Theo Todman's Web Page - Notes Pages
Status: Personal Identity (2022 - September)
(Text as at 10/10/2022 22:32:10)
Rationale for this Project
- I am researching the subject of Personal Identity primarily because of its intrinsic interest and importance. It is really a sub-topic in my Philosophy of Religion1 project, with its penultimate chapter considering the metaphysical possibility of resurrection.
- While I’m interested in the topic of my research in its own right, I think when I’ve sorted it out a bit, and have something to say, I’ll want to engage with other philosophers active in this field – and re-starting a PhD at Birkbeck or elsewhere might be the only effective way to do this.
- While a PhD is not an end in itself, and certainly not the ultimate aim of my doing philosophy, it’s still true that a PhD would teach me research techniques, provide focus and direction, and furnish a professional qualification should I want to publish any results in this or any other area of philosophy.
- The best place to get an overview of my current views is here2.
- The jumping-off point for my thesis is here3, though follow the links from the Chapter Abstracts for the real work, and a progress dashboard is here4.
Summary of Progress during July - September 2022
Plans for the Near Future – Top Priority Tasks
- I spent 243 hours in 22Q3 on this Project, or related work (1019.25 hours YTD, where for "YTD" - Year to Date - I mean the (academic) year that commenced in October 2021). That's 77.7% of the planned effort (86.9% YTD). Overall, 37.7% of my Project effort in the Quarter was directed towards this project (making 37.5% YTD) - as against 40% planned (36.9% YTD).
- As can be seen, I used only about three-quarters of my time budget – which had, admittedly, increased from the previous quarter. The reason for the shortfall was mostly down to the distraction of my dog Henry’s ill-health and death, together with our holiday in Norfolk.
- To control the various links within my Thesis, I’ve created and maintained a PID Note Usage5 Page.
- I continued making a detailed analysis of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View", though got somewhat side-tracked on the useful "Van Inwagen (Peter) - Materialism and the Psychological-continuity Account of Personal Identity".
- I started reading the clear and helpful "Kagan (Shelly) - How to Count Animals, more or less".
- I started Henry’s biography6. Whether It’ll get anywhere now I have the distraction of Bertie remains to be seen. Various other items read this Quarter revolved around pets, and animal rights generally.
- As is usual at holiday time, I continued my reading and annotation of W. Somerset Maugham, completing "Somerset Maugham (W.) - Collected Short Stories: Volume 1".
- Other rather tangential Thesis-items included significant progress on:-
→ "Rushdie (Salman) - The Satanic Verses", and
→ "Zubok (Vladislav M.) - Collapse: The Fall of the Soviet Union".
Both being relevant to current events.
- It’s never possible to do it justice to Aeon, when a dozen or so interesting papers turn up every week. I did, however, read some interesting items and maintained the prioritisation to restrict the top priority to 10 items.
- Progress between reports can be obtained from the relevant section of my Summary Task List7.
- A full list of items worked on in the quarter appears below:-
Thesis (Total Hours = 131.5)
Thesis Background (Total Hours = 81.25)
- Thesis - Reading / Writing (Total Hours = 118.75)
- "Aeon - Video - Don't go tellin' your momma" (Read / Write, 4.25 hours)
- "Aeon - Video - How do you know you're not dreaming?" (Read / Write, 0.75 hours)
- "Aeon - Video - They" (Read / Write, 1.25 hours)
- "Atran (Scott) - The will to fight" (Read / Write, 2.25 hours)
- "Augustine (Keith) - Guidance to Leonard Angel for 'Since Physical Formulas are Not Violated, No Soul Controls the Body'" (Write, 1 hour)
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - In Favour Of the Constitution View" (Write, 2.5 hours)
