Review of Lynne Rudder Baker, Persons and Bodies [Book Review]

Journal of Philosophy 99 (1):45-48 (2002)
Abstract
Locke’s view that continuants are numerically distinct from their constituting hunks of matter is popular enough to be called the “standard account”.1 It was given its definitive contemporary statement by David Wiggins in Sameness and Substance2, and has been defended by many since. Baker’s interesting book contributes new arguments for this view, a new definition of ‘constitution’, and a sustained application to persons and human animals. Much of what she says develops this view in new and important ways. But in some cases she does not advance the position, and in others she takes steps backwards. According to Baker, a person is numerically distinct from her constituting animal. One of Baker’s leading arguments is surprisingly unconvincing. Persons differ in important ways from non-human animals. Only persons are moral agents, modify their goals, have wars, culture, etc. If persons were identical to animals—if we were “nothing but animals”, as she puts it—then the manifest discontinuity between humans and non-human animals would be located “within the domain of biology”. “But from a biological point of view, human animals…are biologically continuous with non-human animals.” (p. 17) The argument fails: why should identifying persons with animals preclude saying that these particular animals have radically distinctive features that are of little interest to biologists? The traditional case for non-identity (which Baker accepts) is more powerful: a person and her constituting animal differ by having different persistence conditions. If my memories were transferred to a new body and my old body destroyed, I the person might survive, but the human animal who constituted me would perish. Therefore, before the transfer, I and the animal that constituted me would be numerically distinct but extremely similar things located in exactly the same place. This consequence—the central thesis of the Wiggins view—is surprising: so surprising that some reject the Wiggins view on that basis..
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 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: 11,361
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

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
William Hasker (2004). The Constitution View of Persons: A Critique. International Philosophical Quarterly 44 (1):23-34.
William Hasker (2004). The Constitution View of Persons. International Philosophical Quarterly 44 (1):23-34.
Lynne Rudder Baker (2007). Persons and Other Things. Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (5-6):5-6.
Lynne Baker (2007). Persons and Other Things. Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (s 5-6):17-36.
Lynne Rudder Baker (2005). When Does a Person Begin? Social Philosophy and Policy 22 (2):25-48.
W. R. Carter (2002). Many Minds, No Persons. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):55-70.
William R. Carter (2002). Many Minds, No Persons. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 2 (4):55-70.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-12-22

Total downloads

32 ( #55,234 of 1,102,697 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #84,360 of 1,102,697 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


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