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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:-

  • Concepts1
  • Causation2
  • Change3
  • Consciousness4
  • Free Will5
  • Intuition and Thought Experiments6
  • Modality7
  • Natural Kinds8
  • Psychopathology9
  • Substance10
  • 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 3.1 Repeated. See Footnote 22: (Concepts)


Footnote 3.2 Repeated. See Footnote 38: (Causality)


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 persistence2 and such like.
  • Maybe just two things for now:-
    1. If I understand things aright, change is something that happens to substances3, 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 mereological4 essentialist5 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 perdurantist6 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, organisms7 replace all their parts over time (it is said) yet remain the same organism (ditto). It strikes me that there’s a degree of vagueness8 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-holder9. 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 3.4 Repeated. See Footnote 20.1: (Consciousness)


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-holder1. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

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


Footnote 3.6 Repeated. See Footnote 31: (Thought Experiments)


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 experiments2 (TEs), one of which – Teletransportation3 – 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 identity4 – in particular the standard view that Identity is a necessary relation, contra the heretical positions.
  • I doubt I need to get into Modal Realism (Lewis5) 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 research6, but didn’t find its way into Chapter 47, 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-holder8. 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 3.8 Repeated. See Footnote 26: (Natural Kinds)


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-holder1. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

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


Footnote 3.10 Repeated. See Footnote 28.5: (Substance)


Footnote 3.11: (Time)

I don’t think I need to wade too deeply in the topic of time for the purposes of my thesis, but it’s clearly central to the topic of diachronic identity, ie. identity over time. Aspects of particular interest include:-

  1. The endurantism1, exdurantism2, Perdurantism3 debate. Perdurantism may solve the identity-related problems of fission4, at least according to Lewis5.
  2. Parfit’s6 contention that we should discount the concern we owe to our future selves proportionate to our likely lack of psychological connection.
  3. Time Travel7: maybe surprisingly, this alleged possibility appears in various TEs8 on Fission9. I have given it its own Note and Reading List.


This is mostly a place-holder10. Currently, see the categorised reading-list, which requires substantial pruning in order to fit to identity-related issues only.

Note last updated: 02/07/2015 23:12:29


Footnote 3.11.7: (Time Travel)

From the perspective of Personal Identity, Time travel enters into various thought experiments (TEs). 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 "Varzi (Achille) - Time-Travel: Monist Forward" and "Ehring (Douglas) - Personal Identity and Time Travel".

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

Note last updated: 02/07/2015 23:12:29


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 PERSON2.
  • 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 Identity3
  • 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-holder4. 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 experiments1 and so much clinical2 data3. 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 5.1 Repeated. See Footnote 31: (Thought Experiments)


Footnote 5.3 Repeated. See Footnote 30: (Clinical Observations)


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 022: What are We?
  3. Chapter 033: What is a Person?
  4. Chapter 044: Basic Metaphysical Issues
  5. Chapter 055: Persistence and Time
  6. Chapter 066: Animalism and Arguments for It
  7. Chapter 077: The Constitution View and Arguments for It
  8. Chapter 088: Arguments against Animalism
  9. Chapter 099: Arguments against the Constitution View
  10. Chapter 1010: Thought Experiments
  11. Chapter 1111: 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 Olson (Eric), the primary contemporary exponent of Animalism.
  7. The Constitution View and Arguments for it: This Chapter gives an account of Baker (Lynne Rudder)’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” argument14 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:
    • Fission15, fusion16 and replication17 in general
    • Commissurotomy18
    • Multiple Personality Disorder19
    • Brain-state Transfer20
    • Brain Transplants21
    • Teletransportation22
    • Siliconisation23
    • 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 Van Inwagen (Peter) 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 Olson (Eric), the primary contemporary exponent of Animalism.
    7. The Constitution View and Arguments for it: This Chapter gives an account of Baker (Lynne Rudder)’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 Van Inwagen (Peter) 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 Zuboff (Arnold), 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 Position)

My own current views on the topic of Personal Identity, which are somewhat in tension, are:-

  • That Olson is right that we are identical to human animals1 and that consequently no psychological continuity2 is necessary for our persistence3.
  • That a human person falls under a phase sortal4 of the concept HUMAN ANIMAL.
  • Nevertheless, that something critically important of us is lost with the cessation of psychological activity and that our first-person perspective5 is in some way vital.
  • That if our first-person perspective could “hop” across or vacate6 bodies7 “we” would have survived. But, that this “hopping” is (nomologically) impossible as our first-person perspective is too tightly coupled to our physical brains8.
  • That the difference between forward9 and backward psychological continuity is key.
  • That any view that sees particular persons as logically prior to, and only temporarily constituted10 by, human animals is incorrect
  • Nevertheless, that the “Thinking Animal” / “Too Many Minds” objection11 to the Constitution View is unsound and unnecessary.


This is mostly a place-holder12. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

Note last updated: 03/03/2016 05:08:10


Footnote 6.1 Repeated. See Footnote 23: (Animalism)


Footnote 6.2 Repeated. See Footnote 15: (Psychological Continuity)


Footnote 6.3 Repeated. See Footnote 12.3: (Persistence Criteria)


Footnote 6.4 Repeated. See Footnote 28: (Phase Sortals)


Footnote 6.5 Repeated. See Footnote 21: (First-Person Perspective)


Footnote 6.6 Repeated. See Footnote 10.6: (Disembodied Existence)


Footnote 6.7 Repeated. See Footnote 17: (Body)


Footnote 6.8 Repeated. See Footnote 12.4: (Brain)


Footnote 6.9 Repeated. See Footnote 37: (Psychological Continuity - Forward)


Footnote 6.10 Repeated. See Footnote 24: (Constitution View)


Footnote 6.11 Repeated. See Footnote 25: (Constitution View - Objections)


Footnote 6.12 Repeated. See Footnote 10.8: (Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity))


Footnote 7: (Ontology)

What persons1 really are. Maybe it’s best to step back, with Locke2, consider the sorts3 of thing that persist and establish the persistence conditions4 for these sorts: bodies5, animals6, human beings7. The ontological question is whether persons8 are extra to this list. Baker holds the view that when a person comes into existence, so does a new entity, of a new kind9. A world without persons would be ontologically impoverished. But is this so, or do existing entities simply gain new properties10? 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 parts12, 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-holder13. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

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


Footnote 7.1 Repeated. See Footnote 8: (Person)


Footnote 7.2 Repeated. See Footnote 18.1: (Locke)


Footnote 7.3 Repeated. See Footnote 9: (Sortals)


Footnote 7.4 Repeated. See Footnote 12.3: (Persistence Criteria)


Footnote 7.5 Repeated. See Footnote 17: (Body)


Footnote 7.6 Repeated. See Footnote 29: (Animals)


Footnote 7.7 Repeated. See Footnote 12.6: (Human Beings)


Footnote 7.8 Repeated. See Footnote 8: (Person)


Footnote 7.9 Repeated. See Footnote 24.5: (Kinds)


Footnote 7.10 Repeated. See Footnote 21.7: (Properties)


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 7.12 Repeated. See Footnote 14.3: (Mereology)


Footnote 7.13 Repeated. See Footnote 10.8: (Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity))


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 beings1 rather than human animals) when we thought we were talking about something separate, namely persons?

I need to start with some conceptual2 analysis, though this may lead to somewhat arbitrary (ie. merely semantic3 or culture-relative) conclusions if PERSON isn’t a natural kind4 concept. I accept Locke’s5 conceptual distinction between Human Beings6 (“Men”), Persons and Substances7. 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 relative8 identity, and shows how difficult it is for me, at least, to maintain the strict logic9 of identity in these discussions. Some further, fairly random, thoughts:-
  • We must not ignore potential differences between the Person, the Self10 and the Individual11.
  • I doubt the truth of the contention that one’s Self is the sum of one’s projects, one’s individual “identity”12.
  • 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 gaps13 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 deceased14)?
  • How important is “person”, as against “sentient being15” in my research concerns? The Cartesians denied sentience to animals16 and until recently there has been a down-playing of the capacities of animals, particularly their emotional capacities. Consequently, the persistence criteria17 for sentient non-humans may not have been given the focus they ought. I suspect that many of the thought experiments18 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 8.1 Repeated. See Footnote 12.6: (Human Beings)


Footnote 8.2 Repeated. See Footnote 22: (Concepts)


Footnote 8.3 Repeated. See Footnote 22.4: (Semantics)


Footnote 8.4 Repeated. See Footnote 26: (Natural Kinds)


Footnote 8.5 Repeated. See Footnote 18.1: (Locke)


Footnote 8.6 Repeated. See Footnote 12.6: (Human Beings)


Footnote 8.7 Repeated. See Footnote 28.5: (Substance)


Footnote 8.8 Repeated. See Footnote 11.3: (Relative Identity)


Footnote 8.9 Repeated. See Footnote 11: (Logic of Identity)


Footnote 8.10 Repeated. See Footnote 20.2: (Self)


Footnote 8.11 Repeated. See Footnote 32.11: (Individual)


Footnote 8.12 Repeated. See Footnote 44.12: (Personality)


Footnote 8.13 Repeated. See Footnote 14.2: (Intermittent Objects)


Footnote 8.14 Repeated. See Footnote 21.2: (Death)


Footnote 8.15 Repeated. See Footnote 20.1: (Consciousness)


Footnote 8.16 Repeated. See Footnote 29: (Animals)


Footnote 8.17 Repeated. See Footnote 12.3: (Persistence Criteria)


Footnote 8.18 Repeated. See Footnote 31: (Thought Experiments)


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 property1 without which the thing ceases to exist. However, an individual falling under a Phase2 Sortal can lose the property that defines the phase without ceasing to exist. Ultimate Sorts are presumably the same as Baker’s Primary Kinds3, though I can’t remember if she has an analogue of a Phase Sortal. The standard example is of a HUMAN BEING4 (as the Ultimate Sort) and CHILD (as a Phase Sortal). So, is personhood5 an attribute of a human being, like “childhood”, that a human being can either possess or lack, or are persons ontologically6 separate from “their” human beings?

Wiggins7 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?9”.

This is mostly a place-holder10. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

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


Footnote 9.1 Repeated. See Footnote 21.7: (Properties)


Footnote 9.2 Repeated. See Footnote 28: (Phase Sortals)


Footnote 9.3 Repeated. See Footnote 24.5: (Kinds)


Footnote 9.4 Repeated. See Footnote 12.6: (Human Beings)


Footnote 9.5 Repeated. See Footnote 8: (Person)


Footnote 9.6 Repeated. See Footnote 7: (Ontology)


Footnote 9.7 Repeated. See Footnote 23.13: (Wiggins)


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 9.9 Repeated. See Footnote 23.4: (What are We?)


Footnote 9.10 Repeated. See Footnote 10.8: (Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity))


Footnote 10: (Homo Sapiens)

This page probably ought to say something about species, their reality and their status as natural kind1 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 bodies2 (transmigration3, mechanisation4, 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 10.1 Repeated. See Footnote 26: (Natural Kinds)


Footnote 10.2 Repeated. See Footnote 17: (Body)


Footnote 10.3 Repeated. See Footnote 47: (Brain State Transfer)


Footnote 10.4 Repeated. See Footnote 46: (Siliconisation)


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-holder1. 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 Chisholm (Roderick), 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 Williamson (Timothy) – in particular in "Williamson (Timothy) - Identity and Discrimination".

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


Footnote 11.2: (Leibniz)

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 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 5: Who alleges that the Law is due to Aristotle rather than to Leibniz.

Footnote 6: The papers reviewed (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: 13/08/2015 23:55:41


Footnote 11.2.3 Repeated. See Footnote 11: (Logic of Identity)


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 11.2.7 Repeated. See Footnote 10.8: (Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity))


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 11.3.2 Repeated. See Footnote 11: (Logic of Identity)


Footnote 11.3.3 Repeated. See Footnote 31: (Thought Experiments)


Footnote 11.3.6 Repeated. See Footnote 9: (Sortals)


Footnote 11.3.7 Repeated. See Footnote 28.5: (Substance)


Footnote 11.3.8 Repeated. See Footnote 44.12: (Personality)


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 Parfit (Derek)’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, whereas Indeterminate Identity may just be an epistemological position, though the ideas may coalesce in the work of Williamson (Timothy).

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


Footnote 11.3.13 Repeated. See Footnote 10.8: (Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity))


Footnote 11.4: (Vague 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 6: It looks like Olson uses “imperfect” as an amalgamated metaphysical / epistemological claim.

Note last updated: 06/07/2015 23:34:05


Footnote 11.4.2 Repeated. See Footnote 11: (Logic of Identity)


Footnote 11.4.3 Repeated. See Footnote 31: (Thought Experiments)


Footnote 11.4.5 Repeated. See Footnote 11.3.10: (Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues))


Footnote 11.4.7 Repeated. See Footnote 10.8: (Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity))


Footnote 11.6: (Contingent Identity)

Plug1 Note

  • The orthodox approach to the Logic2 of Identity is to treat it as a necessary equivalence relation. I follow this approach.
  • However, in response to various TEs3, deviant forms4 of Identity have been devised, and some are still popular.
  • Contingent Identity arose5 in the paper by Alan Gibbard listed below, which considers the TE of the Statue and the Clay.
  • The TE relates to the topic of Constitution6. We are to consider a statue and the lump of clay of which is constituted. If we arrange things carefully, the two might coincidentally come into and go out of existence at the same time. If so, are they not identical, given that they would seem to have all the same properties? Yet, they might not have been temporally coincident – in the normal case, the lump would be formed first, and only slowly be sculpted into a statue. So, they are only contingently identical, the argument goes. And this TE shows (it is said) that far from being a necessary relation, identity may only contingently hold.
  • The logic of identity is so secure that it is sensible to look for other explanations of the TE. Of course, the divination of just what is wrong with the TE are many, which doesn’t necessarily mean that the TE is misleading for any of these reasons.
  • Baker7, for instance, has “relation to an art world” as one of the properties the Statue has which is not had by the Lump. So, by Leibniz’s8 Law, the two are never identical.
  • I’m suspicious of any TE involving artefacts9.
  • See also the Note on modality10.
  • I intend to cover this topic in Chapter_411 along with the other deviant approaches to Identity.
  • The study-list for this topic would include:-
    1. "Carter (William) - Contingent Identity and Rigid Designation", Carter
    2. "Carter (William) - On Contingent Identity and Temporal Worms", Carter
    3. "Gallois (Andre) - Rigid Designation and the Contingency of Identity", Gallois
    4. "Gibbard (Allan) - Contingent Identity", Gibbard
    5. "Keefe (Rosanna) - Contingent Identity and Vague Identity", Keefe
    6. "Lowe (E.J.) - Necessity and Identity", Lowe
  • This is a place-holder12. 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.
Footnote 4: I’m not sure if this is the correct terminology.

