<!DOCTYPE html><HTML lang="en"> <head> <meta charset="utf-8"> <link href="../../TheosStyle.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"><link rel="shortcut icon" href="../../TT_ICO.png" /> <title>Note: Write-ups - Chisholm - Which Physical Thing Am I? (Theo Todman's Web Page)</title> </head><body> <a name="Top"></a> <h1>Theo Todman's Web Page - Notes Pages</h1><hr><h2>Write-ups</h2><h3>Chisholm - Which Physical Thing Am I?</h3><p class = "Centered">(Text as at 18/12/2010 19:58:05)<br><br>(For earlier versions of this Note, <a href="#TableOfPreviousVersions">see the table at the end</a>)</p><hr> <P><FONT COLOR = "0000FF">This write-up is a review of <a name="1"></a>"<A HREF = "../../Abstracts/Abstract_01/Abstract_1790.htm">Chisholm (Roderick) - Which Physical Thing Am I? An Excerpt from 'Is There a Mind-Body Problem?'</A>". My own comments universally appear as  Note: .<BR><BR><B>Sections</B><ol type="1"><li>The Theory</li><li> Some Objections Considered</li><li>Conclusion</li></ol><BR><B>1. The Theory</B><ol type="1"><li>According to the double aspect theory, some physical things have mental or intentional properties as well as physical properties. Persons  you and I  are such things. </li><li>In support, Chisholm approvingly quotes <a name="2"></a>"<A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_12/PaperSummary_12684.htm">Strong (C.A.) - Final Observations</A>", p. 237, to the effect that <I>I</I> am to outer appearance physical, but am to inner perception psychical. So, there is no contradiction in a physical, partite, effective thing that feels.</li><li>This gives a problem  <I>if</I> we are physical things, <I>which</I> physical thing are we. Chisholm claims the answer is obviously either our  gross physical body or a proper part thereof. <ul type="disc"><li><B>Note</B>: Olson claims that there s an important distinction between bodies and organisms, and would claim that I am identical to the human organism, not the human body. Does this make a difference to Chisholm s arguments?</li></ul></li><li>Chisholm claims that there are sound arguments to do with facts about persistence through time that show that I cannot be identical to my body. </li><li>The main contention is that  the body I carry around with me is an <I>ens successivum</I> - an entity that is made up of different things at different times. The  set of things that makes it up varies from day to day. It has different  stand ins that  do duty for the successive entity at different times. <ul type="disc"><li><B>Note</B>: Just what is a  successive entity  is this something that is only self-identical from moment to moment in the  loose and popular sense? Or is it a substance that is  constituted by different entities from moment to moment? Also, how many levels of thing do we have here? Persons, then bodies, and then the stand-ins for those bodies? </li></ul></li><li>Chisholm now asks whether <I>I</I> am an ens successivum such that different things do duty for <I>me</I> on different days? He denies this on the grounds that if I have an emotion, no other thing has this emotion for me, and particularly not different things at different times. </li><li>The argument for the above claim is as follows:-<BR>1. I am supposed now sad.<BR>2. An ens successivum bearing my name is sad if one of its stand-ins is now sad.<BR>3. I am not sad in virtue of anything else being sad for me.