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Personal Identity

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

(Text as at 28/09/2022 10:24:58)

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Abstract




Research Methodology


Chapter Introduction3
  1. Baker’s account of Constitution4 is not the standard Mereological5 account, of some composite body being constituted by its parts, but is her own idea that requires – and receives – detailed explication.
  2. Despite this deviation, it is worth spending some time on standard Mereology, in particular mereological Essentialism6 (which challenges any idea of Persistence).
  3. Finally, there needs to be a discussion of Hylomorphism7, an Aristotelian idea that has some modern supporters, and which may or may not be similar to the Constitution View8 (CV).
  4. As a cornerstone of her Constitution View, Lynne Rudder Baker9 reifies a useful idea – that of a First-Person Perspective10. It is the FPP that individuates persons, according to Baker, so the FPP requires explanation as well. Baker retrofits its definition so that – according to her – it applies to non-defective Human Beings (and, no doubt, higher beings) but not to any non-human Animals.
  5. The big analogies for the CV are TEs involving Coincident Objects11, previously seen in discussions of Contingent Identity, though this isn’t the message the CV takes because it denies that Constitution is Identity.
  6. I’ve parked in this Chapter discussion of further standard problems of Coincident Objects, starting with the Statue and the Clay12, Dion and Theon13 (more recently repackaged as Tibbles the Cat14) and continuing on to classic conundrums such as The Problem of the Many15 and The Ship of Theseus16. They are here because of their connection to Mereology, with Constitution being introduced as an explanation, though they are relevant elsewhere as well.
  7. Baker has a commitment to Persons being Substances in their own right, rather than “Person” being an honorific title applied to substances that at other times might not deserve the honorific. She thinks that a Person comes into existence with the FPP, which make an Ontological difference. She asserts that many other views do not Take Persons Seriously. All this is covered in Chapter 3 (on Persons) but could as well be covered in this Chapter.
  8. One suspects that Religious17 commitments strongly influence the philosophy of many supporters of the CV, who tend to be Christian Materialists18 and who want a way for Christians to persist through Resurrection.



Note Hierarchy
  1. Constitution19
    1. Mereology20
    2. Hylomorphism22
  2. Constitution View23
    1. Lynne Rudder Baker24
    2. First-Person Perspective25
    3. Coincident Objects26
  3. Christian Materialism32
    1. Religion33