Footnote 5: Or at least was brought to my attention as an undergraduate.

Note last updated: 04/07/2015 17:41:17


Footnote 11.6.2 Repeated. See Footnote 11: (Logic of Identity)


Footnote 11.6.3 Repeated. See Footnote 31: (Thought Experiments)


Footnote 11.6.6 Repeated. See Footnote 24.4: (Constitution)


Footnote 11.6.7 Repeated. See Footnote 22.6: (Baker)


Footnote 11.6.8 Repeated. See Footnote 11.2: (Leibniz)


Footnote 11.6.9 Repeated. See Footnote 22.5: (Artifacts)


Footnote 11.6.10 Repeated. See Footnote 3.7: (Modality)


Footnote 11.6.11 Repeated. See Footnote 11.3.10: (Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues))


Footnote 11.6.12 Repeated. See Footnote 10.8: (Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity))


Footnote 11.7: (Occasional Identity)

Plug1 Note

  • The orthodox approach to the Logic2 of Identity is to treat it as a necessary equivalence relation. I follow this approach.
  • However, in response to various TEs3, deviant forms4 of Identity have been devised, and some are still popular.
  • However, the logic of identity is so secure that it is sensible to look for other explanations of any TE that appears to bring it in doubt.
  • Occasional identity is a response to TEs such as the fission5 of an amoeba into two qualitatively identical ones. We want to say that both are numerically identical to the parent, but the logic of identity forbids this unless we claim that the two daughters are numerically identical to one another6. So, the claim is that they were once identical (and co-incident), but now are not.
  • This makes numerical identity into a temporary (hence “occasional”) matter.
  • My preferred answer to this TE is to appeal to perdurance7 – the daughters were always distinct, but just shared their pre-fission stages. There are other explanations.
  • I intend to cover this topic in Chapter_48 along with the other deviant approaches to Identity.
  • The study-list for this topic is much shorter than for related topics, as it only includes a whole book and a review thereof:-
    1. "Gallois (Andre) - Occasions of Identity : a Study in the Metaphysics of Persistence, Change, and Sameness", Gallois
    2. "Sider (Ted) - Review of André Gallois, Occasions of Identity", Sider9
  • This is a place-holder10. 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.
Footnote 4: I’m not sure if this is the correct terminology.

Footnote 6: Even this seemingly-impossible claim has been supported. See "Miller (Kristie) - Travelling in Time: How to Wholly Exist in Two Places at the Same Time".

Footnote 9: Read and analyse this first – it may not be worth bothering with the book, unless it sheds light on the topic as a whole.

Note last updated: 06/07/2015 18:30:14


Footnote 11.7.2 Repeated. See Footnote 11: (Logic of Identity)


Footnote 11.7.3 Repeated. See Footnote 31: (Thought Experiments)


Footnote 11.7.5 Repeated. See Footnote 32: (Fission)


Footnote 11.7.7 Repeated. See Footnote 41: (Perdurantism)


Footnote 11.7.8 Repeated. See Footnote 11.3.10: (Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues))


Footnote 11.7.10 Repeated. See Footnote 10.8: (Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity))


Footnote 11.8 Repeated. See Footnote 11.2: (Leibniz)


Footnote 11.9 Repeated. See Footnote 10.8: (Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity))


Footnote 12: (Physicalism)

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

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

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

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


Footnote 12.1 Repeated. See Footnote 10.7: (Souls)


Footnote 12.2 Repeated. See Footnote 17: (Body)


Footnote 12.3: (Persistence Criteria)

I will cover both persistence criteria and persistence conditions under this head. Maybe the former term focuses on epistemology (how we know something has persisted) and the latter on metaphysics (what it takes for something to persist).

This is mostly a place-holder1. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

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


Footnote 12.4: (Brain)

There is a view that we1 are really, most fundamentally, our brains. It seems to promise some good things from both the “psychological2 criterion” and “bodily3 criterion” camps, since the brain is indeed part of the body4, and, in the absence of a soul5, the source of all our psychological functions. However, we seem to be much more than our brains. After all, who would want to be a BIV6 (Brain in a Vat)? According to Johnston (see "Johnston (Mark) - Human Beings"), BIVs are “maximally mutilated” human beings; which seems to be along the right lines. Note the important distinction between your surviving in a maximally mutilated state (as a brain) and you “really” being your brain.

This is an issue the Animalist has to contend with - whether a BIV is an animal. Snowdon claims (where?) that no-one seems to think this, a view that Olson shares but on which he may be open to objection. He says that an animal with a prosthetic leg is a smaller animal with something non-animal attached. If this is admitted, don’t we end up with a sorites argument, that a BIV is a (very much) smaller animal; though not, I think, with any paradox?

The big question is whether an animal’s brain is just another organ (like its liver) or whether it has some other status. That it is somehow special can be presupposed if we start conceptually with the brain as the core from which other parts are shaved off. Whether this is the right approach depends, I think, on what the brain does for the animal, and where the animal is on the phylogenetic tree. The brain is a much more important organ in some animals than others; in some lower animals it has no psychological functions and (maybe) its regulatory functions aren’t essential (I need to check this).

Why is the Woody Allen expostulation about his brain (in Sleeper) “(is) my second favourite organ” amusing? Firstly, of course, because of the sexual innuendo and the ultimately strange prioritisation (since you can’t enjoy sexual excitement without a brain), but also, I think, because your brain isn’t an organ that you “have”. Without your brain, there’s no “you” at all, or at least this is a strong intuition.

You can obviously (given even today’s technology), do without a liver, and it seems that on a life-support machine your body can do without its brain – where the brain is looked upon merely as a regulator. But the reference of “you” is a bit slippery in these contexts. There is a sense in which you as an organism can do without a brain – on life support – but “you” as an essentially psychological being cannot. The animalists claim that you – being identical to an animal – have no essential psychological predicates; yet it is difficult to resist the intuition that there’s a reference of “you” that does have essential psychological predicates. This is to you as a person – but the big question is whether this person is a separate substance constituted by the human animal, or is just a way of describing the animal when possessed of the appropriate psychological predicates. Saying that you can’t do without your brain is just another way of saying that your psychological predicates are those most important to you (the animal); those without which the other predicates cannot be enjoyed.

The issue fundamentally concerns the integrity of organisms9. It is said that a brain isn’t an organism; but does an organism have to be self-supporting (the main reason for denying the status of organisms to disembodied brains)? After all, we seem to be allowing that an organism on life support is correctly described as an organism. We’ll discuss this further in its place.

These issues are especially important when we consider various Thought Experiments10, in particular Brain Transplants11. Transplantation12 of all sorts seems to involve fusion13, with its logical problems for identity14 (not just for persons).

Note last updated: 18/08/2009 20:39:50


Footnote 12.5 Repeated. See Footnote 14: (Physical Continuity)


Footnote 12.6: (Human Beings)

  • Is there is a – real or formal – difference between human beings and
    1. human animals1,
    2. members of the species homo sapiens2 and
    3. human organisms3?
  • I assume there’s a distinction between a human being and a human person4, as “person5” is an honorific and – I claim – human persons are phase sortals6 of human animals.
  • For the primary argument proposing that “we” are human beings, see the work of Johnston (Mark), in particular
    1. "Johnston (Mark) - Human Beings",
    2. "Johnston (Mark) - Reasons and Reductionism", and
    3. "Johnston (Mark) - "Human Beings" Revisited: My Body is Not an Animal".
  • Johnston’s view is that human beings are constituted by7 human bodies8. I have two comments on this:-
    1. This superficially sounds like Baker9’s Constitution View10. However, Johnston doesn’t think the human person is separable from the human brain/body as in the case of Baker’s reified FPP11.
    2. Despite this, Johnston doesn’t think that we are (identical to) human animals.
  • Johnston tries to tread a middle course between animalism12 and the psychological view13.
    1. He wants to be a naturalist – accepting the modern scientific world-picture and rejecting dualism.
    2. However, because he thinks that what matters to us is our mental life, he considers us to be a locus of mental life.
    3. But, this locus is not “inchoate” or “bare” but has to be provided by our organ of mentation – namely the brain.
    4. Where he differs from the animalists is in his response to the brain transplant intuition14.
  • So, for Johnston, a human being is – for usual practical purposes – a human organism, but is only “constituted” by one – it is not identical to one, for two reasons:-
    1. He – along with most people – accepts the BTI, so he thinks you can be “pared down” to a “mere brain” and then transplanted into another human body. That human being would then be you. Also, like Olson, he doesn’t think “mere brains” are organisms; but – unlike Olson – he doesn’t consider the human brain to be “just another organ”.
    2. Further, he thinks a human being is necessarily capable of appropriate mental activity. So, in the case of you falling into a PVS15, you – the human being – could be outlived by your human animal.
  • Thus – for Johnston – “human being” is a rather odd concept: it is a locus of mentation, naturally embodied and not portable other than by transplanting the organ of mentation. The brain isn’t a mere organ, but a maximally mutilated human being.
  • At the moment, I still incline towards animalism – that we are human animals; and that we can survive total and irrevocable loss of mentation, though in the process we also lose all that matters to us.
  • Also, I think that there’s only a difference of emphasis or terminology between “human being”, “human animal” and “human organism”.
  • This (probably) commits me to arguing that a disembodied human brain is a maximally-mutilated human animal.



This is mostly a place-holder16. See the categorised reading-list below.

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


Footnote 12.7: (Human Persons)

  • I can’t think I’ll have much to say here that’s not covered under either human beings1 or persons2.
  • See also my Note on Non-human persons3.
  • Maybe what I can cover here is whether all persons are – in actuality if not conceptually – human.
  • Angels and aliens are discussed in "Wiggins (David) - Reply to Snowdon (Persons and Personal Identity)" and the claim is that insofar as we can conceptualise them, they are animals4. So they aren’t counter-examples to the supposition that all persons are animals (though this doesn’t rule out non-human animals being persons).
  • Wiggins also discusses robot-persons. If, in order to satisfy the conditions of personhood, these end up as molecule-by-molecule clones5 of animals, these are animals also.

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


Footnote 12.7.3: (Non-Human Persons)




This is mostly a place-holder.

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


Footnote 12.8 Repeated. See Footnote 31: (Thought Experiments)


Footnote 12.9: (Transplants)

From the standpoint of Personal Identity, the most significant transplants are Brain1 Transplants, which have their own Note.

In the context of animalism, however – where it is said (by Olson) that the brain is just another organ – there is less reason for Brain Transplants to receive centre-stage. But, the animalist must still consider whether an organism can survive the transplant of “lesser” organs, and which – if any – transplants it cannot survive. We certainly accept that major-organ transplants – and even a complex of organs such as heart/lungs – preserve the human animal (and person). Are there any limits beyond which we cannot go? Do we have to allow for a case of fusion2 in extreme circumstances? Is there a “core” of the animal that preserves identity while peripheral organs are swapped out?

What about inorganic transplants? Is the human animal preserved, and does it incorporate the transplanted organs, or are they useful appendages (like clothes) that are external to it. Alternatively, do we then have a cyborg3?

This is mostly a place-holder4. Currently, just see the reading-list.

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


Footnote 12.9.3: (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 13: (Survival)

I need to distinguish two interpretations of Parfit1 according to whether survival and identity are or are not equated. A standard Parfitian claim is that “what matters in survival is not identity”. Parfit is right that the issue isn’t necessarily “am I (A) identical to B or C”, but “will I have what matters2 in survival if B, or C, or both survive”, and that the reason the two questions are elided is that they don’t usually come apart. However, there’s incoherence in an expression such as “will I survive as B”, if I’m not supposed identical to B, since survival and this use of the personal pronoun seem to imply identity. Also in an expression such as “will I have what matters”, to what does the “I” refer if I’m assumed not to persist? To my present self only? I might now see that I might be happy that a certain future state of affairs, not involving me, appertains, but I would then not have what matters, nor indeed have anything at all.

So, I think we do need to distinguish, with Parfit, identity from what matters in survival. His idea seems to be that we can have what matters in survival without surviving. Parfit’s concerns are fundamentally ethical, with Buddhist tendencies. He’s trying to remove self from ethics and persuade us that we don’t need self, and therefore don’t need self-identity. Parfit’s claim, which I believe to be false, is that we don’t really care about our persistence as such, but about the survival of our projects, which can as well or better be prosecuted by others. But we are more selfish than that, and in many circumstances justifiably so.

This is mostly a place-holder3. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

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


Footnote 13.1: (Parfit)

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 2: 10 years ago as I write in July 2015.

Footnote 12: I’ve ignored here those many papers on “what matters” that are not specifically related to Parfit.

