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Personal Identity

Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues)

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Chapter Contents

  1. Abstract1
  2. Methodology2
  3. Introduction3
  4. Note Hierarchy4
  5. Main Text5
  6. Concluding Remarks6
  7. Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed7
  8. Works Read8
  9. Further Reading9
  10. References & Reading List


Research Methodology

Chapter Introduction12
  1. There are very many Notes of relevance to this Chapter. I’ve attempted to put them in some sort of order and grouping, but this will be an iterative process.
  2. Firstly, I have a general Note on Metaphysics13 which summarises the metaphysical issues of relevance to the philosophy of Personal Identity, but also – via works read – tries to show a wider understanding of metaphysics.
  3. We must then consider the Logic of Identity14, as non-standard logics are favourite means of escaping from some of the puzzle cases that test our intuitions and theories about PID. After considering what Identity is, we need to ask whether the “strict and philosophical” Numerical Identity15 is appropriate for the Persistence of individuals like us, and to distinguish it from Similarity16 (especially in its “exact” form). We then need to consider what is involved in discovering (or deciding upon) Criteria of Identity17.
  4. Another important claim is the “Only X and Y Principle18”, that X being identical to Y cannot be affected by the existence of otherwise of some rival candidate Z.
  5. The above principle is designed to rebuff ideas of a Closest Continuer19 and claims that Contingent Identity20, even if coherent, can be a satisfactory answer to certain puzzle cases.
  6. There are (at least) five other forms of “identity” proposed that require some consideration, namely
    1. Relative Identity21,
    2. Occasional Identity22,
    3. Partial Identity23,
    4. Indeterminate Identity24, and
    5. Vague Identity25.
  7. Of these, the first is the most important, and the last two may or may not be the same idea; but, in any case, the Note on Vagueness26 itself, and the Sorites Paradox27 are relevant to them. It is to be noted that it should only be necessary to disappear down these various rabbit-holes if they become relevant to particular issues in the core of my Thesis.
  8. We now move on to Ontology28 – to what Exists29. We need to consider in what sense Mind30 exists, and what sort of thing it is. Then, what is Matter31, and what is claimed by Naturalism32 or Physicalism33. All this has to be kept within bounds and relevant to the context of this Thesis.
  9. The question of Kinds34 – and in particular Natural Kinds35 – is important in considering whether Person is a natural kind concept: that is, are persons as such naturally occurring or inventions of our conceptual schemes. What are Natural Kinds? Universals36? We will also need to consider whether and how a change of kind – Metamorphosis37 – makes sense, and whether it might be possible tor such as we.
  10. Finally in this connection – of ontology – we might consider Artifacts38, especially as they feature in discussions of Constitution and also in various Thought Experiments. They also provide examples of Scattered Objects39, though consideration of whether disassembled bicycles are better described as Intermittent Objects will be left until the next Chapter.
  11. Substances40 and Sortals41 are central to the persistence of any thing, and define their persistence conditions. In particular my claim is that Human Persons are Phase Sortals42 of Human Animals (the substances).
  12. Things can – however – be viewed very differently by denying that there are Individuals43, but only Processes44.
  13. Certain four-dimensional approaches to persistence do away with the substance concept, but I discuss this issue in the next Chapter.
  14. We need to consider whether any of the persistence or identity claims related to Personal Identity are matters of Convention45, whether they relate to human Concepts46 – whether the arguments are just matters of Semantics47 – outside of what is really happening in the world (though many of our concepts do – or are intended to – “carve nature at its joints”). It might be that our claims for ourselves are Fictitious48, and it’s worth investigating the persistence of fictional entities.
  15. Finally, I must include somewhere a few comments on Explanation49. This Thesis is an exercise in “inference to the best explanation” of the facts of, together with our intuitions about, the identity and persistence of persons. We also need to consider how Probable50 these various explanatory schema might be.

Note Hierarchy
  1. Metaphysics51
  2. Logic of Identity52
    1. Numerical Identity53
    2. Similarity54
    3. Criteria of Identity55
    4. Only 'X' and 'Y' Principle56
    5. Heterodox Views
  3. Ontology66
    1. Existence67
    2. Mind68
    3. Matter70
    4. Kinds73
    5. Artifacts77
  4. Substance & Process
    1. Individuals79
    2. Substance80
    3. Process Metaphysics83
  5. Convention84
    1. Concepts85
    2. Fiction87
  6. Explanation88
    1. Probability89

