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Sentient beings and persons : a novel theory of personal survival Henry, Wayne 1987

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SENTIENT BEINGS AND PERSONS: A NOVEL THEORY OF PERSONAL SURVIVAL By WAYNE HENRY B.A., The University of V i c t o r i a , 1984 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES PHILOSOPHY We accept t h i s thesis as con-forming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 1987 © Wayne Ian Henry, 19S7 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of Ihilosophy The University of British Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada DE-6(3/81> Abstract This thesis is concerned with the philosophical problems of personal identity and personal s u r v i v a l . In the f i r s t case, we are concerned to establish what our identity as persons consists in at any instant. In the second case we are concerned to establish what our survival as the self-same (i.e.:numerica11y identical) person consists i n . That i s , we wish to know what i t means to say that one is the same person now which one was ten years ago or w i l l be ten years from now. I f i r s t introduce the d i s t i n c t i o n between the epistemological question of how we can know these things and the metaphysical question of what these notions actually consist in and claim that much confusion has resulted from the conflation of these two. Further, I e x p l i c i t l y claim that this thesis i s intended as a solution to the la t t e r only. I then move on to an h i s t o r i c a l survey of the major theories of personal identity that have been held since the time of Descartes. After demonstrating how these theories are inadequate, I introduce and explicate the theory defended here which, i t i s claimed, i s a novel one. This novelty consists in the following two d i s t i n c t i o n s : F i r s t l y , that between persons and sentient beings and, secondly, that between qu a l i t a t i v e and non-qualitative psychological r e l a t i o n s . It i s claimed that sentient beings incorporate the latte r in a way which makes them immune to the sorts of contextual problems that t y p i c a l l y affect theories of personal i d e n t i t y . Having already i i established that we are a l l sentient beings as well as persons, I then claim that the former concept i s the fundamental notion of any theory of personal identity and s u r v i v a l . I subsequently consider reductionism, which currently prevails in the f i e l d , and conclude that such a position inevitably leads to many counterintuitive r e s u l t s . I then compare reductionism with the theory defended here and conclude that the lat t e r i s preferable, since i t allows us to explain personal identity without abandoning our i n t u i t i o n s regarding what i s involved in these matters. Table of Contents Abstract i i Acknowledgements v i i Chapter 1: Int r o d u c t i o n 1 PART 1: An H i s t o r i c a l Survey Chapter 2: Pure Ego Theories 11 §1 The theory as Descartes formulated i t 12 §2 Problems with the theory 21 Chapter 3: E m p i r i c a l Theories 32 §1 P s y c h o l o g i c a l c o n t i n u i t y t h e o r i e s 33 1. Lockean memory theory 33 2. Q u a l i t a t i v e p s y c h o l o g i c a l c o n t i n u i t y 43 §2 P h y s i c a l c o n t i n u i t y t h e o r i e s 46 1. The basic theory 46 2. Combined c o n t i n u i t y t h e o r i e s 55 §3 The e s s e n t i a l inadequacy of e m p i r i c a l t h e o r i e s 57 §4 Hume's s o l u t i o n 60 PART 2: Sentient Being Theories Chapter 4: Sentient Beings: A Further Fact 66 §1 The basic d i s t i n c t i o n 66 §2 p-space and p - l o c a t i o n s 69 §3 The p r o p e r t i e s of s e n t i e n t beings 73 §4 The relevance of s e n t i e n t beings i n a d i s c u s s i o n of personal i d e n t i t y 74 i v Chapter 5: Constraints for a Theory of Personal Survival 79 §1 The constraints SO §2 Additional constraints 92 §3 Why these constraints are necessary 94 §4 A discussion of the theories of Chap's. 2 - 5 in terms of these constraints 96 Chapter 6: Sentient Being Theories: Two Alternatives 98 §1 A r e i t e r a t i o n of the basic d e t a i l s 98 §2 Qualitative and non-qualitative psychological r e l a t ions 99 §3 Two alternatives 1. p-locations as s e l f - p e r s i s t i n g e n t i t i e s 104 2. Gap-crossing r e l a t i o n a l theory 114 Chapter 7: The Minimal Neural A c t i v i t y Theory 120 §1 A review of the problems of the alternatives considered Chapter 7 121 §2 The minimal neural a c t i v i t y theory 122 §3 The problem of breaks in consciousness 129 §4 A comparison of a l l 3 alternatives 131 PART 3: Reductionist Theories Chapter 8: Reductionist Theories .