<BR>4. Therefore, I am not an ens successivum. <ul type="disc"><li><B>Note</B>: I don t know what to make of this argument. It doesn t add anything except make premise (3) explicit. Why should we accept this? Don t my various body-parts perform their functions for me (eg. don t my kidneys purify my blood). So, why can t my brain feel my sadness? And my brain is an ens successivum, part of a larger ens successivum that is my body. And saying  <I>my</I> body isn t to say that I m anything other than my body, it s just a figure of speech (For what? For when I want to emphasise my corporeal rather than mental aspects). </li></ul></li><li>What is a non-successive entity like? It is <I>not</I> made up of different things at different times. It has all of its parts essentially. </li><li>Chisholm adopts a  Leibnizian position whereby something exists only if its contrary exists. So, since entia successiva exist, entia nonsuccessiva must exist too. <ul type="disc"><li><B>Note</B>: Can this approach possibly be sound? Do unicorns and gods exist because non-unicorns and non-gods exist? I d thought that Leibniz was talking about concepts  we can only have the concept of a thing if we have the concept of its opposite (I ve a vague recollection of some  scholastic arguments in natural theology along these lines)  but our concepts bear no necessary connection to what exists). </li></ul></li><li>Anyway, Chisholm thinks we can only make sense of anything persisting if in any interval, however small, an ens successivum exists during part of that time. <ul type="disc"><li><B>Note</B>: I ve no idea what he s on about here. </li></ul></li><li>So, might I not be an ens nonsuccessivum? He mentions Leibniz s account of the Rabbis suggestion that there is an incorruptible <I>Luz bone</I>. Neither he nor Leibniz accept this idea as such, but Chisholm seems to accept the idea that there may be a microscopic material object that <I>is</I> the person. Leibniz had denied that the soul dwells there, and Chisholm accepts this rejection if the soul is taken to be something that the person <I>has</I>. What he does say is that <I>the person</I> dwells there, that the person <I>is</I> the Luz bone or a proper part of it (or of the microscopic entity Chisholm prefers to the Luz bone). </li><li>Chisholm considers the impact of his thesis  that persons are intactly persisting physical things  on <I>personalism</I>. While the personalists would have rejected this idea, it lends support to other ideas the personalists thought important. Bishop Butler rejected the idea that  our gross organised bodies are any part of ourselves, even though we use them for sense-perception and action; claiming  we see with our eyes in the same way we see with our glasses . <ul type="disc"><li><B>Note</B>: What is  personalism ? </li></ul> </li><li>Chisholm accepts:- <BR>1. That our eyes are only the organs of sight, and not the subjects of sight. <BR>2. That the destruction of the  gross physical body does not logically imply the destruction of the person. <BR>3. The substance of Aquinas s attribution to Plato: that the person is in the body as a sailor is in the ship. <ul type="disc"><li><B>Notes</B> (indexed to the 3 remarks above): <BR>1). I think every physicalist would agree that the eyes are much as Butler and Chisholm allege, though they do much more information processing and transduction than mere spectacles. The interpretation of the visual information takes place in the visual cortex, and the subjective awareness of that information presumably takes place (somewhat mysteriously) there or elsewhere in the brain. Some would say that the subject of experience is the brain, or part of it. Chisholm, it turns out, would agree with this, though not in the conventional physicalist sense. <BR>2). The emphasis is on  gross  Chisholm is claiming that there is some small part that is indestructible and that ensures the persistence of the person despite the destruction (or change  for Chisholm the moment by moment replacement) of the body, because it <I>is</I> (identical to) the person. <BR>3). This sounds a step back from Descartes s rejection of the pilot/ship analogy  Descartes has the soul intermingled with the body  but the claim is not really the same thing for Chisholm as it is for Plato and Aquinas. His pilot is a physical thing.</li></ul></li></ol><BR><B>2. Some Objections Considered</B><BR><BR>Chisholm clarifies his proposal by considering 5 objections:-<ol type="1"><li><B>Objection</B>: Physics knows nothing of any incorruptible matter of which the person might be made.