Real Selves: Persons as a Substantial Kind: E. J. Lowe

Abstract

Are persons substances or modes? Two currently dominant views may be characterized as giving the following rival answers to this question. According to the first view, persons are just biological substances. According to the second, persons are psychological modes of substances which, as far as human beings are concerned, happen to be biological substances, but which could in principle be non-biological. There is, however, also a third possible answer, and this is that persons are psychological substances. Such a view is inevitably associated with the name of Descartes, and this helps to explain its current unpopularity, since substantial dualism of his sort is now widely rejected as ‘unscientific’. But one may, as I hope to show, espouse the view that persons are psychological substances without endorsing Cartesianism. This is because one may reject certain features of Descartes's conception of substance. Consequently, one may also espouse a version of substantial dualism which is distinctly non-Cartesian. One may hold that a person, being a psychological substance, is an entity distinct from the biological substance that is his or her body, and yet still be prepared to ascribe corporeal characteristics to this psychological substance. By this account, a human person is to be thought of neither as a non-corporeal mental substance, nor as the product of a mysterious ‘union’ between such a substance and a physical, biological substance. This is not to deny that the mind—body problem is a serious and difficult one, but it is to imply that there is a version of substantial dualism which does not involve regarding the ‘mind’ as a distinct substance in its own right.

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,805

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2015-02-06

Downloads
40 (#287,937)

6 months
1 (#386,499)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

E. J. Lowe
PhD: Oxford University; Last affiliation: Durham University

References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1958 - Philosophical Quarterly 8 (33):379-380.
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.John Locke - 1979 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 169 (2):221-222.
Brainstorms.Andrew Woodfield - 1980 - Philosophical Quarterly 30 (121):367-369.
Natural Kinds.T. E. Wilkerson - 1988 - Philosophy 63 (243):29 - 42.

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work

Composition and Coincidence.Eric T. Olson - 1996 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 77 (4):374-403.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Reality: A Very Short Introduction.Jan Westerhoff - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Human Persons as Substantial Achievers.Stephen Evans - 1993 - Philosophia Reformata 58 (2):100-112.
Natural Individuals and Intrinsic Properties.Godehard Brüntrup - 2009 - In Ludger Honnefelder, Edmund Runggaldier & Benedikt Schick (eds.), Unity and Time in Metaphysics. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 237-252.
Natural Kinds and Unnatural Persons.Patricia Kitcher - 1979 - Philosophy 54 (210):541 - 547.
How We Divide the World.Michael Root - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (3):639.
Dissociation: An Evolutionary Interpretation.Joe Barnhardt - 1998 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 5 (2/3):33-37.
Back to the Primitive: From Substantial Capacities to Prime Matter.Andrew J. Jaeger - 2014 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 88 (3):381-395.
Intuitions, Externalism, and Conceptual Analysis.Jussi Haukioja - 2009 - Studia Philosophica Estonica 2 (2):81-93.
Dissociation: An Evolutionary Interpretation.Joe Barnhardt - 1998 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 5 (2/3):33-37.
Hick, Pluralism and Category Mistake.Akbari Reza - 2009 - International Journal of Hekmat 1 (1):101-114.