Constitutive relevance and the personal/subpersonal distinction

Philosophical Psychology (ahead-of-print):1–24 (2012)
Can facts about subpersonal states and events be constitutively relevant to personal-level phenomena? And can knowledge of these facts inform explanations of personal-level phenomena? Some philosophers, like Jennifer Hornsby and John McDowell, argue for two negative answers whereby questions about persons and their behavior cannot be answered by using information from subpersonal psychology. Knowledge of subpersonal states and events cannot inform personal-level explanation such that they cast light on what constitutes persons? behaviors. In this paper I argue against this position. After having distinguished between enabling and constitutive relevance, I defend the claim that at least some facts about subpersonal states and events are constitutively relevant to some personal-level phenomenon, and therefore can, and sometimes should, inform personal-level explanations. I draw some of the possible consequences of my claim for our understanding of personal-level behavior by focusing on the phenomenon of addiction
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/09515089.2012.667623
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,879
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 21 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Matteo Colombo (2014). Deep and Beautiful. The Reward Prediction Error Hypothesis of Dopamine. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 45 (1):57-67.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Nicholas Shea (2013). Neural Mechanisms of Decision-Making and the Personal Level. In Kwm Fulford, M. Davies, G. Graham, J. Sadler, G. Stanghellini & T. Thornton (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry. OUP 1063-1082.
Sara Worley (1997). Belief and Consciousness. Philosophical Psychology 10 (1):41-55.
Sonia Sedivy (2004). Minds: Contents Without Vehicles. Philosophical Psychology 17 (2):149-181.
Martin Davies (2000). Persons and Their Underpinnings. Philosophical Explorations 3 (1):43-62.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

67 ( #48,510 of 1,725,194 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #167,147 of 1,725,194 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.