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Personal Identity - Thesis - Outline

The Thesis seems to fall naturally into three sections (other than the Introduction and Conclusion); namely, Chapters 2-5 (setting up the problem), chapters 6-9 (Olson and Baker’s views contrasted); and Chapters 10-11 (testing the preferred solution). Consequently, I anticipate my Thesis having the following chapters:-

  1. Chapter 011: Introduction
  2. Chapter 022: What are We?
  3. Chapter 033: What is a Person?
  4. Chapter 044: Basic Metaphysical Issues
  5. Chapter 055: Persistence and Time
  6. Chapter 066: Animalism and Arguments for It
  7. Chapter 077: The Constitution View and Arguments for It
  8. Chapter 088: Arguments against Animalism
  9. Chapter 099: Arguments against the Constitution View
  10. Chapter 1010: Thought Experiments
  11. Chapter 1111: Resurrection
  12. Chapter 1212: Conclusion
I’ve started a Note13 listing “parked” future reading.

For convenience, brief abstracts (as currently intended) of the above chapters are given below. I have included hyperlinks in the above list to my initial thoughts on these topics (and to reading lists and plans for further research) by way of further clarification. I’ve also included links from the “Thought Experiment” abstract below, for the same reason. The reading lists are rather full, and I’ll need to whittle them down to those I actually intend to read (and, better, address).

Chapter abstracts
  1. Introduction: Something like this document, but in narrative form, maybe including a brief historical general survey of Personal Identity.
  2. What are We? : The topic “personal identity” has historically presupposed that we are (in the sense of “identical to”, or “most fundamentally”) persons, whereas I (along with other animalists) claim that we are identical to human animals. “We” requires explanation. This chapter will sort out the topic of discussion for the Thesis as a whole.
  3. What is a Person?: This Chapter will canvass the various views and consider how important issues in this area are to my main concern of our identity.
  4. Basic Metaphysical Issues: Substances and sortals are central to the persistence of anything, and in particular to my claim that persons are phase sortals of human animals (the substances). I need to address the concept of a SOUL as souls are the major counter-claim to the persisting entity being an animal; or at least popularly so. The question of Natural Kinds arises in considering whether PERSON is a natural kind concept.
  5. Persistence and Time: A number of thought experiments that feature in the following chapter seem to fail if perdurantism is true (because the reduplication objections fail). Depending on whether any of these are critical to my arguments, I may need to consider the impact of perdurantism. But this complex area may be a step too far within a fairly limited word-count. I’m also unsure whether it should feature before or after the account of Thought Experiments.
  6. Animalism and Arguments for it: This Chapter describes what Animalism is, with an excursus on animals and organisms and their persistence. It puts forward the arguments in favour of animalism, those against being reserved for a later Chapter. It focuses on the account of Eric Olson, the primary contemporary exponent of Animalism.
  7. The Constitution View and Arguments for it: This Chapter gives an account of Lynne Rudder Baker’s thesis that human persons are not identical to human animals, but are – temporarily at least – constituted by them.
  8. Arguments against Animalism: A discussion of the arguments against animalism, as given by those of anti-animalist persuasion and defended by the principal animalists (with a focus on Olson), with a critique.
  9. Arguments against the Constitution View: A discussion of the arguments against the Constitution View, focusing on the principal animalists, with a critique. In particular, I intend to critique Olson’s “thinking animal” argument14 against the Constitution View (though I think this argument is unnecessary for Olson to establish the case for Animalism).
  10. Thought Experiments: Any account of personal identity needs to give an account of what is going on in the various thought experiments that have been thought relevant to the topic. It’s also the area that’s most fun. Indeed, I think that the entire Thesis will be an exercise in inference to the best explanation. It needs to account for our intuitions (if there is a universal response) or explain them away as confused. I will firstly briefly consider the propriety of using thought experiments in this domain of enquiry, and then consider the usual suspects, such as:
    • Fission15, fusion16 and replication17 in general
    • Commissurotomy18
    • Multiple Personality Disorder19
    • Brain-state Transfer20
    • Brain Transplants21
    • Teletransportation22
    • Siliconisation23
    • Etc?
  11. Resurrection: If mind-body substance dualism is false, and we are identical to human animals, then the only possibility for post-mortem existence is some form of bodily resurrection. Since the body is destroyed at death, it would seem that any resurrected individual could only be a copy of the original. It might think of itself as the resurrected pre-mortem individual, but it would be wrong. Consideration of arguments by Peter Van Inwagen in this respect. This chapter is likely to be controversial, so needs to be very carefully argued, and factually correct concerning what is actually believed by intellectually Christians and Muslims (unlike what seems to be the case with most swipes against religion). Maybe I should also cover reincarnation.
  12. Conclusion: Brief summary of the above;
    • We are human animals,
    • Human persons fall under phase sortals of the concept HUMAN ANIMAL,
    • The person is inseparable from the animal,
    • The animal is utterly destroyed at death,
    • Substance dualism is false, and
    • Consequently (given the sort of thing we are) resurrection or any other post-mortem survival is impossible for us.

Note last updated: 05/04/2016 23:19:41


Footnote 1: (Thesis - Chapter 01 (Introduction))

Abstract

  • The Thesis seems to fall naturally into three sections (other than this Introduction and the Conclusion); namely,
    1. Setting up the problem (Chapters 2-5),
    2. Olson and Baker’s views contrasted (Chapters 6-9); and
    3. Testing the preferred solution (Chapters 10-11).
  • Consequently, I intend my Thesis to have the following chapters:-
    1. Chapter 01: Introduction
    2. Chapter 02: What are We?
    3. Chapter 03: What is a Person?
    4. Chapter 04: Basic Metaphysical Issues
    5. Chapter 05: Persistence and Time
    6. Chapter 06: Animalism and Arguments for It
    7. Chapter 07: The Constitution View and Arguments for It
    8. Chapter 08: Arguments against Animalism
    9. Chapter 09: Arguments against the Constitution View
    10. Chapter 10: Thought Experiments
    11. Chapter 11: Resurrection
    12. Chapter 12: Conclusion



Research Methodology
  • Follow this Link for a generic statement of how I intend to pursue each Chapter.
  • The method is broken down into 12, possibly iterative, stages.
  • Follow this Link for my progress dashboard on these tasks.
  • The methodology for this Chapter differs somewhat from most other Chapters in that there is little real work, other than background reading and checking that the Thesis as a whole hangs together.
  • However, I do need to record while reading the general surveys anything that needs to go into the Historical Survey or Motivating Statement.
  • Another couple of “clearing up” tasks14 specific to this Chapter are:-
    1. To ensure that all the Papers on Identity that I have actually read are referenced somewhere15 in this Thesis.
    2. To ensure that all the Notes on Identity that I have actually produced are referenced somewhere16 in this Thesis.



Motivating Statement17
  1. Why should we care about the topic of personal identity and the possibility of life after death? Put this way, the question hardly needs answering, as it’s just about the most important question to be posed by a reflective (if selfish) person. Yet, the question is difficult, and has had many attempted solutions offered – and while some philosophers think there is no problem left to solve, there is no consensus as to the answer.
  2. My favourite solution – in the sense of the one I think most likely to be correct, rather than necessary the one I’d like to be correct – namely Animalism – that we are human animals and that consequently death is the end of us – is only supported by around 17% of philosophers, according to a recent poll18 with about twice as many supporting some form of psychological view.
  3. In one sense it is just obvious that we are – in some sense of that weasel word – human animals. But then the problem cases kick in – whether real-life or thought experiments that may never be real-life possibilities.
  4. About 36% of the respondents in the aforementioned survey though we could survive teletransportation – though 31% thought that the result would be death.
  5. Transhumanists think we can be uploaded to computers.
  6. Further detail to be supplied.



Main Text
  • For convenience, brief abstracts (as currently intended) of the above chapters are given below. I have included on-going hyperlinks from the above links to my initial thoughts on these topics (and to reading lists and plans for further research) by way of further clarification. The reading lists are rather full, and I’ll need to whittle them down to those I actually intend to read (and, better, address).
  • Chapter Abstracts
    1. Introduction: See above for a motivating statement and below for a brief historical general survey of the topic of Personal Identity.
    2. What are We?: The topic “personal identity” has historically presupposed that we are (in the sense of “identical to”, or “most fundamentally”) persons, whereas I (along with other animalists) claim that we are identical to human animals. “We” requires explanation. This chapter will sort out the topic of discussion for the Thesis as a whole.
    3. What is a Person?: This chapter will canvass the various views and consider how important issues in this area are to my main concern of our identity.
    4. Basic Metaphysical Issues: Substances and sortals are central to the persistence of anything, and in particular to my claim that persons are phase sortals of human animals (the substances). I need to address the concept of a SOUL as souls are the major counter-claim to the persisting entity being an animal; or at least popularly so. The question of Natural Kinds arises in considering whether PERSON is a natural kind concept.
    5. Persistence and Time: A number of thought experiments that feature in Chapter 10 seem to fail if perdurantism is true (because the reduplication objections fail). Depending on whether any of these are critical to my arguments, I may need to consider the impact of perdurantism. But this complex area may be a step too far within a fairly limited word-count. I’m also unsure whether it should feature before or after the account of Thought Experiments.
    6. Animalism and Arguments for it: This Chapter describes what Animalism is, with an excursus on animals and organisms and their persistence. It puts forward the arguments in favour of animalism, those against being reserved for a later Chapter. It focuses on the account of Eric Olson, the primary contemporary exponent of Animalism.
    7. The Constitution View and Arguments for it: This Chapter gives an account of Lynne Rudder Baker’s thesis that human persons are not identical to human animals, but are – temporarily at least – constituted by them.
    8. Arguments against Animalism: A discussion of the arguments against animalism, as given by those of anti-animalist persuasion and defended by the principal animalists (with a focus on Olson), with a critique.
    9. Arguments against the Constitution View: A discussion of the arguments against the Constitution View, focusing on the principal animalists, with a critique. In particular, I intend to critique Olson’s “thinking animal” argument against the Constitution View (though I think this argument is unnecessary for Olson to establish the case for Animalism).
    10. Thought Experiments: Any account of personal identity needs to give an account of what is going on in the various thought experiments that have been thought relevant to the topic. It’s also the area that’s most fun. Indeed, I think that the entire Thesis will be an exercise in inference to the best explanation. It needs to account for our intuitions (if there is a universal response) or explain them away as confused. I will firstly briefly consider the propriety of using thought experiments in this domain of enquiry, and then consider the usual suspects, including the following:-
      • Fission
      • Fusion
      • Replication
      • Commissurotomy
      • Multiple Personality Disorder
      • Brain-state Transfer
      • Brain Transplants
      • Teletransportation
      • Siliconisation
      • Transhumanism
    11. Resurrection: If mind-body substance dualism is false, and we are identical to human animals, then the only possibility for post-mortem existence is some form of bodily resurrection. Since the body is destroyed at death, it would seem that any resurrected individual could only be a copy of the original. It might think of itself as the resurrected pre-mortem individual, but it would be wrong. Consideration of arguments by Peter Van Inwagen in this respect. This chapter is likely to be controversial, so needs to be very carefully argued, and factually correct concerning what is actually believed by intellectually-aware Christians and Muslims (unlike what seems to be the case with most swipes against religion). Maybe I should also cover reincarnation.
    12. Conclusion:
      • We are human animals,
      • Human persons fall under phase sortals of the concept HUMAN ANIMAL,
      • The person is inseparable from the animal,
      • The animal is utterly destroyed at death,
      • Substance dualism is false, and
      • Consequently (given the sort of thing we are) resurrection or any other post-mortem survival is impossible for us.