Note last updated: 04/07/2015 10:10:34


Footnote 13.1.3 Repeated. See Footnote 13.2: (What Matters)


Footnote 13.1.4 Repeated. See Footnote 11.3.10: (Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues))


Footnote 13.1.5 Repeated. See Footnote 32.3: (Psychological View)


Footnote 13.1.6 Repeated. See Footnote 16.4: (Connectedness vs Continuity)


Footnote 13.1.7 Repeated. See Footnote 21: (First-Person Perspective)


Footnote 13.1.8 Repeated. See Footnote 31: (Thought Experiments)


Footnote 13.1.9 Repeated. See Footnote 32: (Fission)


Footnote 13.1.10 Repeated. See Footnote 33: (Fusion)


Footnote 13.1.11 Repeated. See Footnote 45: (Teletransportation)


Footnote 13.1.13 Repeated. See Footnote 10.8: (Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity))


Footnote 13.2: (What Matters)

This section will cover part of the discussion of Parfit’s1 claims that we can have what matters to us in survival without the need for identity.

It is claimed that our survival matters to us, or at least some of the benefits of surviving matter to us. The question has been raised that some people (eg. those contemplating suicide) don’t want to persist, so persistence doesn’t matter to them. I think it does – persistence matters, though maybe persisting doesn’t. What I meant is that whether they persist or not matters to persons. If things get too bad (or are perceived to be that way), it may be important to them that they don’t persist. In the normal case, it’s important that they do. Either way, persistence matters to them.

This is a place-holder2. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

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


Footnote 13.2.1 Repeated. See Footnote 13.1: (Parfit)


Footnote 13.2.2 Repeated. See Footnote 10.8: (Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity))


Footnote 13.3 Repeated. See Footnote 10.8: (Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity))


Footnote 14: (Physical Continuity)

In addition to considering just what contiguity and causal1 conditions a physical object needs to satisfy in order to persist, I need to consider a jumble of related issues:

  1. Intermittent2 Objects: can things go in and out of existence? Does the disassembled bicycle still exist in a dispersed state?
  2. Mereology3: is the content of any disconnected region of spacetime a thing?
  3. What do decisions here have to say about the possibility of resurrection4 or reincarnation5? Is a physicalist able, even in principle, to allow the possibility of disembodied6 survival, resurrection or reincarnation, given the need for a continuing physical substance to which the individual is identical? Some Christians are physicalists, and Van Inwagen has (as a wild speculation - see "Van Inwagen (Peter) - The Possibility of Resurrection") God miraculously swapping out and preserving our corpses so he can resurrect the same individuals in due course. I need to consider (but expect to reject) such suggestions.

This is mostly a place-holder7. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

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


Footnote 14.1 Repeated. See Footnote 38: (Causality)


Footnote 14.2: (Intermittent Objects)

  1. I allude to the possibility of intermittent existence in these Notes:-
    • Artefacts1,
    • Persons2,
    • Constitution3,
    • Phase Sortals4,
    • Physical Continuity5,
    • Resurrection6.
  2. Artefacts
    • Are the classic cases of possibly intermediate objects, in that the same object can be disassembled and then reassembled, and it is usually thought that the reassembled object is numerically identical to the original.
    • But it is not clear whether the watch (say) ceases to exist when disassembled for cleaning, or whether it continues to exist in a scattered7 state. The recipient of a bag of watch-parts would still consider they had received their watch back, even if annoyed at having to reassemble it themselves.
    • But, as with all things artefactual, there’s a question whether our intuitions are conventional, and could be otherwise. My gut-feel, however, is that disassembled artefacts just exist in a disassembled, scattered state, rather than ceasing to exist. Hence, disassembled artefacts are examples of scattered objects rather than of intermittent objects.
    • I suppose the counter-argument might be that artefacts are the things they are for functional reasons, but does a disassembled thing have a function (or, at any rate, the same function it had when assembled)? I imagine we could say that an object might be delivered in kit-form, and then assembled, and it is probably arbitrary (or can be stipulated) whether the kit is of the same kind as the object or not.
    • The Write-up8 of "Carter (William) - Artifacts of Theseus: Fact and Fission" covers all this in more detail9.
  3. Persons
    • When it comes to Persons, it’s the possession of certain capacities, not the present exercise of them, that qualifies an individual as a person.
    • Wiggins (David) holds the view that a person is one who belongs to a kind whose typical members possess some open-ended list of properties.
    • In that case, a foetus or someone in a PVS10 would still be a person. They would not “intermit” while in that state.
    • However, on a “present capacity” view, they would not qualify as persons in such a state, and a person might have intermittent existence. For instance if I were to fall into, and then recover from, a PVS I would not be a person when in the PVS, but would on recovery again be a person, and (importantly) the same person.
    • So, someone like Baker11 might be committed to persons as intermittent objects because she thinks of human persons as ontologically separate from the human animals that constitute them.
    • However, an animalist like Olson12 would not be so committed. For the animalist, it’s the animal that’s the persisting thing, and the animal persists throughout the PVS.
    • I’m not sure what Olson’s view is of the ontological status of persons (I don’t think he considers them a kind); they are just individuals of another kind (most notably human animals) with special, maybe temporary, properties.
  4. Phase Sortals
    • My view is that human persons are phase13 sortals14 of human animals.
    • So, I side with Olson as against Baker in the controversy about what Persons are.
    • While persons are ontologically significant, this does not bring into being a new kind of PERSON, but raises the status of the kind whose typical members are persons (and of the individuals who are persons, of course).
    • So, I do not think that persons – at least persons falling under the kind HUMAN ANIMAL – can have intermittent existence. A fetus or a human animal in a PVS remains the same human animal.
  5. Constitution
  6. Physical Continuity
    • This topic20 addresses – amongst much else – both scattered21 objects and intermittent objects, the former intermitting in space, the latter in time (and maybe in space as well).
    • So, if persons are things constituted by other things, then the person intermits during a PVS, but there is no physical discontinuity.
    • But, as Baker believes, the very same person can be constituted by different bodies at different times, then there must necessarily be persistence in the absence of spatio-temporal continuity, which it usually taken as a necessary, if not sufficient, condition for persistence.
    • This leads on to our next topic.
  7. Resurrection
    • The possibility of Resurrection22 is the main reason for my interest in intermittent objects.
    • Clearly, if we are to claim that the very same individual who died is resurrected somewhere else (maybe not a place as such, though it is difficult to envisage bodies that are not at places) at some other time (or not in time – but similar worries apply) then we have an intermittent object.
    • This process (or fiat) would also seem to involve some sort of metamorphosis23, though maybe the Constitution View does not worry about such things, as it is the constituted person that persists, not the constituting body.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 9: Or will do, once I’ve completed it!

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


Footnote 14.2.8: (Carter – Artifacts of Theseus)

Note that this paper ("Carter (William) - Artifacts of Theseus: Fact and Fission") is essentially an argument against the Constitution View.



Introduction


Standard “Ship of Theseus” case, mutated to bicycles.

Definitons:
  • The “continuity survivor (CS)” is the one with spatiotemporal continuity (part replacement).
  • The “reassembly survivor (RS)” is the one made of the replaced parts.
A footnote points out (Gupta) that there may be issues with replacing the frame. This is probably referring to a point that comes up later as another aside – do things have essential parts?

Question: which of the surviving bicycles is the original? There are 5 options:-
  1. a-Theorist: CS is, RS isn’t. Supporters: Wiggins, Salmon.
  2. b-Theorist: RS is, CS isn’t
  3. c: both are
  4. d: neither is
  5. e: no fact of the matter. Supporters – Chisholm, Nozick, Rorty
The paper focuses on a- and b-theorists, though it spends a lot of time considering Chisholm’s arguments.



Section 1

The a-Theorist supports spatio-temporal continuity.

The b-Theorist has a modal counter-argument.

Definitions:-
  • W1: reassembly without replacement; no continuity competitor. RS only.
  • W2: reassembly with replacement. RS + CS.
  • t1=time that the reassembly takes place.
Argument: RS(W1) = RS(W2); B(W1) = RS(W1); Transitivity of identity: RS(W2) = B(W1). So, the RS is the original and the CS isn’t.

Key premise: RS(W1) = RS(W2). Rejected by a-Theorists. Distinguish original construction from reconstruction. Reconstructed objects have a different origin and are non-identical to the pre-deconstructed object.



Section 2

Salmon and Hunks of Matter. Distinguish the “is” of identity from the “is” of constitution. The same Hunk constitutes different bicycles in different worlds.

Two questions:-
  1. Does B(W1) exist throughout the disassembly/reassembly process?
  2. Does H(W1) - the Hunk of matter - exist throughout the same process?
Df: td is the time at which disassembly is complete. This raises the question whether disassembly is instantaneous or piecemeal. It seems that as replacement occurs in W2, it cannot be instantaneous. The TE at the start of Section 3 confirms that disassembly is gradual. But Section 1 seems to imply that reassembly is instantaneous “at t1”.

Four obvious alternative answers:-
  1. a.1 Both B and H do
  2. a.2 B doesn’t, H does
  3. a.3 B does, H doesn’t
  4. a.4 Neither B nor H do.
I don’t think the choice of “a” as a prefix has any connection with a-theorists. As such, it is an unfortunate choice.

Note: that “Hunk” is a piece not a portion, so is contiguous and can lose bits. The standard constitution account has it that things are constituted by pieces rather than portions (which can exist in scattered states, and cannot lose bits). "Ayers (Michael R.) - Locke on 'Masses of Matter'" raises a problem against Locke’s “Masses of Matter” – they need boundary conditions, but Locke’s masses are portions not pieces, so Ayers is probably confused.

Carter suggests initially hat we must reject all but a.4, as neither a B nor an H can exist dispersed.

However, Wiggins (an a-Theorist) claims that a thing starts to exist only once, and that a clock does survive the disassembly/reassembly process. And, there are no intermittent objects.

Chappel distinguishes between Parcels (Portions) and Pieces (Lumps, = Hunks). Reject the rejection of a.1 and a.2: this was originally rejected on the grounds that Hunks can’t exist dispersed, but considered as Portions they persist. However, this just confuses Pieces with Portions (if we do this, why not go the whole way and confuse Bicycles with Hunks)?

Note: that this distinction is already present in Gibbard. It is an important distinction, though not universally accepted. He features in the references to the paper, so why is he not mentioned here?



Section 3

Df: a-theorists who agree with Chappell are Constitutionists.

One question: can there be atemporal constitution; ie. If a Portion of matter at any time constitutes a bicycle, does it always do so? Carter replies “no” on the grounds that in W2 shortly before td, we have a pukka bicycle with mostly replaced bits, and a heap of bits, which don’t quite make a bicycle because there are still a few bits of our Portion embedded in our existing bicycle. Our Portion consists in the heap + the embedded bits, and this collection doesn’t presently constitute a bicycle.

Note: this is even more obvious in the case of human beings, the matter changing every 7 years, and being incorporated into the bodies of many other human beings, or into other things.

In 4D, we might ask whether all things exist atemporally – ie. Do the future stages exist? I need to review Presentism and the arguments against it. Does Presentism just assume that future things don’t exist, or argue against their existence as it does against that of past things? Can there be 4D versions of Presentism? Ie. Do all stages exist, or just the present stage?

A second question is a refinement of the above. Does a portion which, when it clearly constitutes a bicycle always constitutes the same one, always constitute a bicycle?

Two TEs:-
  1. Bicycle completely disassembled, and its bits left knocking around, and then completely reassembled.
  2. Bicycle completely disassembled, but its bits are temporarily incorporated as parts of 100 bicycles before being ultimately removed and reassembled into a single bicycle.
What to make of these TEs? Answers:
  1. A: it is somewhat plausible that the bicycle continues to exist in a dispersed state, but Carter doubts it.
  2. A: same but stronger doubts – there are 100 bicycles, not 101.



Section 4

Carter doubts Constitutionists can distinguish 1A from 2A and affirm 1A but deny 2A.

But is Constitutionism a deep problem? Is it mostly accepted? Carter is worried.

Might the “is” of Constitution be the “is” of identity after all. Richard Cartwright and Chisholm think so. If so, the Constitution answer to the Ship of Theseus paradox is incorrect.

Locke’s Parcels – mereological essentialism for Parcels. So, a Constitutionist must say that the W2 Continuity bicycle (CS) is constituted by different Parcels at different times.

Note: they might well, but don’t most Constitutionists claim that things are constituted by Pieces (which may themselves be constituted by Parcels)? Lumps can lose or gain parts.

Chisholm denies that anything persists – there’s just a succession of related objects.

Note: I think this is due to confusing objects with their stages. 4D may be the only answer to the denial of “strict and philosophical identity” applying to ordinary objects. Is / was this Van Inwagen’s view – in saying that only simples and people (souls?) exist. Or was it Unger? Or both? And have they changed their minds?

Carter admits to skating over Chisholm, and only mentions him to cast doubt on Constitutionism. Each chunk of matter is attributively a bicycle (ie. Is bicycle-shaped, bicycle-propertied). Carter accepts this, and thinks it “does for” Constitutionism.

Note: we need to watch out for the attributive “is”, which may not be the “is” of identity any more than the “is” of Constitution.

Explanation: TE – in W2, between td and t1. td is the time of complete disassembly, t1 the time of complete reassembly. So td – t1 is the period of reassembly. Carter claims we always have a bicycle before us throughout this time. Which? We have CS, which is already fully replaced at td (is it?), and is a full bicycle throughout the period, and we have RS, which is being built in the period. Maybe I’ve misunderstood. On p. 249, Carter says “at t1 the parts that were replaced are reassembled”. So, it may be instantaneous re-assembly, but we’re not looking at RS in this TE but at CS. Good. So, Carter considers the stages of CS from td to t1. For each stage there is a (different) co-located Parcel of matter, labelled pi, and he considers p90, which is attributively a bicycle.