<BR><B>Answer</B>: His theory implies no such thing, only that there are certain material things that remain uncorrupted as long as the person survives. The theory is that the person is identical to some proper part of the gross body, most likely something microscopic  certain material particles or sub-particles  in the brain. While not being the Luz bone, it is like it in being intact and nonsuccessive. <ul type="disc"><li><B>Note</B>: This seems to be a crazy idea, but one that s theoretically open to empirical investigation. It seems to be predicated on the idea that the  strict and philosophical identity relation allows for no change of parts (mereological essentialism). Chisholm throws down the gauntlet at the end of the extract for those who don t like his theory to think of something better.</li></ul></li><li><B>Objection</B>: thinking requires a complex structure not possessed by microscopic particles. So what does the thinking for this particle?<BR><B>Answer</B>: I <I>am</I> that microscopic particle, I <I>have</I> a brain, so <I>it</I> has a brain too; the <I>same</I> brain I have. The brain is the <I>organ</I> of consciousness, not the <I>subject</I> of consciousness, just as for my nose and smell. That is, unless I <I>am</I> my brain (or nose). The theory is that the subject of consciousness is a proper part of the organ of consciousness. <BR><ul type="disc"><li><B>Note</B>: There s a lot going on here. Firstly, I reject the analogy between brain and nose for the reasons given earlier for the eye. Secondly, I am suspicious of the use of  have . I (considered as a biological organism) have a brain as a functioning proper part. The supposed microscopic particle has a brain in a different sense  that of possession. Chisholm is right to reject the regress of increasingly tiny brains as proper parts of increasingly tiny homunculi. However, how is the posited homunculus supposed to think with its (gross) brain? What s the interface protocol? There s something inimical to the spirit of physicalism going on here  why say this thing is physical at all? Why not just stick with immaterial souls? Physicalism claims that all that exists are physical things (together with, maybe, abstract objects), but further that we can explain how macroscopic things work by reference to the working of their parts and the operation of universal physical laws. The positing of unchangeable physical things  simples  that are capable of complicated things  perception  seems contrary to the spirit of these claims. </li></ul></li><li><B>Objection</B>: if I m identical to a microscopic particle, how come I m 5 ft 10 ins tall and weigh 14 stone? <BR><B>Answer</B>: I have a body with these properties. <BR><ul type="disc"><li><B>Note</B>: So, it seems that  for Chisholm  I really am tiny. The same issues come up for the  brain view , that I really only weigh 3 lb, and so on. I suspect this to be just a matter of a linguistic convention that we would keep even if the metaphysical theories on offer turned out to be true. I don t consider the objection serious. It is probably correctly responded to by Baker s account of  having properties derivatively by reason of being constituted by something else that has these properties non-derivatively. Note, however, that Baker s view  that I am constituted by my gross physical body - bears no relation to Chisholm s  that I am identical to a minute proper part of my body. </li></ul> </li><li><B>Objection</B>: Are you serious in saying I weigh less than a milligram?<BR><B>Answer</B>: Yes. Both the statement that I weigh 14 stone and that I weigh less than a milligram are <I>correct</I>, according to different manners of speaking, though the latter is more <I>accurate</I>. He wheels out the  loose and popular versus  strict and philosophical distinction, and an analogy  I m at such-and-such a garage , when I mean my car is. Some of  my properties are borrowed from my body. Chisholm has a footnote where he notes Strawson s claim that persons have both psychological and physical properties. According to Chisholm, most of the physical predicates are borrowed from the person s body. <BR><ul type="disc"><li><B>Note</B>: this is really the same point as (3), but with more of the incredulous stare, and a bit more explanation in response. Baker s indebtedness to these ideas is clear.