Brief historical general survey of the topic of Personal Identity
  1. To be supplied.



Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed33
  1. In this Chapter I will consider the following papers or book chapters (together with some others referenced by these). There are doubtless many more that are relevant and which will be addressed in the course of the thesis, but these are probably sufficient to get us going.
  2. The purpose of this Chapter is to introduce and motivate the Thesis. As such, I need to situate it in the history of the topic. This is done in a number of introductory books, General Surveys, or collections of Papers that are standard fodder in courses on Personal Identity.
  3. Consequently, I will review the various Surveys of Personal Identity that feature in the standard reading lists, both to demonstrate that I’ve read them, and to ensure I’ve missed nothing major.
  4. If a Paper in a Collection or Chapter in an Introduction is specific to a later Chapter in this Thesis, its consideration may be reserved until a later Chapter, even if the Book itself is not. These will be noted in due course.
  5. As the topic of Personal Identity stems primarily from Locke’s account, I need a brief statement of what this is. Most of the relevant material will appear in due course in the anthologies, but I few items not anthologised are listed below.
  6. Other works were considered and either cut or reserved for later, as indicated below. The easiest way to see all the works considered is via the reading list at the end of this Note.
  7. Introductory or General Books
  8. Standard Collections
  9. Locke



The Cut
  1. Various works were considered for this Chapter, but were either reserved for consideration in other Chapters, or were rejected, at least for the time being.
  2. Priority Works to be read later for other Chapters:-
  3. Secondary Works to be “parked” for the time being:



Links to Notes
  1. General Surveys,
  2. Locke,
  3. Maybe others (to be supplied).





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 14: These will be left until all Chapters have completed Task 7.

Footnote 15:
  • This may either be “as utilised” or “as ignored”.
  • Follow this link.
  • As of mid-Oct 2014, this task is now complete!
Footnote 16:
  • This may either be “as utilised” or “as ignored”.
  • Follow this link .
Footnote 17: This will explain why I’ve undertaken this research, and encourage the reader to continue.

Footnote 18: Footnote 33:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
  • The author’s surname is repeated in the text to make it easier for me to see what’s going on in the encoded text I work on.
Footnote 34: As this is a PhD Thesis in my general subject-area, I ought at least to have read it!

Footnote 35: Somewhat elementary, but worth (re-)reading quickly

Footnote 36:
  • This is a course of lectures on Metaphysics, at the advanced undergraduate / beginning graduate level.
  • All the issues raised – in the discussion of standard papers – many of them covered elsewhere in my Thesis – are useful background.
Footnote 37: This is a set of papers for discussion in a research seminar. Most are probably covered elsewhere, but in case not …

Footnote 38: For a review, see "Lerner (Berel Dov) - Review of "Personal Identity and Ethics: A Brief Introduction" by David Shoemaker".

Footnote 39: Decide where to park the various Chapters of this book after reading the précis.

Footnote 40: Harris is an interesting case, in that it includes three important papers and three that are off-topic, but important in illustrating the divergent usages of the term “identity”.

Footnote 41: This is more recent than the others.

Footnote 46: But note that Baker’s account of constitution differs from the mereological account assumed in Rea’s anthology.

Footnote 47: The works by Reuscher and Trupp are too eccentric to be given any priority.

Footnote 48: The works by Slors may be worth reading as a fairly contemporary defence of the psychological view; just not yet.

Footnote 49: The work by Vesey is too out of date for a priority item.

Note last updated: 05/04/2016 23:19:41


Footnote 2: (Thesis - Chapter 02 (What are We?))

Abstract

  1. The topic “personal identity” has historically presupposed that we are (in the sense of “identical to”, or “most fundamentally”) persons, whereas I (along with other animalists) claim that we are identical to human animals.
  2. “We” requires explanation. This chapter attempts to sort out the topic of discussion for the Thesis as a whole.
  3. I need to address the concept of a SOUL as souls are the major counter-claim to the persisting entity being an animal; or at least popularly so. The same goes for SELVES, and also for HUMAN BEINGS, insofar as these are supposed to be distinct from HUMAN ANIMALs.
  4. I also need to have some discussion of what is meant by the various other possibilities of what we are, but leave explications of PERSONs, BODIES and ANIMALs / ORGANISMs until later Chapters.
  5. I’m not quite sure where the possibility that we are BRAINs ought to go, but for the time being it’s here; and this leads on to the possibility (tacitly assumed in some TEs) that we might be individual CEREBRA.



Research Methodology
  • Follow this Link for a generic statement of how I intend to pursue each Chapter.
  • The method is broken down into 12, possibly iterative, stages.
  • Follow this Link for my progress dashboard on these tasks.
  • Progress on this Chapter is unusual in that it was the sample Chapter on which I was working with my Supervisor when registered for the PhD at Birkbeck.



Chapter Introduction
  1. This Chapter has the title “What Are We?”. The “We” is of some significance, as we will see in the course of this Thesis when we consider the social and reciprocal aspects of what it is to be a person. Nonetheless, should we not start with the singular, maybe even solipsist, question “What Am I?”, and expand out from there into the collective question? How we phrase our initial question has an impact on the course of our investigations, and may reflect our deepest presuppositions. The first-person question adopts the Cartesian stance of looking from the inside out, whereas the third-person question considers “us” collectively. The first-person question may presuppose that the answer to the question is that I am primarily a psychological being, whereas the third-person question may assume or expect the answer that I am fundamentally physical.
  2. Some of the potential answers to the question will be the same whether we phrase the question in the singular or the plural.
  3. Taking it in the plural for now, we need to distinguish, as candidates for what we might be on the physical side, (prefixing “human-” passim):-
    • Animals,
    • Organisms,
    • Bodies,
    • Beings, and
    • Brains.
  4. On the psychological side, I might be a self or, more popularly, a person. I might even be a non-essentially-embodied entity like a soul.
  5. I will consider all these options in due course; with the exception of a detailed discussion of the concept PERSON (which is reserved for the next Chapter), I will do so later in this chapter.
  6. Olson4 also considers whether we might be Humean bundles of mental states and events, and even the nihilist view that we don’t exist at all. I’m not sure I’ll have space for these, but need to remain aware of the possibilities and motivations for these positions.
  7. However, for the moment I want to consider some themes connecting the possible answers to our question. Firstly, does there have to be a single answer? I know that I, and presume that my readers also, fall happily under the concepts HUMAN ANIMAL, HUMAN ORGANISM and HUMAN BEING. I at least have a human body and a human brain, though I would initially feel reluctant to say that I am one of either of these things. I would certainly claim to be a SELF, and also a PERSON, as no doubt would my reader. So, cannot all these answers be correct?
  8. This raises the question of what I mean by saying what I am (or we are) something. In saying that I am any of these things, what sort of relation is the “am”? Am I using am in the sense of an identity relation, a constitution relation, ascribing a predicate, or have some other sense in mind?
  9. There are two kinds of questions I want to ask. Firstly, what sort of being am I identical to? Secondly, what sort of properties do I have; both metaphysically essential properties (those without which I would cease to exist), and those I merely consider essential (that is, “very important”, though I would continue to exist without them)?
  10. Any “is” that does duty for the identity relation inherits the formal properties of an equivalence relation; in particular, it is a transitive relation. Additionally, the “two” identical entities either side of the copula must satisfy Leibniz’s law; “they” share (at a time) all their properties; actual and modal, intrinsic and relational. So, if I am identical to a human animal, and also identical to a human person, then that human animal must be identical to that human person. This would mean that these “two” entities are really one. They co-exist at all times in all possible worlds where either of “them” exists, and share all their properties and relations, at any time and world. Everything that happens to “one” at a world and time happens to the “other” at those coordinates. This places strong logical constraints on how much cake I can have and eat. I may want to say that I am identical both to a human animal, and to a human person, yet claim that a human person has certain mental properties essentially, but deny that a human animal does. However, I am then claiming what is logically impossible, at least for the classical logic of identity that denies that such notions as relative identity are coherent. As we will see, this point is essential to the animalist case that we are not identical to human persons (given the claim that we are identical to human animals).
  11. My thesis addresses the topic of personal identity, but we might claim that what we’re really interested in is in our identity. Not that we have doubts as individuals as to which particular individual we are (as though I, as Bill Clinton, don’t know whether I am Bill Clinton or George W. Bush), but what sort of individual we are, together with worries about our persistence (how long we are going to last, and in what form). Historically, it has been a standard presupposition that what we are most fundamentally is persons, or at least that’s all we care about. So, concern about our identity has been elided with concern for personal identity, almost as though we thought that the two questions are the same. Animalists argue that the two questions are indeed different, but for convenience, and the historical continuity of the general topic under discussion, still say they are talking about personal identity.



Main Text
  1. To be supplied.



Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed5
  1. For this Chapter I have already worked on the various papers or book chapters under supervisory control. Where this is the case, for ease of reference, the analytical Note for each reference is hyperlinked directly.
  2. Additionally, I may need to consider other papers or book chapters in the following lists (together with some others referenced by these). There are doubtless many more that are relevant and which will be addressed in the course of the thesis, but these are probably sufficient to get us going. Some that I have considered have been culled or reserved for later.
  3. The General Question:-
  4. Brains / Cerebra
  5. Neurological Background
  6. Human Beings
  7. Selves32
  8. Souls34
  9. Nihilism
  10. Many aspects of these papers will need to be left for later chapters.



The Cut
  1. There had already been a lot of cutting in the various selections of the original reading list – the reading lists attached to the Notes run on and on – and these items just represent the works in my possession (though I have sought out all that I’ve heard of that look relevant).
  2. However, the items in the lists following were given some attention, and have been culled – at least temporarily – from the lists above, where they originally appeared. I’ve not always given a reason as I’ve not studied them sufficiently closely. But, you have to draw a line somewhere.
  3. The General Question
  4. Brains / Cerebra
  5. Human Beings
  6. Selves
  7. Souls



Links to Notes
  1. For an out-of-date skeleton giving a fuller reading list, follow this link.
  2. Candidates for what we are, considered in this Chapter:-
    • Human Beings,
    • Brains,
    • Cerebra,
    • Selves,
    • Souls,
    • Others to be Supplied?
  3. Candidates for what we are, considered in later Chapters:-
    • Animals,
    • Bodies,
    • Organisms,
    • Persons,
    • Nihilism.



Final Remarks
  1. This is work in progress.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 4: In "Olson (Eric) - What are We?"

Footnote 5:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
  • The author’s surname is repeated in the text to make it easier for me to see what’s going on in the encoded text I work on.
Footnote 12: The excerpt from Brandom raises some questions about the community we call “we”.

Footnote 15: Baker often expresses indebtedness to Roderick Chisholm, who is reviewed on that account.

Footnote 17: An annoying book, but one I ought to study.

Footnote 21: The book. From my perspective, probably the most important source for this Chapter.

Footnote 22: See also the Chapters on Brains and Souls in the subsequent reading-lists.

Footnote 26: Useful historical background, maybe!

Footnote 28: Lockwood might deny that this is his view, but he seems committed to it, as far as I can see.

Footnote 29: This maybe ought to be categorised as an “anti-soul” view.

Footnote 30: Some of the papers by Puccetti will be reconsidered in (or maybe reserved for – a couple already have been) Chapter 10.

Footnote 32:
  • This list is rather long, and contains many whole books. I may have to cull several of these further down the line.
  • However, the Self is important, as it’s the root of Baker’s FPP, and the motivator for all psychological theories of PI, so understanding just what it is supposed to be is central to my concerns.
Footnote 33: Alexander thinks that we are Selves, and that Selves are tropes – abstract particulars – which by my lights is about as far from the truth as you can get, so I need to consider his arguments carefully.

Footnote 34:
  • The comment about the prolixity of the reading list applies even more to Souls than Selves, without the positive connection my primary thesis.
  • However, if we were to be souls, this would solve the resurrection problem; so I need to thoroughly understand the reasons why we might be – but most likely are not – souls.
Footnote 35: This looks interesting, but is somewhat off-topic for a priority reading-list.

Footnote 36: This is rather elementary, and ought to have been reviewed in Chapter 01.

Note last updated: 05/04/2016 23:19:41


Footnote 3: (Thesis - Chapter 03 (What is a Person?))

Abstract

    This chapter will canvass the various views of what Persons are and consider how important issues in this area are to my main concern of our identity.



Research Methodology
  • Follow this Link for a generic statement of how I intend to pursue each Chapter.
  • The method is broken down into 12, possibly iterative, stages.
  • Follow this Link for my progress dashboard on these tasks.



Chapter Introduction
  1. The main philosophical argument about Persons is whether PERSON is a substance-concept in its own right, or whether it is parasitic on other substance-concept(s).
  2. My own view is that Human Persons are phase sortals of human animals, but other philosophers have more robust views of persons and think of them as substances in their own right.
  3. Famously, Locke held this view, and Lynne Rudder Baker is a contemporary exponent – her view being that human persons are constituted by, but not identical to, human animals.
  4. In this thesis, I’m only concerned with human persons, and – like most philosophers – allow that there can be non-human persons (God, gods, angels, aliens, robots, etc.)
  5. All this is predicated on deciding just what PERSONS are, which in turn depends somewhat on whether we take PERSON to be a natural kind concept, or something that is socially constructed and so not something the correct definition of we can discover.
  6. Further text to be supplied.



Main Text
  1. To be supplied.



Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed7
  1. In this Chapter I will consider the following papers or book chapters (together with some others referenced by these). There are doubtless many more that are relevant and which will be addressed in the course of the thesis, but these are probably sufficient to get us going.
  2. Reductionism
  3. Many aspects of these papers will need to be either ignored or reserved for other chapters.
  4. The motivation for these works is as follows:-
    • To be supplied.



The Cut
  1. There had already been a lot of cutting in the various selections of the original reading list – the reading lists attached to the Notes run on and on – and these items just represent the works in my possession (though I have sought out all that I’ve heard of that look relevant).
  2. However, the items in the lists following were given some attention, and have been culled – at least temporarily – from the lists above, where they originally appeared. I’ve not always given a reason as I’ve not studied them sufficiently closely. But, you have to draw a line somewhere.
  3. I’m well aware that the cut has not been sufficiently rigorous. Further items beyond the items below are likely to be culled when I come to process them.



Links to Notes
  1. The primary Notes are:-
    • Person,
    • Human Persons,
    • Non-Human Persons,
    • Reductionism,
    • Simple View
    • Taking Persons Seriously,
    • First-Person Perspective.
  2. No doubt there are others:-
    • To be supplied.



Final Remarks
  1. This is work in progress.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 7:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
  • The author’s surname is repeated in the text to make it easier for me to see what’s going on in the encoded text I work on.
Footnote 8: This is very elementary, but short and maybe entertaining.

Footnote 9: Read this as an example from the Animal Liberation movement.

Footnote 10: This is rather introductory to Parfit’s ideas, so read it quickly for that purpose.

Footnote 11: Restrict a close reading to Part 3 (Personal Identity).

Footnote 12: May be useful both as a take on Strawson, and for Plantinga’s own views.

Footnote 13: Stanley got into a debate with Jen Hornsby, though not on this topic, so it’ll be interesting to see how he argues.

Footnote 14: This is a difficult book with which I expect to have little sympathy, but one that has to be read.

Footnote 15: This is rather elementary, and ought to have been reviewed in Chapter 1.

Footnote 16: This paper may be important, but is too long (and difficult) for a first pass through the literature

Footnote 17: Too similar to "Lowe (E.J.) - Substance and Selfhood", which was read for Chapter 2.

Note last updated: 05/04/2016 23:19:41


Footnote 4: (Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues))

Abstract

  • I need to discuss the logic of identity, survival and persistence, and even whether identity matters in survival.
  • Substances and sortals are central to the persistence of anything, and in particular to my claim that persons are phase sortals of human animals (the substances).
  • The question of Natural Kinds arises in considering whether PERSON is a natural kind concept.
  • Certain four-dimensional approaches to persistence do away with the substance concept, but I discuss this issue in the next Chapter.



Research Methodology
  • Follow this Link for a generic statement of how I intend to pursue each Chapter.
  • The method is broken down into 12, possibly iterative, stages.
  • Follow this Link for my progress dashboard on these tasks.



Chapter Introduction
  1. The purpose of this chapter is to clarify my views on a number of logical and metaphysical issues that are central to the core of this Thesis.
  2. I will also consider Derek Parfit’s claim that “Identity is not what matters in survival” in this Chapter.
  3. The coverage in the Chapter itself will have to be very brief lest it consume the word-count for the entire thesis. Most information – and in particular the bulk of the justification for my views – will remain in the Notes.
  4. Three background issues, namely my views on:-
    • Persistence and Time,
    • Thought Experiments, and
    • Constitution
    are covered elsewhere (follow the links above).
  5. Other topics may be added as they arise.



Main Text
  1. To be supplied.



Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed6
  1. In this Chapter I will consider the following papers or book chapters (together with some others referenced by these). There are doubtless many more that are relevant and which will be addressed in the course of the thesis, but these are probably sufficient to get us going:-
  2. Basic Metaphysics7
  3. Logic of Identity (General)
  4. Relative Identity
  5. Vague Identity
  6. Indeterminate Identity
  7. Contingent Identity
  8. Occasional Identity
  9. Criteria of Identity
  10. Substances
  11. Sortals & Phase Sortals
  12. Kinds and Natural Kinds
  13. Metamorphosis
  14. Does Identity Matter?
  15. Many aspects of these papers will need to be either ignored or reserved for other chapters.
  16. The motivation for these works is as follows:-
    • To be supplied.



The Cut
  1. There had already been a lot of cutting in the various selections of the original reading list – the reading lists attached to the Notes run on and on – and these items just represent the works in my possession (though I have sought out all that I’ve heard of that look relevant).
  2. However, the items in the lists following were given some attention, and have been culled – at least temporarily – from the lists above, where they originally appeared. I’ve not always given a reason as I’ve not studied them sufficiently closely. But, you have to draw a line somewhere.
  3. I’m well aware that the cut has not been sufficiently rigorous. Further items beyond the items below are likely to be culled when I come to process them.
    • To be Supplied.



Links to Notes
  1. Logic of Identity, including:-
  2. Criteria of Identity,
  3. Substance,
  4. Sortals,
  5. Metamorphosis,
  6. Phase Sortals,
  7. Kinds,
  8. Natural Kinds,
  9. Does Identity Matter,
  10. Others to be supplied as they come up.



Final Remarks
  1. This is work in progress.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 6:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
  • The author’s surname is repeated in the text to make it easier for me to see what’s going on in the encoded text I work on.
Footnote 7: There’s an endless amount of stuff in this area, so I’ve (for now) chosen a couple of contrasting approaches.

Footnote 8: Footnote 9:
  • Modality is important in my thesis, because modal questions come into persistence criteria.
  • That said, the last two essays in the book – by Hossack and Olson – are the most important, though of these two only that by Hossack really belongs to this Chapter.
Footnote 10: I’m not sure where this book should be parked, and not all of it is relevant.

Footnote 11: I doubt this paper is really about Relative Identity, but more about Brain Transplants).

