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TitleObjects and Persons
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Table of Contents
                            Contents
1. Explaining Eliminativism
	I. Eliminativism: The Basic Idea
	II. Eliminativism: Not as Bad as you might Think
	III. The Linguistic Charge of Contradiction
	IV. The Metaphysical Charge of Contradiction
	V. Conclusion
2. Considerations in Favour of Eliminativism
	I. The Water in the Pool
	II. The Sorites Game
	III. The Statue and the Lump
	IV. Brains and Thinkers
	V. Conclusion
3. Epiphenomenalism and Eliminativism
	I. The Causal Principle
	II. Atomic Causation
	III. Causal Overdetermination
	IV. The Moral of the Overdetermination Argument
	V. Conclusion
4. Surviving Eliminativism
	I. Step One
	II. Conscious Mental Properties and Premiss (1a)
	III. Objections to the Defence of Premiss (1a)
	IV. Step One Again
	V. Step Two
	VI. On What Composite Objects Exist
	VII. Conclusion
5. Considerations in Favour of Eliminating Us?
	I. Persons and the Water in the Pool
	II. Persons and the Sorites Game
	III. Statues,Lumps,and Persons
	IV. Brains,Thinkers,and Persons
	V. Conclusion
6. Mental Causation and Free Will
	I. The Exclusion Argument(s)
	II. Causal Overdetermination Again
	III. The ‘Bottom-Up’ Threat to Free Will
	IV. Conclusion
7. Belief and Practice
	I. False Folk Beliefs
	II. False Folk Beliefs are Nearly as Good as True: Justification
	III. False Folk Beliefs are Nearly as Good as True: Practice
	IV. And Yet I Often Say ‘There are statues’
	V. Conclusion
References
Index
	A
	B
	C
	D
	E
	F
	G
	H
	I
	J
	K
	L
	M
	N
	O
	P
	Q
	R
	S
	T
	U
	V
	W
	Y
	Z
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

Objects and Persons

Page 108

that at the very first instant at which P has lost her left index finger, the atoms that then compose her remain just as
they were (intrinsically and in all their spatiotemporal and causal interrelations) immediately before amputation. This
implies—assuming C for reductio—that, just as those atoms compose a conscious object (P) after amputation, so they
composed a conscious object before amputation. Name that latter object ‘the finger-complement’. The pre-amputation
fingercomplement is not identical with P. (Proof: P had a part, a left index finger, that the finger-complement lacked.)
So before amputation, if C is true, there were two conscious entities, P and the finger-complement, sitting in P's chair
and wearing P's shirt. But there was exactly one such entity. So C is false (cf. Merricks 1998a). So premiss (1a) of Step
One is true.

My reductio of C relies on the claim that, before amputation, there were not two conscious entities (P and the
fingercomplement) sitting in P's chair, wearing P's shirt. The claim that there really were two conscious
entities—indeed, because they have equally rich mental lives, two persons—wearing P's shirt and sitting in P's chair
leads to even greater absurdities. For if there was such an object as the conscious fingercomplement, it seems there was
also a conscious toothcomplement, thumb-complement, toe-complement, and so on. And as it goes for P and her
complement of complements, so, presumably, it goes for all of us. But this is false. Indeed, it's simply incredible. (It
might even lead to our elimination; see Unger 1980.) There is not a mighty host of conscious, reflective, pain- and
pleasure-feeling objects now sitting in my chair, now wearing my shirt, now thinking about metaphysics.

Some will say that ‘there are many conscious beings now wearing my shirt’ is ordinarily false, even given the mighty
host. For they hold that, when conscious beings overlap sufficiently, we ‘count them as one’ (see Lewis 1976, 1993).
This does not directly address the point at hand. For my claim is not that the truth of the sentence ‘there are many
conscious

SURVIVING ELIMINATIVISM 95

Page 109

beings now wearing my shirt’ is absurd. It is rather that it is absurd that there are many (non-identical) conscious
beings now wearing my shirt and thinking my thoughts.

My argument against C claimed that P survives the loss of a finger. And of course I think people can survive losing a
finger. But, for the record, this particular argument can accommodate even the mereological essentialist. For this
argument requires only that some conscious being or other (not necessarily P) exists after finger amputation. And surely
someone is there. This, conjoined with C, implies that there was a conscious pre-amputation finger-complement. But
there was not. For the existence of a conscious pre-amputation finger-complement leads to an unacceptable
multiplication of persons.

III. Objections to the Defence of Premiss (1a)
The above argument assumed that, when P's finger is removed, the rest of her atoms remain unchanged in their
intrinsic features and interrelations. But, one might object, this assumption is clearly false. Remove the finger, and, for
example, blood starts clotting.

The argument against C need not involve anything so large as a finger. Imagine instead that one atom in P's finger is
instantaneously annihilated. It seems plausible that, at the first instant that the atom fails to exist (or—if there is no
‘first instant’—at some instant very shortly thereafter), the atoms that then compose P have not yet reacted to the
change. And we can then show that C implies, absurdly, that both P and the atom-complement exist and are conscious.