</li></ul></li><li><B>Objection</B>: Your brain is your organ of thought, and is responsible for all your psychological properties which, according to Locke, are constitutive of your identity. Since you are not your brain, but a microscopic particle within it, it might be possible to exchange the brain (less you) with another person. In that case you (in Chisholm s sense) would no longer be you (in Locke s sense). <BR><B>Answer</B>: this is only absurd if we confuse the <I>criteria</I> of identity with the <I>truth-conditions</I> of identity. The criteria (in normal circumstances) aid <I>identification</I>, but they do not make <I>identity</I>. <ul type="disc"><li><B>Notes</B>:<BR>1. This seems simply to ignore the whole Lockean  psychological approach , which claims that psychological continuity is constitutive of personal identity and not just evidence for it. <BR>2. That said, Chisholm is right to stand his ground. The situation is similar to the second horn of Williams s dilemma in <a name="3"></a>"<A HREF = "../../Abstracts/Abstract_00/Abstract_423.htm">Williams (Bernard) - The Self and the Future</A>", where the brain-state transfer device is taken to induce massive psychological change rather than identity transfer. </li></ul></li></ol><BR><B>3. Conclusion</B><ol type="1"><li>There are persons, and they are either physical or non-physical. Does anything we know of persons justify us taking the second option? </li><li>If we assume that the concept of an extended thing presupposes that of a non-extended thing, might we not suppose that persons are non-extended things? But this contradicts the assumption that persons are entia per se. Unextended things (such as boundaries, lines, points and surfaces) are ontological parasites on extended things, rather than vice versa, so are not entia per se. </li><li>Chisholm asks rhetorically what point there would be in the supposition that some individual things have the property of being non-physical  how would it explain anything?</li><li>If I am physical, the most plausible explanation is that I m a proper part of my macroscopic body, even though it s not possible to tell from the outside which part I am. </li><li>Those who think this implausible need to come up with a better idea. <ul type="disc"><li><B>Notes</B> (indexed to the 5 remarks above):<BR>1. An interesting question that Chisholm proceeds to address, but far too briefly.<BR>2. Entia per se are presumably substances, as distinct from the properties that substances have (though does Chisholm believe in substances, given his mereological essentialism?). When we say that something is unextended, is this the same as saying it is non-physical? Are lines not extended? Are points parasitic on anything? I agree that surfaces, like dents, are parasitic on the things whose surfaces they are. <BR>3. Well, indeed! But one might give it a try (as many philosophers have). <BR>4. Can we tell from the <I>inside</I> what proper part I am? And why can t we tell from the outside?<BR>5. Some would say they have. </li></ul></li></ol><B><U>Summary Response</B></U><BR><BR>It seems to me a rather desperate move to suggest that persons are microscopic unchanging particles. The suggestion appears to stem from accepting mereological essentialism combined with a desire for our  strict and philosophical persistence. If we are such strange items, how do we interact with our brains? What advantage is there in assuming we re physical in that sense, when the supposed physical thing is unknown to physics? The mistake seems to me to be in the initial premise of mereological essentialism for organisms.