Thinking Animals and the Thinking Parts Problem

Philosophical Quarterly 66 (263):323-340 (2016)
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There is a thinking animal in your chair and you are the only thinking thing in your chair; therefore, you are an animal. So goes the main argument for animalism, the Thinking Animal Argument. But notice that there are many other things that might do our thinking: heads, brains, upper halves, left-hand complements, right-hand complements, and any other object that has our brain as a part. The abundance of candidates for the things that do our thinking is known as the Thinking Parts Problem. Animalists who endorse the Thinking Animal Argument must solve this problem by giving reasons for privileging the animal over its rivals. In order to meet this challenge, some animalists have argued that the best solution is a biological minimalist one. In what follows, I argue that every extant biological minimalist solution to the Thinking Parts Problem fails.



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Joshua L. Watson
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

References found in this work

Material beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Material Beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
Objects and Persons.Trenton Merricks - 2001 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View.Lynne Rudder Baker - 2000 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Précis of Objects and Persons.Trenton Merricks - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (3):700-703.

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