Theo Todman's Web Page - Notes Pages
Status: Personal Identity (2016 - September)
(Text as at 14/10/2016 22:14:53)
(For other versions of this Note, see the tables at the end)
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 jumping-off point for my thesis is here2, and a progress dashboard is here3.
Summary of Progress during July – September 2016
- I spent a measly 42 hours in 3Q16 on my Thesis or Thesis-related work (561 hours YTD, where for “YTD” – Year to Date – I mean the (academic) year that commenced in October 2015). That’s only 21% of the planned effort (64% YTD). Overall, 7% of my Project effort in the Quarter was directed towards this project (making 22% YTD) – as against 33% planned (34% YTD).
- This quarter, effort was severely curtailed by the need to finalise Pete’s PhD Appendices (see Web Tools4). Even the time spent was directed almost exclusively to peripheral matters, though I made some progress on a detailed analysis of "Olson (Eric) - Psychology and Personal Identity".
- Progress between reports can be obtained from the relevant section of my Summary Task List (Click Here5).
- More detail follows:-
Thesis (Total Hours = 29)
- Thesis - Reading / Writing (Total Hours = 28.25)
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Review of "The Emergent Self" by William Hasker" (Read, 0.25 hours)
- "Ball (Philip) - We might live in a computer program, but it may not matter" (Read / Write, 1.25 hours)
- "Brody (Baruch) - Ethical Questions Raised by the Persistent Vegetative Patient" (Read / Write, 1.75 hours)
- "Easwaran (Kenny), Fenton-Glynn (Luke), Hitchcock (Christopher), Velasco (Joel D.) - Updating on the Credences of Others: Disagreement, Agreement, and Synergy" (Write, 0.25 hours)
- "Henriques (Martha) - Organisms might be quantum machines" (Read / Write, 0.75 hours)
- "Morton (Adam) - Why There Is No Concept of a Person" (Read / Write, 2 hours)
- "Olson (Eric) - Persistence" (Read / Write, 3 hours)
- "Olson (Eric) - Psychology and Personal Identity" (Write, 11.75 hours)
- "Price (H.H.) - Motives for disbelief in life after death" (Read / Write, 1 hour)
- "Price (H.H.) - Two conceptions of the Next World" (Read / Write, 1.5 hours)
- "Steward (Helen) - Review of "The Emergent Self" by William Hasker" (Read, 0.25 hours)
- "Stone (Tony) & Davies (Martin) - Mental Simulation: Introduction" (Read / Write, 3.5 hours)
- "Strawson (Galen) - 'Where our responsibility lies': Locke on personal identity" (Read / Write, 1 hour)
- Thesis - Research Repositioning
Thesis Background (Total Hours = 12.5)
- Thesis Background - Reading / Writing (Total Hours = 7.5)
- Thesis Background - Books Admin (Total Hours = 2.75)
- Thesis Background - Status
Plans for the Near Future – Top Priority Tasks
- I now have a clear idea of what I want to do over the next 2 years6, which is to complete a thesis to my own satisfaction. As such I require rigorous focus on the priority tasks, books and papers. Lower-priority reading is not likely to get a look in, so will be cut.
- 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, to balance the books I’ve had to reduce planned hours / week yet further from 15 to 14 – though this will increase later in the year once I’ve caught up with the backlog of work on my web-tools7 project.
- So, the task for the next quarter will be to continue my analysis of "Olson (Eric) - The Human Animal - Personal Identity Without Psychology".
- Following that, the focus (if you can call it that) will be on the following bumper list:-
- Continue with my Thesis8; in particular fill out those sections that I can write something on without further research.
- Complete a full review and update of the Notes I’ve created on Personal Identity, focusing on those with least content.
- Make progress on specific Chapters, using the materials below …
- Chapter 29 (What Are We?). Focussing on:-
- Human Beings: "Johnston (Mark) - "Human Beings" Revisited: My Body is Not an Animal".
- "Dainton (Barry) - Self: Philosophy In Transit",
- "O'Hear (Anthony), Ed. - Mind, Self and Person".
- Chapter 610 (Animalism). Focussing on:-
- "Olson (Eric) - The Human Animal - Personal Identity Without Psychology", my core text,
- "Merricks (Trenton) - Objects and Persons",
- "Bailey (Andrew M.) - The Elimination Argument",
- "Olson (Eric) - On Parfit's View That We Are Not Human Beings",
- "Olson (Eric) - The Metaphysical Implications of Conjoined Twining",
- "Olson (Eric) - The Role of the Brainstem in Personal Identity",
- "Shoemaker (Sydney) - Persons, Animals, and Identity",
- "Snowdon (Paul) - Persons, Animals, Ourselves".
- Chapter 711 (The Constitution View):-
- Start a serious review of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View", my other core text.
- Read and review "Corcoran (Kevin) - Rethinking Human Nature: A Christian Materialist Alternative to the Soul".
- Chapter 1112 (Resurrection):-
- Start a thorough review of "Martin (L. Michael) & Augustine (Keith) - The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life After Death",
- Start a review of "Luper (Steven), Ed. - The Cambridge Companion to Life and Death", especially
- "Olson (Eric) - The Nature of People",
- Read and review "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Death and the Afterlife",
- "Corcoran (Kevin) - Dualism, Materialism and the Problem of Post Mortem Survival".
- As background tasks:-
- Convert old PDF-précis, Etc13. to Notes,
- Complete cataloguing the books downloaded from Springer,
- Continue with "Marshall (Richard) - Philosophy at 3:AM: Questions and Answers with 25 Top Philosophers",
- Complete "Erber (Joan T.) & Szuchman (Lenore T.) - Great Myths of Aging",
- Continue reading and reviewing "Somerset Maugham (W.) - Short Stories",
- Keep up with the Journals via JSTOR14.
Summary of Progress to Date
This was hived off to a separate Note15 back in 2010, and hasn’t changed much since.
In-Page FootnotesFootnote 6:
- Hopefully, I may complete, or get stuck, earlier.
- By “2 years”, I mean the period ending on my 65th birthday – ie. 13/11/2018. This is not to slip!
- On the plus side, I’m much further advanced than would be expected of someone commencing a PhD.
- On the minus side, I want to go into greater depth, and have other projects on the go – most notably my Web-tools project.
Live Version of this Archived Note
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Table of the 3 Later Versions of this Note
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Text Colour Conventions
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2017