Sortals & Phase Sortals
  12. Kinds and Natural Kinds
  13. Metamorphosis
  14. Does Identity Matter?
  15. Many aspects of these papers will need to be either ignored or reserved for other chapters.
  16. The motivation for these works is as follows:-
    • To be supplied.



The Cut
  1. There had already been a lot of cutting in the various selections of the original reading list – the reading lists attached to the Notes run on and on – and these items just represent the works in my possession (though I have sought out all that I’ve heard of that look relevant).
  2. However, the items in the lists following were given some attention, and have been culled – at least temporarily – from the lists above, where they originally appeared. I’ve not always given a reason as I’ve not studied them sufficiently closely. But, you have to draw a line somewhere.
  3. I’m well aware that the cut has not been sufficiently rigorous. Further items beyond the items below are likely to be culled when I come to process them.
    • To be Supplied.



Links to Notes
  1. Logic of Identity, including:-
  2. Criteria of Identity,
  3. Substance,
  4. Sortals,
  5. Metamorphosis,
  6. Phase Sortals,
  7. Kinds,
  8. Natural Kinds,
  9. Does Identity Matter,
  10. Others to be supplied as they come up.



Final Remarks
  1. This is work in progress.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 6:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
  • The author’s surname is repeated in the text to make it easier for me to see what’s going on in the encoded text I work on.
Footnote 7: There’s an endless amount of stuff in this area, so I’ve (for now) chosen a couple of contrasting approaches.

Footnote 8: Footnote 9:
  • Modality is important in my thesis, because modal questions come into persistence criteria.
  • That said, the last two essays in the book – by Hossack and Olson – are the most important, though of these two only that by Hossack really belongs to this Chapter.
Footnote 10: I’m not sure where this book should be parked, and not all of it is relevant.

Footnote 11: I doubt this paper is really about Relative Identity, but more about Brain Transplants).

Footnote 12: Read the Synopsis below first.

Footnote 17: I have this categorised under Vague Identity, but unreflectively it seems to me that Vague Identity is a metaphysical position, wher