Footnote 12: Read the Synopsis below first.

Footnote 17: I have this categorised under Vague Identity, but unreflectively it seems to me that Vague Identity is a metaphysical position, whereas Indeterminate Identity may just be an epistemological position, though the ideas may coalesce in the work of Timothy Williamson.

Note last updated: 05/04/2016 23:19:41


Footnote 5: (Thesis - Chapter 05 (Persistence and Time))

Abstract

    A number of thought experiments that feature in Chapter 10 seem to fail if perdurantism is true (because the reduplication objections fail).
  • Depending on whether any of these are critical to my arguments, I may need to consider the impact of perdurantism.
  • But this complex area may be a step too far within a fairly limited word-count.
  • I’m also unsure whether it should feature before or after the account of Thought Experiments.



Research Methodology
  • Follow this Link for a generic statement of how I intend to pursue each Chapter.
  • The method is broken down into 12, possibly iterative, stages.
  • Follow this Link for my progress dashboard on these tasks.



Chapter Introduction
  1. Any discussion of identity over time – of anything – needs to have some discussion of just what it is for something to persist, and what we take time to be.
  2. Additionally, as noted in the abstract, depending on our approach to time and persistence, some of the troubling thought experiments that worry us about the persistence of human persons are resolved, though we get nothing for nothing. As is usual in philosophy, a gain here is compensated for by a loss somewhere else. We need to determine these losses, and agree that they are “worth it”.
  3. Further text to be supplied.



Main Text
  1. To be supplied.



Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed4
  1. In this Chapter I will consider the following papers or book chapters (together with some others referenced by these). There are doubtless many more that are relevant and which will be addressed in the course of the thesis, but these are probably sufficient to get us going.
  2. The references are segregated by sub-topic, as below, but there is much overlap.
  3. Time:
  4. Time Travel5:
  5. Modality / Possible Worlds7:
  6. Persistence:
  7. Survival9:
  8. Endurantism:
  9. Perdurantism:
  10. Exdurantism:
  11. Many aspects of these papers will need to be either ignored or reserved for other chapters.
  12. The motivation for these works is as follows:-
    • To be supplied.



The Cut
  1. There had already been a lot of cutting in the various selections of the original reading list – the reading lists attached to the Notes run on and on – and these items just represent the works in my possession (though I have sought out all that I’ve heard of that look relevant).
  2. However, the items in the lists following were given some attention, and have been culled – at least temporarily – from the lists above, where they originally appeared. I’ve not always given a reason as I’ve not studied them sufficiently closely. But, you have to draw a line somewhere.
  3. I’m well aware that the cut has not been sufficiently rigorous. Further items beyond the items below are likely to be culled when I come to process them.



Links to Notes
  1. Time,
  2. Time Travel,
  3. Persistence,
  4. Persistence Criteria,
  5. Survival,
  6. Endurantism,
  7. Perdurantism,
  8. Exdurantism.



Final Remarks
  1. This is work in progress.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 4:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
  • The author’s surname is repeated in the text to make it easier for me to see what’s going on in the encoded text I work on.
Footnote 5:
  • I thought I’d written somewhere that this – fun though it might be – is a bridge too far. But it is relevant.
  • I’ll expand the reading list based on the items already listed.
Footnote 6: And the rest of an interesting 2005 edition of The Monist.

Footnote 7:
  • This is parked here until it finds its final resting place.
  • If I do cover possible worlds, I’ll need more material than this.
Footnote 8: This might also be useful for perdurantism, or for the logic of identity.

Footnote 9:
  • There is some overlap – as far as papers reviewed are concerned – between this Section and the “Does Identity Matter” Section in Chapter 4.
  • This Chapter focuses on the meaning of “Survival”, while the previous chapter focuses on its relation to Identity, and the importance of identity for survival.
  • But, I think they should probably be covered in the same place, and probably not here.
Footnote 10: These three papers by Butterfield are very specialised, and this one is very long, and may be left to one side for now.

Footnote 11: This looks like an important paper, which rejects the “proofs” of 4D based on the “coincidence” TEs.

Footnote 12: Another important-looking paper, also against perdurantism, along similar lines to the above.

Footnote 13: Oderberg seems to be arguing that Perdurantism is an unwanted consequence of a common-sense notion of persistence.

Footnote 14: I’m not sure whether this belongs here, but it looks an interesting paper.

Footnote 15: I don’t have the paper!

Footnote 16: This is an ethical rather than metaphysical discussion.

Note last updated: 05/04/2016 23:19:41


Footnote 6: (Thesis - Chapter 06 (Animalism and Arguments for It))

Abstract

    This Chapter describes what Animalism is, with an excursus on animals and organisms and their persistence.
  • It puts forward the arguments in favour of animalism, those against being reserved for a later Chapter.
  • It focuses on the account of Eric Olson, the primary contemporary exponent of Animalism.



Research Methodology
  • Follow this Link for a generic statement of how I intend to pursue each Chapter.
  • The method is broken down into 12, possibly iterative, stages.
  • Follow this Link for my progress dashboard on these tasks.



Chapter Introduction
  1. As we saw in Chapter 02, nothing is more obvious than that we are human animals.
  2. The disadvantages of whole-hearted acceptance of this seemingly obvious fact are firstly that it seems to demote human beings from their status of being made in the image of the God most people no longer believe in. There are two responses to this; either to deny that it does, or to accept that the differences between human beings and other animals are those of degree rather than kind.
  3. A second disadvantage is that accepting that we are human animals makes the prospects for post-mortem survival look bleak. This is addressed in Chapter 11.
  4. So, while saying that we are human animals might seem to be the default position – and so the burden is on others to demonstrate that we are not – the historical situation places a burden on the animalist to present the case for animalism with as much rigour as possible.
  5. Further text to be supplied.



Main Text
  1. To be supplied.



Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed5
  1. In this Chapter I will consider the following papers or book chapters (together with some others referenced by these). There are doubtless many more that are relevant and which will be addressed in the course of the thesis, but these are probably sufficient to get us going.
  2. As this is a “core” chapter, the coverage of the literature will be very complete, if not exhaustive, when it comes to Animalism itself.
  3. For background topics, it will be more selective6. Hence, I have divided the reading list into two.
  4. I’ve not been overly careful to segregate the reading-list of this Chapter from that of Chapter 8. I will address the segregation in due course. There will, in any case, be some overlap.
  5. Core Topics
  6. Background Material
  7. Many aspects of these papers will need to be either ignored or reserved for other chapters.
  8. The motivation for these works is as follows:-
    • To be supplied.



The Cut
  1. There had already been a lot of cutting in the various selections of the original reading list – the reading lists attached to the Notes run on and on – and these items just represent the works in my possession (though I have sought out all that I’ve heard of that look relevant).
  2. However, the items in the lists following were given some attention, and have been culled – at least temporarily – from the lists above, where they originally appeared. I’ve not always given a reason as I’ve not studied them sufficiently closely. But, you have to draw a line somewhere.
  3. I’m well aware that the cut has not been sufficiently rigorous. Further items beyond the items below are likely to be culled when I come to process them.
    • To be supplied.



Links to Notes
  1. Animalism,
  2. Animalists,
  3. Bodies,
  4. Olson,
  5. Animals,
  6. Organisms,
  7. Life,
  8. Thinking Animal Argument,
  9. Other Arguments for Animalism18,
  10. Others to be supplied?



Final Remarks
  1. This is work in progress.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 5:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
  • The author’s surname is repeated in the text to make it easier for me to see what’s going on in the encoded text I work on.
Footnote 6:
  • There are a few papers listed on the cognitive capacities of animals.
  • I got bored with listing these, so the sample may not be representative.
  • These are, in any case, probably more relevant to Chapter 9 – as an antidote to Baker’s attempted ontological separation of human persons from human animals – so I will move them there – and expand the list if necessary – in due course.
Footnote 8: A knowledge of genetics is important in arguments about the comings into being and identities of animals.

Footnote 9: What is this important book doing here?

Footnote 18: This needs a Note!

Note last updated: 05/04/2016 23:19:41


Footnote 7: (Thesis - Chapter 07 (The Constitution View and Arguments for It))

Abstract

  • This Chapter gives an account of Lynne Rudder Baker’s thesis that human persons are not identical to human animals, but are – temporarily at least – constituted by them.



Research Methodology
  • Follow this Link for a generic statement of how I intend to pursue each Chapter.
  • The method is broken down into 12, possibly iterative, stages.
  • Follow this Link for my progress dashboard on these tasks.



Chapter Introduction
  1. Baker’s account of constitution is not the standard mereological account, of some larger body being constituted by its parts, but is her own idea that requires explication.
  2. Baker also has a commitment to PERSONs being substances in their own right, rather than being an honorific title applied to substances that at other times might not deserve the honorific.
  3. She also reifies a useful idea – that of a First-person Perspective. It is the FPP that individuates persons, according to Baker, so the FPP requires explanation as well.
  4. Further detail to be supplied.



Main Text
  1. To be supplied.



Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed4
  1. In this Chapter I will consider the following papers or book chapters (together with some others referenced by these). There are doubtless many more that are relevant and which will be addressed in the course of the thesis, but these are probably sufficient to get us going.
  2. I’ve not been overly careful to segregate the reading-list of this Chapter from that of Chapter 9. I will address the segregation in due course. There will, in any case, be some overlap.
  3. Baker
  4. Constitution
  5. Mereology6
  6. Co-Location7
  7. First-Person Perspectives
  8. Constitution View
  9. Many aspects of these papers will need to be either ignored or reserved for other chapters.
  10. The motivation for these works is as follows:-
    • To be supplied.



The Cut
  1. There had already been a lot of cutting in the various selections of the original reading list – the reading lists attached to the Notes run on and on – and these items just represent the works in my possession (though I have sought out all that I’ve heard of that look relevant).
  2. However, the items in the lists following were given some attention, and have been culled – at least temporarily – from the lists above, where they originally appeared. I’ve not always given a reason as I’ve not studied them sufficiently closely. But, you have to draw a line somewhere.
  3. I’m well aware that the cut has not been sufficiently rigorous. Further items beyond the items below are likely to be culled when I come to process them.



Links to Notes
  1. Baker,
  2. Constitution,
  3. Constitution View,
  4. First-Person Perspective,
  5. Mereology,
  6. Dion and Theon,
  7. Others to be supplied?