Main Text
  1. 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. 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.
    3. Three background issues, namely my views on:- are covered elsewhere (follow the links above).
  2. Metaphysics93
    1. Many general areas of philosophy are relevant to the topic of Personal Identity, including Ethics and Epistemology, but the questions are mainly metaphysical.
    2. Metaphysics is a large subject. As far as this Thesis is concerned, I’m only interested in it insofar as metaphysical arguments and ideas are necessary to support the overall argument.
    3. Thankfully, metaphysics is no longer regarded as the meaningless nonsense it was supposed to be under the Logical Positivists but as a way of addressing questions that don’t have any other method of approach, and ‘metaphysical’ is no longer a term of abuse.
    4. I do note, though that some metaphysical questions – by their nature – can never have empirical answers. The Logical Positivists would have these down as ‘meaningless’, but I take them as meaningful but indeterminate (except for the individual experiencing the situation in question). See, for example, my discussion of Forward versus Backward Psychological Continuity94.
  3. Logic of Identity95
    1. Identity as a logical concept is – or ought to be – rather uninteresting. Contra Wittgenstein96 in the Tractatus, I consider the concept of identity to be both useful and essential.
    2. Despite much argument to the contrary, there’s only one type of identity – that which satisfies Leibniz’s Law of the Indiscernibility of Identicals and is an equivalence relation.
    3. That said, there’s a dispute going back to Joseph Butler and Thomas Reid as to whether there are two forms of identity, one allegedly falsely so-called, namely:-
      1. Strict and Philosophical, and
      2. Loose and Popular
    4. The idea behind this suggestions is that the conditions for the persistence of an object should be really strict – probably involving mereological97 essentialism98 – so that nothing ‘really’ persists through time. At the moment I’m not sure whether this suggestion is true but useless or simply false. We need the concepts of identity and persistence99 for all sorts of practical reasons, and a choice of concepts that never apply in the real world is no help.
    5. While rejecting them, I will still need to consider various deviant “identities” for the light they shed on the issues at hand. They are listed below. Wrong answers to tough questions can be enlightening.
    6. As for the standard notion of identity here are two “Laws” attributed to Leibniz100:-
      1. The Law of the Indiscernibility of Identicals: this just appears to be a law of logic, and is (almost) universally accepted. It states that if “two” objects are identical (that is, “they” are the same object picked out by two descriptions) then “they” have exactly the same properties – both intrinsic and relational.
      2. The Law of the Identity of Indiscernibles: this is a more contentious – and metaphysical – suggestion, and is that if “two” objects share all the same intrinsic and relational properties, they are identical (ie there is only one object, but picked out by different descriptions).
    7. The (apparent) problems with the first101 law are (at least) twofold:-
      1. The same object can have different properties at different times. This is the problem of temporary intrinsics102, and the logic of identity103 is tied up with resolving this issue.
      2. Intensional properties are excluded from consideration – as revealed by the masked man fallacy: the fact that I don’t know that the masked man is my father – though I do know that my father is my father – doesn’t mean that the masked man isn’t my father.
    8. The second Law seems reasonable enough for ordinary macroscopic objects, but
      1. It is allegedly false for quantum objects, and could also be false in a universe consisting of two exactly similar spheres. It is neither a logical nor a necessary truth, if it is true at all.
      2. However, if it is false, it seems to demand haecceities104, where things are distinct just because they are distinct (something empiricists dislike).
    1. Numerical Identity105
      1. There is an initial ambiguity that needs clearing up. To quote the Synopsis of "DeGrazia (David) - Human Identity and Bioethics":
        1. When philosophers address personal identity, they usually explore numerical identity: What are the criteria for a person's continuing existence?
        2. When non-philosophers address personal identity, they often have in mind narrative identity106: Which characteristics of a particular person are salient to her self-conception?
      2. DeGrazia explores both conceptions, and acknowledges a debt107 to Eric Olson for the former and Marya Schechtman for the latter.
      3. Anyway, numerical identity is the relation a thing holds to itself and to nothing else. This definition is agreed to be rather circular, but the intention is clear. The term “numerical” is used because we use the concept of numerical identity in counting things. Things picked out under different concepts are only counted once if they are numerically identical – if they are the very same thing. I may be a man, a person, a father, a grandfather, a student of philosophy but I’m only to be counted once.
      4. As is noted under the above topic of the Logic of Identity108, “identity” has been divided into two further senses, namely:-
        1. Strict and Philosophical, and
        2. Loose and Popular
        If this division is correct, then it is only the “Strict and Philosophical” version of “identity” that is Numerical Identity properly so-called.
      5. However, it is unclear just how strict the “Strict and Philosophical” version should be. If it requires mereological109 essentialism110, then it has no application for material things other than “simples”.
      6. It has to be noted that lots of puzzles related to persistence – for instance fission – rely on the premise that “identity” is an equivalence relation, which may not be the case in the “Loose and Popular” sense of the term – if this usage could be clarified.
      7. I will continue to assume that the persistence of organism – despite the continual change of parts – is correctly described as identity in the “Strict and Philosophical” sense.
    2. Similarity111
      1. The logic of similarity, like the logic of identity112, is a prerequisite for understanding continuity113 and change114.
      2. It is important to distinguish identity from exact similarity, as in the case of "identical" twins" which are not identical in the strict logical sense.
      3. Some initial thoughts:-
        1. “Exact Similarity” is an equivalence relation in that it is reflexive, symmetric and transitive.
        2. “Similarity” is less obviously an equivalence relation – however it is defined – because the transitivity relation may be deemed to fail.
        3. “Identical twins” – despite the suggestion above – are not even “exactly similar” in the strict sense, as it’s only genetically that they are exactly similar. In principle, each set of chromosomes in either twin is exactly similar to any other. And, I suppose, we could say that as their genomes are abstract objects, they are numerically identical. But the bodies and minds of identical twins – while “similar”, barring accidents, are not “exactly similar”, other than immediately after birth (and then only if we’re lucky).
        4. “Exactly similar” individuals would seem to have all non-relational properties in common. To make the term useful in practical life, we might have to allow some latitude. If I want my television replaced by an “exactly similar” one, I want one that’s how the one I bought ought to have been without whatever defects are inducing me to return it. Nor may I care for trivial differences in weight, surface marks and the like.
        5. “Similarity” applies to particular properties of things (“wearing similar ties”) or to individuals in their entirety (as “identical twins”).
    3. Criteria of Identity115
      1. Maybe the distinction between Criteria of Identity and Persistence Criteria116 is that the former can be synchronic, or refer to multiple sightings of what may be the same thing. The latter refers to change117.
      2. We might want to be assured that the Morning Star is (identical to) the Evening Star, which is Venus – and – indeed – whether it is necessarily118 identical to Venus, given that it is Venus. Or so claims Saul Kripke. This is the topic of “Identity Criteria”, even if Venus remains unchanged during the period of interest.
      3. Persistence Criteria119 – in this example – would relate to whether Venus would remain Venus if it merged with a large asteroid and a hunk broke off, or suchlike.
      4. For the moment, I just note that there are two categories of criterion:-
        → Metaphysical and
        → Epistemological.
      5. Metaphysical criteria are those that, if they obtain, establish identity irrespective of whether anyone knows about them.
      6. Epistemological criteria reflect how we know that identity obtains.
      7. I might also add that there are different criteria of identity for different kinds120 of thing, including:-
        1. Persons121,
        2. Organisms122,
        3. Inanimate Physical Objects: presumably considered as lumps of Matter123, or as Artifacts124,
        4. Events: Which would include Lives125, if that’s what lives are,
        5. Etc.
        But not for “things in general” (or “persons in general”, for that matter).
    4. Only 'X' and 'Y' Principle126
      1. This principle (also known as the ‘Only X and Y Rule’, with and without various forms of quotation mark around the variables) – probably first enunciated by Harold Noonan – claims that in saying whether X is identical to Y, the existence of some other entity Z should have no bearing.
      2. The principle is averse to Closest Continuer127 theories, where a “better candidate” – often in modal situations – can undermine the case of an entity to be the continuer of – that is, identical to – an earlier entity; so, “X would have been identical to Y were it not for the existence of a better candidate Z”.
      3. As such, there is some connection with supposed Contingent Identity128.
      4. I accept this principle, though this is not the case for all who clearly understand and reference it.
      • Closest Continuer129
        1. “Closest Continuer” is another term for the concept “Best Candidate”.
        2. This situation occurs where we have more than one candidate as the continuer of an individual, and we feel we have to make a choice because:
          1. There is only one social or legal role to fill, and
          2. The logic of identity causes a problem.
        3. Consider Locke130’s prince and cobbler or Williams’s body swapping131, but without the swap (ie. where only half the thought experiment is performed, so we have two identical psychologies). If the cobbler’s body is informed by the prince’s mind, then Locke claims that the cobbler is the prince. But if the prince still exists in his own mind as well, there’s a better candidate (says Nozick, for instance in "Nozick (Robert) - Personal Identity Through Time" or "Nozick (Robert) - The Identity of the Self: Introduction"), so the cobbler then isn’t the prince after all – but how (so the objection goes) can the existence of someone depend on the existence of someone else?