• 138 i l A reconsideration of Hume 138 §2 The connection with Hume 142 §3 The truth of reductionism 145 §4 The theory 150 v Chapter 9: Reductionism and the M.N.A. Theory: A Comparison 159 §1 General problems 15*? §S Reductionism and the M.N.A. theory 16E Chapter 10: Conclusion 166 Bibliography 174 Index 177 / v i Ac know1edqements I would l i k e to express my g r a t i t u d e to everyone i n the department f o r t h e i r i n s t r u c t i o n and encouragement, i n p a r t i c u l a r Professor Ed Levy whose patience and advice were always appreciated. I would also l i k e to thank those i n d i v i d u a l s i n p a r t i c u l a r who read and commented on p o r t i o n s of the manuscript: my f e l l o w student Nick S l e i g h , Professor Paul R u s s e l l and e s p e c i a l l y professor P h i l Hanson who g r a c i o u s l y gave much of h i s t i me. But e s p e c i a l l y , I would l i k e to thank Professor Dick S i k o r a f o r h i s patience and g e n e r o s i t y , which were unflagging. The s e n t i e n t being theory e x p l i c a t e d here i s l a r g e l y h i s own, my c o n t r i b u t i o n s being r e l a t i v e l y i n c o n s e q u e n t i a l . v i i CHAPTER 1 Introduction Let us begin by noting that there has been a considerable degree of confusion in the philosophical discussion of personal i d e n t i t y . Following Swinburne3- we must recognize that there are two d i s t i n c t questions concerning personal identity which have t y p i c a l l y been conflated. There i s the metaphysical question of what i t i s that constitutes personal i d e n t i t y . This i s ref l e c t e d in such questions as, "What does i t mean to say that I am the same person now that I was 10 years ago, or w i l l be 10 years from now?" The second i s the epistemo1ogica1 question of what constitutes evidence for the claim that I am the same person now that I was 10 years ago. There are at least two factors that account for the conflation of these d i s t i n c t philosophical questions. F i r s t l y , most theories of personal identity since the time of Locke have been empirical in nature. That i s , these theories purport to explain what our personal identity i s constituted of in terms of ch a r a c t e r i s t i c s that are, in p r i n c i p l e at least, observable. E s s e n t i a l l y , such theories have been of two sorts. There are those which explain personal identity in terms of the continuity of c e r t a i n psychological c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s such as memory, 1 R.G. Swinburne, A r i s t o t e l i a n Society, "Personal Identity v o l . 74, 1973-4). II (Proceedings of the 1 character, b e l i e f s , behavioural dispositions and so forth. The other sort explain personal identity in terms of physical continuity, usually of some functioning part of the brain. Additionally, there are other versions which have combined the c r i t e r i a of psychological and physical continuity. Secondly, i t w i l l be shown later that the tendency to explain personal identity in terms of these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s i s an i n t u i t i v e l y a t t r a c t i v e one and even has some p l a u s i b i l i t y . Nevertheless, there are insurmountable problems. The most s i g n i f i c a n t i s that a l l of these empirical theories are g u i l t y of the same flaw: they mistake the c r i t e r i a for j u s t i f y i n g the claim that X i s the same person as Y with what i t i s that constitutes personal i d e n t i t y . In short, they mistake epistemology for metaphysics. There are some philosophers who would reply that the metaphysical question i s r e a l l y a non-sequitur. The c r i t e r i a employed to v e r i f y or answer such questions constitute a l l we can know about the matter. The metaphysical question i s , properly speaking, not even i n t e l l i g i b l e . But surely one could only believe this i f one also accepts v e r i f i c a t i o n i s m . I don't and I believe that I am e n t i t l e d to an argument before accepting t h i s equivalence. To quote Swinburne, In general there i s plenty of evidence, normally overwhelming evidence, of bodily continuity, memory and character, as to whether or not two persons are the same, which gives very clear verdicts in the overwhelming majority of cases. Yet while evidence of E continuity of body, memory, and character i s evidence of personal iden t i t y , personal identity i s not constituted by continuity of body, memory, and character. Hence the evidence may on occasion mislead, and two persons be the same CsicD, although the best evidence which we have shows they are not, and conversely. Also on occasion the evidence of observable c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s may give no clear verdict as to whether P s ; i s the same person as P i 5 but that does not mean that there is no clear answer to the question, merely that we do not know and cannot even make a reasonable guess at what i t i s . s -This thesis i s concerned with the metaphysics of what constitutes personal identit y at a given instant and personal survival across time. The approach that w i l l be taken i