We now get the “too many bicycles” objection (TMB). There’s only one bicycle present, and it’s p90, so in saying “p90is a bicycle” we have the “is” of identity.

Note: this just begs the question. Why can’t we have co-located objects of different sorts, with different persistence conditions: the bicycle and the Parcel of matter that instantaneously constitutes it, and adjust our counting rules?

Carter thinks the b-theorist (who argues that RS is the original) will be enthused by this result. Presumably because Chisholm is arguing against the existence of ordinary objects – only Parcels of matter really exist, and the b-theorist tracks the Parcel (though I suspect he tracks pieces … he’s not interested in all the odd atoms that come and go).

We now return to W1 (RS only, no CS). So, prior to td, a W1-inhabitant points to a Parcel, which persists throughout td to t1, so a.1 is true, since B=H.



Section 5

Df: A Parcel is Cyclesque only if its parts are configured as and function as a bicycle. The Constitutionist must deny that a Cyclesque Parcel is a bicycle, or fall foul of the TMB argument (Note: unless he changes his counting rules).

Argument from Supervenience: Carter thinks that there’s an argument from Supervenience to the effect that a Cyclesque Parcel is (identical to) a bicycle. Carter cites Kim, though I suppose that only the terminology, and not the argument, is Kim’s. I think the argument is due to Chisholm in the dialogue with Shoemaker in Care/Grim. This argument is important, and the aim is to show that if the thing constituted is not identical to the thing constituting, then we have a violation of generally-accepted supervenience claims. I need to consider it carefully some time, probably after reading the Chisholm/Shoemaker piece. Enough to say that it’s really a more technical version of the TMM/TMB argument.

Terms: Closure, Microdeterminate & Microreducible.

Note: I’m not sure what the closure of a family of properties is, nor why or whether it’s important.

It’s possible to quibble that the argument has the wrong constituting entities – Parcels / Portions rather than Pieces / Hunks; but, I expect an analogous argument from supervenience can be derived for Hunks. Does Olson (or Blatti) refer to these papers?

Shoemaker rejects the notion that the constituting items are themselves ships (but why?). We have a modus ponens versus modus tollens situation. If we don’t like the thought of co-located entities, we reject the premise (constitution) that implies it; but if we’re impressed by the importance of different persistence conditions (and the rejection of deviant identities) then we allow co-location of entities of different sorts. The crux of the whole matter comes when we consider whether we can allow (virtually) co-located entities of the same sort. Carter’s review of Hudson’s book ("Jones (Nicholas K.) - Too Many Cats: The Problem of the Many and the Metaphysics of Vagueness") addresses this “Problem of the Many”. Maybe we should (with Lewis) change / acknowledge our counting-rules. I still think there’s a big reductio available for the TMM argument in the haze of mostly overlapping atom-complements (more cogent than Tib/Tibbles, because while a tail-complement may not be a cat – though a tailless cat is a cat – atom-complements of cats certainly are cats).

There’s an interesting footnote on a problem for the Supervenience argument, in that for an object to be what it is, it has to have an appropriate history (is this the same argument as Putnam’s in "Putnam (Hilary) - Brains in a Vat"?). However, Carter claims that Shoemaker agrees with him that objects don’t need to be of a certain minimum “temporal size” in order to qualify as a thing (rather than a stage of a thing?). Is this really Shoemaker’s line, and what does he intend by it?



Section 6







Section 7




Section 8




Section 9





References

"Burke (Michael) - Cohabitation, Stuff and Intermittent Existence"
"Carter (William) - On Contingent Identity and Temporal Worms"
"Cartwright (Richard) - Scattered Objects"
"Chisholm (Roderick) - Person and Object: Introduction"
"Chisholm (Roderick) & Shoemaker (Sydney) - Symposium: The Loose and Popular and the Strict and Philosophical Senses of Identity"
"Gibbard (Allan) - Contingent Identity"
"Griffin (Nicholas) - Relative Identity"
"Lewis (David) - Survival and Identity"
"Nozick (Robert) - Philosophical Explanations"
"Salmon (Nathan) - Reference and Essence"
"Noonan (Harold) - Objects and Identity: An Examination of Relative Identity and its Consequences"
"Quine (W.V.) - From a Logical Point of View"
"Rorty (Richard) - Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature"
"Wiggins (David) - Sameness and Substance"
"Van Inwagen (Peter) - The Doctrine of Arbitrary Undetached Parts"



… to be continued

Note last updated: 12/02/2009 21:30:14


Footnote 14.2.12: (Olson)

  • Eric Olson (Olson (Eric)) is important as the most vigorous contemporary defender of the Animalist position, in opposition to the numerous alternative positions including the Constitution View of Lynne Rudder Baker.
  • This is a place-holder. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list, which contains all the papers by Eric Olson in my possession, whether or not they are relevant to the topic of personal identity.

Note last updated: 02/07/2015 23:12:29


Footnote 14.2.17: (Fine - The Non-Identity of a Material Thing and Its Matter)

This write-up is a review of "Fine (Kit) - The Non-Identity of a Material Thing and Its Matter". As usual, my comments universally feature as “Note:”. This is a long and complex paper, and time-constraints will mean that these remarks will need to be brief and fairly superficial. They will not be free-standing in the absence of the paper under review.

Abstract: Fine argues for pluralism, the view that a physical object and the matter that makes it up are different things co-located. He argues against the linguistic arguments put forward by monists who maintain the identity thesis, that a material thing is identical to the matter of which it is composed.


Headings:-

    Introduction
  1. Monism
  2. Opacity
  3. Choice of Example
  4. Predicational Shift
  5. Explicit Invocation of Sorts
  6. Implicit Invocation of Sorts
  7. Implicit Invocation via Reference
  8. Plural Invocation of Sorts

1). Introduction
  1. Motivation: Philosophers differ over whether a thing and the matter of which it is made are one and the same. It appears that they cannot be, because their properties can differ.
    Examples:-
    Statue / clay - clay exists before / after statue;
    River / water - river composed of different water at different times, though not at a time.
    Notes:
    • A river is an odd example. Isn’t there more to a river than its water?
    • Note the use of the terms “made” and “compose” – are these the same as one another and are both the same as “constituted by”, or are they purely mereological (and is there a real distinction between constitution and mereological composition)?
  2. Aim: Some philosophers have rejected the distinction, saying that the apparently different properties do not represent difference in the objects themselves, but only in the descriptions under which they are conceived. Fine’s aim is to disprove this; a hard task as there’s nothing immediately obvious in the linguistic data to settle the matter.
  3. Plan: Sections 1-4 set up the problem, sections 5-8 deal with the difficulties for those who uphold the identity of a thing and its matter.
    The headings of the First part are a bit obscure.
    • Section 1 (“Monism”) describes the various forms of the identity theory.
    • Section 2 (“Opacity”) gives an overview and categorisation of arguments in favour on non-identity.
    • Section 3 (“Choice of Example”) gives the most plausible arguments in favour of non-identity.
    • Section 4 (“Predictional Shift”) gives the most plausible response by the identity theorist.
    The headings in the Second part aren’t really further clarified at this point, though the theme is the inability of the identity theory to account for linguistic data, categorised by 4 ways of referring to the material thing.
  4. Scope: Discussion of various relevant themes is excluded:-
    a). The parallels and differences between events and acts.
    b). Eccentric identity-logics
    • b1). Relative identity
    • b2). The denial of the possibility of cross-category identification; the view that identifying a thing and its matter is as ludicrous as identifying a fried egg with the number 3.
    Notes:
    • This sounds like Frege’s Julius Caesar problem.
    • If this was saying that things under different substance concepts cannot be identified, it would be sensible (other than if one concept subsumes the other – as in this cat is that mammal).
    c). Eccentric views on material objects:-
    • c1). Idealism
    • c2). Denial that non-simples exist, or
    • The claim that only living complexes and simples exist.
    d). Arguments in favour of identity.
    • d1). The metaphysical argument: If we have non-identity, then in what does the difference between a thing and its matter consist?
    • d2). The argument from theoretical dispensability
    … Notes: Isn’t the first of these arguments important?
    • Firstly because they connect with Alan Gibbard’s arguments for contingent identity (see "Gibbard (Allan) - Contingent Identity", but these are already probably out of scope, as Fine doesn’t deal with deviant identity-logics), and
    • Secondly for Baker - for the constitution of a statue by its clay – involving a necessary “relation to an art-world”.
  5. Fine refers the reader to the following works where arguments in favour of identity are discussed (though not necessarily supported):
  6. Caveat: Fine doubts that metaphysics in general or this topic in particular are exhausted by linguistic questions, yet he has had to focus on linguistic arguments in this paper. This is a special case: while non-linguistic arguments are presented for non-identity, these are rebutted with the charge of linguistic confusion which itself has to be rebutted.

1). Monism
  1. Fine’s opponents claim that coincident material things are the same.
  2. Coincidence: we need to distinguish spatial from material coincidence (each “at a time”). Spatial coincidents need not be material coincidents, nor vice versa. Examples:
    … a loaf and its bread are materially but not spatially coincident; and
    … a water-logged loaf and a loaf that is waterlogged are spatially but not materially coincident.
    For the purposes of this paper, we require both material and spatial coincidence.
    • Note: These examples need unpacking a bit. The basic idea is that the spatial extent of the loaf is defined by its outer boundary, while that of the bread excludes the volumes occupied only by air-bubbles (or water in the case of a water-logged loaf. This may beg some questions about just what “bread” is – is the only “real” bread unleavened (ie. without air-bubbles), or is it just more concentrated?
  3. Matter: if there is Ultimate matter, then the underlying matter is the ultimate matter; if not, then two things materially coincide at a time if any matter composing either is composed of matter composing the other.
  4. Parts: it is an error to think of coincidents as things with the same parts. This would make the statue and the clay non-coincident, on the grounds that the statue’s arm is part of the statue but not part of the clay.
    • Note: I don’t fully understand, but presumably the idea is that lumps of clay, strictly speaking – and qua lumps of clay – don’t have arms. Statues have arms composed of portions of clay that themselves form part of the whole lump, that itself composes the whole statue.
  5. Modal Considerations: so far we’ve just considered coincidence at a time. We also need consider worldly coincidence where the entire space-time worms in the actual world coincide. Finally, there is necessary coincidence, where the space-time worms in all possible worlds coincide (Fine specifies the qualifications more precisely).
  6. Types of Monism: An Extreme monist identifies “two” things if “they” coincide at any time. A Moderate monist only makes the identification if the coincidence occurs at all times within a world. A Mild monist only makes the identification if the coincidence occurs at all times within all possible world.
  7. Mere Things: monists only see one thing where pluralists see two. What sort do they see? This “mere thing” – the “intrinsic identity” of the thing – differs according to the flavour of monism, but is basically matter. Fine doesn’t take these differences to be significant for this paper.
  8. Strength of Monism: Extreme entails moderate entails mild.
    • Note: that is, an extreme monist is logically also a moderate monist. That is, if I believe that “two” things that are coincident at a time are identical, then obviously I must accept that “two” things that coincide at all times in a world are identical; and, similarly for the other implications.
  9. Strictness: someone who is a moderate monist but not an extreme monist is said to be strictly moderate. So, a moderate monist accepts that there can be distinct objects that coincide at a time, but not ones that coincide within a world.
    • Note: So, is a strictly moderate monist committed to contingent identity? This is the point of "Gibbard (Allan) - Contingent Identity", where Goliath and Lump1 are coincident in the actual world and so, according to strictly moderate monism, are identical, yet they might not have been coincidental (and therefore, it is claimed, might not have been identical).
  10. Extreme monists are said to include:-
  11. Strictly Moderate monists are said to include:-
  12. Opponents of Moderate monism are said to include:-
  13. Strictly moderate monism appears to be a plausible middle ground, since it allegedly avoids the “metaphysical mystery” of distinct worldly coincidents, while accepting distinct temporary coincidents. Yet, extreme monism is more defensible, in that the key arguments involve it. However, Fine avoids taking sides and his arguments cover either extreme or moderate monism.
    • Note: I found this part of the argument obscure and skipped it. I need to return later.
  14. Fine also thinks mild monism to be wrong. He claims to have counter-examples to show that even necessary coincidents of the same sort can be distinct. See "Fine (Kit) - A Counter-Example To Locke's Thesis". However, the focus of this paper is on extreme and moderate monism.

2). Opacity
  1. Standard argument against extreme monism: The statue has different properties to alloy of which it is made, so by Leibniz’s Law, they are non-identical. The same argument is used against mild monism, but using modal properties.
  2. Standard response: different properties only reflect different ways of describing a single object. Example from Quine ("Quine (W.V.) - Ontological Relativity"): 9 is necessarily > 7, but the number of planets isn’t. We can’t deduce that the number of planets is not 9 from this difference in modal properties. Similarly (it is said), you can’t deduce non-identity of a thing and its constituting matter.
  3. Transparent versus opaque contexts: standard stuff. Intensional contexts.
  4. Response (by anti-monist): convert from opaque to transparent context (or find examples from transparent context). Example.
  5. Counter-response (by monist): either
    • (a) agree transparent context, but deny truth-values – deny that a “mere thing” can have a trans-world or trans-temporal identity.
      Or
    • (b) deny that transparency has been achieved. Example.
  6. Deadlock: the current situation – monist “fouls” all examples.
  7. Strategy of Fine’s paper: see whether the monist’s allegation of opacity works given our language use in general.
  8. The Monist’s Strategy: Formal languages have been constructed in which the anti-monist’s arguments for non-identity turn out to be invalid. But does this reflect actual language use?
  9. Response: Fine thinks not – but has no way of proving wrong the convinced monist. This is shown by considering the “fanatical mono-referentialist” (such a person may not exist, but is used for the sake of the argument) who claims that every singular referring term refers to the same thing – “the One”.
  10. Example: of Gore and Bush – the claim that “- won the election” is an opaque context. The One won the election in a Bushey fashion but failed to win it in a Gorey fashion. What the anti-monist sees as difference of reference in a transparent context is seen by the FMR as identity of reference (but difference in manner of reference) in an opaque context.
  11. Arbitration: There is no fact of the matter as to whether language is mono- or multi-referential. It is disputed whether the FMR position is the height of absurdity or can be accepted.
  12. Two versions of the fanatical position: conservative and radical.
  13. The Radical: accuses us of being mistaken that “Gore” does not refer to Bush. Also, he has to reject normally-accepted inferences (that the fact that Bush won the election and Gore did not – taken as common ground – licences the inference that Bush is not identical to Gore).
  14. The Conservative: accepts our ordinary identity and reference judgements, so must say that the contexts are opaque. But “‘u’ refers to” is a paradigm case of transparency.