        4. A Perdurantist132 can accommodate these situations. This is by saying that prior to the point of decision, there were always two person stages co-located (ie. there were always two persons present, they just happened to share all their stages up to that point), and that only following the point of decision can we distinguish them. So, we don’t have to choose who is really the prince – they both are, in the sense that each post-decision spatio-temporal worm forms part of a larger spatio-temporal worm that includes pre-decision princely stages. Logical identity only applies to complete spatio-temporal worms, and there were always two worms sharing stages.
        5. Of course, we might have a convention133 that enables us to choose in a principled manner who can fill which role (the prince remains in his palace, the cobbler’s body informed by the prince’s mind retires to a madhouse). Yet (if we adopt the perdurantist view and the psychological criterion134) they are both the prince for all that.
        6. My own view used to be that the cobbler (ie. cobbler-body) just undergoes a radical psychological change, and so remains the cobbler all along. But I now think the thought experiment may be underspecified. Given the supervenience135 of mind on brain136, the superposition of one psychology on another would have radical physical consequences that must destroy the original, and replace it with a clone of the copied brain. But it is a clone, for all that, and not the original. I need to consider more carefully what change137, and how rapid a change, a thing can undergo and remain the same thing.
    5. Heterodox Views
      • The orthodox approach to the Logic of Identity138 is to treat it as a necessary equivalence relation. I follow this approach. However, in response to various TEs139, deviant forms of the Identity relation have been devised, and some are still popular.
      • Contingent Identity140
        1. The idea of Contingent Identity arose141 in "Gibbard (Allan) - Contingent Identity", which considers the TE of the Statue and the Clay142.
        2. The TE relates to the topic of Constitution143. 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.
        3. The logic of identity144 is so secure that it is sensible to look for other explanations of the TE. Of course, the divinations 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.
        4. Baker145, 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’s Law146, the two are never identical.
        5. I’m suspicious of any TE involving artefacts147.
      • Indeterminate Identity148
        1. The idea of Indeterminate Identity arises in response to certain TEs. 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 into doubt.
        2. Two seemingly related suggestions are Vague Identity149 (VI) and Indeterminate Identity (II).
        3. I’m not sure of the distinction between VI and II, having studied neither in any detail, but:-
          1. I’d have thought that VI is a metaphysical claim alongside the suggestion – allegedly refuted by Gareth Evans – that there can be vague objects.
          2. In contrast to this, II sounds like an epistemological claim – that there are identity claims the truth-values of which we cannot know.
          3. The above distinction is somewhat moot if the puzzle of Vagueness150 is seen as at root epistemological, as by Timothy Williamson.
          4. To make matters worse, there are at least two other terms used:-
            → “Indefinite Identity”, and
            → “Imperfect Identity”
            Both these terms sound metaphysical, so I’ve assumed (for now) that they are the same as “Vague Identity151”.
        4. However, a quick look through the abstract of the papers on the reading lists suggests that the two notions are related – in that papers titled as related to one actually seem to relate to the other. "Parsons (Terence) - Indeterminate Identity" looks like a good study of the whole topic but uses II to mean indeterminacy in the world, which is a metaphysical claim.
      • Occasional Identity152
        1. Occasional identity is a response to TEs such as the fission153 of an amoeba into two qualitatively identical ones. We want to say that both are numerically identical to the parent, but the logic of identity154 forbids this unless we claim that the two daughters are numerically identical to one another, though 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".
        2. So, the claim is that the amoebae were once identical (and co-incident: though not in the sense supposed by Constitution155 or Perdurance156 or co-location), but now are not.
        3. This makes numerical identity157 into a temporary (hence “occasional”) matter.
        4. It’s important not to confuse “temporary identity” with “temporal identity”. Maybe some philosophers – even if not confused – have been careless with their terminology. Some philosophers seem to use “temporal identity” for “diachronic identity” while others use it for “occasional identity”.
        5. My preferred answer to this TE is to appeal to perdurance158 – the daughters were always distinct, but just shared their pre-fission stages. There are other explanations.
      • Partial Identity159
        1. It seems that “Partial identity” is a mereological160 claim, that something that has some of the parts of another things is “partially identical” to it. Two things are “partially identical” to the degree that they share parts. So, on this account, I am partially identical to my own head, and I am more partially identical to the mereological fusion of my head and my right hand.
        2. However, the term also seems to apply to properties161 (take to be universals162 with universals viewed as their instantiations).
      • Relative Identity163
        1. Relative identity is invoked to try to explain the intuition that – following certain exigencies (say, a nasty bang on the head; or the Phineas Gage situation (See "Tobia (Kevin Patrick) - Personal Identity and the Phineas Gage Effect") – I might be the same human being164, but not the same person.
        2. So, the identity relation is indexed to a sortal165. It is said that it makes no sense to say that A is the same individual as B unless we say “the same what”.
        3. My view is that – while it is true that we need to be careful what individual we are to pick out for identity claims – once we have picked out an individual (say in more than one way), it is self-identical whatever description we are using. And necessarily so as Saul Kripke has shown in his Hesperus / Phosphorus / Venus discussion in "Kripke (Saul) - Naming and Necessity".
        4. So, when we are thinking of what we imagine to be a single thing under two descriptions, then if we imagine the thing under one description coming apart from the thing under another, then one or other description doesn’t really pick out that thing as a substance166, but (say) picks out a property of that substance.
        5. So, returning to our example, when we say “same person”, the term “person” is ambiguous.
          1. It can either stand as a proxy for “human being”, or
          2. “Same person” can mean “has the same personality167”.
        6. When this is understood, in neither case are we tempted into espousing relative identity:-
          1. In this case we have identity, and
          2. In this case we are comparing a property of a substance, and substances can change their properties over time without ceasing to be the same substance.
        7. So, Phineas Gage continues to be the same substance (human being – or maybe human animal) despite a radical change of personality.
      • Vague Identity168
        1. I have nothing to say on this topic other than what I’ve said under Indeterminate Identity169.
        1. Sorites170
          1. The Sorites paradox – that of the heap – arises in many areas of philosophy, but specifically on the topic of vagueness171.
          2. It is a TE172 invented by the Greeks – see "Diogenes Laertius, Galen & Cicero - On the Sorites".
          3. From my perspective, there are two points of interest:-
            1. Firstly, just when is an individual correctly classified as an X, where X is a vague concept – or an epithet which may be applied as a matter of degree.
              → Specifically, is “Person173” such a concept? Are there Degrees of Personhood174?
            2. Secondly, as an argument-form.
              Peter Unger used Sorites-style arguments to argue that we and other things don’t exist. I discuss these arguments under Nihilism175.
        2. Vagueness176
          1. Vagueness is a wide and interesting area of enquiry, and I will restrict most of my investigations to areas relevant to personal identity. So,
            1. While there can be clear paradigm cases it may be vague (ie. uncertain, or indeterminate) whether some particular instance is a paradigm case.
            2. There can be vague boundaries to the concept person177.
            3. Also, maybe there can be persons of varying degrees178.
            4. Maybe some higher mammals possess many of the qualities of persons, but to a reduced degree.
          2. All this is covered, more or less, under other topics, including Vague Identity179, Indeterminate Identity180, Problem of the Many181, and Sorites182.
  4. Ontology183
    1. Ontology is the study of what exists.
    2. In the context of the philosophy of personal identity, ontological questions ask what persons184 really are.
    3. Maybe it’s best first of all to step back, with Locke185, and consider the sorts186 of thing that persist and establish the persistence conditions187 for these sorts. For example:-
      1. Bodies188,
      2. Animals189,
      3. Human Beings190.
    4. The ontological question is whether – with Locke – we should add Persons191 to this list.
    5. Lynne Rudder Baker192 held the view that when a person comes into existence, so does a new entity, of a new kind193. A world without persons would be ontologically impoverished.
    6. But is this so, or do existing entities simply gain new properties194?
    7. We must even (on certain definitions of PERSON195) ask whether there are any196, or whether the term can be eliminated. See:-
      1. "Unger (Peter) - Why There Are No People" and
      2. "Unger (Peter) - I Do Not Exist".
    8. Since Unger’s sorites197 arguments eliminate all material entities with parts198, not just persons (though the elimination of persons on this account depends on the assumption that they are material entities with parts) I, along with the later Unger, wish to reject their conclusions by denying the soundness of the argument-form.
    1. Existence199
      1. For something to persist200 is for it to continue to exist. So, we need a basic understanding of just what it is for something to exist, one of the foundational questions of metaphysics.
      2. The topic here is one of logic201 – what it is for a thing to exist – rather than ontology202what exists, though there will be some overlap between the discussions of the two concepts.