Main Text
  1. Constitution34
    1. At first sight, it might seem that a full understanding of constitution – by which I mean Material Constitution – is required to understand Lynne Rudder Baker35’s Constitution View36 of Personal Identity.
    2. However, the concept of Constitution in this view seems to differ from the normal mereological37 view of material constitution.
    3. As a way in to this subject, which is geared towards the topic of Personal Identity, I intend in the first instance to focus on two chapters from "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View", namely:-
      1. "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Very Idea of Constitution", and
      2. "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Coherence Of the Idea of Material Constitution".
    4. I will then look at two chapters from Baker’s book "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Metaphysics of Everyday Life: An Essay in Practical Realism" that deal, respectively, with these two aspects of Constitution, namely:-
      1. "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Constitution Revisited",
      2. "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Mereology and Constitution".
    5. I will, of course, have to consider other accounts. I had supposed that Baker’s view was idiosyncratic, though "Wasserman (Ryan) - The Constitution Question" considers it to be widely held.
    6. Wasserman outlines the traditional38 view as follows:-
      1. Adequacy conditions on any proposed answer to the Constitution Question.
        • First, constitution requires spatial coincidence — x constitutes y at t only if x and y have the same spatial location at t.
        • Second, constitution requires material coincidence — x constitutes y at t only if x and y have all the same parts.
      2. The formal properties of the constitution relation (are)
        • First, the constitution relation is transitive. So, consider a representative clay statue (Statue) and the lump of clay (Lump) from which it is made. If Lump is constituted by a certain aggregate of elementary particles and Statue is constituted by Lump, then Statue is also constituted by that particular aggregate of elementary particles.
        • Second, the constitution relation is irreflexive, for the defenders of the constitution view traditionally deny that objects like Lump and Statue constitute themselves.
        • Finally, the constitution relation is asymmetric; while Lump constitutes Statue, Statue does not constitute Lump.
      3. Constitution is not mere coincidence, for coincidence (the sharing of spatial location or parts) is both reflexive and symmetric.
      4. In summary, constitution requires material (as well as spatial) coincidence and that it is a transitive, irreflexive, asymmetric relation.
    7. Various papers by Eric Olson, of course, also consider the topic, which he considers would be fatal to animalism if it would be were it true. I should probably start with "Olson (Eric) - Composition and Coincidence".
    8. There may also be an overlap between Constitution and Supervenience39.
    9. The various cases of ‘coincidence’ – addressed later in this Chapter – highlight the question whether the constitution-relation is or is not the identity-relation. Is there anything left out in the description of a thing once we’ve said what it is made up of, and how these parts link together? Those – like Baker – who hold that one whole thing can be constituted by another whole thing deny identity. For instance – Baker says – a stature is something over and above its clay because it requires an external relation – to an art-world, or at least to people who care about statues – before it is a statue.
    1. Mereology40
      1. While Baker41’s understanding of constitution42 is distinct from a mereological one, it is necessary to understand mereology. I would include the following reasons relevant to my Thesis:-
        1. Lots of arguments relevant to multiple occupancy theses depend on mereological issues. See Dion and Theon43 and the like. These are collated under the topic of Coincidence44.
        2. Mereological Essentialism45 has an impact on the whole notion of persistence. If it is taken seriously, we may have to countenance Scattered Objects46 or no physical thing would persist for long on this view.
        3. The DAUP (Doctrine of Arbitrary Undetached Parts) impacts on whether such things as brains exist. I47 can’t be a brain48 if brains49 don’t exist.
        4. It impacts on issues of vague identity50 and Olson51’s Thinking Animal Argument52.
      2. As a general principle I will discuss here whether proper parts of things exist and – if so – how they make up the things of which they are parts. The note on Constitution53 – which overlaps with that on Coincidence54 – will focus on how one whole things can “constitute” another whole thing. All with a focus on Personal Identity, of course.
      • Essentialism55
        1. The topics of relevance to my Thesis to cover under this head will include:-
          1. Mereological56 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 properties57; those whose loss cause their owner to cease to exist.
        2. Mereological58 essentialism
          1. Whether we have any essential parts depends on what we are59.
          2. If we are fundamentally psychological beings, then it’s unclear whether we have proper parts – particularly if we are souls60; at least Descartes thought we didn’t, given that the mind is not extended. However, we would not survive the loss of our psychology61, but – and this is a problem for any psychological view62 – it is vague63 just how much psychology is enough to ensure our survival64.
          3. If we are organisms65, then we can lose – indeed do lose – all our parts over time, and provided change66 is gradual, and enough of them are replaced, we persist67. There is an argument within the animalist68 camp whether our brains are “just another organ” or whether their regulatory function means they are essential to our survival69.
          4. If we are brains70 – or proper parts thereof – then our brains would seem to be essential parts, though there might be some quibbling about whether they might be chiselled down a bit.
          5. Roderick Chisholm – in Which Physical Thing Am I?71 – seemed to think we are mereological atoms, though the identity of the atom is obscure. If there is such a thing, it would be our only essential part.
        3. Property72 essentialism
          1. If “being a person” is a property that we have, and we are human animals73, then – animalism74 claims – we would survive even when we no longer qualify as persons75 (and also existed76 before we became persons).
          2. Most philosophers who aren’t animalists77 say that we are essentially persons78, so can’t survive if we are no longer persons, or even if our personality79 has changed too radically. Some of our mind80’s properties may be essential.
          3. I’m not sure whether Lynne Rudder Baker treats the First Person Perspective81 as a property of the person, or the person itself. But, if it is a property, it will be an essential one.
    2. Hylomorphism82
      1. This Aristotelian idea is very peripheral to my concerns, though it appears somewhat similar to – or a rival to – the Constitution View83, as is discussed in "Quitterer (Josef) - Hylomorphism and the Constitution View".
      2. "Keles (Serap) - Personal identity and persistence over time : the hybrid view with regard to hylomorphism" looks important in attempting to bring together Animalism84 and the Constitution View85 as a Hybrid Theory86 in the context of Hylomorphism.