s a novel one, as the t i t l e suggests, for at least two reasons. F i r s t l y , personal survival i s here explicated in terms of a d i s t i n c t i o n between persons and sentient beings hitherto unexplored by philosophers discussing personal i d e n t i t y . And secondly, t h i s theory r e l i e s heavily on the notion of non-qualitative psychological r e l a t i o n s . Regarding the f i r s t point above, the d i s t i n c t i o n between persons and sentient beings i s c r u c i a l , since the concept of sentient being i s the fundamental one on which th i s theory i s grounded. As such then, t h i s i s r e a l l y a theory of survival as the same sentient being. While t h i s may i n i t i a l l y seem to be avoiding the c r u c i a l philosophical issue of what exactly i s involved in "personal" s u r v i v a l , i t r e a l l y i s not. It w i l l emerge s Swinburne 840 - S41 3 later that, in many cases, the concept of person is open-textured. 3 Indeed, Margalit argues that many of our concepts are open-textured because the rules of our language, which determine how these concepts are to be used, have evolved to accommodate their use in ordinary circumstances. However, there occasionally arise circumstances in which these rules are inadequate, to the extent that we are unable to decide i f the concept applies in the given circumstances. With respect to the concept of person, i t i s in some cases undecidable whether or not someone, qua person, has survived. But, as i t w i l l later be argued, the concept of sentient being i s immune to these contextual problems. In t h i s way, i t i s always possible to decide whether or not someone, qua sentient being, has survived. It i s because survival as the same sentient being i s an all-or-nothing matter in t h i s way that t h i s concept must be regarded as the fundamental notion of any discussion about personal s u r v i v a l . However, i t w i l l later be shown that the concept of sentient being i s immune to the sorts of contextual problems described above precisely because i t i s characterized in terms of non-q u a l i t a t i v e psychological r e l a t i o n s . This underscores the need for the second d i s t i n c t i o n noted above, v i z , that between q u a l i t a t i v e and non-qualitative psychological r e l a t i o n s . When we are attempting to establish the continuity of the psychological 3 Refer to the a r t i c l e , "Open Texture", by Avishai Margalit in the anthology which she edited, Meaning and Use, (Dordrecht: Reidel, 1979) 141 - 152. 4 c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of persons, we r e l y on their q u a l i t a t i v e s i m i l a r i t y across time. Since i t i s easy to imagine cases of extreme q u a l i t a t i v e change of a l l or part of the psychological c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s that make up a person, we can find ourselves unsure of whether or not we s t i l l have the same person. But the concept of sentient being r e l i e s on non-qualitative psychological r e l a t i o n s in a way that makes i t immune, in p r i n c i p l e , to these sorts of contextual problems. I must here pause to mention that there are several sorts of non-qualitative psychological r e l a t i o n s to be discussed here and that one of these in p a r t i c u l a r distinguishes my own position from that of Professor Sikora's. While th i s theory i s in substance almost e n t i r e l y h i s , i t was my reluctance to accept his notion of a "non-qualitative, gap-crossing r e l a t i o n " (which i s hypothesized as the necessary link that bridges gaps in consciousness in the l i v e s of sentient beings) that led me to formulate the theory expounded in Chapter 7, which I c a l l the "minimal neural a c t i v i t y " theory (hereafter, M.N.A. theory). My own contribution to the d e t a i l s of t h i s theory are v i r t u a l l y i n s i g n i f i c a n t however and I take t h i s opportunity to acknowledge my indebtedness to Dr. Sikora, whose help and guidance have gone far beyond that of merely allowing me to hack his theory apart in this manuscript. Although he w i l l not agree with a l l the d e t a i l s herein, I hope that I have not misconstrued his own position too bad 1y. 5 The manuscript i t s e l f f a l l s naturally into three parts. Part 3, consisting of Chapters 2 and 3, constitutes an h i s t o r i c a l survey of the more s i g n i f i c a n t theories of personal identity which have held currency in the history of modern philosophy. I begin in chapter 2, as most investigations of the recent (i.e.:modern) history of philosophy do, with an examination of what Descartes had to say on the matter. His notion of a unitary, i n d i v i s i b l e mental substance as the foundation of personal identity i s s t i l l held by many able philosophers today/" After discussing the insurmountable empirical problem of s p l i t - b r a i n operations, I move on, in Chapter 