      3. There’s a question whether existence is univocal. Do abstract objects exist in the same way as concrete particulars? What sort of thing are personalities203, and where, if anywhere, do they exist?
      4. Some matters of existence are covered elsewhere in this Chapter, namely:-
        1. Vague Existence204
      5. Other matters are to be addressed in other Chapters:-
        1. The various Nihilist205 positions in Personal Identity: Chapter 2206
        2. The possibility of Intermittent Existence207: Chapter 5208
        3. Disembodied Existence209: Chapter 11210
      6. There are many interesting questions about existence that I won’t have time or space to address, unless they come up as essential factors in arguments about Personal Identity. For instance:-
        1. Meinongian claims, and the possibility of Subsistence for things – like unicorns – that don’t exist.
        2. The notion of necessary211 existence This topic gets tangled up with the Ontological Argument212 for the existence of God. I’ve omitted all but a taste of this topic from the reading list.
    2. Mind213
      1. The topic of Mind – and just what we mean by minds – is very large, and not one I can address in any detail.
      2. However it’s central to the Psychological View214, which says that this is what we are215 most fundamentally.
      3. At the very least, having a mind is a necessary but not sufficient condition for being a Person216, though individuals who have ‘lost their minds’ may be accorded the status of persons on account of their past mindedness.
      4. However, Animalism217 denies that the mental has anything to do with our persistence conditions218 – we can survive219 without any mind at all, though we might not have anything that matters to us220.
      5. Mindedness is a lesser property than Consciousness221, let alone Consciousness of Self222.
      6. It seems that minds can be attributed to appropriately-configured machines223, and even to plants224.
      7. Whether reality is correctly divided between the mental and the physical is discussed under Dualism225.
    3. Matter226
      1. “Matter” is rather an outdated term these days as a contrast to “mind227”, with relativistic Mass/Energy being preferred, and “physicalism228” being preferred to “materialism” as the contrast to dualism229 (or idealism).
      2. However, the persistence conditions230 of “masses of matter” are usually different from those of the things that matter constitutes231, or so it is said (and sometimes denied).
      3. In the (alleged) “corpse232problem for animalism233, the corpse is said to be distinct from the animal234 for the above reason, so where does the corpse come from? Has it always existed co-located with the animal? Do we then end up with a constitution account of animalism235, whereby it is the animal – rather than the person – that is constituted by the body236? This will be considered in later Chapters.
      • Naturalism237
        1. Ontological Naturalism is the assumption – tacit or explicit – that there are no supernatural entities or causes in nature. "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Naturalism and the First-Person Perspective: What Is The Problem?" distinguishes two forms of naturalism:-
          1. Weaker: there is no supernatural reality.
          2. Stronger: science is the arbiter of reality and knowledge.
        2. Methodological Naturalism makes no ontological claims, but just adopts the reasonable stance that we should proceed (in the sciences, but also in historical investigations and in everyday life) as though Weak Naturalism were true. This form of naturalism cannot be adopted when addressing supernatural claims, without begging the question. The same goes for Weak Naturalism, of course. But Strong Naturalism (in the absence of Methodological Naturalism) might be consistent with supernatural claims. But since supernatural events are – to say the least – rare, it is best to presume naturalism unless forced by the evidence to assume otherwise – and even then it may be best simply to await further evidence or the advance of science.
        3. What Baker terms Strong Naturalism seems to be the same as, or to include, Naturalised Epistemology.
        4. I just note in passing that “naturalisation” – that is, explaining in fully naturalistic terms (possibly involving reduction238) – is a process that can be applied to just about any field.
        5. I leave it as an open question at this stage whether naturalism is equivalent to physicalism239, implies it, is implied by it, or is orthogonal to it.
        6. The relevance of this topic to my Thesis stems from my interest on the Christian Materialists240, and also from the topic of resurrection241, or other “possibilities” of post-mortem survival242.
      • Physicalism243
        1. I reject any form of mind-body dualism244 or immaterialist monism. There are no souls245, if a soul is an immaterial substance separable from a body246.
        2. But, I need to investigate Dean 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.
        3. There is a comparatively-recent move within certain Christian circles (by the Christian Materialists247) to adopt physicalism and focus on Resurrection248 – rather than the immortality of the soul – as a solution to most-mortem survival.
        4. Given my focus on physicalism, I will need to give some attention to the identity and persistence criteria249 of material objects250 as such.
        5. 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.
        6. For the moment, I simply wish to note (or claim) that:
          1. “The physical” encompasses both body251 and brain252 (ie. the physical criterion253 of personal identity would be satisfied if continuity of brain were essential for the persistence of the person254).
          2. The brain is more important than other physical organs for the persistence of the human being255 or the human person256.
        7. 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 Nervous System) and how these and the residue of the body are coupled together.
        8. Such matters may be relevant to the realism of the various thought experiments257 about brain transplants258, cerebrum transplants and such-like.
        9. 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 (see "Wikipedia - Group C nerve fiber"). 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.
    4. Kinds259
      1. This may be an important topic, particularly in distinguishing Natural Kinds260 from other Kinds, as the question whether Persons261 (or even human persons262) fall under a natural kind concept is critical to the debate between animalists263 and those favouring the constitution view264.
      2. I can’t see much difference between Sortals265 and Kinds, and Natural Kinds266 are obviously a subset of Kinds. Phase Sortals267 are a bit like jobs, so may not be kinds at all.
      3. But if (as I believe) persons are Phase Sortals268 of human animals269, then this can’t be right if persons form a kind as seems likely.
      4. Kinds may be instantiated Concepts270; so, are sets of things, but with a principled array of entry-criteria, which would allow members of multiple natural Kinds to belong (for Persons271, this might be the usual suspects – God, aliens, human beings, the great Apes, and so on).
      • Natural Kinds272
        1. This topic is a subsidiary to that of Kinds273.
          1. A kind is a way of categorising things.
          2. Some ways of categorising things are more “natural” than others – ie they reflect the way the world is, rather than the way we and our interests are. Natural kinds “carve the world at the joints”.
          3. So, toothbrushes form a kind, but it is not a natural kind, whereas lions form a natural kind, as does gold.
        2. I have some questions on Natural Kinds related to the topic of PID:-
          1. Is the concept of a PERSON274 a natural kind concept?
          2. Can PERSON be analysed in terms of other concepts, or do we presuppose it?
          3. See, for example, "Madell (Geoffrey) - The Identity of the Self" for the alleged unanalysability of the concept PERSON.
          4. It may be the case that SENTIENT BEING (or RATIONAL BEING) is the natural kind concept, and that PERSON, with its social / legal / moral overtones, is something cultures assign.
          5. Even so, the concept HUMAN ANIMAL275 is really the natural kind concept, exemplars of which gain or lose the properties276 of sentience, rationality, and even the first-person perspective277.
        3. When does a natural kind come into existence?
          1. Natural kinds are concepts278, and such questions are controversial.
          2. Maybe I should side-step this question and simply talk about when the concept becomes instantiated, which is when the first individual that falls under it comes into existence, though this may be before the concept is formulated or even conceived of.
        1. Universals279
          1. What have Universals to do with Personal Identity? Well, not a lot – except David Lewis introduced them as an example to distinguish perdurance280 from endurance281 – Universals being analogous to enduring entities as they are (allegedly) wholly present in each particular that possesses the property covered by the Universal. So, (a particular shade of) redness is (said to be) wholly present in each red object exemplifying that shade.
          2. There’s also a connection with Natural Kinds282. In "Hawley (Katherine) & Bird (Alexander) - What are Natural Kinds?", the authors suggest that Natural Kinds are “Complex Universals”.
          3. I also – probably heretically – have the view that Universals themselves might have persistence conditions283. My example is that of a book. “Pride and Prejudice” is a book – but both a Universal that can be variously instantiated in physical books, or (now) eBooks. But it (or a better example) might go through several editions. What makes all these editions “of the same book”?
      • Metamorphosis284
        1. Metamorphosis involves a radical and fairly rapid change of bodily285 form in the same individual286, by comparison with “business as usual” growth and maturation – catastrophic injury doesn’t count. No doubt this begs the question somewhat in assuming that we do indeed have the same individual.
        2. Tadpoles → frogs and caterpillars → butterflies are, in seems to me, different kinds of cases of metamorphosis. If there is anything it’s like to be a caterpillar or a tadpole, the caterpillar’s experience of metamorphosis will differ from that of the tadpole’s, as the caterpillar transforms into the butterfly via goo, whereas the tadpole’s metamorphosis into the frog is continuous287 with it remaining an active organism288.
        3. While “Tadpole → Frog” is a paradigm case of Metamorphosis, presumably there’s no more metamorphosis in this transformation than there is in fetus289 → neonate in humans and mammals generally? Isn’t the difference between the maturation of a tadpole and fetus simply the environment and food-source? Maybe not, since the tadpole’s gills and tail have to be re-absorbed and the material used for the frog’s front and rear legs respectively. The use of the collagenase enzyme in this process is described in detail in "Al-Khalili (Jim) & McFadden (Johnjoe) - Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology", Chapter 3, pp. 110-112.
