Theo Todman's Web Page

For Text Colour-conventions (at end of page): Click Here

Personal Identity - Thesis - Introduction

Note last updated: 18/04/2019 18:18:43


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

Abstract

  • This Chapter provides a motivating statement for the study of the particular path through the topic of Personal Identity I intend to pursue and a brief historical survey of the subject to situate my particular stance.



Research Methodology
  • Follow this Link1 for a generic statement of how I intend to pursue each Chapter.
  • The method is broken down into 12, possibly iterative, stages.
  • Follow this Link2 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.
  • Another couple of “clearing up” tasks3 specific to this Chapter are:-
    1. To ensure that all the Papers on Identity that I have actually read are referenced somewhere4 in this Thesis.
    2. To ensure that all the Notes on Identity that I have actually produced are referenced somewhere5 in this Thesis.



Links to Notes
  1. General Surveys6,
  2. Locke7,
  3. My Current Stance8
  4. Maybe others (to be supplied).



Chapter Introduction
  1. Why should we care about the topic of Personal Identity? The question hardly needs answering, as it’s just about the most important question to be posed by a reflective (if selfish) person. Historically, answers to this question have provided – or so Locke hoped – grounds for the possibility of life after death. 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 paradigm – in the sense of the one I think most likely to be correct, rather than necessary the one I’d like to be correct – is Animalism. This is the claim that we are human animals and that consequently death is the end of us. This sensible view is only supported by around 17% of philosophers, according to a 2009 poll9 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 “are” – human animals. But then the problem cases kick in – whether actual real-life cases 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. Transhumanists10 think we can be uploaded to computers, which makes no sense if we are animals.
  6. So, as noted, there’s no consensus.
  7. Further detail to be supplied11.



Main Text: Brief historical survey of the topic of Personal Identity
  1. As already noted, there are many fine introductory books on this topic, and I don’t intend to compete with them here. What I want to do is situate what I want to say in its historical context. I don’t intend to supply this section with a detailed scholarly apparatus.
  2. Further detail to be supplied12.



Concluding Remarks
  1. To make any progress on this topic, we need to come to a conclusion as to what sort of thing we are. We discuss this in the next Chapter13.
  2. Further details to be supplied14.



Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed15
  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:





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 3:
  • These will be left until all Chapters have completed Task 7.
Footnote 4:
  • This may either be “as utilised” or “as ignored”.
  • Follow this link for those Papers I’ve read.
  • As of mid-Oct 2014, this task is now complete!
Footnote 5:
  • This may either be “as utilised” or “as ignored”.
  • Follow this link for the Jump-Table of all my Notes related to Personal Identity.
Footnote 9: Footnote 15:
  • 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 16: As this is a PhD Thesis in my general subject-area, I ought at least to have read it!

Footnote 17: Somewhat elementary, but worth (re-)reading quickly

Footnote 18:
  • 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 19: This is a set of papers for discussion in a research seminar. Most are probably covered elsewhere, but in case not …

Footnote 20: For a review, see "Lerner (Berel Dov) - Review of 'Personal Identity and Ethics: A Brief Introduction' by David Shoemaker".

Footnote 21: Decide where to park the various Chapters of this book after reading the précis.

Footnote 22:
  • 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 23: This is more recent than the others.

Footnote 28: But note that Baker’s account of constitution differs from the mereological account assumed in Rea’s anthology.

Footnote 29: The works by Reuscher and Trupp are too eccentric to be given any priority.

Footnote 30: The works by Slors may be worth reading as a fairly contemporary defence of the psychological view; just not yet.

Footnote 31: The work by Vesey is too out of date for a priority item.

Note last updated: 18/04/2019 18:18:43


Footnote 1.1: (Thesis - Method & Form)

Form of the Argument

  1. The thesis will present an abductive argument (as in my BA Dissertation “Poverty of Stimulus Arguments for Innate Grammar”), that is, an inference to the best explanation of the data.
  2. That’s why I have to consider so many aspects of the subject, so many thought experiments1 and so much clinical2 data3. Into which story does it all best fit?
  3. I may have to reject some recalcitrant thought experiments as ill-formed, but I do not wish to ignore anything significant.
  4. For some time, I have considered Animalism as the most likely account of what human beings are, and I propose this thesis to evaluate the arguments for and against it, using the rival “Constitution View” as a foil.

Method
  • Over the years I have read a lot of books and papers on the topic of Personal Identity.
    1. For some, I have made extensive on-line write-ups.
    2. For others, the write-up is incomplete, or sketchy.
    3. For yet others, I have (more or less) extensively annotated the margin (in so doing ruining many an expensive volume!).
    4. Finally, some have simply been read (and probably forgotten).
  • I have also written numerous Notes on almost every aspect of the subject, though many of them are place-holders awaiting filling-out. These Notes link to the Books and Papers, either explicitly or thematically, and to one another.
  • Follow this Link4 for an explanation of the various Objects in my Research database, though the Note needs updating in the light of changes since 2010.
  • All this has resulted in a huge unfocussed cobweb of material, which needs to be subjected to some order and completeness. This has started by outlining the Chapters of the Thesis5, and specifying the limited subset of the problem I intend to address in detail.
  • For most Chapters, my approach to producing the first draft of the Chapter will be as follows:-
    1. Determine which Notes that I have written are relevant to this Chapter.
    2. Fill out any Note-place-holders with whatever’s in my head!
    3. Use the reading lists associated with these Notes to establish a limited reading list for the Chapter.
    4. Review whatever I’ve written, in whatever format, on the items in the derived reading lists, and make necessary cosmetic changes in the process of evaluating the items.
    5. Segregate6 this reading list into:-
      … Higher versus lower priority,
      … Read versus unread,
      … Annotated (by hand) versus unannotated
      … Those with an Abstract or Note Write-up versus those without
    6. Cull items that are unlikely to be addressed in the next two years and list them as specifically excluded. I may pick up on these at a later stage of the project, but in the short term the culling process will be essential for making across-the-board progress.
    7. Determine why the residue are important and relevant – if they are – and briefly document the reasons.
    8. Migrate any Book or Paper Abstracts that I have written (as distinct from copied from elsewhere) to Write-Up Notes.
    9. If the Book or Paper is important enough, migrate any hand-written annotations to a Write-Up Note, and complete any important incomplete Write-Up Notes.
    10. Write and maintain a Chapter Summary, motivating and summarising the Chapter. Use this to ensure I don’t get side-tracked.
    11. Incorporate the key points of Write-Up Notes into the Topic Notes.
    12. Incorporate the highest level thoughts from the Topic Notes into the Main Text of the Chapter.
  • In principle, these actions should be effected in number sequence, though there will be some iteration, particularly with the last point, which presents my research findings in their most accessible form for outside interested parties.
  • There are many important papers that are on the reading lists that I have not read. At this stage, I do not intend to read them until I have processed all those papers that I have read. This will require discipline!
  • Most of the “detailed working” of the Chapter should be retained in the topic Notes and Write-ups. The Chapter should be fairly high-level at this stage, with hyperlinks to more detailed or supportive work.
  • I need to have some method of evidencing how far along this trial I have got for each Chapter, but this can wait until there is some progress to report.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 2: I am unsure how much of this I have actually attended to – but it is important to keep it in mind.

Footnote 6: I need to develop a method for this – one probably variable depending on the length of the list.

Note last updated: 22/07/2014 22:23:31


Footnote 1.1.1 Repeated. See Footnote 10.3: (Thought Experiments)


Footnote 1.1.3: (Clinical Observations)

Plug Note1

  • Clinical observations may be a better guides than thought experiments as test cases for our theories of personal identity, because at least we know they represent a real possibility.
    • One of the main objections to TEs is that they are underspecified and confused.
    • However, even with actual clinical observation, we still have the trouble of the correct interpretation of the clinical data, which affects the conclusions we can draw from it.
    • See "Wegner (Daniel) - The Illusion of Conscious Will" for the sort of controversy that arises in these circumstances.
      → [I need to explain this a bit further!]
  • Examples of relevant clinical cases are
    Commissurotomy patients and
    → Those with Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD).
    Is a commissurotomy or MPD patient “home to” one or two persons?
  • I argue elsewhere (where?) that PATIENT – like PERSON – is a Phase Sortal of the Ultimate Sortal HUMAN BEING.
    • One human being can simultaneously be multiple patients (dental and chiropody, for instance), or a multiply-enrolled student.
    • Does this situation mirror those of our more seriously damaged human beings?
  • One thing can’t be two things (in the sense of “be identical to”), even if the two things are of a different kind to the one thing.
    • The logic of identity would force the “two” things to be identical.
    • But the Phase Sortal approach doesn’t force this violation of logic, so could a human being with split personality literally be the home of two, or three, or seven different thinking beings? (Wilkes12).
    • I’m inclined to say “yes”, but what impact does that have on animalism?
  • This topic (and its reading list) overlaps with several others, some of which have already been mentioned:-
    • Commissurotomy,
    • Dicephalus,
    • Multiple Personality Disorder,
    • Psychopathology.
  • Currently, there is no categorised reading-list for this topic. A reading list would be mostly covered by the above Notes. Currently I can otherwise only think of:-
    1. "Harris (Henry) - An Experimentalist Looks at Identity", Harris, 1995
  • 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.
Footnote 12: Presumably in +BB+.

Note last updated: 10/04/2017 23:38:24


Footnote 1.1.4: (Website Generator Documentation - Printable Notes)

Introduction

  • Many of the pages in my website are made up of hyperlinked Notes, which are relatively small sections of text which themselves link to other Notes1, and so on. The documents that these interlinked pages make up are supposed to be viewed on-line, but I recognise that not everyone likes to read in this way.
    1. In particular, while this hyperlinking methodology is a good way of chasing up details of an argument, while not losing sight of the whole picture, it can also make it difficult to see the overall picture – or at least the whole text.
    2. It is also difficult to scribble in the margins of a web-page.
  • So, printable versions will be required until technology for marginal annotation improves2
  • There are several parameters (explained below) that are accounted for in the file-name of the printed Note:-
    1. The depth of scan.
    2. Whether the Printed Note is archived3.
    3. Whether all inter-Note references are indicated.
    4. Whether Private Notes are printed.
    5. Whether Reading Lists are included.
  • When I make reference to Printable Notes, there are, in general, hyperlinks to an appropriate selection of printable Notes that satisfy these options.
  • A straight print of a frames-based page4 only prints the first page, which is why most professional sites have printable versions of their pages to allow printing of the full document, and without the other frames interfering. My printable pages do this, of course, but the main difficulty is to print the footnotes (pages hyperlinked to within the site: I don't make any attempt to print the results of linking to external sites).
  • Printing all the footnotes associated with the main Note precisely once in a sensible sequence is a particular challenge.
    1. This is firstly because (intentionally or otherwise) a referential loop may occur.
    2. Secondly, we don't want to print the same note more than once if it is referred to on multiple occasions (which is part of the point of having separable notes in the first place).
    3. Finally, we don't necessarily want to print Notes when they first appear, but in some sort of sensible sequence.

Depth of Scan
  • To address the first of these problems, I have introduced a depth of scan, so that we don't loop endlessly.
  • This also allows topics to be looked at in greater or lesser depth.
  • Consequently, several printed Notes may appear for the same underlying Note.
  • Also, where a Note in another Notes Group is referenced, I only print the Note itself, not its footnotes5. This is to avoid the printed Notes ballooning with irrelevancies.