</P> <br><hr><h3 class = "Left">Printable Versions:</h3> <UL><li>Follow (<A Href="Notes_Print/NotesPrint_774_0_P_R.htm" TARGET = "_top">this link</A>) for level 0 (with reading list), and </li><li>Follow (<A Href="Notes_Print/NotesPrint_774_1_P.htm" TARGET = "_top">this link</A>) for level 1.</li></UL> <a name="TableOfPreviousVersions"></a><BR><HR><h3 class= "Left">Previous Version of this Note:</h3> <TABLE class = "ReadingList" WIDTH=700> <TR><TD WIDTH="20%" class = "BridgeCenter"><strong>Date</strong></TD> <TD WIDTH="10%" class = "BridgeRight"><strong>Length</strong></TD> <TD WIDTH="70%" class = "BridgeLeft"><strong>Title</strong></TD></TR> <TR><TD class = "BridgeCenter">03/02/2008 12:46:05</TD> <TD class = "BridgeRight">14546</TD> <TD class = "BridgeLeft"><A HREF = "Notes_774_39481532.htm">Chisholm - Which Physical Thing Am I?</A></TD></TR> </TABLE> <BR><HR><BR><CENTER><TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950><TR> <TH WIDTH="25%">Note last updated</TH> <TH WIDTH="50%">Reading List for this Topic</TH> <TH WIDTH="25%">Parent Topic</TH></TR> <TR><TD WIDTH="25%">18/12/2010 19:58:05</TD> <TD WIDTH="50%">None available</TD> <TD WIDTH="25%"><A href ="../../Notes/Notes_7/Notes_734.htm">What are We?</A></TD></TR> </TABLE></center> <BR><HR><BR><h3>Summary of Note Links to this Page</h3> <CENTER> <TABLE Class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950> <TR> <td bgcolor="#b3ffb3" WIDTH="20%"><A href = "../../Secure_Jen/Notes_7/Notes_793.htm#4"><span title="High Quality">Jen_080204 (Brandom, Chisholm, Baillie)</span></A>, <A href = "../../Secure_Jen/Notes_7/Notes_793.htm#9">2</A></TD> <td bgcolor="#b3ffb3" WIDTH="20%"><A href = "../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1134.htm#35"><span title="High Quality">Olson - 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An Excerpt from 'Is There a Mind-Body Problem?'</TD> <TD WIDTH="20%" class = "BridgeLeft"><A HREF="../../Abstracts/Abstract_01/Abstract_1790.htm">Paper - Cited</A> <img src="../../accept.png"alt="High Quality Abstract" Title="Write-Up Complete"></TD> <TD WIDTH="35%" class = "BridgeLeft">Van Inwagen & Zimmerman - Metaphysics: The Big Questions</TD> <TD WIDTH="5%" class = "BridgeCenter">Yes</TD> </TR> <TR> <TD WIDTH="15%" class = "BridgeLeft">Gasser (Georg)</TD> <TD WIDTH="25%" class = "BridgeLeft">Personal Identity and Resurrection: Introduction</TD> <TD WIDTH="20%" class = "BridgeLeft"><A HREF="../../Abstracts/Abstract_19/Abstract_19029.htm">Paper - Referencing</A> <img src="../../accept.png"alt="High Quality Abstract" Title=""></TD> <TD WIDTH="35%" class = "BridgeLeft">Gasser (Georg) - Personal Identity and Resurrection: How Do We Survive Our Death? 2010</TD> <TD WIDTH="5%" class = "BridgeCenter">Yes</TD> </TR> <TR> <TD WIDTH="15%" class = "BridgeLeft">Gasser (Georg), Ed.</TD> <TD WIDTH="25%" class = "BridgeLeft">Personal Identity and Resurrection: How Do We Survive Our Death?</TD> <TD WIDTH="20%" class = "BridgeLeft"><A HREF="../../BookSummaries/BookSummary_05/BookPaperAbstracts/BookPaperAbstracts_5722.htm">Book - Referencing (via Paper Referencing)</A> <img src="../../asterisk_yellow.png" alt="Medium Quality Abstract"></TD> <TD WIDTH="35%" class = "BridgeLeft">Bibliographical details to be supplied</TD> <TD WIDTH="5%" class = "BridgeCenter"> 95%</TD> </TR> <TR> <TD WIDTH="15%" class = "BridgeLeft">Olson (Eric)</TD> <TD WIDTH="25%" class = "BridgeLeft">Immanent Causation and Life After Death</TD> <TD WIDTH="20%" class = "BridgeLeft"><A HREF="../../Abstracts/Abstract_18/Abstract_18989.htm">Paper - Referencing</A> <img src="../../accept.png"alt="High Quality Abstract" Title="Abstract Written"></TD> <TD WIDTH="35%" class = "BridgeLeft">Gasser (Georg) - Personal Identity and Resurrection: How Do We Survive Our Death? 