Unrestricted animalism and the too many candidates problem

Philosophical Studies 172 (3):635-652 (2015)
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Abstract

Standard animalists are committed to a stringent form of restricted composition, thereby denying the existence of brains, hands, and other proper parts of an organism . One reason for positing this near-nihilistic ontology comes from various challenges to animalism such as the Thinking Parts Argument, the Unity Argument, and the Argument from the Problem of the Many. In this paper, I show that these putatively distinct arguments are all instances of a more general problem, which I call the ‘Too Many Candidates Problem’ . Given my formulation of the problem, it is evident that standard animalists are mistaken in believing that restricting composition is the only solution. I show that there is another option for solving the TMC. The advantage of such a position, which I call ‘unrestricted animalism’, is that it is compatible with unrestricted composition and the existence of brains and other proper parts of an organism. I conclude by sketching several strategies one can take regarding this latter solution to the TMC

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Eric Yang
Santa Clara University

Citations of this work

Animalism.Andrew M. Bailey - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (12):867-883.
Generic Animalism.Andrew M. Bailey & Peter van Elswyk - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (8):405-429.
Animalism is Either False of Uninteresting (Perhaps Both).Matt Duncan - 2021 - American Philosophical Quarterly 58 (2):187-200.
Why animalism matters.Andrew M. Bailey, Allison Krile Thornton & Peter van Elswyk - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (9):2929-2942.
Animalism.Stephan Blatti - 2014 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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Material beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
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A materialist metaphysics of the human person.Hud Hudson - 2001 - Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.

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