In Robert C. Koons & George Bealer (eds.), The Waning of Materialism. Oxford University Press. pp. 161--174 (2010)
I argue that, unlike your brain, you are not composed of other things: you are simple. My argument centers on what I take to be an uncontroversial datum: for any pair of conscious beings, it is impossible for the pair itself to be conscious. Consider, for instance, the pair comprising you and me. You might pinch your arm and feel a pain. I might simultaneously pinch my arm and feel a qualitatively identical pain. But the pair we form would not feel a thing.1 Pairs of people themselves are incapable of experience. Call this The Datum. What explains The Datum? I think the following exhaust the reasonable options. (1) Pairs of people lack a sufficient number of immediate parts. (2) Pairs of people lack immediate parts capable of standing in the right sorts of relations to each other and their environment. (3) Pairs of people lack immediate parts of the right nature. (4) Pairs of people are not structures (they are unstructured collections of their two immediate parts). (5) Some combination of (1) – (4). Finally, (6) pairs of people are not simple.
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