        4. If the account of Sortals290 is correct, metamorphosis involving a change of Ultimate Sortal is a logical impossibility (in the sense of the very same thing metamorphosing as in the frog to prince case). I suppose, in this last case, we might have the Ultimate Sortal as Organism291 of which Frog and Prince (or Human Being292) are Phase Sortals293, but then, what is an Ultimate Sortal in one context is a Phase Sortal in another. Is this an issue?
        5. How should the (supposed) case of bodily transformation to be expected by the Christian at Christ’s return be understood? In that case – see 1 Corinthians 15:52294 – rather than dying and being resurrected295 to a new body, the living body is “… changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump”. Is this a case of metamorphosis? What about the dead (supposedly) coming out of their graves during the same event? Are these Corpses296 metamorphosed into (resurrection) bodies?
        6. "Bynum (Caroline) - Metamorphosis and Identity" is presumably the jumping-off point for this topic.
    5. Artifacts297
      1. Since artifacts are human inventions, they do not fall under natural kind298 concepts, and so their persistence conditions may be to some degree a matter of convention299. Since human beings300 are (at least) organisms301, analogies with artifacts may be moot, to say the least.
      2. An interesting notion – I think due to Trenton Merricks (in "Merricks (Trenton) - Objects and Persons") and others – is nihilism302 with respect to artifacts. This is the view that there are no statues, but only atoms arranged statuewise.
        • If this is a correct account, then this would undermine the prime support of the Constitution View303.
        • The reason being that statues, and the like, are prime examples and motivators of the CV, whereby you can have two things (of different sorts304) in the same place at the same time, one of which constitutes305 the other.
        • If there are no such statues, then all this falls apart.
        • Yet of course there are statues, but in what sense?
        • An idea I intend to play with (this may be Merricks’s, for all I know) is that artifacts are shared ideas (memes306) projected onto the physical objects (which are indeed collections of atoms arranged X-wise, and the form of the X-wise structure is deliberately chosen to enable it to perform its function).
        • This agrees with, say, Baker’s notion that statues exist only in relation to an art-world. But they are ideas rather than things.
      3. See also the Ship of Theseus307 under this head. It is the standard conundrum concerning the persistence conditions of artifacts, which are also the clearest contenders for the existence of intermittent objects308. Some philosophers (sensibly) claim that a bicycle can survive being disassembled and then re-assembled, with the (rash) assumption that the bicycle doesn't exist in its disassembled state. Well, my view is that the bicycle does exist in the disassembled state. I'd be miffed if someone returned my bicycle in a disassembled state, but my miffedness wouldn't be because I thought I'd not received my bike back, but because it would be a pain to re-assemble it.
      4. The intermittent existence of objects is relevant to the issue of resurrection309 for physicalists. But the artifact model isn’t appropriate here. A bike can't survive its parts being mulched up and re-manufactured. In any case, we can't logically get our original atoms back (as organisms310 exchange atoms with their environment all the time, so there's no such things as "my atoms", since any such things would (over time) be shared with other organisms).
      5. There’s a disagreement – it seems – between Western and Eastern traditions as to whether material continuity and connectedness311 are required for the persistence of artifacts – in particular, for buildings. Japanese Shinto temples can be rebuilt next to one another and swapped over on a 20-year cycle while remaining “the same temple” (or temple complex). It’s the form that’s important, not the matter312, and it’s deemed essential to keep the matter in good condition – though not, of course, the same matter – using traditional crafts to replace it. See "Han (Byung-Chul) - Shanzhai: Deconstruction in Chinese". This is something of a problem even in the Western tradition, as the reductio of “Trigger’s Broom” exemplifies.
      6. There is the claim that adopting a functional approach to personal identity is effectively treating persons as artifacts (which are defined by their functions – eg. a corkscrew – though there can be broken exemplars that can no longer perform the function). Presumably this is intended as a reductio ad absurdum of the functionalist313 account of personhood.
      7. Wiggins touches on the subject of persons as artifacts in "Wiggins (David) - Personal Identity" (in "Wiggins (David) - Sameness and Substance Renewed"). From a quick look, it seems to me that Wiggins is saying that if we tinker around with human beings enough (whether genetically or by heroic surgical intervention), we have effectively turned them into artifacts of our own devising, and so there is no longer a natural-kind314-constrained answer to questions of their persistence conditions315. Since Wiggins seems to equate persons316 and human beings317, the thought experiments318 if carried out in a world would lead to persons that are artifacts. But maybe he’s saying something deeper.
      • Scattered Objects319
        1. The possibility of scattered objects is of fairly limited interest in the study of Personal Identity, though the topic is discussed passim in "Olson (Eric) - Immanent Causation and Life After Death", and also in my review320 of "Zimmerman (Dean) - Problems for Animalism".
        2. The concept features in the discussion of intermittent objects321 where – rather than admit of such things – an alternative is to allow the disassembled bicycle to be a scattered object.
        3. Another locus of interest is in certain medieval concepts of the resurrection of the body. If the body is gathered together again from its “dust”, then maybe it had continued to exist as a scattered object. The problem with this is that organisms don’t own their parts essentially, and they can be shared over time by a number of organisms (witness the old worry about cannibalism, and the counterfactual reply that the body “rejects” cannibalised flesh).
        4. A problem with allowing scattered objects is that it undermines our intuition that one of the things that grounds the persistence322 of material objects is spatio-temporal continuity323.
        5. Scattered objects arise perforce if we hold to mereological essentialism324, or allow that any gerrymandered object exists325 and has its parts essentially.
  5. Substance & Process
    1. Individuals326
      1. We often refer to persons327, or human beings328, as “individuals”, but this is just an index for “X”, where “X” is a “person”, “human being”, or such-like, without being explicit about what category of being is referred to.
      2. Hence, it may betray confusion or uncertainty about the sort329 of thing we are330, an equation of the various possibilities, or the assumption of one position as the only available one.
      3. Be this as it may, the main topic to be covered under this head will be the problem of individuation – how to tell one thing from another.
      4. Individuation is an important question because until we have identified a particular individual, and separated it from others in the locality, we can’t sensibly talk about its persistence331.
      5. The whole idea of individuation depends – in part – on adopting a substance332 rather than process333 view of metaphysics. However, if we take the process line, we then have to have criteria for individuating processes, which may be even more difficult, so the question doesn’t just go away.
    2. Substance334
      1. This is a big subject but, basically, I take a substance to be an individual (relatively) self-standing thing (a particular) that has properties that may change over time.
      2. My specific interest in this topic is whether persons – qua persons335 – are substances. This depends what the term “person” refers to. My contention is that “person” is a property (or collection of properties, or an honorific) of a substance rather than a substance in its own right. So, animalism336 would have it that the substance is the human animal337, which for part of its existence has the property of being a person.
      3. There’s the question whether the substance-view is inconsistent with perdurantism338, whereby individuals are not wholly present at a time, but are “space-time worms”. On this view, for an animalist, a person would be a section (or a collection of sections) of the space-time worm that is the human animal.
      4. But on either view, a person is a phase sortal339 of the human animal.
      • Sortals340
        1. Using Howard Robinson’s terminology ("Robinson (Howard) - Dualism (Stanford)"), the Ultimate Sort of a thing is that property341 without which the thing ceases to exist.
        2. However, an individual falling under a Phase Sortal342 can lose the property that defines the phase without ceasing to exist.
        3. Ultimate Sorts are presumably the same as Baker343’s Primary Kinds344, though I can’t remember if she has an analogue of a Phase Sortal.
        4. The standard example is of a Human Being345 (as the Ultimate Sort) and Child (as a Phase Sortal).
        5. So, is personhood346 an attribute of a human being, like “childhood”, that a human being can either possess or lack, or are persons ontologically347 separate from “their” human beings?
        6. Wiggins348 argues that we can’t talk of the persistence conditions349 of anything until we know what sort it is.
        7. Olson350 claims that it’s futile to talk of the persistence conditions of persons351 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 Person352 is not an Ultimate Sort.
        1. Phase Sortals353
          1. I may have misappropriated this term. In its standard usage (I am told), a phase sortal is a biologically-motivated term. The clearest examples are of individuals that metamorphose354; for example the butterfly: egg → larva (caterpillar) → pupa (chrysalis) → adult (butterfly). The caterpillar is a phase sortal of the organism, with clear spatio-temporal boundaries. My standard example is of Child, which is a (vaguely355-boundaried) biological phase of the substance sortal Human Being356.
          2. An example of a possible human phase sortal that is a non-person357 is Infant. This example might be especially relevant to the topic, because “infant” is derived from the Latin in-fans “without speech”, and the capacity for speech is often claimed to be an essential prerequisite for being a person358.
          3. Any suggestion that the concept Person359 is “no more than” a phase sortal of an umbrella concept isn’t intended to imply unimportance. Rather, simply that persons might not form a kind360 (and in particular a natural kind361), nor be substances362, but that personhood might be a property363 of substances (of animals364, for instance).