3 to an examination of empirical theories that purport to explain personal identity in terms that are observable. As already mentioned, these are ba s i c a l l y of two types: those that r e l y on psychological continuity of one form or another and those that rely on physical continuity of some part, or a l l , of the body. These are treated together because, i t w i l l be argued, a l l empirical theories f a l l by the same sword. There i s a dilemma that emerges at thi s point, which provides thematic continuity throughout the rest of the manuscript. The dilemma i s , that there are only two strategies one may take to explain personal i d e n t i t y . F i r s t l y , one may ** As pointed out by Timothy Sprigge in his book t i t l e d , Theories of Existence, (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Ltd., 1984). 6 attempt to explain i t in terms of some "further fact",° such as a soul or a Cartesian ego, or, secondly, in terms of some observable c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s (i.e.zan empirical theory). It w i l l have already been demonstrated that both attempts f a i l and the only other alternative i s , following Hume, to reject the notion of personal identity altogether. The stage w i l l have been set for the introduction, in Part 2, of sentient.being theories. Such theories are "further f a c t " theories but, unlike Descartes', t h i s further fact i s nothing l i k e an immaterial ego. Rather, i t amounts to the claim that any complete account of persons must also make essential reference to the fact that they are also sentient beings. The basic d e t a i l s of such a theory w i l l be developed in Chapters 4 and 5 and in Chapter 6 two versions of such a theory w i l l be examined and rejected. Then, in Chapter 7, the version to be defended in t h i s thesis (i.e.:the M.N.A. theory) i s presented. We w i l l take up Hume again in Part 3 when discussing P a r f i t ' s reductionism. It w i l l there be argued that P a r f i t has taken Hume's gambit of rejecting the notion of personal identity ^ The "further f a c t " c l a s s i f i c a t i o n i s r e l a t i v e to reductionist theories l i k e Derek P a r f i t ' s <to be discussed at length in Part 3) which claim that persons are nothing more than a p a r t i c u l a r brain and body and an interconnected series of mental and physical events. On Descartes' theory the immaterial ego i s conceived of as a separately existing e n t i t y , which i s a further fact to be accounted for in addition to one's body and such a series of interrelated physical and mental events. 7 as i t i s normally construed. In fac t , P a r f i t treats personhood as a scaling concept by attempting to show that personal survival i s r e a l l y a matter degree. In Chapter 9, I w i l l compare the M.N.A. theory developed in Chapter 7 with P a r f i t ' s reductionist theory, arguing that his treatment inevitably leads to highly counterintuitive r e s u l t s . I w i l l further argue that these r e s u l t s are a consequence of treating the concept of person as a scaling concept, which i s a n t i t h e t i c a l to i t s treatment in ordinary language. By comparison I w i l l argue that the M.N.A. theory w i l l allow us to have our cake and eat i t too. S p e c i f i c a l l y , t h i s theory allows us to explain what i s involved in personal survival in a way that i s commensurate with our i n t u i t i o n s on these matters, while at the same time allowing us to avoid the uncomfortable consequences of reductionist theories such as P a r f i t ' s . In p a r t i c u l a r , i t allows us to explain how our survival i s an all-or-nothing matter. In Chapter 10 we w i l l again take up the dilemma posed above and conclude that the concept of sentient being must function as the fundamental notion in any discussion of personal s u r v i v a l . The reasoning w i l l be that, only such a further fact can adequately explain what i s involved in our in t u i t i o n s regarding these matters. Additionally, such a theory allows us to capitulate to the i n t u i t i o n s of the empiricist who argues, quite r i g h t l y , that personhood i s at least partly a matter of the continuity of certain psychological c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s such as S personality and so f o r t h . Yet this is achieved without accepting the empiricist's gambit and we are thereby able to avoid the conclusion accepted by P a r f i t , that personal survival s i m p l i c i t e r i s a matter of degree. 