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Personal Identity Over Time" (Write, 5.75 hours)
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Coherence Of the Constitution View of Human Persons" (Write, 0.5 hours)
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Coherence Of the Idea of Material Constitution" (Write, 5.25 hours)
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Importance Of Being a Person" (Write, 3.75 hours)
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Very Idea of Constitution" (Write, 1 hour)
- "Ball (Philip) - How to Grow a Human: Reprogramming Cells and Redesigning Life" (Read / Write, 8.25 hours)
- "Bolotta (Samuele) & Dumas (Guillaume) - Social neuro AI: social interaction as the 'dark matter' of AI" (Write, 0.25 hours)
- "Charney (Noah) - A fake of art" (Read / Write, 2 hours)
- "Curran (Andrew) - Facing America's History Of Racism Requires Facing The Origins Of 'Race' As A Concept" (Write, 0.25 hours)
- "Descombes (Vincent) - Objects of All Sorts - A Philosophical Grammar" (Write, 0.75 hours)
- "Fernandez (Angela) - Not Quite Property, Not Quite Persons: A ‘Quasi’ Approach for Nonhuman Animals" (Write, 0.5 hours)
- "Francione (Gary) - We must not own animals" (Read / Write, 4 hours)
- "Francione (Gary) & Charlton (Anna E.) - The case against pets" (Read / Write, 2.75 hours)
- "Gulliver (Katrina) - Semiotics of dogs" (Read / Write, 2 hours)
- "Herculano-Houzel (Suzana), Etc. - The elephant brain in numbers" (Write, 0.25 hours)
- "Jackson (Frank) - Grue" (Write, 0.75 hours)
- "Kagan (Shelly) - How to Count Animals, more or less" (Read / Write, 5.75 hours)
- "Knobe (Joshua) - Personal Identity and Dual Character Concepts" (Write, 0.5 hours)
- "Kobie (Nicole) - Quantum Supremacy is here - So what?" (Write, 0.5 hours)
- "Lachmann (Michael) & Walker (Sara) - Life ≠ alive" (Read / Write, 1.75 hours)
- "Lichtenberg (Judith) - Abolish life sentences" (Read / Write, 1.75 hours)
- "Lockhart (Jeffrey W.) - What sex-difference science misses about the messy reality of sex" (Read / Write, 1 hour)
- "Marino (Lori) - Happy the person" (Read / Write, 3.5 hours)
- "Marino (Lori) & Mountain (Michael) - I Am NOT an Animal – Denial of Death and the relationship between Humans and Other Animals" (Write, 0.5 hours)
- "Marr (David) - Vision: A computational investigation into the human representation and processing of visual information" (Read / Write, 1.75 hours)
- "Marshall (Richard) & Rowlands (Mark) - Mark Rowlands: Hour of the Wolf" (Read, 0.25 hours)
- "Metzinger (Thomas) - Are you sleepwalking now?" (Read, 0.5 hours)
- "Noble (Denis) - Dance to the Tune of Life: Biological Relativity" (Write, 0.75 hours)
- "Pena-Guzman (David M.) - The dreams of animals" (Read / Write, 1.75 hours)
- "Petersen (Jennifer) - Can algorithms speak? And should their opinions be protected?" (Read / Write, 2 hours)
- "Quaglia (Sofia) - Connected-up-brains" (Read / Write, 2 hours)
- "Ribeiro (Sidarta) - Ancestral dreams" (Read / Write, 1.75 hours)
- "Rowlands (Mark) - The Clearing" (Read, 0.25 hours)
- "Rowlands (Mark) - The kindness of beasts" (Read, 0.25 hours)
- "Schukraft (Jason) - Comparisons of Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status Across Species" (Write, 0.25 hours)
- "Schukraft (Jason) - Differences in the Intensity of Valenced Experience across Species" (Write, 0.25 hours)
- "Schukraft (Jason) - Does Critical Flicker-Fusion Frequency Track the Subjective Experience of Time?" (Write, 0.25 hours)
- "Schukraft (Jason) - How to Measure Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status" (Write, 0.25 hours)
- "Schukraft (Jason) - The Subjective Experience of Time: Welfare Implications" (Write, 0.25 hours)
- "Schwenkler (John) - What does it take for someone to become a ‘different person’?" (Read / Write, 1.25 hours)
- "Sebo (Jeff) - Against human exceptionalism" (Read / Write, 4.5 hours)
- "Sebo (Jeff) - The Discounting Defense of Animal Research" (Write, 0.25 hours)
- "Sebo (Jeff) & Schukraft (Jason) - Don’t farm bugs" (Read / Write, 2.75 hours)