          4. What about “periodic” phase sortals such as Student? A human being can “pop in and out of” studenthood by registering or deregistering, but he can’t do this with childhood. Which model suits personhood? See the discussion of intermittent objects365.
          5. However, if the above suggestion that the concept Phase Sortal is biologically motivated is correct, a purely social concept such as Student is not a phase sortal in this sense, and Person might not be either. I could, of course, invent a new term of art.
          6. All roads seem to lead to Wiggins366 (Paul Snowdon refers to him a lot in the context of Animalism367, though I seem to remember that Eric Olson thinks Wiggins isn’t a true Animalist, but a supporter of the psychological view368).
    3. Process Metaphysics369
      1. A foundation-stone of my – and most philosophers’ – account of identity is that “things” – or at least some “things” – exist370. Without things371 to persist, there can be no persistence372 and no diachronic identity.
      2. There has been much discussion about just which things exist, and which things make up – or compose373 – other things.
      3. This is the Substance374 view of Ontology375.
      4. However, other philosophers cast doubt on the existence of things, and prefer to focus on processes – in particular, biological ones. This is “process metaphysics”, or “naturalistic metaphysics”.
      5. Anne Sophie Meincke, in collaboration with John Dupré, seems to be proposing a non-substance376 version of Animalism377.
      6. Also, it seems that Chinese philosophy eschews substance in favour of process, at least according to Byung-Chul Han.
      7. I’m not sure how much of an impact this stance has on my research. I’d already suggested that animals378 are each individuated by a life379, itself a process.
  6. Convention380
    1. Can it ever be right to say that whether a thing persists381 or not – or even exists382 or not – is merely a matter of convention?
    2. Because of the existence of a First Person Perspective383, it seems difficult to imagine in the case of Persons384, but it may be true of artifacts385.
    3. Issues arise with Thought Experiments386 that stretch the boundaries of our Concepts387, so that it might be argued that it is arbitrary whether an individual survives the vicissitude described – maybe inadequately – in the TE.
    4. But, it might be argued, individuals falling under a Natural Kind388 concept persist or fail to do so irrespective of our language and our concepts.
    5. However, if personhood is an honorific, rather than a natural kind, concept then whether an individual persists as a person might indeed be conventional – depending on our concept person389.
    6. But whether an individual persists as an animal390 is not a matter of convention, though it might be subject to epistemological vagueness391.
    1. Concepts392
      1. Concepts are important in "Unger (Peter) - I Do Not Exist". Unger’s answer to the problem of vagueness393 – as exemplified by the “disappearing chair” problem (atom-wise annihilation of the chair … just when does it cease to be?) – is that there never were any chairs, just our concept of a chair and atoms arranged chair-wise. We sit on the atoms, not on the concept, but we describe the atom-heap as a chair. But this concept is vague, or there is a family resemblance, so sometimes it’s not clear whether it applies or not.
      2. This may possibly be satisfactory for Artifacts394, but the big question is whether natural kind395 objects exist independently of our conceptual schemes. Certainly they do as atom-heaps, but it is unclear whether they do as answers to our concepts. So, various atom-heaps carry on existing396, but whether our concepts carry on applying is vague.
      3. Others (eg. Peter Van Inwagen) take the view that only mereological simples and organisms exist, which seems to be a similar view: nothing answers to our concept if it is not of an organism or a simple. Or, rather, it’s atoms arranged X-wise that answer to our concept of X in these circumstances.
      4. There seems to be something special about natural kind397 concepts, the persistence398 of whose exemplars (unlike those of artifact-concepts) don’t in any sense seem to depend on us and our conceptual schemes. Is PERSON399 a natural kind concept – rather than a qualification of an individual falling under a natural kind concept (such as human animal400)? If it isn’t, then are we simply left with semantic401 arguments, which – though logically inconsequential – have profound practical and ethical consequences?
      5. Are the arguments above really saying that artifacts don’t exist? Presumably artifacts depend on us for their existence as artifacts402, though not as lumps of matter.
      6. Lynne Rudder Baker argues that a new ontological403 entity (a painting) comes into existence because of the relation of an object (a canvas plus paint appropriately distributed) to an art-world. I need to press Baker here. Are all her analogies truly analogous? Given evolution404, even species-concepts (paradigms for natural kind405 concepts) are mobile rather than being eternally fixed. Yet Baker seems to think that it’s a relation to evolutionary history that makes an animal406 what it is (as distinct, presumably, from atoms arranged animal-wise).
      • Semantics407
        1. We need to separate those issues in the topic of personal identity that turn on matters of fact, and those that just depend on the meaning of our words. Sometimes, it is not clear which of these options is assumed in any particular case.
        2. For instance, David Wiggins’s view (shared by many others) is that we should use the term Person408 of individuals409 who belong to a kind410 whose typical members have certain capacities.
        3. This will allow us to use the term of individuals who don’t presently possess these capacities – which may be correct in the case of temporary loss of function – but also of those who never have and – most likely – never will possess them.
        4. Then, if we accord certain rights to Persons411 in this sense, we may act differently to some of those designated Persons412 than do those who only confer the title Person413 to those with the appropriate present (or normally-present) capacities.
        5. So, there is a practical difference. But is this difference generated only by confusion over words? If we adopt the “typical members” definition., then might we not then say that not all Persons have the same rights, and introduce a new term “Person414-Plus” for all of whose exemplars do deserve the rights? This would allow for Degrees of Personhood415 and, of course, the “typical members” definition may be adopted to resist this slide (as it might be seen).
        6. This will depend on whether Person416 is a natural kind417 concept418, and whether this kind strictly relates to Person or Person-Plus.
        7. My own view is that neither Person nor Person-Plus is a natural-kind concept, but is an honorific or description of properties possessed by exemplars of a true natural-kind concept – Human Animal419 or Human Being420.
    2. Fiction421
      1. This is a rather tangential topic for my Thesis, though fictional characters are (usually) persons422, so I have to say how I – as an animalist423 – can account for this given that they are not animals424. Not particularly hard.
      2. We might also consider what are the persistence conditions425 of a fictional character. Are there things his creator cannot do to the character without killing him off? Can the character be resurrected? What is the ontological426 status of a fictional character? In what sense – if any – do they exist427? What about characters – like Superman – that pass into the public domain? Or – like Dr. Who – that are portrayed as having different characters and bodies across what purports to be a single story-line?
      3. Various Thought Experiments428 rely on cases from science-fiction, the suspected impossibility of which can undermine their cogency. I discuss such Science-fiction cases later under the head of TEs429.
      4. Yuval Noah Harari argues that many of our everyday beliefs are “convenient fictions” rather than truths. They help to hold society430 – and the individuals431 within it – together.
      5. Myths divide into redundant fantasies and the still-current ways in which we speak of and seek to make sense of the world in ways that go beyond – or against – what can actually be known.
      6. Fictionalism appears as an alternative to realism with respect to mathematics, modality432 and the past433 (and probably elsewhere).
  7. Explanation434
    1. In the Introduction435 to this Thesis I said that the entire work will be an exercise in inference to the best explanation, so I need to give an account of what an explanation is. The Thesis needs to account for our intuitions436 in response to the various TEs437 and other situations and questions that arise, or else explain them away as confused. If there is a universal response, that is – though this isn’t always the case (consider the ‘transplant intuition438’ that ‘you go with your brain’, denied by card-carrying Animalists, though I suspect they feel the power of the intuition even so).
    2. This is the underlying reason for the methodology I’ve adopted – to try to tease out all the implications of a theory of Personal Identity – because ‘fixing’ a problem in one area may have unintended consequences in other areas. The entire implied ‘world view’ has to hang together as best as possible.
    3. I have certain prejudices as to what an explanation is – a bias towards modern scientific as against Aristotelian forms of explanation, whereby an explanation has to fill in the details of mechanism, hopefully with quantification, rather than be vaguely gesturing.
    4. I need to define and defend this position but, as it’s methodological and somewhat peripheral, without causing too much of a diversion from my main concerns. I can’t get into a full-blown study of the philosophy of science.
    1. Probability439
      1. I, and probably many others, tend to say that certain propositions are ‘unlikely’ to be true; that they are ‘improbable’.
      2. But, just what does probable mean in this context, given that this “probability” usually cannot be quantified – ie. given a number in the range [0,1]?
      3. In philosophical circles, the philosophy of rational belief closely follows Bayesian principles and conditional probabilities. So, while there is no objective probability for the truth or falsehood of our beliefs, we can supply subjective probabilities and revise these in the light of new evidence.
      4. I really don’t think this topic has much to do with my thesis on the topic of Personal Identity, though I will be on the look-out hereafter. It seems to be more relevant (as far as my own concerns go) in the philosophy of religion in regards to the probabilities of certain beliefs – in miracles and the like. I’ve also written some brief Notes on Pascal’s Wager, which I argue should be rejected.

