What is the self? And how does it relate to the body? In the second edition of Personal Identity, Harold Noonan presents the major historical theories of personal identity, particularly those of Locke, Leibniz, Butler, Reid and Hume. Noonan goes on to give a careful analysis of what the problem of personal identity is, and its place in the context of more general puzzles about identity. He then moves on to consider the main issues and arguments which are the subject (...) of current debate, including the work of Bernard Williams and Derek Parfit, and makes new and challenging interpretations of them. This new edition contains additional material assessing the biological approach which has become increasingly popular in recent years, and extends the treatment of indeterminate identity to take account of the epistemic view of vagueness. This book covers the problem of personal identity from its origin in Locke's work to the most recent debates in the philosophical literature, and will be invaluablereading for any student of the topic. (shrink)
In recent years largely due to the seminal work of Kit Fine and that of Jonathan Lowe there has been a resurgence of interest in the concept of essence and the project of explaining de re necessity in terms of it. Of course, Quine rejected what he called Aristotelian essentialism in his battle against quantified modal logic. But what he and Kripke debated was a notion of essence defined in terms of de re necessity. The new Aristotelian essentialists regard essence (...) as entailing but prior in the order of explanation to de re necessity. In what follows I argue that the concept of essence so understood has not been adequately explained and that any attempt to explain it, at least along the lines most familiar from the literature, must be flagrantly circular or make use of de re modal notions. (shrink)
Examples suggest that one and the same A may be different Bs, and hence that there is some sort of incompleteness in the unqualified statement that x and y are the same which needs to be eliminated by answering the question “the same what?” One way to make this more precise is by appeal to Geach's idea that identity is relative. In this paper I evaluate Geach's relative identity thesis.
My purpose is to explore the possible lines of reply available to a defender of the neo‐Lockean position on personal identity in response to the recently popular ‘animalist’ objection. I compare the animalist objection with an objection made to Locke by Bishop Butler, Thomas Reid and, in our own day, Sydney Shoemaker. I argue that the only possible response available to a defender of Locke against the Butler–Reid–Shoemaker objection is to reject Locke's official definition of a person as a thinking, (...) intelligent thing and replace it with the concept of the self– the object of self‐reference – and that this response is equally obligatory for the neo‐Lockean in replying to the animalist. I explore other possibilities, including the position that there is no sense in talking about personal identity at all. (shrink)
How is the debate between presentism and eternalism to be characterized? It is usual to suggest that this debate about time is analogous to the debate between the actualist and the possibilist about modality. I think that this suggestion is right. In what follows I pursue the analogy more strictly than is usual and offer a characterization of what is at the core of the dispute between presentists and eternalists that may be immune to worries often raised about the substantiality (...) of the debate. I suggest that the debate be characterized in Lewisean terms and define positions I call *Lewisean* eternalism and anti-*Lewisean*' presentism (analogous to Lewisean possibilism and anti-Lewisean actualism). I explain some advantages of the proposal and discuss some objections. I conclude that pursuing the analogy strictly offers the prospect of giving clear sense to a controversy which otherwise seems to many deeply obscure. (shrink)
In this book, Eli Hirsch focuses on identity through time, first with respect to ordinary bodies, then underlying matter, and eventually persons. These are linked at various points with other aspects of identity, such as the spatial unity of things, the unity of kinds, and the unity of groups. He investigates how our identity concept ordinarily operates in these respects. He also asks why this concept is so cental to our thinking and whether we can justify seeing the world in (...) terms of such a concept. This is the revised and updated edition of a hardback published in 1982. (shrink)
The paper defends Gareth Evan's argument against vague identity "de re" from a criticism that quantum mechanics provides actual counter-examples to its validity. A more general version of Evans's argument is stated in which identity involving properties are not essential and it is claimed that the scientific facts as so far known are consistent with the Evansian thesis that indeterminacy in truth-value must always be due to semantic indecision.
In the first twelve chapters of this book, I am concerned with the Fregean notion of an object (the reference of a proper name) and its connection with the notion of identity. The rest of the book is devoted to a discussion of the problem of personal identity.