Inter-Note Referencing
  • Within the printable note itself, there are no “inter-Note” hyperlinks, though the links to external websites and to Book and Paper summaries within the reading lists work.
  • Secondly, I only print footnotes once within any particular printed Note.
  • There are two options.
    1. In the first, all the footnote indicators appear as in the on-screen version as superscripts (subscripts in the case of private notes which don’t appear on the published website), but those that are duplicated refer forward or backward to where the footnote actually appears.
    2. Since this can lead to a lot of clutter in certain circumstances, I have an alternative view whereby (for a footnote that's "not printed here") both the subscript / superscript and the “Note forwarding Note” are omitted. There are then gaps in the sequencing of the superscripts. I’ve decided to leave this in to alert the reader to the existence of the omitted references. The alternative “all footnotes showing” view can be consulted it required.
  • The referencing convention is effectively the Tractatus standard, but with full-stops separating the level of references. So, the 5th footnote on the main form appears as Footnote 5: (Title); the 3rd footnote on that note appears as Footnote 5.3: (Title2); the 7th footnote on that note as Footnote 5.3.7 (Title3); and so on.
  • Deciding when to print a Note is an art in itself. Currently all I do is print the Note in the place in which it appears as high up the hyperlinking hierarchy as possible. I ought probably to take into account the fact that each Note has encoded a “Natural” parent, and print it below that parent where possible; but I’ve not done this yet.

Archived Notes
  • The Notes pages are dynamic. When the status of a Note is changed from “Temp” to Null, the previous version is archived and can be accessed by a hyperlink at the bottom of the Note. This version crystallises the view at that time (ie. all the Notes linked-to from that archived Note are the currently latest archived versions.
  • The printable versions used to attempt to follow this pattern, but when I re-wrote the “Note Printing” processes, I didn’t replicate the function for Archived Notes.
  • I may reconsider this decision in due course.

“Private” and other non-displayable Notes
  • There’s a feature to not include a Note referenced in the printable version (by prefixing the Note ID by “NP”). Then, that Note and any Notes reference by it will not appear as footnotes in any Printable Notes, unless they are referenced elsewhere in the tree without the “NP” prefix.
  • There are two “privacy” systems in operation.
    1. The first allows me to flag a Note as private, in which case a polite message appears on the public site.
    2. The second method is to put the Note in a password-protected area.
  • I have a flag that allows printed Notes to include or exclude “flagged as Private” Notes.
  • I think a Note in the secure area would print if it were referred to by a Note from a non-Secure area.

Reading Lists
  • Some Notes have associated reading lists. These arise either because the Note (or a referenced Note within the depth of scan) directly references a Book or Paper, or indirectly via the association between the Note Title, and the Sub-Topic of the Books and Papers.
  • A list of papers (together with hyperlinks to the Paper or Book summaries within the website is produced.
  • This element is currently under development, as the lists (in author sequence) are very long.
  • Currently, a reference appears if it is directly cited, or priority 1-3 within the first level of hyperlinking, or priority 1 below that.
  • Consequently, I’ve allowed the Notes to be printed with or without reading lists.

General Disclaimer
  • Note that all this is an on-going research project.
  • I intend to check it out – and correct or extend the functionality – as part of my philosophical research project.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • They also link to Papers, Books and Authors, but this is not relevant for our present topic.
Footnote 2:
  • Note that you can copy and paste my printable versions into MS Word and annotate those if you want to save trees.
Footnote 3:
  • I have currently disabled “printable” versions of archived Notes as the functionality is very complex and of limited use.
  • See the section “Archived Notes” later in this Note.
Footnote 4:
  • I’ve stopped using Frames in my website, as they are declared obsolete in HTML5. See html.com: Frames (https://html.com/frames/).
  • But analogous features replace them, though I’ve not yet developed any software for this.
Footnote 5:
  • By which I mean its referenced Notes, not its Intra-Note Footnotes, such as this one!
  • I need to check how this works in practice for Supervisions and precis-Notes.

Note last updated: 11/04/2019 10:49:26


Footnote 1.1.5 Repeated. See Main Text


Footnote 1.2: (Status: Thesis Dashboard (2019: April))

Below is a table1 showing the indicative progress on my Thesis, broken down by Chapter. More detail is given in footnotes. For a definition of the Tasks, follow this Link3.

ChapterTask 01Task 02Task 03Task 04Task 05Task 06Task 07Task 08Task 09Task 10Task 11Task 12
Chapter 01 (Introduction)CompleteCompleteCompleteCompleteStartedCompleteDrafted5  Complete6  
Chapter 02 (What are We?)CompleteStarted8Complete9CompleteStartedComplete10Drafted  Drafted  
Chapter 03 (What is a Person?)CompleteIteration_1Complete      Started  
Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues)CompleteStarted13Complete      Drafted  
Chapter 05 (Persistence and Time)CompleteIteration_115Complete      Started  
Chapter 06 (Animalism and Arguments for It)CompleteStarted17Complete      Started  
Chapter 07 (The Constitution View and Arguments for It)CompleteCompleteComplete      Started  
Chapter 08 (Arguments against Animalism)CompleteCompleteComplete         
Chapter 09 (Arguments against the Constitution View)CompleteCompleteComplete         
Chapter 10 (Thought Experiments)CompleteComplete22Started23         
Chapter 11 (Resurrection)CompleteCompleteComplete      Started  
Chapter 12 (Conclusion)N/A26N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Footnote 3: The definitions of the 12 tasks are a follows:-
  1. Determine which Notes that I have written are relevant to this Chapter.
  2. Fill out any Note-place-holders with whatever's in my head!
  3. Use the reading lists associated with these Notes to establish a limited reading list for the Chapter.
  4. Review whatever I've written, in whatever format, on the items in the derived reading lists, and make necessary cosmetic changes in the process of evaluating the items.
  5. Segregate this reading list into:-
    • Higher versus lower priority,
    • Read versus unread,
    • Annotated (by hand) versus unannotated
    • Those with an Abstract or Note Write-up versus those without
  6. Cull items that are unlikely to be addressed in the next two years and list them as specifically excluded. I may pick up on these at a later stage of the project, but in the short term the culling process will be essential for making across-the-board progress.
  7. Determine why the residue are important and relevant - if they are - and briefly document the reasons.
  8. Migrate any Book or Paper Abstracts that I have written (as distinct from copied from elsewhere) to Write-Up Notes.
  9. If the Book or Paper is important enough, migrate any hand-written annotations to a Write-Up Note, and complete any important incomplete Write-Up Notes.
  10. Write and maintain a Chapter Summary, motivating and summarising the Chapter. Use this to ensure I don't get side-tracked.
  11. Incorporate the key points of Write-Up Notes into the Topic Notes.
  12. Incorporate the highest level thoughts from the Topic Notes into the Main Text of the Chapter.
Footnote 5: Needs reviewing as part of the "culling" process.

Footnote 6: This is just the aggregate of the Chapter Abstracts

Footnote 8: Beings and Souls are a bit skimpy.

Footnote 9:
  • This is the Chapter on which I was working when I started my PhD, and the papers are those I was assigned. They have extensive Write-ups and supervision notes.
  • However, I need to undertake a more thorough review of the literature.
Footnote 10: I probably need to be more rigorous in the culling of items on Selves and Souls.

Footnote 13: Relative Identity, Vague Identity, Indeterminate Identity, Contingent Identity, Occasional Identity and Substance are skeletal.

Footnote 15: Time, Persistence and Persistence Criteria are all rather skimpy.

Footnote 17: Thinking Animal Argument is skeletal and "Other Arguments For Animalism" requires a Note.

Footnote 22: Siliconisation is probably Unger's idea, but I seem to have lost the reference.

Footnote 23:
  • The reading-list for the theory of thought-experiments is OK, but not for the TEs themselves.
  • Many of the relevant papers will have been considered earlier in the Thesis, but they need to be reviewed here.
Footnote 26: This Chapter is non-standard.

Note last updated: 18/04/2019 10:06:14


Footnote 1.6: (General Surveys)

Plug Note1






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 2:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 3:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Footnote 4: Footnote 5:
  • This is the series of lectures that first engaged me with the topic of Personal Identity.
Footnote 6:
  • I attended some Graduate Seminars on Personal Identity by Paul Snowdon (not the lectures above), but I can’t find any handouts.

Note last updated: 26/02/2018 19:04:48


Footnote 1.6.7 Repeated. See Footnote 1.11: (Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity))


Footnote 1.7: (Locke)

Plug Note1

  • All I currently have to say on Locke is covered by my final-year BA essay What, if anything, is wrong with Locke’s account of personal identity?2.
  • Works on this topic that I’ve actually read3, include4 the following:-
  • A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
  • This is mostly a place-holder5. 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.
Footnote 3:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 4:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 11/03/2018 20:19:41


Footnote 1.7.2: (Locke on Personal Identity)

What, if anything, is wrong with Locke’s account of personal identity?

  • Locke’s account of personal identity appears in Book II, Chapter 27 of his Essay ("Locke (John) - Of Identity and Diversity"). To address the question before us, we need first of all to discuss what Locke understands by persons.
  • For Locke, a person is characterised by rationality and consciousness – a person is a "thinking intelligent being" that can consider itself the same thinking thing across different times and places (§9:335.10-13). Additionally, personhood is a forensic concept: a person is something that can be praised or blamed, and which is legally responsible (§26:346.26-28). Locke considers it of first importance that the divine justice at the resurrection should fix on the right person (§26:347.9).

Personal Identity
  • Personal identity is determined by the scope of consciousness of self (§9:335.24-26).
  • A self is that present thinking and perceiving thing with its history of memories. I am identical with the self I was in the past if I can remember my thoughts and actions from that time (§9:335.25-28).
  • "Noonan (Harold) - Locke" (pp.43-44) points out that “Consciousness” in Locke’s day meant shared knowledge, in particular that had by a present self of a past self’s thoughts & actions. For Locke, it consists in present perceptions, sensations, thoughts and memories of the past (§9:335.13-18). It is consciousness that unites “existences and actions” over time into the same person – “whatever has the consciousness of present and past actions, is the same person to whom they both belong” (§16:340.33-35).
  • The identity conditions for persons must not be confused with those for human beings, which are no different to those for other living organisms, such as horses; namely the “participation of the same continued life, by constantly fleeting particles of matter, in succession vitally united to the same organised body” (§6:331.35-332.2).
  • In contrast, the identity of pieces of inanimate matter arises purely from the atoms that make them up (§3:330.18-20).
  • An immediate consequence of Locke’s definition of personhood is the distinction between person and man (human being). Locke imagines the exchange of consciousnesses of a prince and a cobbler (§15:340.10-18). Locke says that the cobbler animated by the prince's consciousness is the same person as the prince, because personhood follows consciousness. However, the cobbler with the prince’s consciousness is still the same man as the cobbler, because "being a man" depends more on corporeal than psychological attributes, as Locke explains in his discussion of the rational parrot, which, despite its accomplishments, remains a parrot (§8:333.5-12).
  • "Noonan (Harold) - Locke" (p.27) summarises Locke’s reasons for making personal identity a matter of sameness of consciousness: they fit the three aims behind his account of personal identity.
    1. Firstly, he wants an account that’s neutral between dualists and materialists, but allows for immortality and the resurrection.
    2. Secondly, we can’t be sure about the identity of substance, but we can about consciousness, so this repels sceptical doubts.
    3. Thirdly, consciousness reflects our practical concern for our identity; I have no reason to care about substantial identity, except where I own and am conscious of that substance’s actions and memories (§14:339.15-340.2).
    As "Jolley (Nicholas) - Personal Identity" (p.101) points out, certain well-meaning modifications to Locke’s theory will be ruled out by his need to accommodate personal immortality and divine justice.