3). Choice of Example
  1. Standard Examples: cited by the pluralist generally fall into 3 categories, all of which are easily objected to:-
    • Temporal: don’t work against moderate monism.
    • Modal: requires an appeal to debateable de re modal intuitions, best avoided.
    • Constitution: of too limited application. Also, Fine claims that a statue is constituted by alloy NOT a piece of alloy. Consequently, the putative name for this piece does not refer.
  2. Note: The above point is very contentious and needs a lot of argument – even some would do. Gibbard (in "Gibbard (Allan) - Contingent Identity") thinks it legitimate to name his lump Lump1. I need to review his arguments. Similarly, Baker has a non-mereological view of constitution – again, this requires following-up.
  3. Alternative Examples: various predicates and their advantages. Eg. “Defective”, applied to the statue and the alloy. No need for modal or temporal arguments.
  4. Alikeness of Worldly Coincidents: Exaggerated by both monists and pluralists.
  5. Objects in extenso: the (mistaken) view that there’s nothing more to material things than the dimensions they occupy. Counter examples: not just the ones at the start of this section, but purely physical ones: weight, colour, stability.
    • Note: I couldn’t quite follow this – isn’t the weight of the statues just that of the alloy that constitutes it (and so on)?
  6. The Point of ontological differences: meaningful application of predicates. The Sphere of Discourse covers the range of predicates that can meaningfully be applied to the sort. A statue can be Romanesque, but the clay itself cannot. Statues are for aesthetic appreciation. The point of having chairs is that they are comfortable for sitting on.
  7. Dominant and Subordinate Sorts: Footnote. The range of properties of a subordinate sort is not always a subset of those of the dominant sort. Purity applies to gold but not (in the same way) to statues.

4). Predicational Shift
  1. The Monist Position: Claims opacity, so:
    • Must give a reason for the opacity of context.
    • Explain how the context is opaque.
    The second question is given the focus now, the first reserved until later.
  2. The Pluralist Argument: basically:-
    P1: φ(s)
    P2: not-φ(t)
    -----------
    C: s not = t
    … spelled out in detail. See the paper.
  3. The Monist Challenge – Pathological Breakdown: either s or t doesn’t refer, either above or below the line. Circumvent by avoiding terms like “the alloy”, which might not refer (or not uniquely). Vagueness can be finessed. Otherwise, two options, Referential or Predicational Shift.
  4. Referential Shift: Df & example: Frege & Scott/Waverly.
  5. Predicational Shift: Df & example: Quine & Giorgione/Barbarelli.
  6. Problems with Referential Shift :
  7. Two Responses:
    • Metonymy:
    • Derivation:
      Note: this relates to Baker’s view of Constitution – the having of properties derivatively. Is there really no difference between the monist and pluralist in this regard?
  8. Conclusion on Referential Shift : rejected, leaving opacity due to Predicational Shift the only option – to be addressed in the rest of the paper.

5). Explicit Invocation of Sorts
  1. XXX:
  2. XXX:
  3. XXX:
  4. XXX:
  5. XXX:
  6. XXX:
  7. XXX:
  8. XXX:

6). Implicit Invocation of Sorts
  1. XXX:
  2. XXX:
  3. XXX:
  4. XXX:
  5. XXX:
  6. XXX:
  7. XXX:
  8. XXX:

7). Implicit Invocation via Reference
  1. XXX:
  2. XXX:
  3. XXX:
  4. XXX:
  5. XXX:
  6. XXX:
  7. XXX:
  8. XXX:

8). Plural Invocation of Sorts
  1. XXX:
  2. XXX:
  3. XXX:
  4. XXX:
  5. XXX:
  6. XXX:
  7. XXX:
  8. XXX:

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


Footnote 14.2.18: (Fine - The Non-Identity of a Material Thing and Its Matter (Essay))

In this paper Fine argues for pluralism, the view that a physical object and the matter that makes it up are different things co-located. He argues against the linguistic arguments put forward by monists who maintain the identity thesis, that a material thing is identical to the matter of which it is composed.

Background & Motivation

My research topic is that of personal identity – in particular the dispute between Animalism (as propounded by Eric Olson) and the Constitution View (CV, as presented by Lynne Rudder Baker). Why, therefore, should I care whether or not a thing and its matter are different things? Well, for several reasons, mostly to do with the idea of co-location. Olson thinks that co-location leads to double-counting and epistemic ignorance. This is the corner-stone of his Thinking Animal argument – which is that if a person and a human animal are co-located, then we have two thinking things (a metaphysical nasty) and an individual doesn’t know which of the two he or she is (an epistemological nasty). Baker’s response is that while metaphysically-speaking there are two things present, one of which is constituted by the other, and these two things are non-identical, yet we only have to count one thing and we can know which we are most essentially – the person.

For Baker, a human person is a being which possesses certain psychological properties essentially. If it loses these properties (irrevocably?), it ceases to exist. It is necessarily embodied, though not necessarily embodied by the same human animal (or maybe by any human animal, provided it was at one time constituted by a human animal). A human animal that loses the capacity for what she refers to as a First Person Perspective (FPP) ceases to be a person, even though the mindless animal might persist as an animal. For Baker, we are essentially persons, contingently constituted by a particular human animal.

For Olson, we are essentially human animals – each of us is a particular human animal and exists precisely as long as that animal exists. We have no psychological properties essentially and existed (as a fetus) before we acquired any, and would persist after we lost all psychology should we collapse into a persistent vegetative state.

For Baker, the human animal persists for as long as Olson says it does, but the human person comes into being as soon as the human animal develops to the stage where it is capable of possessing a FPP, and goes out of existence as soon as it loses that capacity. I’m presently unclear whether the CV allows the person to have intermittent existence – what is supposed to be going on between death and resurrection, during coma, and such-like?

Neither of these theories of our identity has much to do with a thing and its matter. A human animal is presumably distinct from the matter that makes it up. As we will see, Fine treats of statues and lumps – which (as a pluralist) he considers to be distinct but co-located, and which monists consider to be identical. But, there is no lump of matter that is a candidate for being identical to an organism, human or otherwise. Organisms essentially exchange their matter with their environment – that’s just what organisms do when carrying on their lives; if they didn’t do it they wouldn’t be organisms, but something else like rocks – or statues.

Note that in this connection there is a distinction in the literature between pieces and portions of matter. Pieces can lose or gain bits, but a portion cannot, being essentially the sum of its parts. A portion continues to exist just so long as its parts exist, however scattered. A piece (or lump) persists so long as it maintains its topological connectedness and doesn’t lose or gain too much matter too quickly. However, an organism is neither a piece nor a portion. Its exchange of matter is too radical for piece-hood.

We might note in passing that the issues raised here are similar to other well-known philosophical worries.

  • For the perdurantist, it is possible that a single stage is shared by many four-dimensional space-time worms, so several things can be temporarily overlapping, yet we need only count one. We have what appears to be a counting problem because – in the case of now future fission, there are two things present when we thought there was only one. Yet there is only one stage present – this is the only thing that is wholly present. Baker is not a perdurantist, so doesn’t have an ontology of temporal parts. However, while for her the person and the human animal are wholly present and are metaphysically distinct, we still only count one thing, because (she claims) the relationship between these two things – constitution – is too close to permit double-counting.
  • We also have Dion and Theon, where Dion partially overlaps with Theon – his foot-complement. This is the same problem re-badged by Strawson with his Tib / Tibbles conumdrum, where Tib is the tail-complement of Tibbles. If Dion loses his foot, or Tibbles his tail, they will be perfectly overlapping with Theon and Tib respectively.
Given these factors, what are the things that Fine specifically worries about in his paper that ought to concern me? And which side do I want to be on – that of the pluralist or of the monist?

Taking the second question first – while of course I intend to follow the truth wherever it leads – at the moment I’m inclined towards animalism. I don’t consider PERSON to be a substance concept, but simply view it that human animals (and maybe other things) have the property of being a person at certain times of their lives. Controversially, no doubt, I consider that the respect that accrues to HUMAN PERSONS is in virtue of certain of the properties that the HUMAN ANIMAL either has or will have (in the course of normal development). If it has irrevocably lost such properties, or can never develop them, it is no longer so deserving (though the LEGAL PERSON – it’s estate – or its friends and relatives are still deserving of consideration in how the human animal non-person is treated). If I’m right in this regard, then it seems that I ought to side with the monists and against Fine. I want there to be only one thing present. Yet, Fine’s arguments treat of a thing and its matter, not of a person and an animal. As far as the animal and the matter of which it is made, I agree that these things are distinct. Maybe I ought not to think so, if I thought that Olson’s TA argument was necessary for the support of animalism – because in that case Olson might be hoist by his own petard – we have two thinkers – the animal and the matter that makes it up (I hesitate to say “constitutes it”). Indeed Olson himself now seems to recognise this problem.

With respect to the first question, Fine addresses various objections against pluralism that arise from alleged opacity of context that invalidate the usual arguments for non-identity based on Leibniz’s Law of the indiscernibility of identicals (LL). We will see this in detail in due course, but these arguments are important as a (maybe naïve) appeal to LL is ubiquitous in these contexts. Fine thinks he can rebut the charges of opacity, but that doesn’t mean that the arguments can be comfortably ignored, for the arguments are subtle and complex (it seems to me).


Introduction

We now turn to Fine’s paper itself - "Fine (Kit) - The Non-Identity of a Material Thing and Its Matter". What all the things discussed above have in common is that it is possible to have two things that, despite being made of the same stuff and co-located – either at a time or for all time – are non-identical. The reason that they are taken to be non-identical is that the two things have different properties, either actually or modally. Their non-identity follows from LL.

The challenge that Fine addresses is that provided by various strains of monist – those who think there is only one thing present. These philosophers circumvent the argument from LL by a linguistic argument that appeals to alleged opacity of the context. But before we follow the argument we must return to Fine for some more scene-setting.

As we have seen, Fine notes that philosophers differ over whether a thing and the matter of which it is made are one and the same. It appears that they cannot be, because their properties can differ. His initial examples are of a statue and its clay – the clay exists before or after the statue – and of a river and its water – the river is composed of different water at different times, though not at a time.

Both these examples are somewhat objectionable. A river is an odd example because isn’t there more to a river than its water? Fine himself later raises the issue of whether the clay that forms a statue is the sort of thing that can be named (and without a name, how can it be picked out?).

Note also the use of the terms “made” and “compose”. Do these have the same meaning as one another and do both mean the same as “constituted by”, or are they purely mereological. Finally, is there a real distinction between constitution and mereological composition?

Some philosophers have rejected the distinction between the thing and its matter, saying that the apparently different properties do not represent difference in the objects themselves, but only in the descriptions under which they are conceived. Fine’s aim is to disprove this; a hard task as (he says) there’s nothing immediately obvious in the linguistic data to settle the matter.

Fine has to omit various issues from his remit. I need to consider the degree to which I care about these omissions, while recognising that a single paper can only deal with so much. My first thoughts are:-
  • Events/Acts: this is probably irrelevant to my concerns, though maybe the treatment of lives as events (eg. in "Wollheim (Richard) - Living") might bring such considerations into play.
  • Logic: these issues are important, but in general my approach is that if an argument leads by modus ponens to the view that traditional logic is unsound, we should be suspicious either of the validity of the argument, or reject one of its premises via modus tollens. Of course, the particular paralogism or false premise has to be pointed out in each case; not an easy task.
  • Material Objects: I will probably have to dismiss such deviant possibilities as beyond the pale, instructive though their consideration might be.
  • Arguments for Identity: in this paper, Fine is arguing for and against non-identity, and not treating of the positive arguments in favour of identity. All these arguments are important, and I’m filled with a sense of weariness at the thought of the amount of literature that’s devoted to a small sub-topic (of with the listed items are a mere “taster” as each has generated its own stream of controversy. Also, I think the metaphysical argument is invoked in "Gibbard (Allan) - Contingent Identity").
Fine doubts that metaphysics in general or this topic in particular are exhausted by linguistic questions, yet he has had to focus on linguistic arguments in this paper. This is a special case: while non-linguistic arguments are presented for non-identity, these are rebutted with the charge of linguistic confusion which itself has to be rebutted.


1. Monism

Fine now defines the monist position, and distinguishes various flavours. His opponents claim that coincident material things are the same thing, but what do we mean by “coincidence”? We need to distinguish spatial from material coincidence (each “at a time”). Spatial coincidents need not be material coincidents, nor vice versa. For the purposes of Fine’s paper, he requires both material and spatial coincidence. Examples:
  • A loaf and its bread are materially but not spatially coincident; and
  • a water-logged loaf and a loaf that is waterlogged are spatially but not materially coincident.
These examples need unpacking a bit. The basic idea is presumably that the spatial extent of the loaf is defined by its outer boundary, while that of the bread excludes the volumes occupied only by air-bubbles (or water in the case of a water-logged loaf). This may beg some questions about just what “bread” is – is the only “real” bread unleavened (ie. without air-bubbles), or is unleavened bread just more concentrated? No doubt there will be lots of debate about precisely what matter (at a time) makes up an organism.