Concluding Remarks
  1. In our next Chapter440, we need to consider further the question of Persistence and Time and how they impact on the topic of Personal Identity.
  2. This is work in progress441.

Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed442
  1. This section attempts to derive the readings lists automatically from those of the underlying Notes, but removing duplicated references. The list is divided into:-

Works on this topic that I’ve actually read445, include the following:-
  1. Metaphysics446
  2. Logic of Identity
    1. Logic of Identity447
    2. Numerical Identity454
    3. Similarity460
    4. Criteria of Identity462
    5. Only 'X' and 'Y' Principle464
    6. Heterodox Views
  3. Ontology
    1. Ontology491
    2. Existence493
    3. Mind
    4. Matter
    5. Kinds
    6. Artifacts
  4. Substance & Process
    1. Individuals539
    2. Substance
    3. Process Metaphysics555
  5. Convention
    1. Convention556
    2. Concepts
    3. Fiction568
  6. Explanation573
    1. Probability574

A further reading list might start with:-
  1. Metaphysics577
  2. Logic of Identity
    1. Logic of Identity578
    2. Numerical Identity583
    3. Similarity584
    4. Criteria of Identity585
    5. Only 'X' and 'Y' Principle586
    6. Heterodox Views
  3. Ontology
    1. Ontology604
    2. Existence605
    3. Mind
    4. Matter
    5. Kinds
    6. Artifacts
  4. Substance & Process
    1. Individuals624
    2. Substance
    3. Process Metaphysics635
  5. Convention
    1. Convention636
    2. Concepts
    3. Fiction639
  6. Explanation644
    1. Probability645