9 PART 1 H I S T O R I C A L SURVEY 10 CHAPTER 2 Pure Ego Theories There i s good reason f o r beginning our h i s t o r i c a l survey with Descartes, not only because h i s view, or at l e a s t something roughly l i k e i t , i s probably the one most commonly bel i e v e d by persons untrained i n p h i l o s o p h i c a l t h i n k i n g but also because i t i s s t i l l considered to be a l i v e o p t i o n by many philosophers to t h i s day. A c t u a l l y Descartes himself never considered the problem of personal i d e n t i t y <at l e a s t not to the best of my knowledge), although what he would have s a i d on the matter, and what h i s f o l l o w e r s have i n f a c t s a i d , i s f a i r l y easy to r e c o n s t r u c t . The reason Descartes ignored t h i s problem i s that he took the existence of the ego, whose essence i s to t h i n k , as h i s epistemo1ogica1 s t a r t i n g p o i n t . That i s , the existence of a concrete, i n d i v i s i b l e e n t i t y with which the true s e l f , i s to be i d e n t i f i e d , was h i s fundamental premise. As the foundation f o r the r e f u t a t i o n of h i s own thorough-going s k e p t i c i s m , he took the notion of the ego ( i n the sense noted above) as axiomatic and was not concerned with ( i n f a c t , we may say, not even aware of) the p h i l o s o p h i c a l problem of personal i d e n t i t y . I w i l l begin with a b r i e f sketch of the p a r t i c u l a r s of Descartes' metaphysical theory and w i l l then consider the arguments he o f f e r e d i n defence. Along the way I w i l l i n t e r j e c t the i m p l i c a t i o n s of t h i s p o s i t i o n f o r our own problems of 11 personal identity at an instant and personal survival across time. §1 E s s e n t i a l l y , Descartes maintained that the true s e l f i s to be i d e n t i f i e d with an i n d i v i s i b l e , indestructible and active entity which he c a l l s the ego. Now t h i s ego i s "made of" an immaterial (i.e.:unextended) substance which he c a l l s "mental substance" and the a c t i v i t y , or the essence as Descartes puts i t , of t h i s substance is thought. Further, this immaterial ego i s capable of existing independently of one's physical body and, even when associated with a body, the connection i s construed to be rather l i k e a driver at the wheel of his car. This independence of the ego i s grounded on Descartes' radical dualism which postulates the existence of two e n t i r e l y d i s t i n c t types of substance: physical substance whose essence i s extension (i . e . : f i 1 1 i n g space) and mental substance whose essence i s thought.^* In terms of personal identity then, this i s a "further f a c t " theory, since any account of what i t i s to be a person on "* That i s , thought i s the essential a t t r i b u t e of mental substance in the sense that that i s what i t does when i t i s active, although i t need not be doing this a l l the time. Further, as we s h a l l see l a t e r , Descartes had a notion of the mind as constituted of several d i f f e r e n t f a c u l t i e s such as thinking, w i l l i n g , sensing and so f o r t h . But a l l of these f a c u l t i e s are conceived of as thought to the extent that they are a l l part of the a c t i v i t y of mental substance. IS such a theory must make essential reference to the further fact of t h i s immaterial ego . Now Descartes would claim that, in fa c t , that i s a l l there i s to our personhood; we are, in so much as we are persons, just these egos. Since the essence of thi s ego i s to think and since, for Descartes, our essence as persons i s to think, i t seems to follow quite neatly that what we are r e a l l y r e f e r r i n g to when we say " I " i s just t h i s ego which i s the seat of a l l the ch a r a c t e r i s t i c s which make us d i s t i n c t i v e l y human, "Just because I know with certitude that I e x i s t , and because, in the meantime, I do not observe that aught necessarily pertains to my nature or essence, beyond my being a thinking thing, I r i g h t l y conclude that my essence consists s o l e l y in the fact that I am a thinking thing".' 3 And, on a personal l e v e l , i t i s t h i s ego which makes us d i s t i n c t from a l l other persons; i t i s the locus of a l l our d i s t i n c t i v e character t r a i t s and so fo r t h , "When I consider the mind, that i s to say, myself inasmuch as I am only a thinking thing, I cannot distinguish in myself any parts, but apprehend myself to be c l e a r l y one and en t i r e " . 'y And, regarding the functions of the ego,1'-' 7 Recall from Chapter 1 that further fact theories are contrasted with reductionist theories of personal i d e n t i t y . a Descartes, Meditations 270 - 271. Descartes, Med i tat ions 276. •i.o Descartes uses the terms "ego", "mind" and "soul" as synonyms. 