Debate between Humean contingentists and anti-Humean necessitarians in the philosophy of science is ongoing. One of the most important contemporary anti-Humeans is Alexander Bird. Bird calls the particular version of Humeanism he is opposed to 'categoricalism'. In his paper (2005) and in Chapter 4 of his book (2007) Bird argues against categoricalism about properties and laws. His arguments against categoricalism about properties are intended to support the necessitarian position he calls dispositional monism. His arguments against categoricalism about laws are intended (...) to refute the contingent regularity view of laws (even in its sophisticated Lewisean version) and the nomic necessitation view of Armstrong (which involves a contingent necessitation relation). The general position Bird defends is that properties are necessarily related to the dispositions they bestow on their bearers and laws are necessary truths. I consider two of Bird's arguments against categoricalism about properties, and one of his arguments against the regularity view of laws. Maybe other arguments against categoricalism are persuasive. These, I submit, are not. (shrink)
What am I? And what is my relationship to the thing I call ‘my body’? Thus each of us can pose for himself the philosophical problems of the nature of the self and the relationship between a person and his body. One answer to the question about the relationship between a person and the thing he calls ‘his body’ is that they are two things composed of the same matter at the same time (like a clay statue and the piece (...) of clay which presently constitutes it). This is the ‘constitution view’. In this paper we give a novel overview of the literature on personal identity, the constitution view, and surrounding topics. (shrink)
Personal Identity is a comprehensive introduction to the nature of the self and its relation to the body. Harold Noonan places the problem of personal identity in the context of more general puzzles about identity, discussing the major historical theories and more recent debates. The second edition of Personal Identity contains a new chapter on 'animalism' and a new section on vagueness.
The paper defends Gareth Evans's argument against vague identity. It appeals to a principle I name the principle of the diversity of the definitely dissimilar to defend the thesis that vague identity statements owe their indeterminacy to vagueness in language.
According to the presentist the present time is the only one that there is. Nevertheless, things persist. Most presentists think that things persist by enduring. Employing E. J. Lowe’s notion of identity-dependence, Jonathan Tallant argues that presentism is incompatible with any notion of persistence, even endurance. This consequence of Lowe’s ideas, if soundly drawn, is important. The presentist who chooses to deny persistence outright is a desperate figure. However, though Lowe’s notion is a legitimate and worthwhile one, this application is (...) faulty. The incompatibility of presentism and persistence is not part of Lowe’s heritage. A positive conclusion can be drawn. A form of persistence is compatible with presentism. It is one on which persistence is defined in tensed terms using an adverbial tense operator: x persists iff x exists and existed or will exist. Unsurprisingly, so understood persistence is endurance. The commonly held view is correct. (shrink)
A plausible principle governing identity is that whether a later individual is identical with an earlier individual cannot ever merely depend on whether there are, at the later time, any better candidates for identity with the earlier individual around. This principle has been a bone of contention amongst philosophers interested in identity for many years. In his latest book Philosophical Explanations Robert Nozick presents what I believe to be the strongest case yet made out for the rejection of this principle. (...) My aim in this paper is to argue, with reference in particular to personal and artefact identity, that Nozick's case can be met and that a theory of identity which entails the correctness of this principle is the equal, indeed the superior, in explanatory power of the theory Nozick develops on the basis of its rejection. (shrink)
Strong pluralists hold that not even permanent material coincidence is enough for identity. Strong pluralism entails the possibility of purely material objects -- even if not coincident -- alike in all general respects, categorial and dispositional, relational and non-relational, past, present and future, at the microphysical level, but differing in some general modal, counterfactual or dispositional repscts at the macrophysical level. It is objectionable because it thus deprives us of the explanatory resources to explain why evident absurdities are absurd. A (...) second objection is to the suggestion that cases involving artefacts can illustrate strong pluralism. This offends against the principle that gien a complex intrinsic microphysical property instantiated in some regiion, the number of material things possessing it in that region cannot depend on the existence and nature of intentional activity taking place outside it. (shrink)
Can the world itself be vague, so that rather than vagueness be a deficiency in our mode of describing the world, it is a necessary feature of any true description of it? Gareth Evans famously poses this question in his paper ‘Can There Be Vague Objects’ :208, 1978). In his recent paper ‘Indeterminacy and Vagueness: Logic and Metaphysics’, Peter van Inwagen elaborates the account of vagueness and, in particular, in the case of sentences, consequent indeterminacy in truth value, to which (...) this conception of ‘worldly’ vagueness is opposed, calling it the ‘sensible’ theory of indeterminacy and rejecting it. In what follows, I defend the sensible theory van Inwagen rejects. I first explain more fully what it involves and, as importantly, what it does not. (shrink)
This new book offers a comprehensive and accessible introduction to Frege's remarkable philosophical work, examining the main areas of his writings and demonstrating the connections between them. Frege's main contribution to philosophy spans philosophical logic, the theory of meaning, mathematical logic and the philosophy of mathematics. The book clearly explains and assesses Frege's work in these areas, systematically examining his major concepts, and revealing the links between them. The emphasis is on Frege's highly influential work in philosophical logic and the (...) theory of meaning, including the features of his logic, his conceptions of object, concept and function, and his seminal distinction between sense and reference. Frege will be invaluable for students of the philosophy of language, philosophical logic, and analytic philosophy. (shrink)
Van Inwagen has an ingenious argument for the non-existence of human artefacts . But the argument cannot be accepted, since human artefacts are everywhere. However, it cannot be ignored. The proper response to it is to treat it as a refutation of its least plausible premise, i.e., to ‘tollens’ it. I first set out van Inwagen’s argument. I then identify its least plausible premise and explain the consequence of denying it, that is, the acceptance of a plenitudinous, pluralist ontology. I (...) argue that denying it is not so difficult, since its denial is an easy consequence of ordinary beliefs. I finish by explaining why van Inwagen has not persuaded me that it may be that artefacts do not exist and conclude that nothing stands in the way of tollensing van Inwagen and accepting the consequence of doing so. (shrink)
Reality and Humean Supervenience confronts the reader with central aspects in the philosophy of David Lewis, whose work in ontology, metaphysics, logic, probability, philosophy of mind, and language articulates a unique and systematic foundation for modern physicalism.