In-Page Footnotes:

Footnote 12: Footnote 101:
  1. 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 107:
  1. Not that Eric Olson is the inventor or even the primary exponent of the concept of numerical identity,
  2. Nor that Marya Schechtman is not a philosopher!
Footnote 141:
  1. Or at least was thereby brought to my attention as an undergraduate.
Footnote 306:
  1. There’s an extensive literature on this topic, stemming from Richard Dawkins, which I’ll not pursue here.
  2. There’s a claim in "Harari (Yuval Noah) - Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" that the cohesive power of human societies and hence the rise of homo sapiens as a species is down to our shared belief in “fictions”.
  3. Yuval Noah Harari’s use of “fiction” is pejorative and non-standard, as he uses it for anything from religious beliefs to limited companies.
  4. Even those philosophers of religion who use the term “myths” for religious beliefs are keen to assert that “myth” does not men “fiction”, even though some myths are fictions as well.
Footnote 442: Footnotes 449, 506: Footnote 450: Footnote 452: Footnote 467: Footnote 468: Footnote 469: Footnote 470: Footnote 471: Footnote 472: Footnotes 477, 487: Footnotes 480, 482: Footnote 507: Footnotes 513, 517, 526, 553, 558: Footnote 519: Footnote 545: Footnotes 548, 550: Footnote 561: Footnote 569: Footnote 570: Footnote 572: Footnote 579: Footnote 580: Footnote 581: Footnote 582: Footnote 588: Footnote 589: Footnote 590: Footnote 591: Footnote 592: Footnote 596: Footnote 599: Footnote 602: Footnote 609: Footnote 611: Footnote 614: Footnote 615: Footnote 618: Footnote 619: Footnote 621: Footnote 625: Footnote 627: Footnote 628: Footnote 629: Footnote 631: Footnote 632: Footnote 640: Footnote 641: Footnote 642: Footnote 643: Footnote 646: Footnote 647:

Table of the Previous 12 Versions of this Note: (of 16)

Date Length Title
06/07/2023 00:43:12 154837 Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues)
28/09/2022 10:24:58 154063 Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues)
11/05/2022 18:59:02 153813 Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues)
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11/04/2022 00:01:26 76341 Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues)
01/10/2021 13:17:46 72686 Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues)
29/03/2021 19:23:31 45374 Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues)
22/03/2021 00:28:48 22002 Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues)
07/02/2021 23:24:00 8904 Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues)
18/04/2019 18:18:43 8878 Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues)
24/04/2018 00:12:58 7971 Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues)
05/04/2016 23:19:41 8235 Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues)

Note last updated Reading List for this Topic Parent Topic
01/12/2023 03:53:01 None available Thesis - Preface

Summary of Notes Referenced by This Note

1 Corinthians: 15 Animalism Animalism - Objections Animals Artifacts
Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity) Baillie - What Am I? Baker Baker - In Favour Of the Constitution View Baker - Materialism with a Human Face
Baker - Personal Identity Over Time Baker - Persons and Bodies - Precis Baker - Persons and Bodies - Response to Olson Baker - Review - Olson - What Are We? Baker - The Human Animal: Big-Tent Metaphysics
Baker - The Human Animal: Response to Olson Baker - The Very Idea of Constitution Body Brain Brain State Transfer
Brain Transplants Bynum - Resurrection of the Body (Preface + Introduction) Carter – Artifacts of Theseus Change Chisholm - Which Physical Thing Am I?
Christian Materialism Closest Continuer Computers Concepts Connectedness vs Continuity
Consciousness Constitution Constitution View Contingent Identity Continuity
Convention Corpses Crane - Against the Identity Theory : Anti-reductionism Crane - Emergence Crane - Physicalism as the Source of the Mind-body Problem
Crane - Physicalism, Consciousness and Qualia Crane - Physics and Physicalism Crane - The Explanatory Gap Crane - The identity theory Crane - The Knowledge Argument Examined
Crane - The Problem of Mental Causation for Non-reductive Physicalism Crane - Thoughts and Beliefs Crane - Zombies Criteria of Identity Daniel Dennett – Conditions of Personhood
Degrees of Personhood Dennett - True Believers Disembodied Existence Dualism Endurantism
Essentialism Evolution Existence Explanation Fetuses
Fiction Fine - A Counter-Example to Locke's Thesis Fine - The Non-Identity of a Material Thing and Its Matter First-Person Perspective Fission
Functionalism Gibbard - Contingent Identity Homo Sapiens Human Animals Human Beings
Human Persons Indeterminate Identity Individual Intermittent Objects Intuition
Jen_070928_N2J1 Jen_071022 (Dennett) Jen_080204 (Brandom, Chisholm, Baillie) Jen_080218 (Olson) Jen_080303 (Olson, Baillie)
Johnston - Human Beings Kinds Kripke - Naming and Necessity - Lecture III Kurtz - Persistence (Introduction) Le Fanu - Doubts About Darwin
Leibniz Life Life After Death Locke Logic of Identity
Lowe - Locke on Identity Markosian - The Human Animal: Three Problems for Olson Matter Mereology Metamorphosis
Metaphysics Mind Modality Moreland & Rae - Body & Soul: Human Persons as Substances or Property-Things Narrative Identity
Natural Kinds Naturalism Nihilism Numerical Identity Occasional Identity
Olson Olson - Immanent Causation and Life After Death Olson - Persons and Bodies - Response Olson - The Human Animal: Reply to Baker Olson - What Are We?
Olson - What Are We? Animals Olson - What Are We? Brains Olson - What Are We? Bundles Olson - What Are We? Temporal Parts Olson - What Are We? The Question
Only 'X' and 'Y' Principle Ontological Argument Ontology Organisms Parfit - What We Believe Ourselves To Be
Partial Identity Perdurantism Persistence Persistence Criteria Person
Personality Phase Sortals Physical Continuity Physicalism Plants
Popper - Merits of Improbability Pregnancy Probability Problem of the Many Process Metaphysics
Properties Psychological Continuity - Forward Psychological Criterion Psychological View Reductionism
Relative Identity Resurrection<