Final Remarks
  1. This is work in progress.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 4:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
  • The author’s surname is repeated in the text to make it easier for me to see what’s going on in the encoded text I work on.
Footnote 6: While Baker’s understanding of constitution is distinct from a mereological one, it is necessary to understand mereology.

Footnote 7: I’m not sure whether this section belongs here, but it must go somewhere!

Footnote 8: This may properly belong to one of the Chapters on Animalism.

Footnote 9: This Chapter has rather more to do with distributive ethics than personal identity or the FPP.

Note last updated: 05/04/2016 23:19:41


Footnote 8: (Thesis - Chapter 08 (Arguments against Animalism))

Abstract

  • A discussion of the arguments against animalism, as given by those of anti-animalist persuasion and defended by the principal animalists (with a focus on Eric Olson), with a critique.



Research Methodology
  • Follow this Link for a generic statement of how I intend to pursue each Chapter.
  • The method is broken down into 12, possibly iterative, stages.
  • Follow this Link for my progress dashboard on these tasks.



Chapter Introduction
  1. To be supplied.



Main Text
  1. To be supplied.



Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed3
  1. In this Chapter I will consider the following papers or book chapters (together with some others referenced by these). There are doubtless many more that are relevant and which will be addressed in the course of the thesis, but these are probably sufficient to get us going.
  2. I’ve not been overly careful to segregate the reading-list of this Chapter from that of Chapter 6. I will address the segregation in due course. There will, in any case, be some overlap.
  3. Many aspects of these papers will need to be either ignored or reserved for other chapters.
  4. The motivation for these works is as follows:-
    • To be supplied.



The Cut
  1. There had already been a lot of cutting in the various selections of the original reading list – the reading lists attached to the Notes run on and on – and these items just represent the works in my possession (though I have sought out all that I’ve heard of that look relevant).
  2. However, the items in the lists following were given some attention, and have been culled – at least temporarily – from the lists above, where they originally appeared. I’ve not always given a reason as I’ve not studied them sufficiently closely. But, you have to draw a line somewhere.
  3. I’m well aware that the cut has not been sufficiently rigorous. Further items beyond the items below are likely to be culled when I come to process them.
    • To be supplied.



Links to Notes5
  1. Animalism - Objections,
  2. Animalism.



Final Remarks
  1. This is work in progress.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 3:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
  • The author’s surname is repeated in the text to make it easier for me to see what’s going on in the encoded text I work on.
Footnote 5:
  • There is effectively a 1-1-match between this Chapter and the Note Animalism – Objections.
  • I imagine that this Chapter will be more focussed and less exploratory than the Note.

Note last updated: 05/04/2016 23:19:41


Footnote 9: (Thesis - Chapter 09 (Arguments against the Constitution View))

Abstract

  • A discussion of the arguments against the Constitution View, focusing on the principal animalists, with a critique.
  • In particular, I intend to critique Olson’s “thinking animal” argument against the Constitution View (though I think this argument is unnecessary for Olson to establish the case for Animalism).



Research Methodology
  • Follow this Link for a generic statement of how I intend to pursue each Chapter.
  • The method is broken down into 12, possibly iterative, stages.
  • Follow this Link for my progress dashboard on these tasks.



Chapter Introduction
  1. To be supplied.



Main Text
  1. To be supplied.



Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed4
  1. In this Chapter I will consider the following papers or book chapters (together with some others referenced by these). There are doubtless many more that are relevant and which will be addressed in the course of the thesis, but these are probably sufficient to get us going.
  2. There’s a Christian turf-war between Baker and Zimmerman which may be worth including:-
  3. I’ve not been overly careful to segregate the reading-list of this Chapter from that of Chapter 7. I will address the segregation in due course. There will, in any case, be some overlap.
  4. Many aspects of these papers will need to be either ignored or reserved for other chapters.
  5. The motivation for these works is as follows:-
    • To be supplied.



The Cut
  1. There had already been a lot of cutting in the various selections of the original reading list – the reading lists attached to the Notes run on and on – and these items just represent the works in my possession (though I have sought out all that I’ve heard of that look relevant).
  2. However, the items in the lists following were given some attention, and have been culled – at least temporarily – from the lists above, where they originally appeared. I’ve not always given a reason as I’ve not studied them sufficiently closely. But, you have to draw a line somewhere.
  3. I’m well aware that the cut has not been sufficiently rigorous. Further items beyond the items below are likely to be culled when I come to process them.
    • To be supplied.



Links to Notes
  1. Constitution View – Objections,
  2. Thinking Animal Argument,
  3. Others to be supplied?



Final Remarks
  1. This is work in progress.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 4:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
  • The author’s surname is repeated in the text to make it easier for me to see what’s going on in the encoded text I work on.
Footnote 5: Argues against human uniqueness.

Note last updated: 05/04/2016 23:19:41


Footnote 10: (Thesis - Chapter 10 (Thought Experiments))

Abstract

  • Any account of personal identity needs to give an account of what is going on in the various thought experiments that have been thought relevant to the topic. It’s also the area that’s most fun. Indeed, I think that the entire Thesis will be an exercise in inference to the best explanation. It needs to account for our intuitions (if there is a universal response) or explain them away as confused. I will firstly briefly consider the propriety of using thought experiments in this domain of enquiry, and then consider the usual suspects, including the following:-
    1. Fission
    2. Fusion
    3. Replication
    4. Commissurotomy1
    5. Multiple Personality Disorder2
    6. Brain-state Transfer
    7. Brain Transplants3
    8. Teletransportation
    9. Siliconisation
    10. Transhumanism



Research Methodology
  • Follow this Link for a generic statement of how I intend to pursue each Chapter.
  • The method is broken down into 12, possibly iterative, stages.
  • Follow this Link for my progress dashboard on these tasks.



Chapter Introduction
  1. To be supplied.



Main Text
  1. To be supplied.



Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed6
  1. In this Chapter I will consider the following papers or book chapters (together with some others referenced by these). There are doubtless many more that are relevant and which will be addressed in the course of the thesis, but these are probably sufficient to get us going.
  2. I have segregated the papers by sub-topic, but some would fit into more than one category.
  3. Theory
  4. Brain State Transfers7
  5. Brain Transplants
  6. Commissurotomy
  7. Fission
  8. Fusion
  9. Multiple Personality Disorder
  10. Replication
  11. Siliconisation8
  12. Teletransportation
  13. Transhumanism10
  14. Many aspects of these papers will need to be either ignored or reserved for other chapters.
  15. The motivation for these works is as follows:-
    • To be supplied.



The Cut
  1. There had already been a lot of cutting in the various selections of the original reading list – the reading lists attached to the Notes run on and on – and these items just represent the works in my possession (though I have sought out all that I’ve heard of that look relevant).
  2. However, the items in the lists following were given some attention, and have been culled – at least temporarily – from the lists above, where they originally appeared. I’ve not always given a reason as I’ve not studied them sufficiently closely. But, you have to draw a line somewhere.
  3. I’m well aware that the cut has not been sufficiently rigorous. Further items beyond the items below are likely to be culled when I come to process them.



Links to Notes
  1. Propriety of Thought Experiments
  2. Principal Examples:-
    • Fission
    • Fusion
    • Replication
    • Commissurotomy
    • Multiple Personality Disorder
    • Brain-state Transfers
    • Brain Transplants
    • Teletransportation
    • Siliconisation
    • Transhumanism.



Final Remarks
  1. This is work in progress.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: This is more an experiment than a thought-experiment, as commissurotomies are actual.

Footnote 2:
  • Again, this is – allegedly – an existent pathology rather than a TE.
  • Moreover, it might be better situated in Chapter 9 (Click here for Note) as a critique of the idea of an individuating FPP.
Footnote 3: We need to distinguish Whole-Brain Transplants (WBTs) from single or double Cerebrum transplants, and these from brain-tissue transplants, which shade off into Brain State Transfers.

Footnote 6:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
  • The author’s surname is repeated in the text to make it easier for me to see what’s going on in the encoded text I work on.
Footnote 7:
  • There must be many more papers than the classic one by Williams (and commentaries thereon) – I just haven’t got them correctly categorised.
  • Under this head should be included references to “Brain Zaps” and the like.
Footnote 8: Footnote 9:
  • Tye seems to be discussing brain-partition, with silicon transceivers. But he uses Unger’s term “zippering”.
  • He is indebted to Arnold Zuboff, who may be worth following up.
Footnote 10: Footnote 11: I’ve read this book, but it’s insufficiently philosophical for its arguments – such as they are – to be worth considering as a priority.

Footnote 12: Cover in the next Chapter.

Note last updated: 05/04/2016 23:19:41


Footnote 11: (Thesis - Chapter 11 (Resurrection))

Abstract

  • If mind-body substance dualism is false, and we are identical to human animals, then the only possibility for post-mortem existence is some form of bodily resurrection.
  • Since the body is destroyed at death, it would seem that any resurrected individual could only be a copy of the original. It might think of itself as the resurrected pre-mortem individual, but it would be wrong.
  • Consideration of arguments by Peter Van Inwagen in this respect.
  • This chapter is likely to be controversial, so needs to be very carefully argued, and factually correct concerning what is actually believed by intellectually-aware Christians and Muslims (unlike what seems to be the case with most swipes against religion).
  • Maybe I should also cover reincarnation.



Research Methodology
  • Follow this Link for a generic statement of how I intend to pursue each Chapter.
  • The method is broken down into 12, possibly iterative, stages.
  • Follow this Link for my progress dashboard on these tasks.



Chapter Introduction
  1. While I wish in this chapter to consider seriously the religious hope of resurrection, I do not want to get side-tracked onto matters of Scriptural exegesis, or into evidential matters of whether particular resurrections – specifically of Jesus – happened or not. In this regard, I’m interested only in what they take resurrection to be, and whether they provide any detailed metaphysical account of how it is supposed to work.
  2. As in the chapter on Thought Experiments, this chapter is partly aimed at checking how (my version of) animalism copes with projected situations. As such, I may extend this to other posited versions of post-mortem survival, though most are ruled out by the essentially physical nature of the human person as proposed by animalism.
  3. While not wanting to get too far off topic, especially at the end of the thesis, I want to consider some of the ethical consequences of adopting Animalism with – I presume – the lack of hope of post-mortem existence. Hence the reading material on death itself and on “matters of life and death”.
  4. Further text to be supplied.