Substance and Personal Identity
  • According to any straightforward reading of the text, Locke denies the relevance of substance to the issue of personal identity. For Locke, there are three kinds of substance:
    … 1. God,
    … 2. “Finite intelligences” (souls or spiritual beings) and
    … 3. Bodies (§2:329.1-2).
  • So, for personal identity to be substantial, it would need to reside either in the soul or in the body. By means of thought experiments, Locke excludes both:
  • The body because:
    1. The body at the resurrection differs from the earthly body, so if the person were the body, the resurrected person would not be the same as the person that died (§15.340.5-6).
    2. A corpse would be a person (§23:344.16).
    3. Locke can imagine two persons inhabiting the same body, the one by day, the other by night, as "incommunicable consciousnesses" (§23:344.18-20).
    4. He can also imagine a single person serially occupying two bodies as though changing clothes (§23:344.24-25).
  • The soul because:
    1. A person could undergo change of spiritual substance, if his present soul remembers the thoughts and experiences of his past soul (§13:338.22-27).
    2. A single spiritual substance could serve as the soul for two distinct persons, if my soul should forget the thoughts and experiences it had when it was the soul of another person (§14).
  • Nevertheless, while God could have “superadded” the power of consciousness to matter (IV.3§6:541.3), Locke thinks that it’s most likely that human beings do have souls (§25:345.25-27) and that it’s our souls that think “in” us (§10:336.13).

Problems with Locke’s Account of Personal Identity
  1. Priority
    • I’m the same person today as I was yesterday because I remember the thoughts, experiences and deeds of my earlier self. However, don’t I also remember other people’s thoughts and deeds? Locke might respond by claiming that I remember my own experiences in a first-person way, but others’ only in a third-person way.
    • Initially, this response appears circular, since the reference to “first-person” memories mentions “person”, and it seems that I need to grasp what constitutes the difference between myself and another person in order to recognise first-person memories.
    • "Lowe (E.J.) - Locke: Identity" (p.110) suggests that the first / third person distinction needed here is no more than the distinction between remembering from the perspective of one involved and one not, without presuming that the one involved was myself. One can then deny that, even in principle, one could have first-person memories of the experiences of another person since, having been involved, I would identify myself with such a person.
    • "Lowe (E.J.) - Locke: Identity" (p.117) thinks a genuine circularity arises if Locke thinks of human persons as highly complex modes or properties of spiritual substances, these properties being complex patterns of successive and interrelated states of consciousness. This is because Locke specifies the identity conditions of persons in terms of relations between conscious mental states, but fails to appreciate that those conscious mental states depend for their identity on the identity of the persons whose states they are. This dooms Locke’s strategy to circularity. "Lowe (E.J.) - Locke: Identity" (p.117) concludes that conscious states are individuated by persons, and not vice versa.
  2. Memory
    • "Ayers (Michael R.) - Contemporary Reactions to Locke's Theory" (p.271) points out that Locke doesn’t suppose that there are a lot more persons than men at the resurrection, or that many crimes will go unpunished. So, people will have to have their memories restored. But, this presupposes a set of actions that are theirs whether or not they remember them, and, on Locke’s account, again leads to circularity.
    • "Winkler (Kenneth) - Locke on Personal Identity" (p.168) considers the problem of transference (cf. §13:338.17) whereby God at the resurrection transfers to my resurrected consciousness some acts that weren’t mine but which I’m now willing to own and be punished for, despite the fact that I didn’t perform them. Locke thinks God wouldn’t allow this situation, but to what can he appeal if Locke’s right about what constitutes a person? While no ancestor-self acknowledged these acts, my present self does. "Jolley (Nicholas) - Personal Identity" (p.117) suggests that God can sort things out at the resurrection by checking for inconsistencies. "Winkler (Kenneth) - Locke on Personal Identity" (p.171) and other writers suggest that Locke might escape by saying that while memory might be necessary for personal identity, it is not sufficient, and that personal identity consists in something underlying consciousness.
    • "Jolley (Nicholas) - Personal Identity" (p.113) also considers the problem of pseudo-remembering. Genuine remembering is causal, running though one and the same body. So, either Locke’s theory collapses into bodily identity or is wildly implausible, claiming that George IV was the same person as led the troops at Waterloo because he (falsely) remembered so doing. These considerations seem fatal to Locke’s account, with mounting suggestions that a substantial account of personhood is required.
  3. Amnesia
    • Isn’t one still responsible for actions one has committed but forgotten? While Locke admits that the same man is responsible, his forensic understanding of personhood means that punishment properly belongs to the person, not the man.
    • "Winkler (Kenneth) - Locke on Personal Identity" (p.153) argues that, for Locke, the self has to appropriate things to itself. Since the self is constituted by what it takes to be included in it, actions and thoughts forgotten beyond recall cannot be part of it. On Locke’s account one has only done what one is conscious of having done. "Ayers (Michael R.) - Contemporary Reactions to Locke's Theory" (p.266) wonders whether reward and punishment even make sense unless the recipient acknowledges the action in question as his own.
    • When we punish someone even though he cannot remember what he did, this, according to Locke, is like punishing the wrong twin (§19:342.19-20). We don’t punish the sane man for what he did when out of his mind (§20:342.35-343.4). Locke would not punish the sobered-up drunkard for his now-forgotten actions, but claims that human law has to operate as it does, since we cannot know whether a man is counterfeit or not in claiming amnesia. Locke’s reasoning is based on our necessary ignorance of other people’s mental states, but he hopes that any injustices will be put right on the day of judgement (§22:343.34-344.12).
    • Locke is right to allow that the genuinely insane man is a different person during the period of his insanity, but amnesia has nothing to do with it. We would still forgive the recovered insane man, and treat him as having been a different person, even were he to remember the period of his insanity.
    • We don't do this for amnesiac drunkards; not because of the greater likelihood of dissimulation, but because the drunkard knew what he would be likely to do when he got drunk. Drunkenness is a voluntarily contracted state, indeed a crime, and no crime can excuse another. So, the sobered-up drunkard deserves punishment whatever his memory of his actions might be. In contrast to the recovered madman, on being informed of his behaviour he ought to own these acts.
    • Hence, Locke’s theory of personal identity fails to explain or derive plausibility from moral and legal accountability.
  4. Transitivity
    • Identity is a transitive relation. So, if A is the same person as B and B is the same person as C, then A must be the same person as C. However, as Thomas Reid pointed out, this isn’t the case on Locke’s account. Imagine a small boy caught stealing apples, growing up into a young officer and declining into an old general. The old general remembers being a young officer and the young officer remembers being a mischievous boy, but the old general doesn't remember being the mischievous boy. According to Locke, the three cannot be the same person, though two pairs are.
    • We can rescue Locke by replacing the relation of first-person memory by the ancestral of that relation, which is always guaranteed to be transitive. For x to stand in the ancestral of the memory relation to y, it suffices for x to remember the deeds of a who remembers the deeds of b … who remembers the deeds of y. With this adjustment, Locke could justifiably claim that the old general is the same person as the boy.
    • "Lowe (E.J.) - Locke: Identity" (p.113) thinks that Locke wouldn’t be happy with this solution because he thinks of personhood as a forensic concept. A person should not be held responsible and punished for deeds he didn’t do which, for Locke, are those he can’t remember committing. However, "Winkler (Kenneth) - Locke on Personal Identity" (p.170) thinks that the young officer has appropriated the acts of the young boy, and because the old general has identified himself with the young officer, he has thereby appropriated all the acts he has appropriated. Because, on Lowe’s account, the self accumulates over time, rather than being constituted by instantaneous consciousness, identity of the self remains transitive.
  5. Substances
    • Locke thinks we have no clear idea of substance (I.4§18:95.29-33), so we certainly have no clear idea of when something is the same substance. Consequently, we need a nonsubstantial notion of a thing, and we do have a clear idea of the same self, considered as self.
    • As "Lowe (E.J.) - Locke: Identity" (p.107) points out, by Locke’s own definition, souls are themselves persons, since they are thinking, self-conscious beings. Yet, my soul isn’t the same person as me, because I could get a new one. There appear to be two kinds of person, things like my soul and things like me, with different criteria of identity. However, a sortal term, like “person”, can have associated with it only one criterion of identity, which enables us to count them.
    • The problem is compounded by Locke’s concerns for “sensible creatures”, to whom memories are transferred, which (as both "Ayers (Michael R.) - Contemporary Reactions to Locke's Theory" (p.264) and "Noonan (Harold) - Locke" (p.45) point out) are thinking substances, not persons (§13.338.14-18). Locke worries that a soul will be wrongly punished or rewarded at the resurrection by having some consciousness passed on to it for which it wasn’t originally responsible. The wrong thinking substance will suffer, even though the right person (consisting in more than one thinking substance) is punished. It was once thought fitting that the same matter be punished as performed the deed, so Locke may be being ironical, as though souls have their feelings too.
    • "Lowe (E.J.) - Locke: Identity" (p.117) thinks that to resolve such difficulties, we must equate persons with thinking substances. This doesn’t commit us to belief in “immaterial souls” if, contra Descartes, we allow matter to have attributes of thought as well as extension. However, given Locke’s explicit arguments against persons being souls, this suggestion is not to be preferred.
    • "Lowe (E.J.) - Locke: Identity" (p.73), "Bennett (Jonathan) - Locke's Philosophy of the Mind" (p.106) and "Noonan (Harold) - Locke" (p.30) are in agreement that Locke distinguishes between basic substances (atoms) and non-basic substances (trees), the latter being modes of the former. In this chapter, Locke doesn’t use “substance” for “thing”, but for fundamental constituents of reality.
    • This makes way for "Winkler (Kenneth) - Locke on Personal Identity"’s (p.164) interesting neo-Lockean proposal, for which we must consider substance-stages, temporal slices of Lockean non-basic substances, which persons supervene on (or are constructed out of). Successive stages are connected by two relations – that of psychological continuity, which connects them into persons, and physical continuity, which connects them into living things.
    • Ontologically, persons and living things are then on the same level, but may share only some of their stages. Locke’s insistence that identity of persons is not determined by identity of substance means only that the identity isn’t determined by either of two kinds of substances in particular – organised bodies or immaterial souls.
Conclusion
  • While Locke has escaped the transitivity objection, the problems raised by amnesia make Locke’s account implausible. Additionally, he is convicted of circularity on two counts above (See under Priority and Memory). Consequently, Locke has to give up all thought of consciousness defining personal identity, though it is certainly relevant. Locke was right to consider the concept of a person as fundamentally a psychological one, involving mental powers including rationality and self-consciousness.
  • So, we must reject Locke’s characterisation of persons as insubstantial beings, constituted of streams of consciousness interconnected by memory. Locke ought to have acknowledged that persons are substantial aggregates of Winkler’s substance-stages, of which aggregates their conscious states are modes.

Note last updated: 20/04/2018 23:25:26


Footnote 1.7.5 Repeated. See Footnote 1.11: (Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity))


Footnote 1.8: (Thesis - Current Stance)

The purpose of this Note is to provide a periodic refocusing of what my thoughts and beliefs about the topic of Personal Identity currently are. Previous versions can be found from the list below. This version has links to the various other Notes that expand further on the issues raised, and supply extensive reading lists. While very often these Notes are of the “promissory” variety, the links will remind me to improve them as needed.