We also need to consider what we mean by matter: according to Fine, if there is such a thing as ultimate matter, then the underlying matter is the ultimate matter; if not, then Fine tentatively suggests that two things materially coincide at a time if any matter composing either is composed of matter composing the other.

Fine considers it an error to think of coincidents as things with the same parts. This would make the statue and the clay non-coincident, on the grounds that the statue’s arm is part of the statue but not part of the clay. [I don’t fully understand this claim – it recurs in Footnote 17 in Section 3], but presumably the idea is that lumps of clay, strictly speaking – and qua lumps of clay – don’t have arms. Statues have arms composed of portions of clay that themselves form part of the whole lump, that itself composes the whole statue.

So far we’ve just considered coincidence at a time. We also need to consider worldly coincidence where the entire space-time worms in the actual world coincide (there is no commitment to perdurantism in the use of this terminology). Finally, there is necessary coincidence, where the space-time worms in all possible worlds coincide. Fine specifies these qualifications more precisely. This leads us on to varieties of Monism:
  • An Extreme monist identifies “two” things if “they” coincide at any time at which both exist.
  • A Moderate monist 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.
  • A Mild monist only makes the identification if the coincidence occurs at all times within all possible worlds.
What is a thing? Whatever it is, monists see only one thing where pluralists see two. What sort do they see? This “mere thing” – the “intrinsic identity” of the thing – differs according to the flavour of monism, but is basically matter. Fine doesn’t take these differences to be significant for this paper.

We have seen that monism comes in various strengths. Extreme monism entails moderate monism which in turn entails mild monism. That is, an extreme monist is logically also a moderate monist. If I believe that “two” things that are coincident at a time are identical, then obviously I must accept that “two” things that coincide at all times in a world are identical; and, similarly for the other implications.

A final distinction is of strictness: someone who is a moderate monist but not an extreme monist is said to be strictly moderate. So, a moderate monist accepts that there can be distinct objects that coincide at a time, but not ones that coincide at all times within a world. It seems to me that a strictly moderate monist is committed to contingent identity. This is the point of "Gibbard (Allan) - Contingent Identity", where Goliath and Lump1 are coincident in the actual world and so, according to strictly moderate monism, are identical, yet they might not have been coincidental (and therefore, it is claimed, might not have been identical).

Extreme monists are said to include:- Strictly Moderate monists are said to include:- Opponents of Moderate monism are said to include:- I’ve not been able to follow up these references to see whether the attributions are fair.

According to Fine, Strictly Moderate Monism appears to be a plausible middle ground, since it allegedly avoids the “metaphysical mystery” of distinct worldly coincidents, while accepting distinct temporary coincidents. Yet, he suggests, extreme monism is more defensible, in that the key arguments involve it. However, Fine avoids taking sides and claims that his arguments cover either extreme or moderate monism. [I found this part of the argument obscure and skipped it.]

However, the extreme monist seems to be saying something rather strange. Take the example of an organism that is momentarily coincident with a particular portion of matter. As time goes by, that portion becomes more and more dispersed, and looks less and less like an organism. So, such an extreme monist would have to deny that organisms strictly persist. If they talk about portions, then they’d have to argue that the persistence criteria for organisms and portions of matter are the same, else there would be a failure of the transitivity requirement of identity.

Despite the above, it may be that the linguistic arguments later in Fine’s paper rescue the extreme monist.

Fine also thinks mild monism to be wrong. He claims to have counter-examples to show that even necessary coincidents of the same sort can be distinct. We are referred to "Fine (Kit) - A Counter-Example To Locke's Thesis". I have followed up this reference, and my initial view remains that mild monism is the only version of monism likely to be correct. Fine’s rejection of it may stem from his argument later in the paper currently under discussion that pluralist examples that rely on modal arguments are inadequate. I’m unimpressed by his example for the reasons given in my review of that paper. Either way, the focus of Fine’s paper (he claims) is on extreme and moderate monism.


2. Opacity

This is where the discussion gets interesting. The standard argument against extreme monism is that the statue has different properties to those of the alloy of which it is made, so by Leibniz’s Law, they are non-identical. The same argument is used against mild monism, but using modal properties. The standard response to this argument is that the different properties only reflect different ways of describing a single object. We are referred to We are referred to the example from Quine ("Quine (W.V.) - Ontological Relativity"): 9 is necessarily > 7, but the number of planets isn’t (as has been demonstrated by the reclassification of Pluto). We can’t deduce that the number of planets is not 9 (or 8) from this difference in modal properties. Similarly (it is said), you can’t deduce the non-identity of a thing and its constituting matter.

Fine now rehearses the standard theory of transparent versus opaque contexts. If s is a singular term, φ(s) is a sentence, and φ(-) is a context, then:-
  • φ(s) is transparent if (φ(s) & s=t) => φ(t).
  • Otherwise the context is opaque.
Such formalism means little to me without an example. The standard one is:-
  • Transparent Context: φ(x) is “x is the planet Venus” (where x is a free variable – ie. any particular of the right sort to fit into the context, and the “is” is the “is” of identity). The context is transparent because if s = Phosphorus and t = Hesperus, then since as a matter of fact s = t (Phosphorus = Hesperus) and Phosphorus is, as a matter of fact, the planet Venus (ie. φ(s)) then it is guaranteed that Hesperus is the planet Venus (ie. φ(t)). The reason this works is that identity is a transparent relation. However, this seems to be just what the monist is challenging, and Fine will investigate whether such a challenge can be plausibly maintained.
  • Opaque Context: φ(x) is “Alfred knows that x is the planet Venus”. Now suppose s and t are as above and that s=t and that φ(s); ie. Alfred know that Phosphorus is the planet Venus. Because Alfred may not know that s=t (ie. that Hesperus is Phosphorus), we might not have φ(t) – ie. Knowing is not transparent.
Note: The transparent / opaque distinction appears to be the same as that between extensional and intensional contexts in the philosophy of mind. Herewith an extract from my notes on "Crane (Tim) - Elements of Mind - An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind" with respect to intensionality.
  • Today, intensional and extensional apply to contexts within languages. A context is extensional if two principles of inference – (1) substitution of co-referring terms and (2) existential generalisation – apply. If either of these principles fails, the context is intensional. Extensional contexts are those in which truth or falsehood depends solely on the extensions of the expressions involved, while in an intensional context truth or falsehood depends on how the extensions are conceived. Crane’s example of (1) is that beliefs about George Orwell do not necessarily apply to Eric Blair. Another is that Oedipus wanted to marry his mother: this is an example of a true statement that doesn’t attempt to capture the subject’s perspective (he wouldn’t have expressed it that way himself). An example of (2) that Crane mentions is – from “Vladimir thinks that Pegasus flies”, we cannot deduce that “there is some x such that Vladimir thinks that x flies”.
How does this carry forward to our present concern? What would φ(-) be? Fine gives two contexts – existence at a time, and modal sentences, about pieces of alloy and statues. For example:-
  • The statue exists at time t.
  • The alloy can exist in the shape of a ball.
The monist argues that the contexts in which the non-identity of a thing and its matter is claimed are opaque. So, we cannot deduce from the fact that the alloy exists at time t, while the statue does not exist at time t, that the statue and the alloy are non-identical. Personally, I cannot see how the context can be opaque here. But, even if it is, Fine claims that there’s a standard manoeuvre open to the anti-monist to make the context transparent – to rephrase the propositions to, for example, “the alloy is such that it exists at time t”. I don’t see how this makes any difference, since I couldn’t see what the problem was in the first place.

However, the counter-response (by the monist) is either
  • Agree the transparent context, but complain about the truth-values of the sentences. Either:-
    1. the identity-claim sentences lack truth-values altogether (because “mere things” cannot be tracked across worlds or times - so, in our example, since a “mere thing” doesn’t have a sort, you can’t say what its persistence conditions are, and therefore you can’t track it from one time to another. There’s presumably supposed to be no such thing as “strict and philosophical” identity for mere things, so trans-temporal identity claims cannot arise). Or,
    2. the truth-values are the same (because the “mere thing” has a single determinate identity across worlds or times): so, the property-deference argument from LL fails.
    Or,
  • Deny that transparency has been achieved. Fine claims that this is especially plausible for those who support the metaphysical position exemplified in case 1 above (where identity claims for “mere things” are rejected), because the “such that” manoeuvre (despite its usual success) fails in this case because the transparent reading is unintelligible. Fine gives a parallel – “Boston is such that ‘it’ has 6 letters”, despite its surface form, remains opaque. [… why is this a parallel, and why is it opaque …? Wasn’t the original formulation – “Boston has 6 letters” just false, because Boston, as distinct from ‘Boston’, is a place and not a word? Check with Mind re possible typo].
This leads to deadlock, the current situation – the monist “fouls” all examples.

The strategy of Fine’s paper is to see whether the monist’s allegation of opacity works given our language use in general. The Monist’s Strategy is to point out that formal languages have been constructed in which the anti-monist’s arguments for non-identity turn out to be invalid. But does this reflect actual language use? Fine thinks not – but has no way of proving wrong the convinced monist.

Writers who adopt the “formal language” approach are:- The impasse is demonstrated by considering the hypothetical case of the “fanatical mono-referentialist” (an FMR - such a person may not exist, but is used for the sake of the argument) who claims that every singular referring term refers to the same thing – “the One”. Fine gives the example of Gore and Bush – the FMR’s claim that “- won the election” is an opaque context. The One won the election in a Bushey fashion but failed to win it in a Gorey fashion. What the anti-monist sees as difference of reference in a transparent context is seen by the FMR as identity of reference (but difference in manner of reference) in an opaque context.

Fine thinks that there is a fact of the matter as to whether language is mono- or multi-referential. However, it is disputed whether the FMR position is the height of absurdity or can be accepted. There are two versions of the fanatical position, the conservative and the radical:
  • The Radical: accuses us of being mistaken that “Gore” does not refer to Bush. Also, he has to reject normally-accepted inferences (that the fact that Bush won the election and Gore did not – taken as common ground – licences the inference that Bush is not identical to Gore).
  • The Conservative: accepts our ordinary identity and reference judgements, so must say that the contexts are opaque. But “‘u’ refers to” is a paradigm case of transparency. This is because a transparent context just is one in which the truth of φ(t) depends only on the reference of t, which certainly seems to be the case where φ(-) is “refers to ‘-’”.
Fine now points out that the FMR has three problems that prevent us taking his views seriously:-
  1. Specific judgements of reference and identity
  2. Inability to account for paradigm cases of validity and transparency
  3. Needless complexity that when removed collapses the theory into the ordinary view.
These are spelt out as follows
  1. Specific Judgements: reference and identity are connected. Fine points out how, in a transparent context, co-referents are identical. So, for the conservative FMR, our identity judgements go wrong because of the alleged opacity of the context just as our referential judgements do. [Is this right?]
  2. Paradigm Cases: [Add a comment here].
  3. Complexity: [Add a comment here].
We noted above that the FMR doesn’t really exist (Spinoza is dead). However, the materialist monist is also similarly absurd, Fine claims, but with many “ones” rather than a single One.


3. Choice of Example

Fine thinks that the pluralist’s case is weakened by poor choice of example. The standard examples cited by the pluralist generally fall into 3 categories, all of which are easily objected to:-
  • Temporal: these don’t work against moderate monism. The moderate monist accepts that that things that have (in the actual world) different properties at different times are indeed distinct.
  • Modal: these require an appeal to debateable “substantive de re modal intuitions, which are best avoided. [What does this mean?]
  • Constitution: of too limited application.
I am disconcerted by this turn in Fine’s paper, in so far as its relevance to my research is concerned. I’m not primarily concerned with whether or not a thing is identical to its matter, but with the soundness of arguments based on temporal or modal differences and with the idea of constitution – since these are the ones that tend to turn up in the Personal Identity literature. So, I need to watch out for the relevance of the subsequent discussion.

Fine claims that a statue is constituted by alloy NOT a piece of alloy. Consequently, the monist might claim, the putative name for this piece does not refer. This point is very contentious and needs some argument. "Gibbard (Allan) - Contingent Identity" thinks it legitimate to name his lump Lump1 [I need to review Gibbard’s arguments]. I have always thought that lumps aren’t the sort of things that can have names, so think Fine may have a valid point here. Even so, lumps or pieces of stuff do seem to be persisting objects (with distinct persistence conditions from the mereologically essential ones of portions of stuff). Fine himself, however, seems to ignore this point from now on, and he continues to use Statue / Alloy examples. So, I think his point isn’t against lumps per se, but only against their being the constituting object. This may be why he objects to the use of the constitution relation as an example, and claims it’s of limited scope. Lumps may constitute statues, but the lumps themselves aren’t constitutes by anything else but themselves. They just are “matter”. [That said, I’m still confused on this point].

Fine gives some alternative examples, listing various predicates and their advantages. Eg. “Defective” or “valuable”, applied to the statue and the alloy. Such examples avoid the need for either modal or temporal arguments, and are equally effective whether we refer to pieces or just to stuff.

I have some concerns about this move, in that this class of predicate are all external properties. It is true that the predicates that make a statue a statue are external – Baker has it that “relation to an art-world” is the critical factor – but artefacts are often used for convenience. Natural kind objects could also be used. We might say that a cat is not identical to the matter that constitutes it, but it’s more difficult to point to the persisting lump of matter that constitutes a cat. Even so, I think I’ve heard it said that even for objects falling under natural kind concepts, external factors play a part – ie. what makes a cat a cat is a relation to evolutionary history, and a “ex nihilo” assembled cat-simulacrum is not a cat.