      3. "Cohen (S. Mark) & Reeve (C.D.C.) - Aristotle’s Metaphysics" discusses the topic of Hylomorphism in Section 7 (Substance and Essence) and Section 8 (Substances as Hylomorphic Compounds).
      4. Wikipedia has a sound-looking article ("Wikipedia - Hylomorphism"), from which I’ve extracted a few quotations (pending my writing something of my own):-
        • Aristotle defines X's matter as "that out of which" X is made. For example, letters are the matter of syllables. Thus, "matter" is a relative term: an object counts as matter relative to something else. For example, clay is matter relative to a brick because a brick is made of clay, whereas bricks are matter relative to a brick house.
        • Change is analyzed as a material transformation: matter is what undergoes a change of form. For example, consider a lump of bronze that's shaped into a statue. Bronze is the matter, and this matter loses one form (that of a lump) and gains a new form (that of a statue).
        • Aristotle applies his theory of hylomorphism to living things. He defines a soul as that which makes a living thing alive. Life is a property of living things, just as knowledge and health are. Therefore, a soul is a form — that is, a property or set of properties — belonging to a living thing. Furthermore, Aristotle says that a soul is related to its body as form to matter.
        • Hence, Aristotle argues, there is no problem in explaining the unity of body and soul, just as there is no problem in explaining the unity of wax and its shape. Just as a wax object consists of wax with a certain shape, so a living organism consists of a body with the property of life, which is its soul. On the basis of his hylomorphic theory, Aristotle rejects the Pythagorean doctrine of reincarnation87, ridiculing the notion that just any soul could inhabit just any body.
        • It is unclear whether Aristotle identifies the soul with the body's structure. According to one interpretation of Aristotle, a properly organized body is already alive simply by virtue of its structure. However, according to another interpretation, the property of life — that is, the soul — is something in addition to the body's structure. Likewise, according to this second interpretation, a living body is alive not only because of its structure but also because of an additional property: the soul is this additional property, which a properly organized body needs in order to be alive. John Vella uses Frankenstein's monster to illustrate the second interpretation: the corpse lying on Frankenstein's table is already a fully organized human body, but it is not yet alive; when Frankenstein activates his machine, the corpse gains a new property, the property of life, which Aristotle would call the soul.
  2. Constitution View88
    1. The Constitution View is that human persons89 are constituted90 by their bodies91 but are not identical to them, though a lot more needs to be said here.
    2. The primary source of this View is (or was) Lynne Rudder Baker92, starting with "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View".
    3. Baker’s account of constitution is not the standard mereological93 account, of some larger body being constituted by its parts, but is her own idea that requires explication. She appears to have a non-mereological view of constitution which is hard to unravel, involving the relation of one complete thing to another (or to a context).
    4. I also need to discuss her concern for primary kinds94, and the concept of “having of properties95 derivatively”.
    5. It’s unclear to me whether the brain96 has a special place for Baker; as far as I remember, she uniformly refers to “bodies97”.
    6. Baker also has a commitment to Persons98 being substances99 in their own right, rather than personhood being an honorific title applied to substances that at other times might not deserve the honorific.
    7. She also reifies a useful idea – that of a First-person Perspective100. It is the FPP that individuates persons, according to Baker, so the FPP requires explanation as well.
    1. Lynne Rudder Baker101
      1. Lynne Rudder Baker was102 notable for defending her version of the Constitution View103 of Personal Identity, which is important in its own right, but also in opposition to Eric Olson104’s Animalism105.
      2. Baker is a “Christian Materialist106 in that she denies that we are (or have) immaterial souls (see "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Christians Should Reject Mind-Body Dualism").
      3. However, she is against physicalism107 in the philosophy of mind – see "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Saving Belief: A Critique of Physicalism".
      4. Her view on Personal Identity is, to quote "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Materialism with a Human Face", that “Persons are constituted by bodies with which they are not identical. The metaphysical difference between persons and their bodies is that persons have first-person perspectives108 essentially.
      5. Her concept of a First-Person Perspective109 strikes me as important and correct. However, she thinks of personhood110 not merely as a property of certain beings, but as making some sort of ontological111 difference.
      6. Because a person is constituted by – but not identical to – the being that constitutes it, she claims that a particular person is portable from one of these beings to another. I don’t think she would allow a person to exist disembodied, as though the Cheshire Cat’s smile could exist in the absence of the cat, but I still think she is reifying a property112.
      7. From my perspective, her most important work is "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View", but also see "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Precis of 'Persons & Bodies: A Constitution View'" in "Baker (Lynne Rudder), Etc. - E-Symposium on 'Persons & Bodies: A Constitution View'".
      8. However, "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Big-Tent Metaphysics", part of "Olson (Eric), Etc. - Abstracta Special Issue on 'The Human Animal'", and analysed here113, is as good a place as any to start.
      9. That said, her more recent book – "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Metaphysics of Everyday Life: An Essay in Practical Realism" – may give a more technical account of some of her ideas.
    2. First-Person Perspective114
      1. The concept of a “First-Person Perspective” (FPP) is central to the Constitution View115 of personal identity, which I reject. However, the concept of a FPP is important in its own right, and explains the attraction of Psychological Views116 of personal identity. It also motivates Hybrid117 Accounts.
      2. Just what the FPP is needs spelling out – what does Lynne Rudder Baker118 think it is, and why does she think it so ontologically119 important? She seems to be obsessed by the thought that beings that can contemplate their own deaths120 are ontologically different from those that are presumed not to be able to do so. Why is it that it is this, rather than simply a phenomenally conscious121 perspective, that counts as the ontological watershed? I suppose either both or neither might count ontologically. Also, both might have enormous significance, yet not imply that an ontologically distinct entity had come on the scene. Note that – for Baker – it’s the moment the FPP (or maybe the as-yet-unrealised capacity for an FPP) comes on the scene that marks the ontological change, not the emergence of the constituting122 individual123.