  1. What are we1? This is one of the most important questions we need to ask ourselves. Just what kind of things are we? The question is closely related to a similar one: just what sort of adventures can individuals such as ourselves survive? This second question sheds light on the first for if there are certain contingencies that we think we would – or would not – survive, when a typical member of that kind would not – or would – survive, then that kind may not represent what we really think we are. Of course, we might be wrong in our estimations, but at least this will raise the question.
  2. Why is this not a trivial question? If we look at a dog, say, and ask what it is, the answer to such a question is obvious – it’s a dog! It may be our pet – with a name – a particular individual2, but when we ask what kind3 of thing it is, it’s a member of the species canis lupus. So, when we look at ourselves, the obvious answer is that we are human beings4 – specifically human animals, members of the species homo sapiens5. That is the answer posited by the Animalists6, amongst whose number – broadly speaking – I place myself, who accept the biological view7 of personal identity.
  3. If this is true, then our persistence conditions8 – the necessary and sufficient conditions for us to continue in existence – are the same as those of other animals9 – the great apes, say, under which category we fall, biologically speaking. Why is this not the end of the story? Well, this is because – despite being a species of great ape – human beings are special in that we have enhanced cognitive capacities. We are morally accountable. In sum, we are persons10, and have a “first person perspective11” (FPP) on the world – something most philosophers deny to other animals – and care about our futures12 and – wantons13 apart – agonise over our past mistakes. Lynne Rudder Baker claims this perspective makes an ontological14 difference, rather than being – as I think – a special property of human beings that may or may not be had in particular cases. Baker15 accuses the animalists of not taking persons seriously16. I might just note that there’s a facile and confusing answer to what we are17, that is “people”. You may have noticed that I used the technical term “persons” as the plural of “person”. Some philosophers annoyingly use the term “people”, but this confuses the issue. When we say there are ten people in the room, while it is clear in normal circumstances what we mean – dogs don’t count, for instance – but if there happened to be a Klingon and a visiting angel, would they count as people or not? They are – we may suppose – persons, but they are not human persons18
  4. Since at least John Locke, this fact of our mental exceptionalism has tempted philosophers to say that it’s our psychological continuity19 that is more important for our identity-preservation than our physical continuity20. This view still has its supporters – not only for those such as Dean Zimmerman and Richard Swinburne who believe in immaterial souls21 – but for the many who think that psychological continuity and connectedness22 is constitutive of the identity of persons. It is also implicit in the ideas of the Transhumanists23 who think that – come the Singularity24 – we might be capable of being uploaded25 to computers26 and thereby live almost forever27.
  5. Before proceeding further we have to say something brief and sketchy about identity and persistence28. “Identity” – in the sense of “numerical identity29” – is a relation a thing holds to itself and to nothing else. A is identical to B if A and B are the very same thing. It is an equivalence relation, being transitive, reflexive and idempotent; and, many of the sticking points in the philosophy of personal identity arise from this fact.
    1. It has nothing to do with “identity” as a sociological concept such as national identity, sexual identity or identification with a particular group.
    2. Also, John may be said “not to be the same person” since he took heroin, but he is still John and still the same individual; it’s just that his personality30 has changed.
    3. It also has nothing to do with “narrative identity31” which is the story we tell about ourselves in an attempt to make sense of our lives.
    4. Finally, it has nothing to do with “exact similarity32”: my television may be “identical” to yours, but that doesn’t mean I can have yours if mine breaks. They are – or were, when manufactured – exactly similar, but are distinct.
  6. “Persisting” is what a thing does in continuing in existence. As we noted above, there are what are called “persistence conditions” – specific to a kind of thing – that set out what vicissitudes a thing can survive if it is to remain that very same thing. There are sometimes hard cases, and there can seem sometimes that there is an element of convention33: is a particular club still the same clubs after it has lost all its original members, changed its name, and so on? But we can’t accept that our own existence is a matter of convention, though this could seem the case with the once-dominant psychological view34 of personal identity: just how much psychological connection could I lose with my former self – philosophers wondered – and still be me? However, things seem simpler and more objective for organisms, which persist despite exchanging material with the environment and changing many of their properties35, provided they are caught up in a complex and hopefully long drawn-out event (or process) known as a “life36”.
  7. In the above I have assumed at least three things.
    1. Firstly, that “things” – or at least some things – exist. There’s a philosophical position known as “Process Metaphysics37” (or “Naturalised Metaphysics”) that gives the focus to process rather than ontology, particularly in the case of organisms. I’m not sure how fatal this is to my approach, since I admit that animals are individuated by their lives, which are processes.
    2. Secondly, that we exist. This would seem hardly worth mentioning, other than that certain philosophers – nihilists38 – have argued that we (whatever we are) or – for similar reasons – various common things like hands – don’t exist.
    3. Finally, I assume that things do indeed persist, at least some of the time.
    I can’t really address these foundational issues here, but will just say a few words on the second issue. There are a lot of interconnected issues to do with the philosophy of time and change, in particular the problem of temporary intrinsics39. How can the leaf that was green yesterday be the same leaf if it is brown today? How can the old bald bloke I am today be the same individual as the hirsute teenager all those years ago?
    1. Some philosophers – the exdurantists40 – say that there’s no relation of identity across time, but merely a weaker counterpart relation analogous to that between an individual and its counterpart in another possible world.
    2. Others – in particular Derek Parfit41 – have said that even if there is identity across time, it’s not what matters42.
    In what follows, I assume that we exist and that we continue to exist self-identically across time and that this identity relation is important. We could not carry on our lives without these assumptions even if – philosophically-speaking – they were false; but I think they are true: I don’t want to distinguish the “strict and philosophical” from the “loose and popular” senses of identity first raised by Joseph Butler. I also assume the standard logic of identity43 and reject all heretical accounts that are invented from time to time as radical solutions to the difficult questions of persistence. In particular, I reject the view – known as occasional identity44 that – while (say) I am not identical to my younger self – yet I was that person, just not any more.
  8. Now back to the main thread. Most Anglophone philosophers these days are physicalists45 (though maybe most non-philosophers are unreflective dualists46). This gives physicalist philosophers a problem if they have hopes of post-mortem47 survival48. If the human organism is totally destroyed – eg. by cremation, explosion, or eating of worms – just how does the very same individual get from this life to the next49? Christian Materialists50 have had a go at thinking this through, and acknowledge the difficulties. Peter Van Inwagen attempted to show that it is at least logically possible by having God snatch away the dying body immediately pre-mortem, replacing it with a simulacrum. Dean Zimmerman – while himself a dualist – has suggested a “falling elevator” model to help out his materialist friends, whereby there is immanent causation51 (by some unknown natural or supernatural process) between the dying body and the resurrection52 one so that the dying individual escapes in the nick of time to the next world without loss of numerical identity53. Others claim that God’s omnipotence is sufficient and is sovereign even over the laws of logic, so that problems raised by identity being an equivalence relation can be overcome by brute force. Maybe so, but without the constraints of logical possibility54, we have no way of arguing the matter, so let’s not bother.
  9. However, most Christian materialists prefer an alternative. They recognise that getting from here to the next world with temporal or spatial gaps raises difficult questions as to whether the numerical identity of the individual is preserved but adopt an alternative solution – the Constitution View55. On this thesis, the person is distinct from the human animal – “just as” the statue56 is distinct from its constituting57 marble – so that the very same person – tagged by the unique “first person perspective” noted above – can be constituted first by its earthly body, and subsequently by its heavenly one.
  10. Some Animalists have what they think of as a knock-down argument against the Constitution View. Eric Olson calls it the “Thinking Animal58” argument. If the person and the animal are distinct things, albeit co-located, there are too many thinkers – because the animal can certainly think, as can the person, so we have two thinkers where we thought we had one – which is one problem; and there’s another – how do we know which we are, the person or the animal? I’m not impressed by this argument. There are several “multiple occupancy” conundrums that have been claimed at one time or another to deny the existence of things we are sure do exist. Dion and Theon59, Tib and Tibbles60, the “problem of the many61” and so on. We just need to sort out our rules for counting. Also, the whole question of three- versus four-dimensionalism62 (4D) – whether a persisting thing is wholly present at a time – or whether only a temporal part is present, the thing as a whole being a “space-time worm” – bears on the question of counting. If different things can share stages – say the person and the human animal, or the statue and the clay – then we have to be careful how we count. In the case of a future fission63 – whereby two space-time worms share their past stages, but will ultimately diverge – we might not know how many to count at a time, but this will often not matter for practical purposes.
  11. I think the idea of a first-person perspective is important. It is this that provides the pull against animalism64 when linked to various thought experiments65 (TEs) that we’ll come on to presently. However, I still don’t like the Constitution View66. My objection is that the FPP is a property of something else – like a smile – in this case of a human animal, though the smile might belong to a cat. You can’t take the very same smile from one cat and place on another (it would be at best an exactly similar smile) – let alone have a disembodied smile like that of the Cheshire Cat. Similarly, you can’t take the very same FPP from one body and plop it onto another. True, it might be a qualitatively exactly similar FPP, but not the same one. What’s to stop that FPP being plopped on several resurrection bodies? Which would be numerically identical to me, given that they can’t all be, in the absence of 4D?
  12. What are the temptations for not sticking with the animalist approach – which ought these days to be the default position in the absence of anything more compelling? As noted, the apparent lack of rational expectation of an afterlife is one incentive to look elsewhere, so “elsewhere” is a favourite for those who can’t bear the thought of their selves67 expiring with their bodies68. We’ve noted the Christian dualists and materialists, but what about the Transhumanists? There’s the relatively metaphysically uninteresting case of cryoscopy followed by repair and resuscitation; there we have material continuity, and no possibility of reduplication69, though some might claim there is too much outside interference for identity to be preserved. But, what about the “hope” of “you” being uploaded to a computer? There seems to be an idea about that “we” are really software (or data), when we are clearly material beings. If we are software, it is said, then we might “run” on different hardware. I have two issues with this, apart from the immense technical obstacles to be overcome both in “scanning” the “real you” and providing a computer of sufficient power to run your program and the virtual world for you to experience, Matrix-like.
    1. Firstly, what sort of thing is a program? It’s an interesting question whether a program has persistence conditions. Is Windows 10 the same program as Windows 0? Whatever the answer to this question is, a program would seem to be a kind of universal70 rather than a particular, and “we” are particulars.
    2. This leads to the second issue – a reduplication objection. Say we developed a sophisticated program that could run on an open-ended number of exactly similar robots. No two of these would be numerically identical to one another – they would be distinct, though exactly similar. So, were the program to be a simulation of your brain, it could run – presumably – on an open-ended number of computers – and these computers (or computer partitions) would not be identical to one another, so none of them could be you, as you could only be one of them, and there’s no principled way71 of saying which. The same objection prevents Star Trek-like teletransportation72 – were it possible – being identity-preserving. I might also add that no “program” is – in itself – conscious73, though a machine that runs it might conceivably be. Mind you, there are arguments here as well – originated by John Searle – at least for digital computers.
    Incidentally, the transhumanists seem to imagine unending computer life as a secular heaven, but it could just as easily be a secular hell.
  13. So, I remain wedded to my view that we are human animals with the persistence conditions of such. “Person” is not a substance74 term, but an honorific that refers to some substance during some periods of its existence when it has the requisite mental and moral properties75 to qualify. “Person” is a Phase Sortal76 (like “teacher”) that – in the case of “person” – applies to most humans most of the time, but need not apply to all humans all the time. There are ethical consequences for this view, but they are not as dramatic as is sometimes urged. Non-persons don’t have moral responsibilities, as is already recognised for demented or infant humans, and all non-human animals. The obverse – that persons allegedly have no moral obligations towards non-persons77 – or that non-persons have no rights – is the sticking point, and ought to be reflected in a more humane treatment of all non-persons rather than that we might contemplate sending human non-persons as well as non-human non-persons to the slaughter-house.
  14. So, what are the problems for animalists78? There are several. Some – like the so-called “corpse problem79” (is my corpse me – only dead – if not, where does it come from? It doesn’t have the persistence conditions of an organism) are probably relatively easy to overcome. Recently, I’ve discovered that animalists – like (but for different reasons) those who think we are essentially persons – allegedly have a “fetus problem80”. Animalists – saying that we are essentially animals – have (it seems) to say that we were once foetuses – which appears to be what our animal once was. But was this fetus once a proper part81 of its mother? There’s work currently going on to suggest that this is so – and if so, just when did the new human animal come into existence? However, I don’t think any of this seriously threatens animalism. Maybe animalists should have considered the problem more than they have, but animals do come into existence sometime – presumably by the time of birth at the latest – and that’s enough for an animalist.
  15. The real problems for animalism stem from the force of thought experiments such as the “brain transplant82 intuition”. An animalist seems forced to say that I would not “go with my brain” in the circumstance where my brain is transplanted83 into another body, when it seems to most people that I would. The alleged reason for this is that at least some animalists consider the brain to be “just another organ” that we might lose like we might lose a kidney, provided the animal is kept alive. Doubts about this have led some to think that we are not “really” whole human animals but proper parts thereof, maybe not brains84 as such, but brains and a few other bits. This does seem comical. Just how large am I – would I fit into a hat-box, as Olson85 asks?
  16. My view is as follows. I am currently (thankfully) a whole human animal. My wife worked in the NHS with amputees, and I think it is right to say that they also are whole human animals, though they lack parts that most of us have. No doubt they could lose more parts – and some diabetics sadly do. So, we might view a “brain in a vat86” – one ready for transplant – as a “maximally mutilated” human animal. Maybe – in the case of a brain transplant – a prior animal has fissioned (divided into two) when the brain is extracted and we now have a case of the fusion87 of two animals (the brain from one fusing with the body of the other). It might be argued that our identity-logic isn’t quite up to deciding88 who is who in such circumstances, but the stakes seem high enough to demand an answer, for which read on.
  17. I doubt whether the transhumanist hopes of augmenting our physical or mental attributes by effectively converting us into cyborgs89 is much of a threat to animalism. We don’t worry about our spectacles or our mobiles phones making us any less mammalian. Closer integration with AI applications is only the next step for the extended mind.
  18. So, is there any purchase in thought experiments that putatively have my first person perspective persisting in cases where there is no identity preservation. Could it be the case that “it seems to me” that I have survived some vicissitude – a cerebrum90 transplant, say – but I am mistaken? Some philosophers argue that this happens every night – I go to sleep91, and when I wake up I just assume that I am identical to the individual who got into bed, but how do I know? I might be intellectually convinced by third parties – those other than the sleeper and the waker – one way or another, but how would this affect how it seems to me? Take the teletranportation case. Because of the reduplication objection (unless we are 4-dimensionalists), we should say that numerical identity is not preserved. But – if the technology works, and I am the teletransportee – the individual (or 77 duplicates) would (all) wake up convinced they were me, yet they must be deceived. Thankfully, reduplication is not a problem for whole-brain transplants, but it is for idempotent half-brain transplants, though I think the identity problem there occurs during the fissioning process rather than when the half-brains are implanted.
  19. I continue to think that there is a distinction to be made between forward and backward psychological continuity92, though I don’t see how third parties – or even first or second parties – could tell the difference. It makes all the difference to me if I go to sleep and someone else wakes up thinking they are me – as against the normal case where I go to sleep and I wake up. In the former case – for me – there’s just an endless nothingness, of which I know nothing, while in the latter case my experiential life carries on. However, backward psychological continuity – what it feels like looking back – is the same for a survivor and one who only thinks he’s survived.
  20. In the case of the split brain transplant, however, how is it all supposed to work, experientially? Neurosurgery is – even today – carried out on substantially conscious patients, as that way there’s a quick feedback loop to tell the surgeon whether he’s destroying any important areas of cognitive function. What would it be like to “fission”? Maybe I lack the imagination, but it seems to me that my First Person Perspective would go along with whatever was the dominant hemisphere, assuming this “seat of consciousness” is initially located in one hemisphere or the other. If it is not, then it would presumably be destroyed and two new ones would be created in this miracle operation. Either way, this would sit comfortably with the logic of identity which would not be violated, as at most one of the recipients would be me. I can imagine being ripped apart psychologically, but I can’t imagine going two ways.
  21. Of course, there are physical and metaphysical issues with the whole idea of brain transplants – the physical structure of the brain93 reflects “its” body, and mental faculties are not fully localised, so it’s not just the immensely complex task of “wiring up” the brain to its new body that presents a challenge. Half-brain transplants are even more problematical as in the TEs the brain stem is not split, but only the cerebra are supposed to be transplanted. It’s not clear to me whether there is pervasive confusion here and that these thought experiments are underspecified to the degree of incoherence. Some philosophers – eg. Kathleen Wilkes – think TEs are unhelpful in the philosophy of personal identity, and that our concepts are not up to being probed in this way. I’m not so sure – the TEs are about us, not our concepts94.
  22. There is finally the question whether there is any such thing as “the Self”, which is what is supposed to have this FPP. Some contemporary philosophers argue that the Self is an illusion that the brain generates. Others – such as David Hume – have argued; and others – such as Galen Strawson – do argue that when they introspect they find no evidence of a persisting Self. I don’t know where they are coming from, as I can’t think of anything more certain. But a Buddhist-inspired95 “no-self” view makes the animalist’s task easier, if maybe less interesting.