Main Text
  1. To be supplied.



Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed4
  1. In this Chapter I will consider the following papers or book chapters (together with some others referenced by these). There are doubtless many more that are relevant and which will be addressed in the course of the thesis, but these are probably sufficient to get us going.
  2. I have divided those on the core topic of resurrection into those that are from a religio-philosophical perspective, rather than pure philosophy. In general, those written by professional philosophers are in the latter section, even if addressed to a religious audience.
  3. As the topic of death in itself – and the ethical consequences of death without post-mortem survival - are important issues, I have reading lists for these as well.
  4. Finally, in order to diagnose death, we need to know what life is! I’ve not really investigated a reading-list for this.
  5. Life:
  6. Death:
  7. Death and Ethics6:
  8. Resurrection - Purely Philosophical:
  9. Resurrection - Religio-Philosophical:
  10. Many aspects of these papers will need to be either ignored or reserved for other chapters.
  11. The motivation for these works is as follows:-
    • Gasser is the most important work I need to address.
    • Wright’s big book (hopefully) supplies all there is from the Christian side – even though the focus is on a specific – and theologically and metaphysically special – resurrection.
    • Bynum and Gillman provide background information from the Christian and Jewish perspectives, respectively.
    • Badham is a rather elementary Christian discussion, and may be rejected.
    • Corcoran is an important survey, already included in the reading for a couple of other Chapters.
    • Edwards, Flew and Penelhum are useful surveys of older material, which is useful just to read for the appropriate background. There is some considerable overlap in the selections.
    • I suppose I need to discuss death itself, hence Kagan, McMahan, Regan & Wyatt – though skipping the ethical bits.
    • Perrett and Tippler may be a little off-centre, and I may reject them on closer inspection.
    • The other individual papers – especially those by van Inwagen and Shoemaker – are probably important, but justification is to be supplied.
  12. Books / Papers Rejected: There are a number of works that I have in my possession that I considered investigating, but in the end decided not to. They are listed here, with reasons for rejection. Of course, there are very many others less tempting that appear in the topical reading lists but are not specifically mentioned here.
    • To be supplied.



The Cut
  1. There had already been a lot of cutting in the various selections of the original reading list – the reading lists attached to the Notes run on and on – and these items just represent the works in my possession (though I have sought out all that I’ve heard of that look relevant).
  2. However, the items in the lists following were given some attention, and have been culled – at least temporarily – from the lists above, where they originally appeared. I’ve not always given a reason as I’ve not studied them sufficiently closely. But, you have to draw a line somewhere.
  3. I’m well aware that the cut has not been sufficiently rigorous9. Further items beyond the items below are likely to be culled when I come to process them.
    • To be supplied …



Links to Notes
  • A lot of my notes seem to mention resurrection and the Notes fall into at least two categories10:-
    1. Thesis:-
      1. Resurrection,
      2. Life,
      3. Death,
      4. Corpses,
      5. Immortality,
      6. Reincarnation,
      7. NDEs,
      8. Makropulos Case,
      9. Life after Death.
    2. Philosophy of religion:-
      1. Resurrection,
      2. Resurrection (Metaphysics),
      3. 1 Corinthians 15,
      4. Heythrop.



Final Remarks
  1. This is work in progress.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 4:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
  • The author’s surname is repeated in the text to make it easier for me to see what’s going on in the encoded text I work on.
Footnote 6:
  1. The topic of “Death and Ethics” is already a bit tangential to my thesis, but there’s a set of questions – of which two are the most important, namely:-
    • Why is death bad (for the deceased)?, and
    • Can the dead be harmed (assuming they no longer exist)?
    – in which I have an interest, and on which I wonder whether my views on Personal Identity have anything to say.
  2. Therefore, I park here a bunch of papers on these topics (more on the second than the first) that may or may not get “processed”:-
Footnote 7:
  • Unlikely to have anything to do with resurrection, but I want an excuse for reading the book!
  • Maybe belongs to Chapter 8.
Footnote 8: Hardly philosophy, but important to have read!

Footnote 9: Especially as the list is currently empty!

Footnote 10: Write-up notes are accessible via the papers or books they are write-ups of.

Note last updated: 05/04/2016 23:19:41


Footnote 12: (Thesis - Chapter 12 (Conclusion))

This Chapter will summarise the claims and arguments of the Thesis, namely that:-

  • We are human animals,
  • Human persons fall under phase sortals of the concept HUMAN ANIMAL,
  • The person is inseparable from the animal,
  • The animal is utterly destroyed at death,
  • Substance dualism is false, and
  • Consequently (given the sort of thing we are) resurrection or any other post-mortem survival is impossible for us.


This is a place-holder.

Note last updated: 03/03/2016 06:05:46


Footnote 13: (Thesis - Later Reading)

Introduction

  1. The reading-list for my Thesis is already too long to manage, and – I have no doubt – new material will always be coming up that I ought to be aware of.
  2. I ought also to keep up to date with what’s going on in other areas of Analytic Philosophy.
  3. As a Cambridge Alumnus, I have access to JSTOR (Web Link (http://www.jstor.org/)) and thereby to some of the philosophical journals. The access to the text is not up-to-date, but I ought to inculcate a discipline to:-
    • Check the TOCs of the most recent issues, and mark them for future interrogation, and
    • Check the most recent issues with content, and briefly review what’s there, downloading where it looks useful.
  4. occasionally, I’ll come across a paper sufficiently important to include amongst the primary reading, but in general these items will be queued for later.

Journals1
  1. American Philosophical Quarterly (1964-2010)
  2. Analysis (1933-2008; 2009-2013)
  3. Behavior and Philosophy (1990-2010)
  4. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (1950-2006; 2007-2013)
  5. Canadian Journal of Philosophy (1971-2008)
  6. Erkenntnis (1975-2010; 2011-2013)
  7. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice (1998-2010; 2011-2013)
  8. Human Studies (1978-2010; 2011-2013)
  9. Hypathia (1986-2008; 2009-2012)
  10. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion (1970-2010; 2011-2012)
  11. The Journal of Ethics (1997-2010; 2011-2013)
  12. Journal of Philosophical Logic 91972-2010; 2011-2013)
  13. The Journal of Philosophy (1921-2008)
  14. Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes (1939-2010)
  15. Mind (1876-2006; 2007-2012)
  16. The Monist (1890-2008; 2009-2014)
  17. Noûs (1967-2003; 2004-2012)
  18. Philosophical Issues (1991-1998)
  19. Philosophical Perspectives (1987-1995)
  20. The Philosophical Quarterly (1950-2008; 2009-2012)
  21. The Philosophical Review (1892-2008; 2009-2011)
  22. Philosophical Studies (1950-2010; 2011-2013)
  23. Philosophy (1931-2008; 2009-2012)
  24. Philosophy and Phenomenal Research (1940-2008; 2009-2013)
  25. Philosophy & Public Affairs (1971-2008; 2009-2013)
  26. Phronesis (1955-2008; 2009-2013)
  27. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association (1927-2010)
  28. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (1887-2008; 2009-2013)
  29. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society: Supplementary Volumes (1918-2008; 2009-2013)
  30. Religious Studies (1965-2008; 2009-2013)
  31. The Review of Metaphysics (1947-2010)
  32. Synthese (1936-2010; 2011-2013)

Items Extracted2 or Noted




In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: The dates for which I have access to free Text appear in brackets, with a second date-range where appropriate, for papers that can be purchased (or borrowed in hard-copy).

Footnote 2:
  • These have been downloaded.
  • Some Extracted (and maybe “Noted”, which have not been downloaded) papers relate to topics in which I have an interest outside the domain of my Thesis.

Note last updated: 13/01/2015 19:07:41


Footnote 14: (Thinking Animal Argument)

Plug1 Note






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 9: For years, Olson trotted this argument out at every opportunity.

Footnote 10:
  • Usually invoking vagueness / fuzzy boundary considerations.
  • Which of the many cats (give or take a few atoms) is the “real cat”? There’s no principled reason / I can’t know which.
  • So there are no cats, or if there are, I can’t know which of the many cat-a-likes is the real cat.
Footnote 11:
  • I accept Moore’s “two hands” argument – nothing is plainer than that I have two hands, so any metaphysical or epistemological theory that says I haven’t, or can’t know that I have, must have something wrong with it.
  • I do know that there are arguments against the existence of hands and other “arbitrary undetached parts”, so maybe it’s safer to stick to cats.
Footnote 14: Look at "Ray (Greg) - Williamson's Master Argument on Vagueness". Is it relevant?

Footnote 15: And no-doubt other papers in "Olson (Eric), Etc. - Abstracta Special Issue on "The Human Animal"".

Note last updated: 04/07/2015 13:37:55


Footnote 15: (Fission)

The paradigm case of Fission is of two half-brain transplants. It is difficult to consider these cases without slipping into the “psychological view”. Each hemisphere seems to preserve what matters to the fissioned individual, and a perdurance account can maintain identity after fission. An alternative account is to claim that the two half-brains always were separate persons (and Puccetti has maintained that they are separate persons, in all of us, even prior to the commissurotomy in this thought-experiment), in a way slightly different from the usual Lewis view of non-identical spatially-coincident individuals (because the hemispheres aren’t spatially coincident, though the shared body is).

We need to consider how the original person was unified. We can press the realism of the thought-experiment by asking how important are the spinal chord and PNS generally to the psychological integrity of the human organism? The case of dicephalus twins may be relevant – where the functions of walking and even typing seem to be carried out perfectly adequately despite the coordinated limbs being controlled by different brains.

We also need to consider whether the two half-brains continue to constitute a single scattered person, just parked in separate bodies. A single embodiment is important because it ensures synchronisation of experience, and external communication between the hemispheres (in the absence of the usual internal communication across the corpus callosum). Presumably, this could be achieved in other ways. We can imagine a BIV linked by radio transmitters/receivers to a remote body – the brain is part of the body – so a single physical thing can be spatially discontinuous. Why, if A fissions into B and C, can’t we consider B & C to be parts of the same person? They could fight / argue … but so can someone in two minds about things. What if one killed the other? They would have different perceptual experiences, but so (presumably) does a chameleon, with its eyes pointing in different directions (and sheep and other herbivores, and fish, with eyes on the sides of their heads). I need to consider in detail what is supposed to be going on in fission – ie. press the thought experiment: there needs to be segregation / redundancy prior to separation – this can happen over time (or we would have plain duplication). At some point the person will split, with incommunicable consciousnesses (cf. Locke’s day-person and night-person).