For Fine, the significance of the new predicates is as follows:-
  1. Models: the formal models created by monists that rely on temporal and modal differences (which were referred to above in section 2, just before we started to discuss the FMR) can be finessed. Fine thinks that temporal and modal matters have been over-stressed in the theory of the identity of material things. As noted earlier, I am uncomfortable about this [but need to say why].
  2. The alikeness of worldly coincidents: is exaggerated by both monists and pluralists. That is, material objects that coincide at all times in a world are not as alike as is alleged – or at least the differences are not as inexplicable or surprising.
  3. Objects in extenso: a sub-point of the above: the (mistaken) view that there’s nothing more to material things than the dimensions they occupy. Counter examples: not just the ones at the start of this section, but purely physical ones: weight, colour, stability. See "Fine (Kit) - A Counter-Example To Locke's Thesis".
  4. The point of ontological differences: meaningful application of predicates. The Sphere of Discourse covers the range of predicates that can meaningfully be applied to the sort. A statue can be Romanesque, but the clay itself cannot. Statues are for aesthetic appreciation. The point of having chairs is that they are comfortable for sitting on.
… The following gibberish needs sorting out …

Note: I couldn’t quite follow this – isn’t the weight of the statues just that of the alloy that constitutes it (and so on)?

Dominant and Subordinate Sorts: Footnote. The range of properties of a subordinate sort is not always a subset of those of the dominant sort. Purity applies to gold but not (in the same way) to statues.





4. Predicational Shift

The monist claims opacity, so must give a reason for the opacity of context and explain how the context is opaque. The second question is given the focus now, the first reserved until later in the paper.

The pluralist argument is basically:-
P1: φ(s)
P2: not-φ(t)
-----------
C: s not = t

This is spelled out in detail in the paper.

The Monist Challenge – Pathological Breakdown: either s or t doesn’t refer, either above or below the line. Circumvent by avoiding terms like “the alloy”, which might not refer (or not uniquely). Vagueness can be finessed. Otherwise, two options, Referential or Predicational Shift.
  • Referential Shift: Df & example: Frege & Scott/Waverly.
  • Predicational Shift: Df & example: Quine & Giorgione/Barbarelli.

Problems with Referential Shift :

Two Responses:
  • Metonymy:
  • Derivation:
    Note: this relates to Baker’s view of Constitution – the having of properties derivatively. Is there really no difference between the monist and pluralist in this regard?
Conclusion on Referential Shift : rejected, leaving opacity due to Predicational Shift the only option – to be addressed in the rest of the paper.


5. Explicit Invocation of Sorts


6. Implicit Invocation of Sorts


7. Implicit Invocation via Reference


8. Plural Invocation of Sorts



… Further details to be supplied

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


Footnote 14.2.19: (Markosian - The Human Animal: Three Problems for Olson)

This Paper is a review of "Markosian (Ned) - Three Problems for Olson's Account of Personal Identity", which is itself a response to "Olson (Eric) - Precis of "The Human Animal"".

Markosian starts of by paraphrasing two theses from Olson.

  1. Firstly his Characterisation of the Problem of Personal Identity, and
  2. Secondly, his proposed answer to that question.
He then sets out three problems for Olson’s account, which are identified by three thought experiments:-
  1. The Mummy
  2. The Corpse Problem
  3. The Salamander
Markosian’s conclusion is that both the Biological Approach (BV, Biological View – I will usually just say “animalism) and the Psychological Approach (PV) to the problem of Personal Identity are false, though he doesn’t know what the right answer is!



  1. Olson’s characterisation of the problem of personal identity: under what circumstances can something be numerically identical to something that is at one time a person?
  2. Olson’s proposed answer to the above question: the right kind of biological continuity.
Immediate responses to this are that Olson is only interested in humanpersons. He allows that there might be non-biological persons, whose persistence conditions (PCs) are non-biological. If we stick to human persons, then Markosian’s account is satisfactory. The important point is that we have to have a human person at some career-stage, but not at every stage to have an interesting question of personal identity. For Olson, the human person can persist without being a person, because it is an organism.



The Mummy: A man lives, is mummified, and subsequently the particles of the mummy are rearranged to form a living woman, with no psychological continuity.

Markosian thinks we can draw two conclusions from the Mummy Thought Experiment (TE):-
  1. There is a single thing that was once a man and ends up as a woman.
  2. The man and woman at the termini of the TE are different people.
He thinks (rightly) that Olson must deny that these conclusions can be simultaneously true. In fact, Olson probably ought to consider the first claim to be false but the second true. The first claim is doubtful because mummies aren’t organisms, so we have a double metamorphosis. However, as for Markosian’s second claim, while Olson denies that psychology has anything to do with personal identity claims, if the persons at the TE termini aren’t the same animal, then they aren’t the same person (in the sense of the same animal) either.

Markosian thinks this denial of joint truth is a problem for Olson, in that it implies that there is a “same person” relation other than Olson’s. In his reply, Olson seems wiling to accept this point. But I don’t think he would agree with Markosian that he thereby mischaracterises the problem of personal identity. While he’s willing to allow a non-identity-preserving “same person” relation, he insists that if we’re talking about the logical relation for the identity of human persons, then we have only one relation – his animalist characterisation.

Markosian’s point is spoilt somewhat by his choice of TE. It’s not at all clear that we have Olson’s “same person” relation in play here, as it’s not clear that we have the “same animal” relation. However, if Markosian had chosen a different TE – something like his Salamander case, but without metamorphosis, we would have the issue he wants to raise. Ie. if we had Fred gradually changing into Jane – or something like Michael Jackson’s antics – then we might have same animal / different person. But this depends on how the “same person” relation is supposed to work. It’s not clear to me that there would be a difference of FPP here, so Baker might say that we had identity of person in this case also, so there’s no wedge between the two accounts, at least not in this TE (there are still fetus-type problems – if these are taken to be problems rather than advantages of the animalist account).



The Corpse Problem: Proponents of the psychological view (PV) have a Fetus Problem, but animalists have an analogous Corpse Problem. While the person pops into existence after the fetus (a problem for the PV) the corpse pops into existence after the animal’s demise (a problem for the animalist).

This is a bit quick. What Markosian actually says is that the supporter of the PV faces a dilemma. Since they have to deny that they were a fetus (as fetuses don’t have any psychological properties), they have a choice:-
  1. You replaced your fetus.
  2. Your fetus continued to exist and shares space, parts and matter with you.
. Markosian doesn’t like either horn, but thinks the animalist has a similar problem, as is argued in "Carter (William) - Will I Be a Dead Person?". This is the Corpse Problem, but before considering it, we must note that the CV finds no problem with the second option – cohabitation – claiming that constitution gets round this worry.

The Corpse Problem arises because if your persistence conditions are those of an organism, and a corpse is not an organism, then you are not identical to your corpse. Markosian thinks this leaves the animalist with a trilemma:-
  1. When you die, a new object comes into existence.
  2. When you die, nothing is left, not even a corpse – corpses do not exist.
  3. You cohabit space with, and share matter with, a thing that is non-identical with you that will become your corpse.
Markosian thinks this is a problem, because he doesn’t like any of these options, but thinks that he is a physical thing, with the persistence conditions of physical things, and that a physical thing continues after death, and that physical thing – your body – is you as long as it exists. Olson rightly objects to this view – the PCs of animals aren’t at all like the PCs of lumps of matter.

Markosian thinks (rightly) that as Olson is suspicious of bodies, he’ll be suspicious of corpses too, and so will go for option 2. He thinks other animalists will go for option 1. Again, he ignores the CV whereby option 3 is not a problem. The dialectical position here, of course, is that considerations concerning the objectionabilty of (3) – cohabitation – are central to Olson’s main argument for animalism. I don’t think he needs that argument, so should accept (3).



Markosian now tries his hand at providing what he considers to be the best alternative to Olson’s view. He claims it rests on three metaphysical assumptions:-
  1. There are instantiations of properties (ie. Tropes?)
  2. Property-instantiations come in episodes – time-bounded event-alikes.
  3. It makes sense to identify time-instances of property-instantiation-episodes as belonging to the same property-instantiation-episode.
Given these assumptions, Markosian proposes the EPPI (the Episodic Characterisation of the Problem of Personal Identity). “The problem of personal identity consists of trying to provide an answer to the following question: What are the circumstances under which an instance of personhood at t1 is part of the same episode of personhood as an instance of personhood at t2?”

This is interesting. These “episodes of personhood” are episodes of time-extended tropes – time-bound particularised properties – so aren’t universals. They are properties of things – in this case a single thing - an animal-mummy-animal. And depending on what the persistence conditions of these trope-episodes are, they may or may not coincide temporally with the thing they are properties of (in this case they don’t – because Markosian claims that the termini belong to different “episodes of personhood”, and presumably there’s no “episode of personhood” during the “mummy” stage).

He also claims that it allows animalists to get round the corpse problem. Just how does this enable us to escape the sting of the corpse problem? The problem is to have too many thinking things in the pre-mortem state. However, here we have only one thing, with various properties – because a property isn’t a thing, but a property of a thing. Or, if it is a thing, it’s not a material thing.

As an aside, Markosian’s scheme would seem to offer no hope of resurrection, unless (as far as I can see) one of two possibilities obtain:-
  1. We can have intermittent objects. Maybe we can, but Markosian doesn’t consider the possibility (as he’s not discussing the possibility of resurrection). In the Mummy case, Markosian is insistent that we have the same object throughout. While I think this is incorrect, at least it’s important to be clear on what Markosian thinks. To carry this approach over to a resurrection situation, we’d have to identify the pre- and post-resurrection object. Thus we’d be committed to intermittent objects, unless there’s no temporal gap between death and resurrection.
  2. We can identity trope-episodes that are properties of different things. Maybe we can. But I don’t think this is Markosian’s view. He’s not saying we are the time-extended tropes (at least I don’t think he is, though a superficial reading with suspended incredulity might lead to this conclusion). Rather, we are organisms with the person-defining property. This might lead to interesting questions in the case of MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder) were we might have overlapping episodes of personhood belonging to different persons. This would lead to multiple occupancy, but this might not be a problem – or at least not so much of one – there is no epistemological problem, as the thinking things are distinct. I need to compare Wiggins’s arguments for multiple occupancy with Olson’s worries on this score. Olson is worried about two objects of different sorts (ANIMAL and PERSON) coinciding, whereas Wiggins is not (if I remember correctly).
Markosian claims that the proponent of the BV can answer the question posed by the EPPI by saying that what makes for continuity of person is the right sort of biological continuity. He also claims that EPPI gets round the Mummy problem. This is because, though we have (he insists) a single thing throughout the TE, we can have separate trope-episodes. So, I’m still slightly at a loss as to just what a person is for Markosian. Is he a perdurantist? I need to check.

What to make of all this? I don’t know enough about Markosian’s philosophy to provide a “reasonableness check” on what he says. Are people really trope-episodes? This would deny that people are substances. Or maybe people are substances (animals) but persons aren’t – they are properties of animals. But this seems unattractive (to me) – surely we want to say that persons are animals with certain special properties, not that they are them? The EPPI seems to be talking about personalities, not persons. Or personality-tropes, as a personality sounds like a universal that can be a property of many different individuals.




The Salamander: Ned is a (male) human person who gradually morphs into salamander called Sally while remaining conscious. Subsequently, Sally morphs back into a human female person, Lucy, different from Ned in every important way.

Markosian thinks this TE represents a problem for both the BV and Psychological approach.

There are a number of important points about the TE, which may or may not cast doubt on its validity:-
  1. “Remaining conscious throughout”: why is this important? Surely the consciousness of a salamander is very different from that of a fully-functional human person.
  2. “very slow metamorphosis”: just why is the “slowness” important? To provide an analogy with the career of a single object over time which changes its properties? Time is needed for their consolidation? Is any consolidation really possible at the human / salamander boundary? Are we exposed to sorites paradoxes?
  3. “Differing in every important way”: however much Ned and Lucy differ, it is as nothing compared with how either of them differ from Sally (the salamander). Just what is an “important” difference – important to whom? This comes up in Baker’s alleged “important” ontological differences.

So, why is this a problem for the BV? Markosian thinks those holding the BV are committed to saying that Ned and Lucy are the same person, whereas Markosian thinks they are obviously not. I’m not sure (from the BV perspective) that this is much of an advance on the Mummy problem. At least there is biological continuity, but it’s of the wrong sort. The salamander is not a human animal, so there’s no reason to think that Ned and Lucy are the same human animal any more than I am Caesar if made from Caesar’s atoms.

And why is it a problem for the PV? Because there is psychological continuity. But is there? Markosian tries to stipulate that there is, but can there really be psychological continuity between a human being and a salamander? Of some sort, but not of the FPP-preserving sort that Baker would require – after all, the salamander (presumably) has no FPP. And, we are to presume, though this is unclear despite the stipulation that Ned and Lucy are as different as could be, Ned and Lucy don’t share the same FPP, so aren’t the same person for Baker. So, while there may be a problems for the standard PV, there isn’t one for the CV or the BV – not unless they accept the possibility of intermittent objects and identify Ned and Lucy contrary to their own requirements.