Note last updated: 06/07/2018 18:56:10


Footnote 1.8.1 Repeated. See Footnote 2.3: (What are We?)


Footnote 1.8.2: (Individual)

Plug Note1






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 6:
  • If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
  • Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
  • There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
Footnote 7:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 8:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 17/08/2018 17:35:31


Footnote 1.8.3 Repeated. See Footnote 4.14: (Kinds)


Footnote 1.8.4 Repeated. See Footnote 2.4: (Human Beings)


Footnote 1.8.5: (Homo Sapiens)

Plug Note1






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 12:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 13:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 28/02/2018 18:40:19


Footnote 1.8.6 Repeated. See Footnote 6.5: (Animalists)


Footnote 1.8.7: (Biological View)

Plug Note1






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 8:
  • If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
  • Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
  • There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
Footnote 9:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 10:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Footnote 11:
  • Olson is one of the primary exponents of the Biological View, so almost anything by him might be cited.
  • I’ve restricted the list to those items that – in the text or comments I’ve incorporated on-line – explicitly use the term.
Footnote 14:
  • Very tangentially relevant, but Uploading and the BV are antithetical theories of PID.

Note last updated: 17/08/2018 17:35:31


Footnote 1.8.8 Repeated. See Footnote 5.8: (Persistence Criteria)


Footnote 1.8.9 Repeated. See Footnote 2.9: (Animals)


Footnote 1.8.10 Repeated. See Footnote 2.12: (Person)


Footnote 1.8.11 Repeated. See Footnote 10.21: (First-Person Perspective)


Footnote 1.8.12: (Future Great Pain Test)

Plug Note1






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 5:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 6:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Footnote 7: See Section 10.

Footnote 8: Maybe …

Note last updated: 25/02/2018 23:36:58


Footnote 1.8.13: (Wantons)

Plug Note1






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 6:
  • If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
  • Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
  • There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
Footnote 7:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 8:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Footnote 9:
  • Baker doesn’t actually mention wantons, but might have!
  • The same goes for the paper by Snowdon.

Note last updated: 17/08/2018 17:35:31


Footnote 1.8.14: (Ontology)

Plug Note1

  • Ontology is the study of what exists.
  • In the context of the philosophy of personal identity, ontological questions ask what persons really are.
  • Maybe it’s best first of all to step back, with Locke, and consider the sorts of thing that persist and establish the persistence conditions for these sorts:
    bodies,
    animals,
    human beings.
  • The ontological question is whether – with Locke – we should add persons to this list.
  • Baker holds the view that when a person comes into existence, so does a new entity, of a new kind. A world without persons would be ontologically impoverished.
  • But is this so, or do existing entities simply gain new properties?
  • We must even (on certain definitions of PERSON) ask whether there are any, or whether the term can be eliminated. See:-
    → "Unger (Peter) - Why There Are No People" and
    → "Unger (Peter) - I Do Not Exist".
  • Since Unger’s sorites arguments eliminate all material entities with parts, not just persons (though the elimination of persons on this account depends on the assumption that they are material entities with parts) I, along with the later Unger, wish to reject such conclusions.
  • Works on this topic that I’ve actually read15, include16 the following:-
  • A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
  • This is mostly a place-holder. Currently, just see the enormously bloated 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.
Footnote 15:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 16:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 11/03/2018 20:19:41


Footnote 1.8.15 Repeated. See Footnote 3.12: (Baker)


Footnote 1.8.16 Repeated. See Footnote 3.8: (Taking Persons Seriously)


Footnote 1.8.17 Repeated. See Footnote 2.3: (What are We?)


Footnote 1.8.18 Repeated. See Footnote 3.4: (Human Persons)


Footnote 1.8.19: (Psychological Continuity)

Plug Note1






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 29:
  • If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
  • Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
  • There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
Footnote 31:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 32:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 17/08/2018 21:59:02


Footnote 1.8.20: (Physical Continuity)

Plug Note1

  • In addition to considering just what contiguity and causal conditions a physical object needs to satisfy in order to persist, I need to consider a couple of related issues:
    1. Intermittent Objects: can things go in and out of existence? Does the disassembled bicycle still exist in a dispersed state?
    2. Mereology: is the content of any region of spacetime – whether spatially or temporally contiguous or disconnected – or a thing?
  • What do decisions here have to say about the possibility of resurrection or reincarnation? Is a physicalist able, even in principle, to allow the possibility of disembodied survival, resurrection or reincarnation, given the need for a continuing physical substance to which the individual is identical? Some Christians are physicalists, and Peter Van Inwagen has (as a wild speculation - see "Van Inwagen (Peter) - The Possibility of Resurrection") God miraculously swapping out and preserving our corpses so he can resurrect the same individuals in due course.
  • I need to consider (but expect to reject) such suggestions.
  • Works on this topic that I’ve actually read9, include10 the following:-
  • 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.
Footnote 9:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 10:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 05/02/2018 20:02:24


Footnote 1.8.21 Repeated. See Footnote 2.8: (Souls)


Footnote 1.8.22: (Connectedness vs Continuity)