      3. We might instead posit another property124 – that of consciousness of Self125 – as the critical moment in the ontological ladder leading to persons126. I suspect some philosophers of rigging the qualifications for personhood127 so that only human beings128 – and maybe some others even more exalted (like God and angels) – qualify. Non-human animals129 must be excluded to ensure the uniqueness and specialness of humans.
      4. Also, can we really use this term to explain130 personal identity, as “person131” appears in it? If it’s supposed to be elucidatory of personal identity, we seem to have a circle.
      5. Really what’s important – it seems to me – is that we have animals with certain properties that are important to them. We can’t reify the property and make it a stand-alone thing, like the Cheshire Cat’s smile. Nor can we assume without a lot of careful argument that this property can hop from one infrastructure to another – as in uploading132 or resurrection133.
      6. An argument I’m fond of is that – despite whatever psychological134 differences there may be between me and my future self135 – I can both rationally anticipate his experiences and should display rational concern for his well-being. That is because we share the same “window on the world” (which is just the FPP without the tendentious terminology). I just need to try out the future great pain test136 on the individual resulting from some adventure and see if I'm worried!
      7. Now is this “window on the world” the same as a FPP? After all, it may be that my senile old self137 no longer qualifies as a person138, though is phenomenally conscious139, and I should be concerned for him whatever his ontological status; only the absence of phenomenal consciousness140 would remove all that matters141.
      8. In summary, I think the FPP is a useful concept, and represents our window on the world, and what matters142 to us in survival143. But it is a property of a human animal144, and that animal’s persistence145 doesn’t rest upon it.
    3. Coincident Objects146
      1. Coincident objects are those – presumed to be distinct – that (appear to) occupy the same space – or substantially the same space – at the same time.
      2. There are a number of classic puzzles that have worried about such things, and which appear below.
      3. Additionally, the alleged problems with coincident objects feature in Olson147’s Master Argument (Thinking Animal Argument148) in favour of Animalism149 and contra the Constitution View150.
      4. The classic consideration of the topic is "Wiggins (David) - On Being in the Same Place at the Same Time".
      5. "Gallois (Andre) - The Puzzle Cases" draws together some of these and more, though in the cause of a deviant logic of identity151.
      • The Statue and the Clay152
        1. This topic arises in the theory of material constitution153 when we are considering whole objects (rather than their parts) that appear to be co-located because they are (or seem to be) of different kinds154, or (seem to) have different persistence conditions155.
        2. This issue was exploited by "Gibbard (Allan) - Contingent Identity" in the cause of supposed contingent identity156.
        3. Supporters of the Constitution View157 of Personal Identity (are sometimes said to) hold that persons158 are constituted by their bodies159 much as statues are constituted by lumps of clay.
        4. Some – eg. Trenton Merricks – get rid of this whole problem by adopting eliminativism160 – there are no such things as statues, only clay arranged statue-wise. See "Merricks (Trenton) - No Statues".
      • Dion and Theon161
        1. ‘Dion and Theon’ is an ancient conundrum that has been revived by Peter Geach, Michael Burke and others – in the form of “Tib and Tibbles162” – and is put to a variety of uses.
        2. It is so closely associated with one version of Tibles the Cat163 that I’ll describe them together, though a variant form of Tibbles the Cat will be discussed under its own Note.
          1. The conceit is that there is a whole man (Dion; or cat, Tibbles) and a partially overlapping thing (Theon or Tib) that is identical to Dion (or Tibbles) apart from its right foot (or tail). It is, of course, moot whether this “thing” is a man (or cat) – or even whether it exists at all.
          2. Subsequently Dion (or Tibbles) suffers the misfortune of losing the relevant member.
          3. Post-ectomy, it appears that Dion is identical to Theon (and Tibbles to Tib).
          4. What are we to make of this apparent contradiction, as it would seem that beforehand the respective pairs were non-identical?
        3. The solutions to this puzzle, taken from "Burke (Michael) - Dion and Theon: An Essentialist Solution to an Ancient Puzzle", include:-
          1. Restrict the principle that different objects cannot occupy the same place at the same time. Some philosophers, following Locke164 and David Wiggins165, modify the principle so that it applies only to objects of the same sort.
          2. Embrace mereological essentialism166, the doctrine that each of the parts of an object is essential to its identity. Popular in antiquity, but not supported these days.
          3. Deny that the concept167 of a torso is a proper one, or deny that there ever was such a thing as Theon.
          4. Invoke the doctrine of temporal parts.
          5. Relativizing identity168, whether to time or to sort169. George Myro and Peter Geach both would say that the amputation has left just one (man-sized) object, an object that is both a man and a torso. Is that object Dion? Or is it Theon? Myro's answer would be "both."
          6. Michael Burke’s solution: Post amputation there is just one object; it is (predicatively) both a man and a torso; this one object is Dion, who once was two-footed and now is one-footed; Theon has ceased to exist.
      • Tibbles the Cat170
        1. There appear to be two puzzles involving Tib and Tibbles, both due to Peter Geach.
          1. Tibbles and Tib – his tail-less concommitant – feature firstly as a variant of Dion and Theon171.
          2. There’s also a variant of the Problem of the Many172, in which Tibbles loses 1,000 hairs one by one.
        2. I’m not sure there’s much that will need to be added here that’s not to be covered in one or other of those two Notes.
        3. I note in passing that "Parsons (Josh) - Dion, Theon, and DAUP" refers to "Van Inwagen (Peter) - The Doctrine of Arbitrary Undetached Parts" and the problem of Descartes’ Foot, another variant on this theme.
      • The Problem of the Many173
        1. This problem is to do with objects – whether clouds or human beings – that have vague boundaries. What is wrong with saying that instead of just one object there are many overlapping ones; or, if we hate this idea, what’s the solution so that we only have one (as we first thought)?
        2. Clearly, this topic overlaps considerably with that on Vagueness174, but is a particular symptom thereof.
        3. There are also connections to:-
          1. Dion and Theon175, and
          2. Tib and Tibbles176
        4. Whereas these are rather “The Problem of the Few”, some of the same issues arise. However, it’s easier to come to a principled decision as to which is the “real” person (or cat) in these cases.
        5. The problem doesn’t just arise with living177 things, so can’t be solved (I don’t think) by moving from a substance178 to a process179 metaphysics, though it’s worth investigation.
      • The Ship of Theseus180
        1. Versions:-