- "Smyth (Richard) - Nature does not care" (Read / Write, 1.75 hours)
- "Todman (Theo) - Henry" (Write, 9.25 hours)
- Todman (Theo) - Henry - Research new dog (Write, 6.5 hours)
- "Todman (Theo) - Thesis - Animalists" (Write, 0.75 hours)
- "Van Inwagen (Peter) - Materialism and the Psychological-continuity Account of Personal Identity" (Read / Write, 10.75 hours)
- "Watkin (Christopher) - Christianity and critical race theory" (Read / Write, 3.25 hours)
- Thesis - Research Repositioning
Thesis (Aeon) (Total Hours = 30.25)
- Thesis Background - Reading / Writing (Total Hours = 69)
- "Bryson (Bill) - A Short History of Nearly Everything" (Write, 0.5 hours)
- "Glazebrook (Louise) - The Book Your Dog Wishes You Would Read" (Read / Write, 6.75 hours)
- "Huxley (Aldous), Bradshaw (David), Ed. - Brave New World" (Read / Write, 2.5 hours)
- "Miller (Richard B.) - Casuistry and Modern Ethics: A Poetics of Practical Reasoning" (Read / Write, 1 hour)
- "Rushdie (Salman) - The Satanic Verses" (Read / Write, 14.25 hours)
- "Somerset Maugham (W.) - Collected Short Stories: Volume 1" (Read / Write, 24.25 hours)
- "The Week, Yan (Sophia) - The Morality Bank - China’s social-credit system" (Read / Write, 2.25 hours)
- "Wells (H.G.), Alder (Emily), Ed. - The Island of Doctor Moreau and Other Stories" (Read / Write, 2.25 hours)
- "Zubok (Vladislav M.) - Collapse: The Fall of the Soviet Union" (Read / Write, 15.25 hours)
- Thesis Background - Books Admin (Total Hours = 10.5)
- Thesis Background - Status (Total Hours = 1.75)
- Aeon: Gruber - Don’t be stoic: Roman Stoicism’s origins show its perniciousness (Comments; Read / Write, 0.75 hours)
- Aeon: Popkin - Our trip to Antioch (Comments; Read / Write, 0.75 hours)
- Aeon: Salgarella - Cracking the Cretan code (Comments; Read / Write, 1 hour)
- Aeon: Torwali - The polyglots of Dardistan (Comments; Read / Write, 1 hour)
- Aeon: Video - Can we create the perfect farm? (Comments; Read / Write, 0.5 hours)
- Aeon: Video - If you love this planet (Comments; Read / Write, 1.25 hours)
- Aeon: Video - The modern invention of white antique marble (Comments; Read / Write, 1.25 hours)
- Aeon: Video - What was the first transit map? (Comments; Read / Write, 0.75 hours)
- "Hains (Brigid) & Hains (Paul) - Aeon: 2019+" (Comments; Write, 18.25 hours)
- "Neumeyer (Joy) - The discontent of Russia" (Read / Write, 4.75 hours)
- One thing that repeatedly occurs to me is that I’ve got into the habit of collecting stuff – masses of it – and loosely engaging with it, but not doing so seriously enough because of a scatter-gun approach. Also, I very seldom write anything of my own without close reference to what others have written. In a sense this is a good thing, but is destructive of creativity.
- So, I intend to spend at least an hour each and every day writing my own stuff. This isn’t really enough, but we’ll see how things go. Sadly, it hasn’t gone anywhere much in the last academic year.
- So, I have set myself a challenge: write a full-length paper on what I consider to be the critical issue in the philosophy of personal identity: the difference between forward and backward psychological continuity8. Sadly, this hasn’t got far yet.
- I now seem to have a skeleton thesis9 in place. This now needs to be filled out.
- First of all, continually review the Note describing my Current Beliefs10 on the topic of Personal Identity, and ensure the associated Notes have some text. Let Sophie have a look at it, and consider submission to Aeon.
- An “ideal” next step (and one previously suggested) is to ensure that everything of relevance that I have actually read is written up and incorporated in my Notes database and only later – and secondly – consider anything that I have not yet read. This would require discipline, in that interesting new stuff is always turning up, and would be an iterative process. Further, given I’m not getting any younger, it could also be wasting time which should be focussed on using the most relevant materials.