Note last updated: 18/12/2010 19:58:05


Footnote 16: (Fusion)

We need to consider the merger of the two psychologies: Parfit thinks we might like to inherit some of the better characteristics of our partner, as in a marriage – but the creation of a single consciousness from two seems difficult to conceive of (much more so than the creation of two consciousnesses from one, as in fission). Do we end up with a single first-person perspective, or with two? This needs to be related to multiple personality disorder. Also, consider Parfit’s seasonal people that alternately fission and fuse. How conceivable are these thought experiments?

We also need to consider physical as well as psychological fusions, as in the case of the dicephalus and brain transplants.

This is mostly a place-holder. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

Note last updated: 18/12/2010 19:58:05


Footnote 17: (Replication)

Plug Note1

  • Replication arises where an obvious copying process takes place. I would claim that Teletransportation falls under this head. I'm currently not clear whether there's a distinction between replication and duplication, other than that duplication would seem to be restricted to doubling, whereas replication is more open-ended.
  • Does amoebic division count as replication? When an amoeba divides, this is not a case of fission but of reproduction. So, there are three amoebae involved – the original one and the two daughters. This is not the same situation as in fission.
  • The above said, does this case depend:
    1. on how the case is described and
    2. on how – empirically – the replication occurs?
  • If the amoebic division occurs by budding of a daughter, so that we can continually "track" the parent, then we have straightforward reproduction. If the division is symmetrical, the case could be correctly described as replication, though maybe on a perdurantist view we originally had two coincident amoebae that both persist.
  • We need to watch out for closest continuer descriptions of the case.
  • I don’t really have a categorised reading-list for this Note; while there is one, it is empty. Any reading will be covered under a sister Note of this one: Reduplication Objections.
  • This is mostly a place-holder.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.

Note last updated: 31/08/2017 19:35:02


Footnote 18: (Commissurotomy)

Plug Note1

  • A commissurotomy involves cutting the corpus callosum, the bundle of nerve fibres connecting the two cerebral hemispheres of the brain. The procedure is used to treat epilepsy, but is invoked by philosophers as a thought experiment (TE) to provide an alleged real-life example of fission. The real-life situation usually has to be improved to overcome the laterality of the brain, and the two hemispheres are assumed to be idempotent, with nothing of philosophical significance alleged to ride on this idealisation.
  • As with all TEs, what we can learn from this one depends on our level of description of what is supposed to be going on. The idea is that each hemisphere fully supports the mental life of the subject(s), and consequently that there is, or can come to be, multiple subjects – and hence multiple persons – within the same human animal. Commissurotomy is used as an objection to animalism. Some philosophers argue that (for modal reasons) there are always two persons within the same human being.
  • Clearly, this is not obviously the case in the normal asymmetric brain (see, no doubt, "Kinsbourne (Marcel) - Asymmetrical Function of the Brain"). So, in these thought experiments – and prior to this idealised idempotency – there has to be a period of equalisation and duplication of function. This sounds like it would lead to causal over-determination, but maybe the way it could be described is as with fault-tolerant computer systems, so that one hemisphere always takes the lead (or maybe they alternate) – in fact, this is said to be the case [where?] with marine mammals, to enable them to sleep without drowning. The non-dominant hemisphere is just kept up to date – either continuously or periodically – with whatever data and current state is represented in the dominant hemisphere. In such a situation, there are already – prior to the commissurotomy – two exactly similar (other than that they are mirror images of one another) but non-identical half-brains.
  • Of course, the last sentence above begs some questions. It is only the cerebral hemispheres that are separated and duplicated – but they are still physically connected via the brain-stem – even if the logical connections are greatly reduced. It is said (where?) that severed hemispheres can still communicate with one another via cues passed externally to the brain. Indeed, the case of the dicephalus suggests that this co-ordination is possible with two complete brains, where the hands can be coordinated to drive a car and even type, despite being controlled by different brains.
  • A recent paper - "Pinto (Yair) - When you split the brain, do you split the person?" - has suggested that the research for which Sperry received a Nobel Prize has not been replicated – in the case of two patients – and that this raises questions about the nature of consciousness. I have my doubts (Might not the corpus collosi not have been entirely severed in these cases?).
  • A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
  • This is mostly a place-holder. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.

Note last updated: 11/10/2017 07:03:22


Footnote 19: (Multiple Personality Disorder)

MPD - otherwise known as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). This condition is normally viewed as psychopathological, to be treated by therapy. It occurs where a human being is, or appears to be, “home” to more than one person, or at least more than one personality. These persons/personalities may be radically dissimilar, and are (as the alternative designation implies) dissociated from one another. They can be like Locke’s night and day man “incommunicable consciousnesses”, unaware of one another’s existence – hence being in Lockean terms different persons; or, they can be aware of one another, but as of distinct persons.

No doubt one could complain that the clinically-recorded cases are exaggerated, fabrications or otherwise unreliable. But there seems nothing wrong with them as TEs, and ones least open to cavil given their approximation to reality.

Effectively, we have a brain running more than one mind-program (on the “mind-as-software” approach); or a brain segregated into more than virtual machine (on the “mind as hardware”) approach to the mind-brain relationship.

MPDs pose no problems to those espousing the Psychological View (PV) – other than ethical issues concerning “therapeutic” suppression or unification of the alleged multiple persons (see "Shoemaker (David) - Moral Issues at the End of Life"), but what is the response of or the Constitution View (CV)? Can we have more than one person – with more than one First Person Perspective (FPP) – constituted by the same human body? Animalism ignores psychological factors altogether as far as identity is concerned, so won’t be troubled.

This is mostly a place-holder. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

Note last updated: 18/12/2010 19:58:05


Footnote 20: (Brain State Transfer)

The idea that we can, even in principle, copy the information from a brain to a backup device and then restore it to another (or the same) brain - as in "Williams (Bernard) - The Self and the Future" - without changing the identity of that brain seems fanciful to me. This is partly because I am antipathetic to functionalism. The information stored in brains appears to be in highly distributed representations along connectionist lines rather than according to classical AI. The very physical structure of the brain changes along with what it represents. There is no simple software / hardware distinction in a realistic psychology of human beings.

Consequently, this is a case of an under-specified TE that Wilkes so objects to. When we try to flesh out the details, we find that the TE doesn’t really work. Any backup will need to be molecule by molecule to retain the informational richness of the original, and consequently any restore will not really simply modify the existing brain, but will destroy it and replace it with a replica of the brain whose contents are supposedly being transferred. It will not simply feed information into a pre-existing brain.

Hence, I now think that Williams’s intuitions about the post-transfer A-body-person remaining a “mixed up” A-person are incorrect. Nor does A-body-person end up as B, but as a fusion of a confused replica of B’s brain and A’s body. The situation is best described as a transplant of (maybe only part of) a replica of B’s brain into A-body-person’s head.

Note last updated: 18/08/2009 20:39:50


Footnote 21: (Brain)

There is a view that we are really, most fundamentally, our brains. It seems to promise some good things from both the “psychological criterion” and “bodily criterion” camps, since the brain is indeed part of the body, and, in the absence of a soul, the source of all our psychological functions. However, we seem to be much more than our brains. After all, who would want to be a BIV (Brain in a Vat)? According to Johnston (see "Johnston (Mark) - Human Beings"), BIVs are “maximally mutilated” human beings; which seems to be along the right lines. Note the important distinction between your surviving in a maximally mutilated state (as a brain) and you “really” being your brain.

This is an issue the Animalist has to contend with - whether a BIV is an animal. Snowdon claims (where?) that no-one seems to think this, a view that Olson shares but on which he may be open to objection. He says that an animal with a prosthetic leg is a smaller animal with something non-animal attached. If this is admitted, don’t we end up with a sorites argument, that a BIV is a (very much) smaller animal; though not, I think, with any paradox?

The big question is whether an animal’s brain is just another organ (like its liver) or whether it has some other status. That it is somehow special can be presupposed if we start conceptually with the brain as the core from which other parts are shaved off. Whether this is the right approach depends, I think, on what the brain does for the animal, and where the animal is on the phylogenetic tree. The brain is a much more important organ in some animals than others; in some lower animals it has no psychological functions and (maybe) its regulatory functions aren’t essential (I need to check this).

Why is the Woody Allen expostulation about his brain (in Sleeper) “(is) my second favourite organ” amusing? Firstly, of course, because of the sexual innuendo and the ultimately strange prioritisation (since you can’t enjoy sexual excitement without a brain), but also, I think, because your brain isn’t an organ that you “have”. Without your brain, there’s no “you” at all, or at least this is a strong intuition.

You can obviously (given even today’s technology), do without a liver, and it seems that on a life-support machine your body can do without its brain – where the brain is looked upon merely as a regulator. But the reference of “you” is a bit slippery in these contexts. There is a sense in which you as an organism can do without a brain – on life support – but “you” as an essentially psychological being cannot. The animalists claim that you – being identical to an animal – have no essential psychological predicates; yet it is difficult to resist the intuition that there’s a reference of “you” that does have essential psychological predicates. This is to you as a person – but the big question is whether this person is a separate substance constituted by the human animal, or is just a way of describing the animal when possessed of the appropriate psychological predicates. Saying that you can’t do without your brain is just another way of saying that your psychological predicates are those most important to you (the animal); those without which the other predicates cannot be enjoyed.

The issue fundamentally concerns the integrity of organisms. It is said that a brain isn’t an organism; but does an organism have to be self-supporting (the main reason for denying the status of organisms to disembodied brains)? After all, we seem to be allowing that an organism on life support is correctly described as an organism. We’ll discuss this further in its place.

These issues are especially important when we consider various Thought Experiments, in particular Brain Transplants. Transplantation of all sorts seems to involve fusion, with its logical problems for identity (not just for persons).