13 After having thus considered a l l the functions which pertain to the body alone, i t i s easy to recognize that there i s nothing in us which we ought to attribute to our souls excepting our thoughts, which are mainly of two sorts, the one being actions of the soul, and the other i t s passions. Those which I c a l l i t s actions are a l l our desires, because we f i n d only by experience that they proceed d i r e c t l y from our soul, and appear to depend on i t a lone .:I :| Later, in the same passage, he goes on to describe the sorts of a c t i v i t i e s which should be regarded as "actions" of the soul. These include w i l l i n g , which moves the body accordingly to s a t i s f y i t s desires, and thought, which' i s meant to include r e f l e c t i o n , r e c a l l and imagination. Descartes regarded a l l other animals as simply "automatic machines"; quite l i t e r a l l y , a l l other animals are organic machines subject only to the causal laws of mechanics. As such they are "brutes" without w i l l , thought or f e e l i n g . In fact, t h i s conception of his was so thorough-going that he maintained that animals did not even f e e l pain (or experience any other sensations for that matter) but, due to p e r f e c t l y natural causal laws they conveniently behaved "as though" they were in pain by writhing, screaming and so f o r t h . 1 * 2 1 •'• Descartes, Passions 370. i a Convenient in the sense that God, because of his beneficent regard for man, has so constructed the natural order of things that animals behave as we expect them to when injured and so f o r t h . 14 However, the interesting point to emerge from a l l t h i s i s that i t i s the possession of thi s immaterial ego which sets us apart from the animals in a l l respects. In terms of his dualism, this means that animals are purely physical beings whereas people have a dual nature. Our bodies are physical e n t i t i e s but the essential part of ourselves are these immaterial egos which persist after the death of our physical bodies, "I assume that the body i s nothing else than a statue or machine made of clay which God forms expressly to make i t as nearly l i k e as possible to ourselves, so that not only does he give i t externally the colour and the form of a l l our members, but also he puts within i t a l l the parts necessary to make i t walk, eat, breathe and, in f i n e , imitate a l l those of our functions which may be supposed to proceed e n t i r e l y from matter and to depend merely on the arrangement of organs". 3 3 As such, the ego i s the seat of our sensations and a l l our mental f a c u l t i e s , including the w i l l which, for Descartes, was r a d i c a l l y free. In thi s way we are free of the determined causal order of things. As moral agents we are, ourselves, or i g i n s of causal processes in the world. Unlike brute animals which are merely jerked about higged1y-pigged1y by causal determinants, humans are r a d i c a l l y self-determining in the sense that i t i s thi s ego which "steers" the body as i t were.1''* And, when in pain we are "t r u l y " in pain, precisely in the sense that J. 3 Descartes, Treat i se 350. xt* The exact nature of this connection between the body and the ego which "steers" i t w i l l be dealt with at greater length below. 15 our behaviour i s accompanied by a very real sensation. More than t h i s , because the mental substance of which these egos are made is indestructible, our egos are everlasting. Furthermore, since our egos are i n d i v i s i b l e and other egos) and incorruptible sense that they are immune to unitary ( i . e . : d i s t i n c t from a l l (not morally but, rather, in the dis s i p a t i o n or fusion with other egos or impurities), we enjoy an everlasting l i f e as "ourselves". This reinforces what has already been mentioned, v i z , that Descartes regarded the ego as the seat of a l l our personally d i s t i n c t i v e character t r a i t s , b e l i e f s , behavioural dispositions and so fo r t h . In terms of personal s u r v i v a l , t h i s theory cashes out as the view that we persist as the self-same (i.e.:numerically identical) ego. Although we may rel y on the evidence of character t r a i t s and so forth to determine whether or not someone i s who we think he i s , i t remains certain that one remains the self-same person, regardless of whether or not we can empirically v e r i f y the f a c t , CAllthough I c e r t a i n l y do possess a body with which I am very closely conjoined; nevertheless, because, on the one hand, I have a clear and d i s t i n c t idea of myself, in as far as I am only a thinking and unextended thing, and as, on the other hand, I possess a d i s t i n c t idea of a body, in as far as i t i s only an extended and unthinking thing, i t i s certain that I, Cthat i s , my mind, by which I am what I ami, i s e n t i r e l y and t r u l y d i s t i n c t from my body, and may exist without i t . 1 1 3 Descartes, Meditations 270. 