          • The original version, recounted by Plutarch, just considers whether an artifact (specifically a ship) can continue the same thing if its parts are gradually replaced until all the original parts have been replaced.
          • Hobbes added the further paradox of collecting up the replaced parts and assembling them into a rival claimant to be the original ship.
          • There are various “minimalist” cases in popular culture whereby half of an artifact is replaced, followed by the other half, and maybe the process is then repeated.
            1. The traditional example is “grandfather’s axe” (the blade and the handle being successively replaced).
            2. A more recent one is “Trigger’s Broom”, from Only Fools and Horses, where the broom handle and head are successively replaced.
        2. I’m greatly attracted to David Lewis181’s solution182 to the Hobbesian version of the Ship of Theseus thought experiment183, but need to consider alternative solutions that don’t depend on Perdurantism184, and whether this case is really relevant to personal identity.
          • Is there anything special about artifacts185 that makes identification arbitrary or a matter of convention186, while the continued identity of a person187 (from the first-person perspective188, whatever society189 – which only has a third-person perspective – may say) is not arbitrary?
          • Organisms190 – it is said – do replace all their parts in the course of their lives, yet we are sure that the organism persists. Also, the matter that is lost and replaced are not “parts” in the way that planks of a ship are parts. It’s only in transplant191 surgery when parts properly so-called are replaced.
          • However, is there a fact of the matter whether the repaired ship or the reconstructed ship is the “true” ship?
          • The minimalist case is interesting because it presses our intuitions. Personally, I don’t think half or any large part of an artifact192 can be replaced while the thing remains the same, but this may just be a prejudice. Habituation comes into consideration – just as assimilation of new matter is important to organisms193. If we become habituated to some major change in a building, say, then we may agree that it has persisted194. Then we may become habituated – over generations – to the replacement of the other half. Then – if persistence is identity-preserving – we must be prepared to say – given the logic of identity195 – that the original building is identical to the current one, even if it looks nothing like it.
          • I have had such a conundrum with my house, where it was decided to rebuild the front and most of the rear walls, and the “Trigger’s Broom” variant of the Ship of Theseus paradox was mentioned by a mortgage adviser.
          • As discussed in the Note on artifacts196, Eastern traditions are much less fussy about material continuity in the persistence of buildings. See "Han (Byung-Chul) - Shanzhai: Deconstruction in Chinese".
        3. Returning to the specific case of the Ship, and generally where individuals197 lose parts198, we need to consider what the status of the lost part is:-
          • When a bicycle is disassembled with the intention of reassembling it again later, its parts are not released but merely dispersed and it becomes a scattered object199.
          • However, when an object loses a part in the normal case of wear and tear, that part – unless the artifact can be mended by having the part re-attached – is not dispersed but is returned to the environment for use elsewhere and is no longer associated with the object of which it once formed a part.
          • The same can be said where parts – in particular, planks – are removed and replaced. The ship (in this case) no longer has a lien over them.
          • If this account is correct, it solves Hobbes’s problem of the Ship of Theseus without the need for perdurantism200, though this theory of persistence201 may still be useful for other puzzles of fission202.
  3. Christian Materialism203
    1. The form of materialism204 I have in mind is that we human beings consist wholly of matter205, without the need to posit a soul206 to ensure our post-mortem survival207 and, in particular, our posited resurrection208.
    2. I will also discuss those Christian philosophers who are dualists or hold other non-materialist accounts of human identity, and who resist Christian Materialism209.
    3. Obviously, no Christian with any claim to orthodoxy believes that all persons210 are essentially211 embodied – as God is, and presumably angels are, taken to be persons and immaterial.
    4. I also suppose that Christians may differ as to what they think of as the intermediate state between death212 and resurrection213 (ignoring those that think that the future state is incorporeal214).
    5. They may also differ as to whether they think matter requires animating215 by the breath of the Spirit in a literal sense.
    6. List of Christian Materialists:
      1. Lynne Rudder Baker
      2. Kevin Corcoran
      3. Hud Hudson
      4. David Hershenov
      5. Trenton Merricks
      6. Nancey Murphy
      7. Peter Van Inwagen
    7. Remarks on other selected contemporary Christian Philosophers
    1. Religion217
      1. This Note has to do with the – historical and contemporary – ways in which religious questions and commitments have influenced philosophers in their discussions of Personal Identity.
      2. I disagree fundamentally with philosophers such as Alvin Plantinga that belief in God is “epistemologically basic”, but claim that philosophy asks questions that are prior to any others except, possibly, metaphilosophical questions, which are also philosophical, so part of philosophy itself.
      3. Recently (end December 2021) I’ve been reminded of – and briefly investigated – Michael Sudduth, who wrote on this topic (in "Sudduth (Michael) - Reformed Epistemology and Christian Apologetics"), but has since moved away from Calvinism and the Christian faith generally. I intend to look into his reasons, and determine what he thinks of his earlier writings.
      4. But – it seems to me – Christians allow their prior beliefs to constrain what results of their philosophical endeavours are acceptable. Worse; having decided on pre-philosophical grounds what to believe, they use the techniques of philosophical argument to bolster these beliefs. They don’t follow an argument where it goes, but argue in a casuistical basis.
      5. Also, despite there being little agreement on Christian doctrine amongst the various denominations and sects, philosophers seem to find the arguments they’ve dreamt up for their own sectarian beliefs the most convincing.
      6. This applies to “damnable doctrines” such as Hell, which seems to be discussed academically and unselfconsciously on the pages of Faith and Thought, just as much as to comfortable ones like Heaven.
      7. There has been some concern amongst Christian Materialist218 Philosophers as to whether heaven is a “place we can get to”. I’m not aware of the same concern for Hell, nor of just what metaphysics of the human person219 is needed to allow eternal conscious torment.
      8. Locke220’s thoughts on personal identity were initially motivated by worries about the metaphysics of Resurrection221 – seen as necessary in order to right the wrongs inflicted on the righteous in this life – as well as theodicy and other forensic222 concerns.
      9. I’ve not given much time to considering the philosophy motivated by religious beliefs antithetical to Christianity, other than to Hindu and Buddhist223 thought on the topic of Reincarnation224 and Karma.