Plug Note1

  • When defining persistence conditions, we need to distinguish between connectedness and continuity.
    1. Continuity is a transitive relation that relates adjacent stages.
    2. Connectedness is intransitive and requires enough of the properties of interest to be maintained over time.
  • At root, this is just the message of the Old Soldier, raised against Locke, and answered by Ancestrals of the “remembers” relation.
  • Indeed, "Johnston (Mark) - Human Beings" (Journal of Philosophy, p. 61) describes Continuity as the ancestral of Connectedness.
  • Persons – like animals – develop and “grow5”. We can admit that we have the same animal from fetus to corpse (with some arguments about the termini). However, do we have the same person?
  • I’d contend that whatever physical and psychological discontinuities the human animal undergoes, we do have the same person where we have a person at all, provided a single First Person Perspective (FPP) is maintained.
  • If one’s character changes radically over time, do you remain the same person? Yes, if we want the child and the adult to be the same person (as we do), or the convert to be the same person as the unbeliever.
  • The relevance of this to the present debate is that it is continuity that is relevant to personal identity, and not connectedness. This applies whatever view of Personal Identity we hold.
  • Derek Parfit – who doesn’t think identity is what matters – holds a different view; that it is connectedness that matters, and so we need have no concern for future selves that are psychologically unconnected to our current selves. I think this view is mistaken, as we are locked in to a FPP and will have to experience the fate of that future self, however unconnected.
  • Works on this topic that I’ve actually read12, include13 the following:-
    1. "Shoemaker (David) - Personal Identity, Rational Anticipation, and Self-Concern", Shoemaker
  • I don’t – and won’t – have a Note on Connectedness per se: this Note will cover all I have to say on the topic.
  • However, this note is linked to two others:-
    Continuity, and
    Methuselah.
  • So, a rather diminutive reading list might start with:-
    1. "Belzer (Marvin) - Notes on Relation R", Belzer
    2. "Campbell (Scott) - Is Connectedness Necessary to What Matters in Survival?", Campbell
  • 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.
Footnote 5:
  • Not necessarily physically – that would be begging the question as to what persons are.
Footnote 12:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 13:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 04/02/2018 17:09:36


Footnote 1.8.23 Repeated. See Footnote 1.10: (Transhumanism)


Footnote 1.8.24: (The Singularity)

This Note discusses in detail – or begins to discuss in detail – the somewhat extravagant thoughts in "Grossman (Lev), Kurzweil (Ray) - 2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal". It ought to range more widely across the Transhumanist literature. The footnotes in the Write-up for the paper link to the sections in this Note3. It is currently very much work in progress.

  1. Kurzweil:
  2. Creativity:
    • There’s presumably a distinction between rules-based creativity, which is what (presumably) computers can do, and creativity of a less constrained sort, that we don’t know how to get computers to do (yet)?
  3. Self:
    • And “self-expression” – facon de parler, in this context? Musical composition seems more a skill than a matter of self-expression (as would be a literary composition). I can’t see why a sense of self would be necessary for creative composition in either music or the graphic arts. Certain Idiot Savants are no doubt adept in these areas, despite autistic tendencies, that mitigate against a sense of self.
    • What I have to say on Selves should be under
      Self, and
      Self-Consciousness,
      Though I don’t seem to have said anything yet.
  4. Intelligence and Consciousness:
    • There’s a sharp distinction between intelligence and consciousness.
    • As far as we know, consciousness is the preserve of organic intelligence.
    • We can presume that lots of rather dim animals are phenomenally conscious (even if not self-conscious → this distinction is important) so, there’s no link between getting smarter and smarter and then (as a result) getting phenomenally conscious.
    • I’m not sure of the link between intelligence and self-consciousness.
    • There’s an old Time article “Can Machines Think?” – stimulated by the Kasparov vs Deep Blue chess match (at Time: Can Machines Think? (http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,984304,00.html)).
  5. Imminence of the “Singularity” :
    • This is predicated on the assumption of continued exponential growth. It’s a standard principle in scientific practice to be suspicious of exponentials, at least when they are unprincipled – ie. where there is no underlying theory that would lead us to expect them.
    • Also, as noted elsewhere in this discussion, the occurrence of the Singularity relies on the achievement of numerous conceptual and technological breakthroughs that we have no warrant for assuming will happen any time soon.
  6. Human Civilization:
    • So far, computers have only enhanced human civilisation.
    • “Ending” human civilisation (“as we know it”) depends on delivering (in an uncontrolled manner) the various promissory-notes of the Time article.
  7. Faster Faster:
    • Is this really the case that the rate of improvement in computing power is accelerating, and will it really continue to accelerate indefinitely, if it is so doing currently?
    • Note that Kurzweil's graph muddles together speed and cost. See the comments below.
  8. Emulation: Two points here.
    • Firstly, emulation isn’t the real thing. Models of hurricanes aren’t wet and windy, so why should emulations of consciousness be conscious?
    • Secondly, digital computers are serial devices in which the components are (now) very quick, and brains are massively parallel devices whose components are very slow. Why should simulating one by the other produce the same (phenomenal) effect, and even be possible at all?
  9. Intelligent Actions:
    • The items on the list (“driving cars, writing books, making ethical decisions, appreciating fancy paintings, making witty observations at cocktail parties”) can all (presumably) be rules-based and situation-driven. No doubt this is true of human intelligence as well (ultimately) but modelling it is not straightforward, as we don’t know how the brain does it. The issue isn’t really (in this case) to do with “whether”, but “when”, as there are lots of major breakthroughs required before the promissory note can be delivered on. Also, all these functions can be delivered unconsciously (if they can be delivered at all).
  10. Smart people:
    • Does it matter how smart they are? Lots of equally smart people don’t share the optimism of the futurologists.
  11. Increasingly Powerful Computers:
    • Are there really no reasons to doubt that their onward exponential growth is really never going to end? Miniaturisation of components has to stop soon due to QM effects. So, a radically-new technology is needed. Some ideas are there, but we might get “stuck” on their delivery, as has been the case for controlled nuclear fusion (Wikipedia: Fusion Power (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusion_power#Current_status)), which in the 1950s was expected soon, in the 1970s by 2000 and in 2006 “not within 100 years”.
    • There’s no doubt that computers will continue to get more powerful, as hardware and software continues to improve, as it always will. The issue is really over the rate of change (can exponential growth continue indefinitely) and can certain conceptual breakthroughs be made?
  12. Bootstrapped Development:
    • This is certainly an important point, as we certainly use computers to help manufacture computers. But the extrapolation to development may involve the solution of the real “machine creativity” problem.
  13. Prediction:
    • Is this true? It would be true if machines became “smarter” than humans in every dimension of “smartness”. But “unpredictability” (ie. non-rules-based) is one of the aspects of machine-intelligence yet to be delivered by AI.
    • Also, this argument sounds a bit like the “you can’t know the mind of God” (at all) arguments, which may or may not be sound.
  14. Cyborgs:
    • This sounds a more promising approach than simulation, and it’d relieve computers from having to realise consciousness. But any cognitive interlinking would still require a fuller understanding of how the brain works than is currently on the horizon.
    • See Cyborgs for my thoughts on the matter.
  15. Integration:
    • We don’t “integrate” with cars and planes any more than we integrate with computers. They are just tools. Prosthetics are the nearest analogues, but there’s a long way from that to true integration.
  16. Nanotechnology:
    • At this stage of the argument, it’s not clear how intelligent machines will help repair our bodies and brains (especially “indefinitely”). Usually nanotechnology is invoked at this stage (see Wikipedia: Nanotechnology (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanotechnology) for an overview). Now, it’s true that intelligent machines would be needed to manufacture, and probably program, these myriads of tiny, very specialised machines, but the possibilities are very schematic. There’s no evidence that anything workable is around the corner.
    • It looks like the free eBook by Eric Drexler Engines of Creation 2.0 — The Coming Era of Nanotechnology (Drexler: Engines of Creation - Defunct) might prove useful.
  17. Consciousnesses:
    • Just what is meant here? Is this just loose speaking? A thing (an animal) is conscious, and the animal can’t be scanned and downloaded anywhere. No-one really knows (at the theoretical level) what phenomenal consciousness is, though there are many theories. What’s probably intended here is that “the contents of our brains” would be read and uploaded to some device that can simulate our brains. This, of course, assumes that mind-body substance dualism is false (as it probably is), but even so – and admitting that whatever runs the downloaded software is at best a copy of the original, there’s a long way to go before this sort of thing becomes even a worked-out theoretical possibility.
  18. Software:
    • Well, philosophically-speaking, this is an outrageous idea. It depends on what we are, and we’re almost certainly not software, though software is important to us. And there are issues of identity – since software is easy to copy, and copies aren’t identical, what reason would an individual have for thinking any particular installed copy was (identical to) him?
  19. Annihilation:
    • Well, this is certainly something to watch out for, but I dare say it’s a way off. It’s more of a worry in genetic engineering or (if it gets going in the futurist mini-robot sense) nanotechnology.
  20. The Singularity:
  21. Moore's Law:
    • See Wikipedia: Moore's Law (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_law).
    • The Wikipedia article mentions Kurzweil and other futurologists, and the possible breakdown of Moore’s Law within the next 5 years or so (ie. well before 2045). It also notes that Moore’s Law is a self-fulfilling prophesy, in that the industry has taken it as a paradigm for R&D aims. Also, that the R&D costs of keeping up with Moore’s Law are also increasing exponentially.
    Kurzweil's Graph
  22. Kurzweil's Graph:
    • This graph intentionally muddles together speed and cost, but so-doing can lead others to draw the wrong conclusions from it.
    • Currently, while there continue to be improvements in computing power, the current driver behind the continuing exponential growth of Kurzweil’s graph is economic – ie. computer hardware is being delivered cheaper, faster, not faster faster.
    • Even if Kurzweil’s graph did continue for ever, it might still not lead to the singularity, in that the (infinitely cheap) computer hardware might still not deliver what Kurzweil needs. It might still be too slow.
  23. Dummy Section:
    • Details to be supplied later!





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 3:
  • Currently the links are one-way.
Footnote 4:
  • Or, “seemed”!
Footnote 5:
  • Some of these links now fail, as indicated.
  • Some other links work, but don’t have the same text.
  • I’ve not had time to chase them up and make repairs, if possible.

Note last updated: 07/08/2018 21:18:43


Footnote 1.8.25 Repeated. See Footnote 1.10.2: (Uploading)


Footnote 1.8.26: (Computers)

Plug Note1






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 11: I can’t get into this in any detail.

Footnote 13: Footnote 14: Footnote 15:
  • If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
  • Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
  • There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
Footnote 16:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 17:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Footnote 18: Footnote 19:
  • The list is rather long, and will need pruning when I get down to this topic.
Footnote 20: Footnote 21:
  • This paper no doubt considers the use of computers for simulating situations other than minds, so might not be directly relevant.
Footnote 22: Footnote 23:
  • This seems somewhat tangential, as it’s not focused on simulating persons, but it might be useful background.
Footnote 24:
  • There’s quite a lot by Searle that is relevant, but it’s important not to get dragged in too far into his “outlier” perspective – unless, of course, he’s right!
  • It may be best to start with the whole of the book from which this paper is taken, ie. "Searle (John) - Minds, Brains and Science: The 1984 Reith Lectures".
Footnote 25: See also "Searle (John) - Is the Brain's Mind a Computer Program? MIT Comments".