16 We may summarize these r e s u l t s as follows. Descartes conceived of the ego as a kind of substratum composed of immaterial substance. As such, i t i s i d e n t i f i e d with the mind which i s in turn i d e n t i f i e d with the " I " which is one's true s e l f . This i s presumed to follow from the "fact" that thought i s our true essence in so much as we are persons, and thought is also the essential a c t i v i t y of mind. Further, i t i s capable of pers i s t i n g after the death of our physical bodies. Within th i s mind, one may identi f y several d i f f e r e n t f a c u l t i e s , such as thought, w i l l , sensation and so on. It i s claimed that these are a l l f a c u l t i e s of the one immaterial substance; they are a l l a c t i v i t i e s of mind. ' Descartes of course was concerned to make this position philosophically respectable, c r u c i a l as i t was to his ent i r e philosophical enterprise. In f a c t , his arguments in defense of thi s theory were quite ingenious, which goes a long way towards explaining the longevity of the theory i t s e l f despite i t s s i g n i f i c a n t problems. In explicating his arguments I w i l l be concerned to establish two things. 1 F i r s t l y , how Descartes thought he had proven that our essence i s thinking and, secondly, how he thought he had proven that this essence of ours exists as an immaterial entity which i s , in f a c t , independent of our j n establishing Descartes' thoughts on these points I s h a l l draw on Norman Malcolm's a r t i c l e , "Descartes' Proof that his Essence i s Thinking", contained in the anthology, Descar tes: A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays, edited by W i l l i s Doney (New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1967) 312 - 337. 17 physical bodies. It w i l l be seen that the two work together to establish the existence of the ego as described above. I n i t i a l l y the move from the claim that, since I think, I am certain that I exist to the claim that therefore my essential nature i s thought, may seem puzzling. Certainly Hobbes thought so when he claimed that i t was similar to arguing that, "I am walking, hence I am the wa1king". 1 v However, Malcolm argues persuasively that Descartes, having established the certainty of his own existence, sets out to discover what his own nature i s with a c r i t e r i o n in hand. The c r i t e r i o n i s a two-part test such that, 1) i f in being aware of myself I am necessarily aware of a par t i c u l a r a t t r i b u t e and 2) i f in being aware of a p a r t i c u l a r attribute I am necessarily aware of myself, then I w i l l have discovered my essential nature. This a t t r i b u t e w i l l be my "essence" pr e c i s e l y in the sense that i t i s a property which i s cons t i t u t i v e of myself; the two are necessarily conceived of as inseparable. Malcolm states t h i s c r i t e r i o n as follows, G: x i s my essence i f i t i s the case that i f I am aware of x then (necessarily) I am aware of myself and i f I am aware of myself then (necessarily) I am aware of x. ; , K i Now for Descartes, the only attribute that s a t i s f i e s this c r i t e r i o n i s thought. F i r s t l y , i t should be recalled that : I V Malcolm 31E. 1 ( 3 Malcolm 316. 18 Descartes uses the term "thought" very broadly to include any mental a c t i v i t y . Secondly, Descartes holds that we are necessarily aware of every thought we have; for Descartes, to think i s to be aware of thinking. Given these points, i t follows that, "for Descartes, i f I am aware of anything then I am thinking, and so, i f I am aware of thinking then I am thinking; and i f I am thinking I am aware of thinking". 1"'' Now since he also holds that, whenever we think we are also aware of ourselves (this was precisely the insight implied by the "cogito"), i t follows that the att r i b u t e of thought passes the f i r s t test. That i s , i f I am thinking then I am necessarily aware of myself. Given t h i s , i t follows e a s i l y that, i f I am aware of myself then I am necessarily aware of thinking and so thought also passes the second test. For consider that, i f I am aware of anything then I am thinking and since I am necessarily aware of every thought I have, I w i l l necessarily be aware that I am thinking. Now since awareness of myself i s just a p a r t i c u l a r instance of thinking, i t follows that whenever I am aware of myself I w i l l necessarily be aware of thinking. For Descartes, we are aware of ourselves i f f we are aware of thinking. Regarding the second point, we sh a l l now see how Descartes thought he had established that minds are r a d i c a l l y independent of bodies. The proof i t s e l f turns on conceivabi1ity. E s s e n t i a l l y '•'^  Malcolm 318. 