Concluding Remarks
  1. Having now discussed both Animalism and the Constitution View, we can now in our next Chapter225 turn to the arguments against these views, starting with those against Animalism.
  2. This is work in progress226.


Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed227
  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:-
  2. I’ve not been overly careful to segregate the reading-list of this Chapter from that of Chapter 9230. I will address the segregation in due course. There will, in any case, be some overlap.
  3. While Baker’s understanding of constitution is distinct from a mereological one, it is necessary to understand mereology.
  4. I’m not sure whether the section on co-location belongs here, but it must go somewhere!
  5. Many aspects of these papers will need to be either ignored or reserved for other chapters.



Works on this topic that I’ve actually read231, include the following:-
  1. Constitution
    1. Constitution232
    2. Mereology236
    3. Hylomorphism238
  2. Constitution View
    1. Constitution View239
    2. First-Person Perspective253
    3. Lynne Rudder Baker257
    4. Coincident Objects271
  3. Christian Materialism288
  4. Christian Materialism291
    1. Religion294


A further reading list might start with:-
  1. Constitution
    1. Constitution297
    2. Mereology299
    3. Hylomorphism301
  2. Constitution View
    1. Constitution View302
    2. First-Person Perspective303
    3. Lynne Rudder Baker304
    4. Coincident Objects305
  3. Christian Materialism319
  4. Christian Materialism323
    1. Religion324



In-Page Footnotes:

Footnote 3: Footnote 38:
  1. This makes it sound as though the CV goes back centuries!
  2. Wasserman uses the term “traditionally” when he probably just means “usually” or “standardly”.
Footnote 102:
  1. Sadly, she died on 24th December 2017.
  2. I’ve retained the “historic present” in the rest of this discussion.
Footnote 227: Footnote 242: Footnotes 247, 264, 293: Footnotes 249, 266: Footnote 256: Footnote 273: Footnote 275: Footnote 296: Footnote 298: Footnote 306: Footnotes 307, 310, 313: Footnote 309: Footnote 314: Footnote 316: Footnote 318: Footnote 320: Footnote 321: Footnote 325: Footnote 326:


Table of the Previous 12 Versions of this Note:

Date Length Title
10/05/2022 17:45:36 79806 Thesis - Chapter 07 (The Constitution View and Arguments for It)
11/04/2022 00:01:26 39486 Thesis - Chapter 07 (The Constitution View and Arguments for It)
01/10/2021 13:17:46 37992 Thesis - Chapter 07 (The Constitution View and Arguments for It)
29/03/2021 19:23:31 21446 Thesis - Chapter 07 (The Constitution View and Arguments for It)
22/03/2021 00:28:48 12804 Thesis - Chapter 07 (The Constitution View and Arguments for It)
08/02/2021 13:39:22 5585 Thesis - Chapter 07 (The Constitution View and Arguments for It)
18/04/2019 18:18:43 5567 Thesis - Chapter 07 (The Constitution View and Arguments for It)
05/04/2016 23:19:41 5301 Thesis - Chapter 07 (The Constitution View and Arguments for It)
04/04/2015 00:17:17 5249 Thesis - Chapter 07 (The Constitution View and Arguments for It)
06/11/2014 10:13:26 5181 Thesis - Chapter 07 (The Constitution View and Arguments for It)
02/10/2014 17:12:29 4092 Thesis - Chapter 07 (The Constitution View and Arguments for It)
22/07/2014 22:23:31 3237 Thesis - Chapter 07 (The Constitution View and Arguments for It)



Note last updated Reading List for this Topic Parent Topic
28/09/2022 10:24:58 None available Thesis - Introduction


Summary of Notes Referenced by This Note

Animalism Animalists Animals Animation Artifacts
Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity) Baker Baker - In Favour Of the Constitution View Baker - Personal Identity Over Time Baker - Persons and Bodies - Precis
Baker - Persons and Bodies - Response to Garrett Baker - Persons and Bodies - Response to Noonan Baker - Persons and Bodies - Response to Olson Baker - Persons in the Material World Baker - The Coherence Of the Constitution View of Human Persons
Baker - The Coherence Of the Idea of Material Constitution Baker - The Constitution View of Human Persons Baker - The First-Person Perspective Baker - The Human Animal: Big-Tent Metaphysics Baker - The Very Idea of Constitution
Baker - What Am I? Body Brain Brain Criterion Brandom - Toward a Normative Pragmatics (Introduction)
Buddhism Carter – Artifacts of Theseus Change Chisholm - Which Physical Thing Am I? Christian Materialism
Coincidence Concepts Consciousness Constitution Constitution View
Constitution View - Objections Contingent Identity Convention Death DeGrazia - Are We Essentially Persons?
Dion and Theon Disembodied Existence Essentialism Existence Explanation
Fine - A Counter-Example to Locke's Thesis Fine - The Non-Identity of a Material Thing and Its Matter First-Person Perspective Fission Forensic Property
Future Great Pain Test Garrett - Persons and Bodies - Response Gay Marriage Gibbard - Contingent Identity Human Animals
Human Beings Human Persons Hybrid Theories Hylomorphism Individual
Jen_080317 (Baker) Johnston - Human Beings Kinds Lewis Life
Locke Logic of Identity Lowe - Locke on Identity Matter Mereology
Mind Narrative Identity Nihilism Noonan - Persons and Bodies - Response Olson
Olson - Immanent Causation and Life After Death Olson - Persons and Bodies - Response Olson - The Human Animal: Reply to Baker Ontology Organisms
Perdurantism Persistence Persistence Criteria Person Personality
Physicalism Problem of the Many Process Metaphysics Properties Psychological View
Psychology Reincarnation Relative Identity Religion Resurrection
Scattered Objects Self Ship of Theseus Society Sortals
Souls Statue and the Clay Status: Thesis Dashboard (2022: November) Substance Supervenience
Survival Swinburne - Personal Identity: The Dualist Theory Thesis - Chapter 07 (The Constitution View and Arguments for It) Thesis - Chapter 08 (Arguments against Animalism) Thesis - Chapter 09 (Arguments against the Constitution View)
Thesis - Method & Form Thinking Animal Argument Thought Experiments Tibbles the Cat Transplants
Uploading Vague Identity Vagueness What are We? What Matters
Wiggins Works Read - Explanation Zimmerman - The Human Animal: Objections    

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Summary of Notes Citing This Note

Christian Materialism Origins PID Note, Book & Paper Usage, 2 Status: Thesis Dashboard (2022: November), 2 Thesis - Chapter 03 (What is a Person?), 2
Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues) Thesis - Chapter 06 (Animalism and Arguments for It) Thesis - Chapter 09 (Arguments against the Constitution View), 2 Thesis - Introduction Website Generator Documentation - Functors, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

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Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note