Note last updated: 17/08/2018 17:35:31


Footnote 1.8.27 Repeated. See Footnote 11.10: (Immortality)


Footnote 1.8.28 Repeated. See Footnote 5.7: (Persistence)


Footnote 1.8.29: (Numerical Identity)

Plug Note1

  • This Note is really a sub-topic of that on the Logic of Identity
  • There is, however, an initial ambiguity that needs clearing up. To quote the Synopsis of "DeGrazia (David) - Human Identity and Bioethics":
      • When philosophers address personal identity, they usually explore numerical identity: what are the criteria for a person's continuing existence?
      • When non-philosophers address personal identity, they often have in mind narrative identity: Which characteristics of a particular person are salient to her self-conception?
  • DeGrazia explores both conceptions, and acknowledges a debt4 to Eric Olson for the former and Marya Schechtman for the latter.
  • Anyway, numerical identity is the relation a thing holds to itself and to nothing else. The term “numerical” is used because we use the concept of numerical identity in counting things. Things picked out under different concepts are only counted once if they are numerically identical – if they are the very same thing. I may be a man, a person, a father, a grandfather, a student of philosophy but I’m only to be counted once.
  • Works on this topic that I’ve actually read5, include6 the following:-
  • 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.
Footnote 4:
  • Not that Eric Olson is the inventor or even the primary exponent of the concept of numerical identity,
  • Nor that Marya Schechtman is not a philosopher!
Footnote 5:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 6:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 11/03/2018 20:19:41


Footnote 1.8.30: (Personality)

Plug Note1

  • “She’s not the same person”, means she’s undergone a change of personality.
  • What are personalities? Are personalities a loose collection of properties? Do personalities have persistence conditions?
  • No. Consider an analogy with colour. The question is better phrased as does x have the same personality / colour at t1 as at t2.
  • Works on this topic that I’ve actually read2, include3 the following:-
  • 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.
Footnote 2:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 3:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 11/03/2018 20:19:41


Footnote 1.8.31: (Narrative Identity)

Plug Note1






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 4:
  • If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
  • Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
  • There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
Footnote 5:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 6:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Footnote 7:

Note last updated: 03/09/2018 19:49:26


Footnote 1.8.32: (Similarity)

Plug Note1

  • The logic of similarity, like the logic of identity, is a prerequisite for understanding continuity and change.
  • It is important to distinguish identity from exact similarity, as in the case of "identical" twins" which are not identical in the strict logical sense.
  • Works on this topic that I’ve actually read5, include6 the following:-
  • 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.
Footnote 5:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 6:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 11/03/2018 20:19:41


Footnote 1.8.33: (Convention)

Plug Note1






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:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 10:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 07/02/2018 09:57:36


Footnote 1.8.34: (Psychological View)

Plug Note1

  • This is the view, originating with Locke, that the matter of primary importance in matters of personal identity is the psychological continuity (or maybe of psychological connectedness).
  • No-one denies that our psychology is important to us, but making it constitutive of our identity has led to much confusion and paradox.
  • In particular it encourages the idea that the same human being may not be the same person throughout its life, or that the same person may “hop” from one human being to another.
  • I wish to deny both these possibilities.
  • Works on this topic that I’ve actually read9, include10 the following:-
  • 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.
Footnote 9:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 10:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 11/03/2018 20:19:41


Footnote 1.8.35: (Properties)

Plug Note1






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 11:
  • Note that there’s a distinction between two contrasts – between Intrinsic and Extrinsic properties and those held derivatively and essentially.
  • The two contrasts don’t map onto one another. Value may be essential, but it is not intrinsic – unlike mass – as it depends on evaluation by an art-world.
  • Awkwardly, weight – rather than mass – is an extrinsic property, depending as it does on the local presence of a massive gravitating body.
Footnote 15:
  • If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
  • Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
  • There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
Footnote 16:
  • This search revealed 327 items that I’d read that mentioned “property” or properties, so I’ve only given their titles a superficial eyeballing to see whether they are worth itemising.
Footnote 17:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 18:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Footnote 19:

Note last updated: 21/10/2018 18:48:58


Footnote 1.8.36 Repeated. See Footnote 11.4: (Life)


Footnote 1.8.37: (Process Metaphysics)

Plug Note1






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 2:
  • I need a note on Composition.
  • It is involved in – but not identical to – issues of Constitution.
Footnote 4:
  • If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
  • Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
  • There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
Footnote 5:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 6:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 10/10/2018 16:43:41


Footnote 1.8.38 Repeated. See Footnote 2.13: (Nihilism)


Footnote 1.8.39: (Temporary Intrinsics)

Plug Note1






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 2: Ie. Non-relational.

Footnote 9:
  • If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
  • Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
  • There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
Footnote 10:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 11:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 08/12/2018 19:06:14


Footnote 1.8.40 Repeated. See Footnote 5.11: (Exdurantism)


Footnote 1.8.41: (Parfit)

Plug Note1






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 14:
  • If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
  • Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
  • There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
Footnote 15:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 16:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Footnote 17: Footnote 18: Footnote 19: Footnote 20: Footnote 21:
  • I’ve ignored here those many papers on “what matters” that are not specifically related to the topic of Personal Identity.
Footnote 22:

Note last updated: 03/09/2018 19:49:26


Footnote 1.8.42 Repeated. See Footnote 4.10: (What Matters)


Footnote 1.8.43 Repeated. See Footnote 4.3: (Logic of Identity)


Footnote 1.8.44 Repeated. See Footnote 4.6: (Occasional Identity)


Footnote 1.8.45: (Physicalism)

Plug Note1

  • Basically, I reject any form of mind-body dualism or immaterialist monism. There are no souls, if a soul is an immaterial substance separable from a body.
  • But, I need to investigate Dean Zimmerman’s recent “emergent dualism” (see "Zimmerman (Dean) - Reply to Baker's 'Christians Should Reject Mind-Body Dualism'"), despite the fact that his main motivation is a desire to conform to a traditionalist reading of Christian doctrine.
  • Given my focus on physicalism, I will need to give some attention to the identity and persistence criteria of material objects as such.
  • There are too many versions of physicalism for its endorsement to deliver much without clarification, so I will need to pursue the matter in some detail.
  • For the moment, I simply wish to note (or claim) that:
    1. “The physical” encompasses both body and brain (ie. the physical criterion of personal identity would be satisfied if continuity of brain were essential for the persistence of the person).
    2. The brain is more important than other physical organs for the persistence of the human being or the human person.
  • Consequently, I think it worthwhile to conduct a detailed investigation into the functional roles of the various parts of the brain, CNS (Central Nervous System) and PNS (peripheral ...) and how these and the residue of the body are coupled together. Such matters may be relevant to the realism of the various thought experiments about brain transplants, cerebrum transplants and such-like.
  • It is, however, debatable how important these details are. For example, debates seem to continue about the possible identity of pain and C-fibre-firing, when it’s now acknowledged by all the participants in such debates that the physical realisation of pain-states in mammals requires a lot more than C-fibres. The assumption seems to be that the details don’t matter and that similar arguments could be constructed whatever the physical realisation of mental states might be.
  • Works on this topic that I’ve actually read12, include13 the following:-
  • 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.
Footnote 12:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 13:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 11/03/2018 20:19:41


Footnote 1.8.46: (Dualism)

Plug Note1






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 2: Footnote 4:
  • I may need to think this through a bit more.
  • The argument would go – from “Sunday school dualism” – that if we have souls, then we can’t be animals, as animals don’t have souls.
  • But, dualism is really only claiming that the mental cannot be reduced to the physical. But if this is true of human beings – whatever they are – then it is true of human animals, and all animals with minds. So, the topic might be orthogonal to animalism – the claim that we are animals.
  • That said, there is a tradition of treating dualism as more sympathetic to the psychological view of personal identity, that our persistence conditions are mental, which animalism claims to be irrelevant to our identity.
Footnote 7:
  • Well, resurrection of (sufficient of) a corpse would be metaphysically possible, but following the total destruction of the body, there is nothing to carry the identity of the individual.
Footnote 12:
  • If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
  • Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
  • There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
Footnote 13:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 14:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 17/08/2018 21:59:02


Footnote 1.8.47 Repeated. See Footnote 11.5: (Death)


Footnote 1.8.48 Repeated. See Footnote 5.12: (Survival)


Footnote 1.8.49 Repeated. See Footnote 11.8: (Life After Death)


Footnote 1.8.50: (Christian Materialism)

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 6: To be checked & corrected in due course.

Footnote 7:
  • Actually this has become rather an exhaustive list – there’s lots of interesting stuff to get through.
  • As a mitigant, many of these papers will be covered under other Notes.
Footnote 8: Works by, or about, Lynne Rudder Baker are mostly covered elsewhere – eg: Click here for Note.

Footnote 9: Corcoran is very much a supporter of Lynne Rudder Baker.

Footnote 10:
  • Murphy is only the (co-)editor of two of these books, and many / most of the contributors will have Christian affiliation of some sort (probably Catholic).
  • However, I have not listed the other contributors / editors directly unless they are otherwise well-known (to me).
  • I have, however, listed Murphy’s contributions to the edited collections.
Footnote 11:
  • There are so many potentially-relevant papers by Van Inwagen that I’ve had to decide whether to list them all or only some …
  • “All” is more useful, without repeating those in the books listed – except from anthologies edited by Van Inwagen.
Footnote 12:
  • I’m not sure how committed (if at all) Lowe was to Christianity, nor how important he was as a philosopher (he died in 2014).
  • He did once argue for the modal ontological argument against Oppy, but in "Bourget (David) & Chalmers (David) - The PhilPapers Surveys: What Do Philosophers Believe?" he’s only down as “leaning towards” theism.
  • The TLS Obituary (Link (https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/people/jonathan-lowe-1950-2014/2010845.article)) described him as “one of the leading philosophers of his generation” but made no mention of any religious faith.
  • See his Durham page: Link (https://www.dur.ac.uk/philosophy/ejlowepages/).
  • This list may therefore be too much.
Footnote 13: I’ve not bought the book as it is too expensive!

Footnote 14: This (rather than hylomorphic) is the chosen spelling!

Note last updated: 31/08/2015 00:15:50


Footnote 1.8.51: (Causality)

Plug Note1






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 8:
  • If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
  • Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
  • There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
Footnote 9:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 10:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Footnote 11: I’ve been tempted – successfully – to include a few items that are probably not relevant in the lists.

Footnote 12: See the Chapter on Causation, which reviews some papers in this list.

Note last updated: 17/08/2018 21:59:02


Footnote 1.8.52 Repeated. See Footnote 11.9: (Resurrection)


Footnote 1.8.53 Repeated. See Footnote 4.3: (Logic of Identity)


Footnote 1.8.54: (Modality)

Plug Note1






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 8:
  • If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
  • Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
  • There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
Footnote 9:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 10:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 20/08/2018 10:13:26


Footnote 1.8.55 Repeated. See Footnote 3.13: (Constitution View)


Footnote 1.8.56: (Statue and the Clay)

Plug Note1






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 5:
  • If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
  • Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
  • There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
Footnote 6:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 7:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 07/04/2019 00:27:22


Footnote 1.8.57 Repeated. See Footnote 7.5: (Constitution)


Footnote 1.8.58 Repeated. See Footnote 6.11: (Thinking Animal Argument)


Footnote 1.8.59 Repeated. See Footnote 7.8: (Dion and Theon)


Footnote 1.8.60: (Tibbles the Cat)

Plug Note1






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 4:
  • If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
  • Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
  • There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
Footnote 5:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 6:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Footnote 8:
  • This book has been picked up because of the discussion of Tibbles by an Amazon reviewer!