Note last updated: 18/08/2009 20:39:50


Footnote 22: (Teletransportation)

A Case Study - “Beam me up Scottie”: There are two obvious supposed mechanisms for teletransportation:

  1. Transferring both matter and information; or simply
  2. Transferring information, utilising local matter.
I gather that in the show itself, it's plasma that's transmitted, but as this is unlikely to get to its destination without causing havoc, the information-only transfer is more reasonable. However, even in the plasma-transfer case, I'm unconvinced that I'd survive, for two reasons:
  1. Some things (eg. bicycles) can survive disassembly and re-assembly, but only if they are disassembled into recognisable parts. If a bicycle is disassembled into iron filings and latex goo, and then re-manufactured, we might be reluctant to say it's the same bicycle.
  2. As a matter of empirical fact, fundamental particles are not distinguishable, so the labelling cannot be undertaken even in principle. If it doesn't matter which particle fits where, provided they are of the right sort, the case seems to collapse into the information-transfer variant.
We now turn to the information-transfer case. My main worries initially here have to do with the possibility of duplicates. We all know that a counterfeit, however well done, isn't the same as the original. The logic of identity is constraining. A thing is identical to itself and to nothing else, so if a thing is identical to two "other" things, these "two" must be identical to one another. Given that my two beamed-up versions aren't identical to one another, at least one of them can't be identical to me. And, since they are exactly similar, why choose one rather than the other? So, neither is me. Both are exactly similar to me, but identity is to be distinguished from exact similarity. This situation is similar to the case where the "original" human being isn't destroyed. This sort of thought experiment is referred to as the branch-line case. Canonically, it's where I've only a few days left to live (because the scanner has done me a mischief). Would I be happy in the knowledge that my duplicate would go on and on, and take up with my partner and career where I left off? Is this as good as if I survived? Not likely, unless we’re Parfitian saints! Note, however, that the case is tendentiously described (ie. as teletransportation) to lead to this seemingly obvious conclusion. The "main line" candidate would be perfectly happy that his rival back home was about to perish.

Philosophers split into two main camps in response to these situations (though - jumping ahead a little - even if perdurantism is true, we still might not have the teletransportation of a persisting individual, because of the wrong sort of causal link leading to a lack of forward continuity of consciousness, or even of physical continuity). So there are multiple bifurcations, but we keep things simple here and just follow those who think that I either survive or have what matters in survival:-
  1. 4-dimensionalists (Perdurantists): A thing is really a 4-dimensional worm through space-time, which consists in a set of instantaneous 3-D stages. In this situation, where multiple teletransportations occur, all copies are me. They are different 4-D worms, but they share all their pre-beaming-up stages. There were always at least 2 people present.
  2. 3-dimensionalists (Endurantists) claim that while I'm not identical to the beamed-up person, yet I have what matters in survival.
Note that there's a modal argument to the effect that even in the usual case where only one copy is beamed up, and the original is destroyed, because there might have been multiple copies, this means that identity isn't preserved even in the case where there's only one teletransportation-result created. This seems to lead to paradox. Imagine the situation - I'm beamed up and think I've survived, and am then told that the machine has malfunctioned and produced a duplicate, and hence, contrary to my experience, I haven't survived after all! Unfortunately, some philosophers go along with a "closest continuer" theory of identity across nasty cases of fission or fusion. I'm identical to (or even “survive as”) the continuer that most closely continues me, either psychologically or physically, according to taste. How can my survival depend on what happens to someone else, the thought goes? While this does seem odd, in fact you can’t trust the feelings of the teletransportees – for even if multiple copies are made, they all subjectively feel like the original.

There are two questions outstanding.
  1. Do I survive the transfer? And, if I don’t,
  2. Does it matter that I'm not identical to the post-beamed person?
I’m here ignoring the (as it seems to me) illogical “survival without identity” option.

We have seen that it is possible that it appears to me that I survive, yet I do not. On the endurantist view, the logic of identity means that I cannot trust my experience. So, it seems possible that the person “waking up” is not me. I never wake up – in the sense that I lose consciousness, but never experience a re-awakening - but someone else with my past in his memories is created in my stead.

So, is survival what matters? Well, on the perdurantist view, it’s not even sufficient for me to have what matters. Imagine the case where the machine goes haywire and 1,000 exactly similar teletransportees are created. All these share my pre-teletransportation stages, so are all me (except that “I” was always 1,000 co-located individuals – and maybe more – who knows how often the machine may go wrong in the future!). In this case 1,000 individuals would be squabbling over the same friends, relations, job etc, and that might be rather a nuisance. However, this isn't fundamental to whether I do or don't survive. If I'm a violin virtuoso or a body-builder, I might not find it much fun surviving as a brain in a vat, but that would just be tough. The standard philosophical test is the "future great pain test". I believe that the future continuant will be me, whether I like it or not, if I'm as terrified of that continuant being tortured as I would be if I were to be tortured in the normal course of events. Our BIVs would be even more upset at the prospect of torture-simulation being fed into their brains than at the loss of their beautiful bodies. Our fears have to be moderated by logic, however. But this is no worse than ignoring a revivalist rant on Hellfire. If I’m not identical to a particular teletransportatee, I won’t survive, and if I don’t survive I won’t feel anything. I may have a moral obligation not to land others in a pickle, but it won’t be the selfish problem of avoiding landing myself in one.

I can imagine fissioning, by the bungled-beaming-up process, into 1,000 continuants, none of which (on a 3-D view) is identical to me, but all of whom seem to themselves to continue my first-person perspective. I can imagine (just about) going into the machine, and coming out again 1,000 times (when the life-histories of the 1,000 then start to diverge). While the psychologies of the 1,000 are initially identical, they are not connected to one another, though they are each connected continuously to the pre-beamed-up person. So, if even one of them were to be threatened with torture, I'd be terrified if I thought that that one (even amongst all the others) would be me, in the sense that my experience continues into that body.

But, do I survive? I don't think I do, for reasons given above. It’s not that I reject perdurantism, it’s just that even accepting perdurantism there’s too radical a discontinuity. It's clear that a duplicate, looking backwards, wouldn't be able to tell apart the situation from the normal one of (say) just having woken up after a dreamless sleep. However, I imagine it's possible (even in a supposedly successful teletransportation) for there to be nothing it's like for me after the beaming - it's as though I never woke up, though someone else woke up thinking he was me. This would be a tragedy but, we'd never know about it, because (on this hypothesis) I wouldn't be around to tell the tale, and my duplicate would claim everything was fine (he remembered going to bed and waking up, as it were).

This worries me slightly about our every-night bouts of unconsciousness. How do I know that “the me” that wakes up is “the same me” that went to sleep, and would it matter if it wasn't? Was my mother right in saying “it’ll be all right in the morning”, in the sense that I’d have no further experience of the current problem, or indeed of anything at all? Is this worry parallel to beam-me-up case? Or is sleep a pain-free death?

I suspect the answer to these questions is that for a physical thing to persist, there needs to be appropriate physical continuity, and this continuity guarantees its persistence (though this intuition is a bit of a feeble response). On the assumption that my brain supports my conscious experience, this is enough to reassure me that, as it's the same continuing brain in my skull overnight, it's the same me that's conscious in the morning. I don't have the same reassurance in the case of beaming-up. So, I wouldn't go in for it, even if it came to be seen as a cheap form of transportation.



Footnote – December 2009

There’s a 10-minute animated cartoon - John Weldon's "To Be" – that discusses the question of teletransportation. It’s presently on U-Tube at Web Link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdxucpPq6Lc). In it, a mad scientist invents a teletransportation device as a means of free travel. The necessity of destroying the original is discussed, initially to avoid overpopulation, and then to prevent disputes at to who is who. The branch-line case, where the original is destroyed five minutes after the replication, also features. There, it is clear that the original is a different individual to the teletransportee, and clings to life. Destroying the original is (in retrospect) murder – but what’s the difference between this situation and the one where the original is immediately destroyed? There’s obviously the anticipatory angle – in the “normal” case, the original thinks of the situation as one of travel, and no-one thinks that identity is not preserved in the process, whereas in the branch-line case the confusion is exposed, and the original knows that the teletransportee is a clone. So, maybe the branch-line case is clearly a case of murder, whereas the “normal” case is a case of accidental homicide where the perpetrator is unaware that he’s killed someone?

The twist in the tail is that the heroine, overcome with guilt after the branch-line case (which she’d originally just thought of as a logical demonstration) – and now understanding the metaphysics of teletransportation – thinks she can now (a) atone for her crime, (b) escape the guilt and (c) escape her creditors by being herself teletransported. For (a) she dies and is cloned and (b) / (c) the teletransportee is a different individual to the orignal, so why should this individual have any moral connection to the other? There seems to be something fishy about this, but maybe it’s perfectly sound reasoning.

In the animation, the original and the teletransportee get muddled up (after all, both look alike and think alike), so for practical purposes we are in a situation similar to Locke’s “amnesiac drunkard” case – society has to find the drunkard guilty for his forgotten crimes (in that case because of the possibility of dissimulation); so, maybe the possibilty of dissimulation or devious intent (as in the animated case) would for practical purposes mean that the teletransportee would inherit the moral and legal baggage of the original – and surely they would, or the prctical consequences of people routinely escaping their debts would be grave.

Yet, metaphysically, it’s no different from escaping your debts by committing suicide, because the teletransportee is not the same individual. And, I think the Branch-line case shows that it’s not the same person either, unless we allow the non-substance term “Person” to have multiple instances – as immediately post teletransportation, both the original and the teletransportee would seem to be the same person (however this is defined non-substantially) even though they would rapidly diverge into two different persons. Just as in the case of suicide, society has in the past tried to show that you “can’t really escape” – because of the prospect of Hell, so in the teletransportation case the same myth would be propagated. The teletransportee would be deemed to inherit the moral baggage of the original and, if not up to speed on the metaphysics, would think rightly so. But the original would have escaped for all that!

Note last updated: 18/12/2010 19:58:05


Footnote 23: (Siliconisation)

Such as, Unger’s “zippering” – the gradual replacement of neural tissue by silicon. This is a subtle argument. Gradually, we no longer have a human animal. I think the situation is best viewed as an increasingly mutilated human animal with an ever-growing prosthesis. I doubt that the silicon would maintain phenomenal consciousness, but just be a “zombie” simulacrum. Any replacement that would maintain phenomenal consciousness would be indistinguishable from natural part-replacement. But I think this is a contingent, empirical matter, a long way off from an answer.

This is mostly a place-holder. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

Note last updated: 18/12/2010 19:58:05



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Timestamp: 11/10/2017 07:45:33. Comments to theo@theotodman.com.