Going topless

Ratio 11 (2):125-140 (1998)
The view that people go where their brains go remains popular in discussions of personal identity. But since the brain is only a small part of the body, defenders of that view need to provide an account of what it is that makes the brain specially relevant to personal identity. The standard answer is that the brain is special because it is the carrier of psychological continuity. But Peter van Inwagen has recently offered (in Material Beings) an alternative account of the brain' special relevance. Those who reject the view that we go with our brains obviously need to respond to this new account. According to van Inwagen, there is an important difference between the life-support requirements of a severed head and those of a headless body: whereas a severed head would need only a pump to survive, a headless body would need the functional equivalent of a computer in its life-support system. It follows, according to van Inwagen, that we go with our brains. In this paper I argue that van Inwagen's argument is doubly defective: the inference from his premisses to his conclusion is dubious; and in any case his premisses misrepresent the relevant physiological facts.
Keywords Epistemology  Language  Personal Identity  Trope  Van Inwagen, P
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/1467-9329.00059
 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: 24,392
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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Peter van Inwagen (2004). Van Inwagen on Free Will. In Joseph K. Campbell (ed.), Freedom and Determinism. Cambridge MA: Bradford Book/MIT Press.
Peter Hawke (2011). Van Inwagen's Modal Skepticism. Philosophical Studies 153 (3):351-364.
George Djukic (2004). Do Four-Dimensionalists Have to Be Counterpart Theorists? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (2):292 – 311.
A. Hamilton (1995). A New Look at Personal Identity. Philosophical Quarterly 45 (180):332-349.
Sydney Shoemaker (1959). Personal Identity and Memory. Journal of Philosophy 56 (October):868-902.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

40 ( #120,741 of 1,924,709 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #417,761 of 1,924,709 )

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.