Two of the main contenders in the debate about personal persistence over time are the neo-Lockean psychological continuity view and animalism as defended by Olson and Snowdon. Both are wrong. The position I shall argue for, which I call, following Olson, the hybrid view, takes psychological continuity as a sufficient but, pace the neo-Lockeans, not necessary condition for personal persistence. It sides with the animalist in allowing that mere biological continuity is also sufficient. So I am, in a sense, a (...) psychological continuity theorist. But I am also in a sense, a biological theorist. (shrink)
I respond to criticisms by David Mackie of my previous paper on animalism and Lockeanism. I argue that the ‘transplant intuition’, that a person goes where his brain (or cerebrum) goes, is compatible both with animalism and Lockeanism. I give three arguments for this conclusion, two of them developing lines of thought in Parfit's work. However, I accept that animalism and Lockeanism are incompatible, and I go on to consider the difficulties for Lockeanism that this raises. The principal difficulty, concerning (...) the reference of ‘I’, can be met by distinguishing the thinker of an ‘I’‐thought from the reference of an ‘I’‐thought. The reference is always the person thinking the thought, but when the thought is simultaneously that of an animal coincident but non‐identical with that person, there is not a unique thinker. Mackie's criticisms of this view are ineffective. (shrink)
Standardly, a one-level criterion of identity 1 is given in the form: ∀ x∀ y )where ‘ K’ denotes the kind of thing for which the criterion is being given and ‘ R’ denotes the criterial relation.Thus, we have, for example, the criterion of identity for sets: ∀ x∀ y))and for composites: ∀ x∀ y))and for events: ∀ x∀ y)). is equivalent to the conjunction of: ∀ x and ∀ x )),which just give two necessary 2 conditions for application of (...) the predicate ‘ K’. 3Consider now the reading of ‘ Kx’ as ‘ x is a member of the Theology Department’ and ‘ Rxy’ as ‘ x admires y and y admires x’. On this reading says that every theologian admires himself and admires no other member of the department. In other words it tells us that the theologians are a bunch of narcissists bound together only by mutual contempt or indifference . Suppose that this is 4 true of the theologians. It might also be …. (shrink)
Can identity itself be vague? Can there be vague objects? Does a positive answer to either question entail a positive answer to the other? In this paper we answer these questions as follows: No, No, and Yes. First, we discuss Evans’s famous 1978 argument and argue that the main lesson that it imparts is that identity itself cannot be vague. We defend the argument from objections and endorse this conclusion. We acknowledge, however, that the argument does not by itself establish (...) either that there cannot be vague objects or that there cannot be identity statements that are indeterminate for ontic reasons. And we further acknowledge that it does not by itself establish that there cannot be identity statements that are indeterminate in virtue of the existence of vague objects. We then go on to argue that, despite this, one who believes in vague objects cannot endorse Evans’s argument. To establish this we offer supplementary arguments that show that if vague objects exist then identity is vague, and that if identity is vague then vague objects exist. Finally we draw attention to an argument parallel to that of Evans’s, but safer, which can be employed against the putative ontic indeterminacy in identity of vague objects which can be differentiated by identity-free properties. (shrink)
In his book Modal Logic as Metaphysics, Williamson argues that the traditional actualist‐possibilist debate should be abandoned as hopelessly unclear and that we should get on with the clearer contingentism‐necessitism debate. We think that Williamson’s pessimism is not warranted by the brief arguments he gives. In this paper, we explain why and provide a clear formulation of the traditional actualist‐possibilist debate.
This chapter discusses the suggestion that a psychological approach must be mistaken, because, in fact, the correct account of personal identity is given by the biological approach, according to which we are human beings whose identity over time requires no kind of psychological continuity or connectedness whatsoever. A number of authors support this suggestion, including Paul Snowdon, Peter van Inwagen, and Eric Olson. This also presumes that humans, i.e. members of the species Homo sapiens, are animals of a certain kind. (...) It does not rule out the possibility of persons that are not human beings or animals, but it insists that we are all human animals, possessing the persistence conditions of human animals. This biological approach is often rejected with the notion that it conflicts with human intuition, as can be seen in the transplant case. (shrink)