- So, if what I’ve read and written on – in the form of particular papers on a particular topic – is most relevant, I’ll “process” that, but otherwise will start anew.
- As far as effort is concerned, I’ve had to revert the plan to 18 hours / week11. I hope to move back to 24 hours / week next quarter, once Bertie – our new dog – is ‘bedded in’.
- Most of what I’m working on appears in the reading lists for the Thesis chapters. Items below are either those that don’t, or a few which require particular focus:-
- Continue with my Thesis12; in particular
- Spend at least an hour a day writing something original.
- This was going to be an essay on the difference between Forward and Backward Psychological Continuity13, and I ought to continue with this given how important it is, but ...
- I've decided to write a long essay - possibly a book - on Henry14, my recently-deceased dog, which - as well as being cathartic - raises lots of questions related to Animalism15.
- Continue filling out those sections of my Thesis that I can write something on without further research, using books / papers already analysed.
- Continually review the Note describing my Current Beliefs16 on the topic of Personal Identity.
- Regularly review and update of the Notes I’ve created on Personal Identity, focusing on those directly referenced by my Current Beliefs17.
- Make progress on specific Chapters of my Thesis, using the tasks outlined in my Thesis Dashboard18, using the materials listed19 in the Chapters and underlying Notes.
- Ensure the following foundational Books20 required for my Thesis are fully annotated. In particular:-
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View",
- "Olson (Eric) - The Human Animal - Personal Identity Without Psychology", and
- "Olson (Eric) - What are We? A Study of Personal Ontology".
- Read and comment on21 the following PhD Theses relevant to my own Thesis:-
- "Atkinson (Thomas) - Human organisms and the survival of death: a systematic evaluation of the possibility of life after death given animalism",
- "Baggini (Julian) - Psychological Reductionism About Persons: A Critical Development",
- "Eddebo (Johan) - Death and the Self: A Metaphysical Investigation of the Rationality of Afterlife Beliefs in the Contemporary Intellectual Climate",
- "Ferner (Adam) - Metaphysics and biology: a critique of David Wiggins’ account of personal identity",
- "Gendler (Tamar Szabo) - Imaginary Exceptions: On the Powers and Limits of Thought Experiment",
- "Hodson (Sommer) - A Hybrid View of Personal Identity",
- "Keles (Serap) - Personal identity and persistence over time : the hybrid view with regard to hylomorphism",
- "Lechthaler (Manuel) - Composition and Identities",
- "Lybaert (Fauve) - Personal Identity and the Formal Self",
- "Paez (Eze) - Abortion: What We Ought to Believe - An Ontological and Normative Analysis",
- "Parsons (Josh) - Theories of Persistence",
- "Rau (Philipp) - The Author, Not the Tale: Memory, Narrative, and the Self",
- "Skow (Bradford) - Once Upon a Spacetime",
- "Southgate (Susan Jane) - Personal Identity: The Simple View",
- "Trakas (Marina) - Personal Memories", and
- "Woods (Evan Thomas) - The Problems of the Many".
- "Kotak (Aakash) - The Hybrid Theory of Personal Identity" (MPhil Thesis; Read and comment on)
- Follow up on Keith Augustine's comments on my review of "Hershenov (David) - Review of Nancey Murphy's 'Bodies and Souls, or Spirited Bodies?'".
- Complete analysing the following papers22:-
→ "Corabi (Joseph) & Schneider (Susan) - The Metaphysics of Uploading",
→ "Giusti (Elena) & Derbew (Sarah) - Decolonizing Blackness, alongside the Classics Curriculum: A conversation with Dr Sarah Derbew",
→ "Olson (Eric) - The Central Dogma Of Transhumanism",
→ "Van Inwagen (Peter) - Materialism and the Psychological-continuity Account of Personal Identity",
→ "Watkin (Christopher) - Christianity and critical race theory"
- As background tasks:-
- Ensure all items in:-
→ "Various - Papers on Desktop", and
→ "Various - Papers in Desk Drawer"
are either addressed or re-filed.
- Maintain "Various - Papers & Books Yet To Be Logged", and log papers therein if they become important.