Markosian thinks that proponents of either the BV or the PV have problems with the Salamander, because there is both biological and psychological continuity – but proponents of either view insist that the continuity has to be of the right sort, and why should they agree that this TE provides the right sort – it doesn’t appear to, though maybe others might (eg. if we just missed out the salamander step, and had Ned morph directly into Lucy. Why did he not adopt this ploy? If he had, I presume the responses would have been:-
  • Baker (CV): would probably deny that Ned and Lucy have the same FPP; still the wrong sort of psychological continuity.
  • PV: don’t know; too many varieties
  • Olson (BV): As Olson cares naught for psychological factors in matters of identity, he would admit that (indeed, claim that) Ned and Lucy are the same person, provided the morphing convinced him that they are the same human animal. He might admit that they are not the same person in some sense, provided “same person” isn’t an identity-preserving relation.
Markosian now makes 4 claims, all of which he takes to be true. I consider them all false!
  1. The thing that is Ned persists throughout the story.
  2. Ned survives the events of the story.
  3. This is a story about a thing that begins its career as a person, that later becomes a salamander, and that eventually comes to be a person again.
  4. Both Sally and Lucy really are identical to Ned.
While Markosian thinks all these claims true, and is happy to call the relationships between Ned, Sally and Lucy “object identity” or even “organism identity”, he doesn’t want to call it “personal identity” (PI). He thinks there must be some other relation that is worth calling PI that does not relate Ned to Sally or Ned to Lucy.

There are several things that could be said of all this:-
  1. Markosian seems perilously close to the heresy of relative identity.
  2. As noted above, the wrong sort of continuity (whether biological or psychological) is involved in the Salamander TE, so none of the above 4 claims need be accepted.
  3. Identity claims need to latch on to the SORT to which the persistent is claimed to belong. Since this (and the Mummy) example involve change of sort, there is no identity between the termini.
  4. The only possible continuant is “mass of matter” – but no organism – which continually exchanges matter with its environment – can be though of as a mass of matter. The mass of matter that was (in some sense of “constituted”, at some arbitrary point in time) Ned would be highly dispersed by the time Lucy came on the scene, so Lucy cannot be claimed to be identical to Ned in that sense.
  5. Olson agrees that there is some non-identity-preserving relation called “personal identity” involved here (or in other less odd cases). He just denies that it has anything to do with “identity”.
Markosian’s conclusion from the Salamander example is that both the BV and PV are false, though he doesn’t know what the right view of Personal Identity is. It is not clear to me why he doesn’t invoke his “episodes of personhood” account as a possible solution.

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


Footnote 14.3: (Mereology)

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 10: This list is rather too long but, even so, much of interest has been omitted.

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


Footnote 14.3.2: (Thesis - Chapter 07 (The Constitution View and Arguments for It))

Abstract

  • 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.



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. Baker’s account of constitution is not the standard mereological account, of some larger body being constituted by its parts, but is her own idea that requires explication.
  2. Baker also has a commitment to PERSONs being substances in their own right, rather than being an honorific title applied to substances that at other times might not deserve the honorific.
  3. She also reifies a useful idea – that of a First-person Perspective. It is the FPP that individuates persons, according to Baker, so the FPP requires explanation as well.
  4. Further detail 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. I’ve not been overly careful to segregate the reading-list of this Chapter from that of Chapter 9. I will address the segregation in due course. There will, in any case, be some overlap.
  3. Baker
  4. Constitution
  5. Mereology6
  6. Co-Location7
  7. First-Person Perspectives
  8. Constitution View
  9. Many aspects of these papers will need to be either ignored or reserved for other chapters.
  10. 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. Baker,
  2. Constitution,
  3. Constitution View,
  4. First-Person Perspective,
  5. Mereology,
  6. Dion and Theon,
  7. Others to be supplied?



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 6: While Baker’s understanding of constitution is distinct from a mereological one, it is necessary to understand mereology.

Footnote 7: I’m not sure whether this section belongs here, but it must go somewhere!

Footnote 8: This may properly belong to one of the Chapters on Animalism.

Footnote 9: This Chapter has rather more to do with distributive ethics than personal identity or the FPP.

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


Footnote 14.3.3: (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 14.3.4: (Essentialism)

The topics to cover under this head will include:-

  1. Mereological essentialism; the doctrine that wholes have all their parts essentially – that is, that a whole ceases to exist at the moment it loses or gains a particle, however small; mutatis mutandis for abstract objects.
  2. A second topic will be essential properties; those whose loss causes their owner to cease to exist.

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 14.3.6: (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 14.3.9: (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 14.4 Repeated. See Footnote 10.5: (Resurrection)


Footnote 14.5: (Reincarnation)




This is mostly a place-holder3. Currently, see the categorised reading-list, which requires some pruning.

Note last updated: 02/07/2015 23:12:29


Footnote 14.5.2: (Thesis - Chapter 11 (Resurrection))

Abstract

  • 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 Van Inwagen (Peter) 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.



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. While I wish in this chapter to consider seriously the religious hope of resurrection, I do not want to get side-tracked onto matters of Scriptural exegesis, or into evidential matters of whether particular resurrections – specifically of Jesus – happened or not. In this regard, I’m interested only in what they take resurrection to be, and whether they provide any detailed metaphysical account of how it is supposed to work.
  2. As in the chapter on Thought Experiments, this chapter is partly aimed at checking how (my version of) animalism copes with projected situations. As such, I may extend this to other posited versions of post-mortem survival, though most are ruled out by the essentially physical nature of the human person as proposed by animalism.
  3. While not wanting to get too far off topic, especially at the end of the thesis, I want to consider some of the ethical consequences of adopting Animalism with – I presume – the lack of hope of post-mortem existence. Hence the reading material on death itself and on “matters of life and death”.
  4. 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. I have divided those on the core topic of resurrection into those that are from a religio-philosophical perspective, rather than pure philosophy. In general, those written by professional philosophers are in the latter section, even if addressed to a religious audience.
  3. As the topic of death in itself – and the ethical consequences of death without post-mortem survival - are important issues, I have reading lists for these as well.
  4. Finally, in order to diagnose death, we need to know what life is! I’ve not really investigated a reading-list for this.
  5. Life:
  6. Death:
  7. Death and Ethics6:
  8. Resurrection - Purely Philosophical:
  9. Resurrection - Religio-Philosophical:
  10. Many aspects of these papers will need to be either ignored or reserved for other chapters.
  11. The motivation for these works is as follows:-
    • Gasser is the most important work I need to address.
    • Wright’s big book (hopefully) supplies all there is from the Christian side – even though the focus is on a specific – and theologically and metaphysically special – resurrection.
    • Bynum and Gillman provide background information from the Christian and Jewish perspectives, respectively.
    • Badham is a rather elementary Christian discussion, and may be rejected.
    • Corcoran is an important survey, already included in the reading for a couple of other Chapters.
    • Edwards, Flew and Penelhum are useful surveys of older material, which is useful just to read for the appropriate background. There is some considerable overlap in the selections.
    • I suppose I need to discuss death itself, hence Kagan, McMahan, Regan & Wyatt – though skipping the ethical bits.
    • Perrett and Tippler may be a little off-centre, and I may reject them on closer inspection.
    • The other individual papers – especially those by van Inwagen and Shoemaker – are probably important, but justification is to be supplied.
  12. Books / Papers Rejected: There are a number of works that I have in my possession that I considered investigating, but in the end decided not to. They are listed here, with reasons for rejection. Of course, there are very many others less tempting that appear in the topical reading lists but are not specifically mentioned here.
    • 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 rigorous9. Further items beyond the items below are likely to be culled when I come to process them.
    • To be supplied …



Links to Notes
  • A lot of my notes seem to mention resurrection and the Notes fall into at least two categories10:-
    1. Thesis:-
      1. Resurrection,
      2. Life,
      3. Death,
      4. Corpses,
      5. Immortality,
      6. Reincarnation,
      7. NDEs,
      8. Makropulos Case,
      9. Life after Death.
    2. Philosophy of religion:-
      1. Resurrection,
      2. Resurrection (Metaphysics),
      3. 1 Corinthians 15,
      4. Heythrop.



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 6:
  1. The topic of “Death and Ethics” is already a bit tangential to my thesis, but there’s a set of questions – of which two are the most important, namely:-
    • Why is death bad (for the deceased)?, and
    • Can the dead be harmed (assuming they no longer exist)?
    – in which I have an interest, and on which I wonder whether my views on Personal Identity have anything to say.
  2. Therefore, I park here a bunch of papers on these topics (more on the second than the first) that may or may not get “processed”:-
Footnote 7:
  • Unlikely to have anything to do with resurrection, but I want an excuse for reading the book!
  • Maybe belongs to Chapter 8.
Footnote 8: Hardly philosophy, but important to have read!

Footnote 9: Especially as the list is currently empty!

Footnote 10: Write-up notes are accessible via the papers or books they are write-ups of.

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


Footnote 14.6 Repeated. See Footnote 10.6: (Disembodied Existence)


Footnote 14.7 Repeated. See Footnote 10.8: (Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity))


Footnote 15: (Psychological Continuity)

Following on from discussions on survival1, maybe the way to put things is that without psychological continuity I might survive, but not with what matters2 to me in survival. If PERSON is a phase sortal3 of HUMAN ANIMAL4, can there be sequential but different persons within the same animal (as Lewis5 suggests, though not from the perspective of animalism, in his “Methuselah6” case) or can there be different and encapsulated first-person perspectives7 (either synchronically or diachronically) within the same animal? “Person” may indeed come apart from “animal”, but even then, the person cannot “float free” of the animal, but supervenes upon it.

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 15.1 Repeated. See Footnote 13: (Survival)


Footnote 15.2 Repeated. See Footnote 13.2: (What Matters)


Footnote 15.3 Repeated. See Footnote 28: (Phase Sortals)


Footnote 15.4 Repeated. See Footnote 29: (Animals)


Footnote 15.5: (Lewis)

Lewis’s views on personal identity are influenced by his espousal of perdurantism1.

This is mostly a place-holder2. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

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


Footnote 15.6 Repeated. See Footnote 44: (Methuselah)


Footnote 15.7 Repeated. See Footnote 21: (First-Person Perspective)


Footnote 15.8 Repeated. See Footnote 10.8: (Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity))


Footnote 16: (Continuity)

This topic is covered under the heads of:-

  • Psychological1 Continuity,
  • Psychological Continuity - Forward2,
  • Physical3 Continuity and
  • Connectedness vs Continuity4.

This is a place-holder5. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

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


Footnote 16.1 Repeated. See Footnote 15: (Psychological Continuity)


Footnote 16.2 Repeated. See Footnote 37: (Psychological Continuity - Forward)


Footnote 16.3 Repeated. See Footnote 14: (Physical Continuity)


Footnote 16.4: (Connectedness vs Continuity)

  • We need to distinguish between connectedness and continuity.
    1. Continuity is a transitive relation that relates adjacent stages.
    2. Connectedness is intransitive and requires enough of the properties of interest to be maintained over time.
  • Persons1 – like animals2 – develop and “grow3”. We can admit that we have the same animal from fetus4 to corpse5 (with some arguments about the termini). However, do we have the same person?
  • I’d contend that whatever physical and psychological discontinuities6 the human animal undergoes, we do have the same person where we have a person at all, provided a single first-person perspective7 is maintained.
  • If one’s character changes radically over time, do you remain the same person? Yes, if we want the child and the adult to be the same person (as we do), or the convert to be the same person as the unbeliever.
  • The relevance of this to the present debate is that it is continuity that is relevant to personal identity, and not connectedness.
  • At root, this is just the message of the Old Soldier, raised against Locke, and answered by Ancestrals of the “remembers” relation.
  • Indeed, "Johnston (Mark) - Human Beings" (Journal of Philosophy, p. 61) describes Continuity as the ancestral of Connectedness.



This is mostly a place-holder8. Currently, mostly see the categorised reading-list below, which could do with enhancing!




In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 3: Not necessarily physically – that would be begging the question as to what persons are.

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


Footnote 16.5 Repeated. See Footnote 10.8: (Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity))


Footnote 17: (Body)

I intend to cover all somatic or corporeal identity-issues under this head, or under one of the two related Notes:-

  • Bodily Continuity1, or
  • Body Criterion2.
I’ve not quite decided how the labour would be best distributed.

The "physical continuity" view of personal identity encompasses both the body and the brain3, with the latter being more important, so that physical continuity is satisfied by a BIV4. Somatic continuity is underplayed by philosophers who (while engaged in philosophy) focus more on mental predicates than would those less intellectually inclined. See "James (Susan) - Feminism in Philosophy of Mind: The Question of Personal Identity" and her objections to Williams’s and Quinton’s hasty avoidance of the somatic aspects of “body swapping5” – ie. where very different bodies are involved, especially of different sexes; also, the depersonalising effects of trauma.

However, there may be confusion here between two meanings of “what matters6”. Of course, it matters to the ballet dancer or heavyweight boxer that they are appropriately embodied, but this is beside the point as far as personal identity (in the logical sense) is concerned. It matters to me if I lose a leg, but I’m still the same person if I do (because I continue to have the same first-person perspective7 – it’s me that cares that I’ve lost my leg). That’s why the “Future Great Pain8 Test” ("Unger (Peter) - Identity, Consciousness and Value" / "Williams (Bernard) - The Self and the Future") is so useful – it focuses the mind on whether it will be me that survives9, even in the sad cases where I’d prefer it if it wasn’t.

This is mostly a place-holder. As noted above, the segregation of books and papers between these three related Notes is currently somewhat arbitrary. Currently, the categorised reading-list on this topic is empty.

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


Footnote 17.1: (Bodily Continuity)

Historically, philosophers have been divided into those that hold that our1 persistence criteria2 are fundamentally psychological3 and those that think they are fundamentally physical4. The classic paper that wrestles with this dilemma is "Williams (Bernard) - The Self and the Future".

Bernard Williams is sometimes thought of as an Animalist5, possibly because6 he’s inclined to accept the Bodily Continuity (as against the Psychological Continuity) approach to Personal Identity. But, this is probably a mistake, because ...