Author Title Medium Extra Links Read?
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Chapter 03 (What is a Person?) Paper Medium Quality Abstract 2 Yes
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues) Paper Medium Quality Abstract   Yes
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Chapter 06 (Animalism and Arguments for It) Paper Medium Quality Abstract   Yes
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Chapter 09 (Arguments against the Constitution View) Paper Medium Quality Abstract 2 Yes
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Christian Materialism Paper Medium Quality Abstract   Yes
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Introduction & Chapter Outlines Paper Medium Quality Abstract   Yes
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Origins Paper Medium Quality Abstract   Yes



References & Reading List

Author Title Medium Source Read?
Al-Khalili (Jim) & McFadden (Johnjoe) Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology Book - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Al-Khalili (Jim) & McFadden (Johnjoe) - Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology Yes
Anscombe (G.E.M.) Were You a Zygote? Paper - Cited High Quality Abstract Anscombe (G.E.M) - Human Life, Action and Ethics Yes
Anscombe (G.E.M.), Geach (Mary), Gormally (Luke), Eds. Human Life, Action and Ethics Book - Cited (via Paper Cited) Bibliographical details to be supplied 10%
Arntzenius (Frank) & Hawthorne (John) Gunk And Continuous Variation Paper - Cited Low Quality Abstract Monist, Oct2005, Vol. 88 Issue 4, p441-465, 25p No
Atkinson (Thomas) Human organisms and the survival of death: a systematic evaluation of the possibility of life after death given animalism Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract PhD thesis, University of Liverpool Website, August 2017 3%
Baker (Lynne Rudder) Big-Tent Metaphysics Paper - Cited High Quality Abstract Abstracta Special Issue I – 2008 (Brazil) Yes
Baker (Lynne Rudder) Brief Reply to Rosenkrantz's Comments on my 'The Ontological Status of Persons' Paper - Cited Low Quality Abstract Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65, September 2002, pp. 394-395 Yes
Baker (Lynne Rudder) Christians Should Reject Mind-Body Dualism Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Peterson (Michael) & Van Arragon (Raymond) - Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Religion, 2004 Yes
Baker (Lynne Rudder) Constitution Revisited Paper - Cited Low Quality Abstract Baker (Lynne) - The Metaphysics of Everyday Life: An Essay in Practical Realism, Chapter 8 No
Baker (Lynne Rudder) Embryos and Stem­Cell Research Paper - Cited High Quality Abstract UMass Magazine, Spring 2006 Yes
Baker (Lynne Rudder) Functionalism Paper - Cited High Quality Abstract Robert Audi, editor, Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. CUP, New York, 1995 Yes
Baker (Lynne Rudder) In Favour Of the Constitution View Paper - Cited Baker (Lynne) - Persons and Bodies, Chapter 9 Yes
Baker (Lynne Rudder) Material Persons and the Doctrine of Resurrection Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Faith and Philosophy 18 (2001): 151-167 Yes
Baker (Lynne Rudder) Materialism with a Human Face Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Corcoran - Soul, Body and Survival, Chapter 10 No
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Baker (Lynne Rudder) Personal Identity Over Time Paper - Cited Baker (Lynne) - Persons and Bodies, Chapter 5 Yes
Baker (Lynne Rudder) Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View Book - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View Yes
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Baker (Lynne Rudder) Precis of 'Persons & Bodies: A Constitution View' Paper - Cited High Quality Abstract Field Guide to the Philosophy of Mind, 2001, e-Symposium on "Persons & Bodies: A Constitution View" Yes
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Baker (Lynne Rudder) Reply to Noonan Paper - Cited Field Guide to the Philosophy of Mind, 2001, e-Symposium on "Persons & Bodies: A Constitution View" Yes
Baker (Lynne Rudder) Reply to Olson Paper - Cited Field Guide to the Philosophy of Mind, 2001, e-Symposium on "Persons & Bodies: A Constitution View" Yes
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Cassam (Quassim) Reductionism and First-Person Thinking Paper - Cited Reduction, Explanation, and Realism , ed. David Charles and Kathleen Lennon. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992, pp. 362-380. Yes
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Chandler (Hugh S.) Theseus' Clothes-Pin Paper - Cited High Quality Abstract Analysis, Vol. 44, No. 2 (Mar., 1984), pp. 55-58 Yes
Cohen (S. Mark) & Reeve (C.D.C.) Aristotle’s Metaphysics Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2000-2020 6%
Cooper (John) Body, Soul and Life Everlasting: Biblical Anthropology and the Monism-dualism Debate Book - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Cooper (John) - Body, Soul and Life Everlasting: Biblical Anthropology and the Monism-dualism Debate 23%
Corcoran (Kevin) Biology or Psychology? Human Persons and Personal Identity Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Petrus - On Human Persons, 2003 Yes
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Gallois (Andre) Occasions of Identity : a Study in the Metaphysics of Persistence, Change, and Sameness Book - Cited (via Paper Cited) Low Quality Abstract Bibliographical details to be supplied No
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