Organisms, persons and bioethics

My contention is that considering a person to be co-located with an organism, or one of its\nspatial or temporal parts, gives rise to a host of problems as a result of there then being too many\nthinkers. These problems, which Olson has emphasized, can be mitigated (somewhat) by a\nNoonan-style pronoun revisionism. But doing so will have very unwelcome consequences for\nbioethics as autonomy, informed consent, advance directives and substituted judgment will be\nimpossible for the human animal. I count it as a point in favor of Olson’s answer to the\nmetaphysical question “What are we?” that it avoids such ethical quandaries. But his animalism -\nwith its Parfit-inspired claim that it is not identity that matters in survival but the continuation of\nour psychology even if someone else is its subject - appears to be at odds with our self-conception\nand practical concerns. And if the only argument for this thesis is the fission scenario, then the\nthesis is further undermined as Parfit’s account of fission runs afoul of Wiggins’s Only a and b\nrule. What I will very tentatively suggest is that we explore two (incompatible) accounts of\nanimalism which deny that being identical to a future being is only of derivative importance to us.
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