2010</TD> <TD WIDTH="5%" class = "BridgeCenter">Yes</TD> </TR> <TR> <TD WIDTH="15%" class = "BridgeLeft">Shoemaker (David)</TD> <TD WIDTH="25%" class = "BridgeLeft">Personal Identity and Ethics: A Brief Introduction</TD> <TD WIDTH="20%" class = "BridgeLeft"><A HREF="../../BookSummaries/BookSummary_03/BookPaperAbstracts/BookPaperAbstracts_3382.htm">Book - Referencing (via Paper Referencing)</A> <img src="../../cancel.png" alt="Low Quality Abstract"></TD> <TD WIDTH="35%" class = "BridgeLeft">Bibliographical details to be supplied</TD> <TD WIDTH="5%" class = "BridgeCenter">Yes</TD> </TR> <TR> <TD WIDTH="15%" class = "BridgeLeft">Shoemaker (David)</TD> <TD WIDTH="25%" class = "BridgeLeft">Personal Identity and Immortality</TD> <TD WIDTH="20%" class = "BridgeLeft"><A HREF="../../Abstracts/Abstract_15/Abstract_15141.htm">Paper - Referencing</A> <img src="../../accept.png"alt="High Quality Abstract" Title="Write-Up Complete"></TD> <TD WIDTH="35%" class = "BridgeLeft">Shoemaker (David) - Personal Identity and Ethics: A Brief Introduction, 2009, Chapter 1</TD> <TD WIDTH="5%" class = "BridgeCenter">Yes</TD> </TR> <TR> <TD WIDTH="15%" class = "BridgeLeft">Strong (C.A.)</TD> <TD WIDTH="25%" class = "BridgeLeft">Final Observations</TD> <TD WIDTH="20%" class = "BridgeLeft"><A HREF="../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_12/PaperSummary_12684.htm">Paper - Cited</A> </TD> <TD WIDTH="35%" class = "BridgeLeft">The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 38, No. 9. (Apr. 24, 1941), pp. 233-243</TD> <TD WIDTH="5%" class = "BridgeCenter">No</TD> </TR> <TR> <TD WIDTH="15%" class = "BridgeLeft">Van Inwagen (Peter) & Zimmerman (Dean)</TD> <TD WIDTH="25%" class = "BridgeLeft">Metaphysics: The Big Questions</TD> <TD WIDTH="20%" class = "BridgeLeft"><A HREF="../../BookSummaries/BookSummary_00/BookPaperAbstracts/BookPaperAbstracts_418.htm">Book - Cited (via Paper Cited)</A> <img src="../../asterisk_yellow.png" alt="Medium Quality Abstract"></TD> <TD WIDTH="35%" class = "BridgeLeft">Bibliographical details to be supplied</TD> <TD WIDTH="5%" class = "BridgeCenter"> 16%</TD> </TR> <TR> <TD WIDTH="15%" class = "BridgeLeft">Williams (Bernard)</TD> <TD WIDTH="25%" class = "BridgeLeft">Problems of the Self</TD> <TD WIDTH="20%" class = "BridgeLeft"><A HREF="../../BookSummaries/BookSummary_00/BookPaperAbstracts/BookPaperAbstracts_160.htm">Book - Cited (via Paper Cited)</A> <img src="../../cancel.png" alt="Low Quality Abstract"></TD> <TD WIDTH="35%" class = "BridgeLeft">Bibliographical details to be supplied</TD> <TD WIDTH="5%" class = "BridgeCenter"> 55%</TD> </TR> <TR> <TD WIDTH="15%" class = "BridgeLeft">Williams (Bernard)</TD> <TD WIDTH="25%" class = "BridgeLeft">The Self and the Future</TD> <TD WIDTH="20%" class = "BridgeLeft"><A HREF="../../Abstracts/Abstract_00/Abstract_423.htm">Paper - Cited</A> <img src="../../accept.png"alt="High Quality Abstract" Title="Write-Up Complete"></TD> <TD WIDTH="35%" class = "BridgeLeft">Williams - Problems of the Self</TD> <TD WIDTH="5%" class = "BridgeCenter">Yes</TD> </TR> </TABLE> </CENTER> <a name="ColourConventions"></a><br><hr><br><h3 class = "Left">Text Colour Conventions</h3><OL TYPE="1"><li><FONT COLOR = "000000">Black</FONT>: Printable Text by me; &copy; Theo Todman, 2018</li><li><FONT COLOR = "0000FF">Blue</FONT>: Text by me; &copy; Theo Todman, 2018</li></OL><BR> <center><BR><HR><BR><TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950><TR><TD WIDTH="30%">&copy; Theo Todman, June 2007 - August 2018.</TD><TD WIDTH="40%">Please address any comments on this page to <A HREF="mailto:theo@theotodman.com">theo@theotodman.com</A>.</TD><TD WIDTH="30%">File output: <time datetime="2018-08-06T22:32" pubdate>06/08/2018 22:32:27</time> <br><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1010.htm">Website Maintenance Dashboard</A></TD></TR><TD WIDTH="30%"><A HREF="#Top">Return to Top of this Page</A></TD><TD WIDTH="40%"><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1140.htm">Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page</A></TD><TD WIDTH="30%"><A HREF="../../index.htm">Return to Theo Todman's Home Page</A></TD></TR></TABLE></CENTER><HR></BODY></HTML>