Note last updated: 17/08/2018 21:59:02


Footnote 1.8.61: (Problem of the Many)

Plug Note1






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 2:
  • If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
  • Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
  • There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
Footnote 3:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 4:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 10/10/2018 16:43:41


Footnote 1.8.62 Repeated. See Footnote 5.10: (Perdurantism)


Footnote 1.8.63 Repeated. See Footnote 10.4: (Fission)


Footnote 1.8.64 Repeated. See Footnote 6.4: (Animalism)


Footnote 1.8.65 Repeated. See Footnote 10.3: (Thought Experiments)


Footnote 1.8.66 Repeated. See Footnote 9.4: (Constitution View - Objections)


Footnote 1.8.67 Repeated. See Footnote 2.7: (Self)


Footnote 1.8.68 Repeated. See Footnote 2.10: (Body)


Footnote 1.8.69: (Reduplication Objections)

Plug Note1






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 10:
  • In particular, “Branch Line cases”.
Footnote 13:
  • If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
  • Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
  • There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
Footnote 14:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 15:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Footnote 16:
  • Arrived at by a rather slavish trawl through my database using the key-word “reduplication”!

Note last updated: 28/10/2018 18:08:38


Footnote 1.8.70: (Universals)

Plug Note1






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 14:
  • If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
  • Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
  • There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
Footnote 15:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 16:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Footnote 17: See also "Fine (Gail) - On Ideas - Introduction".

Footnote 18:
  • The Categorised readig-list is far too bloated for my interests.
  • So I’ve included most of what I’ve actually read, but have been much more restrictive on unread items
Footnote 19: Look into the other papers by Sider in the categorised list if time.

Note last updated: 17/08/2018 21:59:02


Footnote 1.8.71: (Closest Continuer)

Plug Note1






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 10:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 11:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Footnote 12:
  • When considering duplication issues with double-hemispherectomy & transplant, “closest continuer” resolutions to the problem (amongst other suggestions) are rejected.
Footnote 13:
  • The “closest continuer” theory as a solution to the “split brain” fission puzzle is considered in Sections 3 & 4.
Footnote 14:
  • Brief discussion of Hershenov’s claim that Zimmerman’s “Falling Elevator” model of physical resurrection is effectively a “closest continuer” theory.
Footnote 15:
  • Olson’s rejection of “closest continuer” solutions to the double-hemispherectomy & transplant problem (for the psychological view).
  • His objection isn’t to the incoherence of the “closest continuer” as such, but that the hemispheres might be equipollent, leading to no “closest continuer”.
Footnote 16:
  • The rejection of “closest continuer” theories is the 10th of Van Inwagen’s presuppositions.
  • Decisions of persistence are intrinsic. No outside facts – such as the existence of a better candidate – can affect whether something has persisted.
Footnote 17:
  • Zimmerman discusses the “closest continuer” theory extensively in a reply to Hasker.
  • It seems that the “Falling Elevator” model of resurrection requires both acceptance of the “closest continuer” theory and the rejection of the “only X and Y” principle.
Footnote 18:
  • Consideration of “closest continuer” theories in Section 2.
Footnote 19:
  • Description and elaboration of Nozick’s “closest continuer” theory, followed by …
  • Its application to duplication puzzle-cases.
Footnote 20:
  • Rejects the “closest continuer” theory as a solution to the problem posed by putative uploadings of human brains to computers.
Footnote 21: Footnote 22:
  • The “closest continuer” theory is discussed in Section 4.

Note last updated: 07/04/2019 09:40:19


Footnote 1.8.72 Repeated. See Footnote 10.14: (Teletransportation)


Footnote 1.8.73: (Consciousness)

Plug Note1






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 6:
  • Of course, this is disputed – and I agree with the objections.
  • Animals that pass the mirror test are usually assumed to have at least a rudimentary sense of self.
  • See "Desmond (Adrian) - The Ape's Reflexion".
Footnote 9:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 10:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 18/03/2018 10:59:31


Footnote 1.8.74 Repeated. See Footnote 4.11: (Substance)


Footnote 1.8.75: (Forensic Property)

Plug Note1






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 11:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 12:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 16/02/2018 00:30:14


Footnote 1.8.76 Repeated. See Footnote 3.10: (Phase Sortals)


Footnote 1.8.77: (Animal Rights)

Plug Note1






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 8:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 9:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Footnote 10:
    |1|This is relevant to the discussion of animal rights only tangentially, but importantly, I think.
Footnote 11:
    |1|I’ve listed almost the lot – this will require sifting when I get down to serious work on the topic.

Note last updated: 29/01/2018 21:24:29


Footnote 1.8.78 Repeated. See Footnote 8.4: (Animalism - Objections)


Footnote 1.8.79 Repeated. See Footnote 11.7: (Corpses)


Footnote 1.8.80: (Fetuses)

Plug Note1






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 13:
  • If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
  • Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
  • There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
Footnote 14:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 15:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Footnote 16: Footnote 17:
  • Especially Chapter 6.
Footnote 18:
  • This may be a bridge too far as Moreland & Rae’s view rests on the existence of Souls.

Note last updated: 17/08/2018 17:35:31


Footnote 1.8.81 Repeated. See Footnote 7.7: (Mereology)


Footnote 1.8.82 Repeated. See Footnote 10.13: (Brain Transplants)


Footnote 1.8.83: (Transplants)

Plug Note1

  • From the standpoint of Personal Identity, the most significant transplants are Brain Transplants, which have their own Note.
  • In the context of animalism, however – where it is said (by Olson) that the brain is just another organ – there is less reason for Brain Transplants to receive centre-stage. Some animalists resist the “Transplant Intuition” – which is that “we go where our brains go”, but I will discuss that in the Note just mentioned.
  • But, the animalist must still consider whether an organism can survive the transplant of “lesser” organs, and which – if any – transplants it cannot survive. We certainly accept that major-organ transplants – and even a complex of organs such as heart/lungs – preserve the human animal (and person).
  • Are there any limits beyond which we cannot go? Do we have to allow for a case of fusion in extreme circumstances? Is there a “core” of the animal that preserves identity while peripheral organs are swapped out?
  • What about inorganic transplants? Is the human animal preserved, and does it incorporate the transplanted organs, or are they useful appendages (like clothes) that are external to it. Alternatively, do we then have a cyborg? What about implants that affect our mentation?
  • While the transplantation of cerebrums and larger brain-parts, including WBTs will be covered elsewhere, this Note should cover TEs involving smaller brain-tissue transplants, which are supposed to transfer psychological elements from one person to another and not identity as such.
  • This note will not cover the ethics of transplantation, but only the metaphysics thereof. That said, I’ve read, enjoyed and briefly commented on "Ishiguro (Kazuo) - Never Let Me Go".
  • For a page of Links12 to this Note, Click here. Unfortunately, almost all of these references relate to the ethics of organ transplantation, wither per se, related to issues to do with “brain death”, or to “cannibalisation” arguments against consequentialism. So, precious few are itemised in the two lists immediately below.
  • Works on this topic that I’ve actually read13, include14 the following:-
    1. "Ishiguro (Kazuo) - Never Let Me Go", Ishiguro
    2. "Shoemaker (David) - Personal Identity and Immortality", Shoemaker
    3. "Zimmerman (Dean) - Bodily Resurrection: The Falling Elevator Model Revisited", Zimmerman
  • A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
    1. "Bernecker (Sven) - The Nature of Memory Causation", Bernecker
    2. "Munzer (Stephen R.) - Transplantation, Chemical Inheritance, and the Identity of Organs", Munzer
    3. "Northoff (G.) - Do Brain Tissue Transplants Alter Personal Identity? Inadequacies of Some 'Standard' Arguments", Northoff
    4. "Snowdon (Paul) - Strengthening the Rejection of Transplant Arguments", Snowdon
  • 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.
Footnote 12:
  • If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
  • Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
  • There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
Footnote 13:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 14:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 17/08/2018 17:35:31


Footnote 1.8.84: (Brain Criterion)

Plug Note1

  • There will naturally be some overlap on this topic with the topics of
    Brains and
    Criteria of Identity.
  • The question is whether the brain is the be-all and end-all of the matter of personal identity for human persons.
  • It is acknowledged by most that – conceptually at least – there can be persons that are not humans (ie. not members of the species homo sapiens) – whether these persons be non-human animals, computers, God, angels, aliens or whatever. Non-animals presumably have no brains, though aliens presumably have a brain-analogue, so brains cannot be identity-criteria for personhood as such (indeed, we might argue that there are no criteria for persons as such6). But for animal-persons (human or otherwise), the brain seems to occupy a central place, both as the seat of psychology (in the absence of an immaterial soul) and as the regulator of the body.
  • So, the story would go, X is the same person as Y iff8 X has the same brain as Y.
  • The trouble is – even if this claim is along the right lines – we can press matters further, and ask whether the whole brain is strictly necessary. If what impresses us is a brain-based psychological view, when what we imagine is “really the minimal me” is the pair of psychology-bearing cerebral hemispheres, then we might imagine (as some philosophers have) a case of fission, where – after equalising the hemispheres in psychological potency, we transplant one into another body lacking both hemispheres. Or, without needing anything so radical, we sever the corpus callosum in a commissurotomy, thereby (on this view) creating two persons in one body.
  • However, if we are animalists, wondering what the “minimal animal” is, and it’s the command-and-control functions of the brain that impress us, then the paring-down process might14 be able to do without the cerebral hemispheres (or at least the psychology-bearing parts) altogether. So, brain-based views from different perspectives might come to different conclusions about the importance of the cerebral hemispheres – one view might make them essential, the other irrelevant to questions of identity (if not to “what matters”). It is an empirical question whether the brain-stem can be divided, and hence whether a brain-based animalist approach is also subject to worries16 about fission.
  • Anyway, the appropriateness of the Brain criterion of personal identity depends on what we are– in particular whether we are (most fundamentally, or in the sense of numerical identity, which is not the same thing) human animals or persons constituted by them (or various other things).
  • Only if19 we believe that we are (identical to) brains will we adopt the brain criterion.
  • Works on this topic that I’ve actually read21, include22 the following:-
    1. "Garrett (Brian) - Criteria of Personal Identity", Garrett
    2. "Johnston (Mark) - Human Beings", Johnston23
    3. "Manninen (Tuomas) - Review of Alva Noe's 'Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain'", Manninen
    4. "Noonan (Harold) - An Initial Survey", Noonan
    5. "Parfit (Derek) - Nagel's Brain", Parfit
    6. "Snowdon (Paul) - The Self and Personal Identity", Snowdon
    7. "Thomas (Janice L.) - The bodily criterion", Thomas
  • A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
    1. "Noe (Alva) - Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness", Noe
    2. "Olson (Eric) - What Are We? Brains", Olson
  • 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.
Footnote 6: Footnote 8:
  • And, of course, “X and Y are both persons”, to cover the case where the brain is insufficient to support the property of personhood.
Footnote 14:
  • Much of this discussion has empirical aspects to it, and depends on the capabilities of real brains – though we might get into the choppy waters of more intricate TEs, and wonder what might be the case if the biology went differently – but then we would most likely not be talking about our identity criteria, but of some other being.
Footnote 16:
  • These worries about fission are essentially set to rest by adopting a perdurantist account of persistence.
  • But, some consider the costs (mainly semantic, I think) of adopting this approach are too great.
Footnote 19:
  • But see the Note on Johnston below!
Footnote 21:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 22:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Footnote 23:
  • Johnston thinks we are human beings, but – when push comes to shove – we would survive as brains, so the criteria