- Convert old PDFs to Notes:-
- Review the two reports:-
- Determine how the first is produced, and why the pdfs aren't highlighted, and compare with Write-ups Notes Jump Table
- Convert outstanding Essays & Précises.
- Complete cataloguing the books downloaded from Springer,
- Continue / complete reading / annotating various books that have landed in my in-tray:-
- "Barash (David P.) - Through a Glass Brightly: Using Science to See Our Species as We Really Are",
- "Blatti (Stephan) & Snowdon (Paul), Eds. - Animalism: New Essays on Persons, Animals, and Identity",
- "Bostrom (Nick) - Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies",
- "Bradley (Ben), Feldman (Fred) & Johansson (Jens) - The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Death",
- "Dennett (Daniel) - Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking",
- "Hofstadter (Douglas) & Dennett (Daniel), Eds. - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul",
- "Kagan (Shelly) - How to Count Animals, more or less",
- "Korsgaard (Christine) - Fellow Creatures: Our Obligations to the Other Animals",
- "Levitin (Daniel) - The Changing Mind: A Neuroscientist's Guide to Ageing Well",
- "Marshall (Richard) - Philosophy at 3:AM: Questions and Answers with 25 Top Philosophers",
- "Martin (L. Michael) & Augustine (Keith) - The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life After Death",
- "Miller (Kristie) - Issues in Theoretical Diversity: Persistence, Composition, and Time",
- "Rowlands (Mark) - The Philosopher and the Wolf",
- "Schneider (Susan) - Artificial You",
- "Seung (Sebastian) - Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are",
- "Wilson (Jack) - Biological Individuality - The identity and Persistence of Living Entities", and
- "Wright (Craig) - The Hidden Habits of Genius: Beyond Talent, IQ, and Grit - Unlocking the Secrets of Greatness".
- Complete reading (or make notes on):-
- "Borges (Jorge Luis) - Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings",
- "Dennett (Daniel) - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul: Introduction",
- "Erber (Joan T.) & Szuchman (Lenore T.) - Great Myths of Aging",
- Complete my Note on "Smith (Martin) - Why Throwing 92 Heads in a Row Is Not Surprising" and discuss with Pete & Mike.
- Continue reading and reviewing papers issued by Aeon24 (and the occasional spin-off). In particular, complete write-ups for:-
→ "Francione (Gary) & Charlton (Anna E.) - The case against pets"
→ "Francione (Gary) - We must not own animals"
→ "Friston (Karl) - Karl Friston: Embodied cognition"
→ "Lachmann (Michael) & Walker (Sara) - Life ≠ alive"
→ "Neumeyer (Joy) - The discontent of Russia"
→ "Marino (Lori) - Happy the person"
→ "Metzinger (Thomas) - Are you sleepwalking now?"
→ "Schwenkler (John) - What does it take for someone to become a ‘different person’?"
→ "Sebo (Jeff) & Schukraft (Jason) - Don’t farm bugs"
→ "Sebo (Jeff) - Against human exceptionalism"
→ "Zangwill (Nick) - Why you should eat meat"
→ "Zangwill (Nick) - Our Moral Duty to Eat Meat"
- Keep up with the Journals via JSTOR & Cambridge Core.
- Update my Journals Note25: Review the journals I have access to; more are available as a Cambridge Alumnus.
- Keep up with the philosophical world by regular reviews of "Interaction - Philos-List", but only seriously pursue items relevant to my research.
In-Page Footnotes:Footnote 11:
- 24 hours / week – while still ludicrously inadequate for what I want to achieve – is approximately what would be expected of a part-time research student.
- I used to itemise in this Note an ever-growing list of items accummulated over time, broken down by Chapter and Note.
- However, now both Chapters and Notes are getting into shape, there is no need to list these items again here, so they have been cut after checking they are covered in their place elsewhere.
- This list could get very long, so restrict it to 3 books!
- I'll replace these with new ones when completed.
- There are rather a lot of these, so some will have to be skimmed.
- There were a few more on less central topics.
- This list used to get inordinately long and has been culled.
- Ensure this doesn't happen again!
Table of the Previous 12 Versions of this Note: (of 85)
Summary of Notes Referenced by This Note
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Summary of Notes Citing This Note
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Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note
||Thesis - The Form of the Argument
Text Colour Conventions
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2022