Nor does it matter if, as a matter of contingent causal fact, the remaining post-annihilation atoms would react
instantaneously to one of their kin's annihilation. The argument against C requires only that the following two claims
are possible

96 SURVIVING ELIMINATIVISM

Page 215

202 INDEX

Goodman, Nelson 8 n.
Grice, H. P. 65 n. 8
Guinness, draught 63
Harman, Gilbert 75 n.
Hawley, Katherine 101 n. 11
Hawthorne, John 158, 160 n., 165 n. 2–3
Heller, Mark 32, 34, 38 n., 50
Hestevold, H. Scott 76 n. 11
Hirsch, Eli 13
Honderich, Ted 160 n.
Horgan, Terence 156
identity; contingent 24–7; conventional 176–85, 190; over

time, see endurance; perdurance; relative 26–7, 38; vague
33

Johnson, David 156 n.
Johnston, Mark 40 n.
Jordan, Michael 108, 147
Kane, Robert 156 n., 158, 160 n.
Kim, Jaegwon 57 n. 2, 64, 65, 65 n. 7, 71, 92 n. 6, 139, 143
Kornblith, Hilary 11–12
Kripke, Saul 27, 184
Langton, Rae 92 n. 6
Lehrer, Keith 75 n.
Leibniz, G. W. 6
Leonard, Henry S. 8 n.
Levison, Arnold 160 n.
Lewis, David 6, 8 n., 17 n., 20–1, 23 n. 15, 25, 26 n., 33, 36, 46,

76, 92 n. 6, 95, 98, 156, 168, 178 n.
Locke, John 40, 47–50
Lowe, E. J. 40 n., 122 n.
Lycan, William 76 n. 10
McKay, Thomas 156 n.
Mackie, Penelope 165 n. 2
McLaughlin, Brian 139 n. 2
Malcolm, Norman 71, 139
Markosian, Ned 76 n. 11
Maudlin, Tim 62 n. 6
mereological essentialism 24–5, 27, 38, 43, 53–4, 77 n. 11, 96
Michael, Michaelis 165 n. 2–3
Micro Exclusion Argument 141
Microphysical Closure 141
Mill, J. S. 90 n.
Mills, Eugene 66
modal predicates, inconstant 46–7, 77–8, 181
Moore, G. E. 12
Morgan, C. Lloyd 90 n.
Nagel, Thomas 135 n.
nearly as good as true, defined 171
Noonan, Harold 50, 101, 165 n. 2
O'Connor, Timothy 156 n., 160 n.
O'Leary-Hawthorne, John, see Hawthorne, John

Olson, Eric 49, 86
Overdetermination Argument 56
Parfit, Derek 35, 125 n., 135 n.
Paxson, Thomas 75 n.
perdurance 5, 21 n. 13, 22–3, 44–7, 48 n. 10, 53, 77–8, 97–9,

181
Plantinga, Alvin 27, 75 n.
Plato 47
Pollock, John 75 n.
Ptolemy 165 n. 3
Quine, W. V. 168
Rea, Michael 38 n., 41 n. 6–7, 77 n. 12, 86 n.
reductionism 11–12, 20, 28, 35
Richards, Tom 76 n. 10

Page 216

INDEX 203

Rosen, Gideon 6
Rosenberg, Jay 7
Russell, Bertrand 33, 188
Ryle, Gilbert 168–9
schema of the Overdetermination Argument 79–80, 112–13
Searle, John 11–12, 20
Ship of Theseus 5, 41 n. 7, 184–5
Shoemaker, Sydney 53, 86 n., 122 n.
Sidelle, Alan 38 n.
Sider, Theodore 5, 8 n., 101–3, 171 n.
Skyrms, Brian 76 n. 10
Sorensen, Roy 34
sorites paradox 32–8, 53–4, 124–30
Sosa, Ernest 39 n. 4, 53
Step One argument 89
Strawson, P. F. 122 n.
Swinburne, Richard 11–12, 48 n. 9
Teller, Paul 62 n. 6
temporal parts, see perdurance
Unger, Peter 95
unrestricted composition 8, 16–17, 51, 74–8
vagueness 33–7, 53–4, 124–30
Vallentyne, Peter 92 n. 6
van Cleve, James 38 n., 77 n. 12
van Inwagen, Peter 2 n., 15, 38 n., 41, 52, 53, 86, 155, 156 n.,

160 n., 162–8, 171
Warfield, Ted A. 156 n.
Wheeler, Samuel 126
Widerker, David 156 n.
Wiggins, David 40, 155
Williams, Bernard 181–2
Williamson, Timothy 34
Wittgenstein, Ludwig 168
Yablo, Stephen 139, 143 n.
Zimmerman, Dean 31, 38 n., 39 n. 4, 127 n.

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