19 Descartes argues that* since in conceiving of himself he necessarily conceives of thought (as we have just seen) but does not s i m i l a r l y conceive of corporeality (i.e.:extension), i t follows that thought i s essential to him but corporeality i s not. Certainly awareness of one's body w i l l not pass the second test of Descartes c r i t e r i o n . It w i l l pass the f i r s t of course, since in being aware of anything I w i l l necessarily be aware of myself. But i t should be obvious that i t i s f a l s e that in being aware of myself I am necessarily aware of my body and since extension i s not essential to my nature, i t follows that " I " , qua immaterial ego, am independent of my body. To quote Descartes, In the next place, I a t t e n t i v e l y examined what I was, and as I observed that I could suppose that I had no body, and that there was no world nor any place in which I might be; but that I could not therefore suppose that I was not; and that, on the contrary, from the very circumstance that I thought to doubt of the truth of a l l things, i t most c l e a r l y and c e r t a i n l y followed that I was; while, on the other hand, i f I had only ceased to think, although a l l the other objects which I had ever imagined had been in r e a l i t y existent, I would have had no reason to believe that I existed; I thence concluded that I was a substance whose whole essence or nature consists only in thinking, and which, that i t may e x i s t , has need of no place, nor i s dependent on any material thing; so that " I " , that i s to say, the mind by which I am what I am, i s wholly d i s t i n c t from the body, and is even more e a s i l y known than the l a t t e r , and i s such that, although the l a t t e r were not, i t would s t i l l continue to be a l l that i t i s . E O Descartes, Discourse 171 - 17S. ao In t h i s passage then, we are witness to the seamlessness of Descartes' thoughts on a l l the matters that concern us here; that his essence i s thought, that this essence of his exists independently of his physical body and that i t i s his true s e l f . §2 Now the obvious problem with th i s conception i s that i t f a i l s to explain how the interaction between the mental and the physical i s supposed to take place. For i f the two kinds of substance are r a d i c a l l y independent in the way claimed, then how can the ego "steer" the body? How can something which i s completely immaterial and unextended interact with a material, extended object? Descartes himself was aware of thi s shortcoming and he (perhaps jokingly) referred to the pineal gland as the locus of interaction. But, of course, to indicate a locus of interaction i s not to explain how the interaction actually occurs. In defence of Descartes however, I think i t i s probably f a i r to say that his thoughts on the matter were that there i s indeed some par t i c u l a r locus of interaction, probably in the brain, where the two substances interact in some way perfectly compatible with the normal causal o r d e r . B 1 It i s a testament to his buoyant optimism in the "new" s c i e n t i f i c world-view then emerging, that Descartes thought that the explication of t h i s s l Compatible in the sense that the ego interacts with the physical order by i n i t i a t i n g a physical event, v i s a v i s the locus of interaction, which subsequently sets in motion a series of physical events that follow each other according to normal laws of motion. 21 interaction was a straightforward s c i e n t i f i c problem that would be resolved in good time. We now know that the problem i s a good deal more resistant to solution than he had anticipated, but there i s another route that someone wishing to defend a Cartesian ego theory could take. Recall that Descartes' defence of the r a d i c a l independence of mental and physical substance turned on the fact that he could conceive of the two as independent in t h i s way without contradiction. Therefore, i t would be a mistake to categorize minds as physical e n t i t i e s . Yet i t seems to be an empirical fact that minds are always associated with bodies or, more s p e c i f i c a l l y , with brains. In f a c t , although we don't know a l l the d e t a i l s , there i s good reason to suppose that brains "cause" minds. But i t i s open to the sophisticated neo-Cartesian to concede th i s and claim that what Descartes actually proved was that there i s some possible world where minds exist independently of bodies. In this world, the actual world, i t i s an empirical fact that brains cause minds, but i t i s a l o g i c a l p o s s i b i l i t y that they should exist independently. Since I find no evidence that Descartes himself distinguished between physical and l o g i c a l p o s s i b i l i t y , I make the claim that he mistakenly took his proof of l o g i c a l p o s s i b i l i t y to apply to the actual world. On t h i s construal i t may seem that the neo-Cartesian's position scarcely d i f f e r s from standard d u a l i s t i c theories of mind but t h i s i s mistaken? for t h i s neo-Cartesian s t i l l maintains that in addition to the mind there is also t h i s further fact of an i n d i v i s i b l e j unitary ego with which the " I " i s to be i d e n t i f i e d . The ego i s no longer i d e n t i f i e d with the mind in i t s entirety but, rather, only with that portion of i t which constitutes our se1f-ref1ective awareness. It i s l i k e a spectator to the events of our mind from a p r i v i l e g e d , f i r s t - p e r s o n perspective. That i s , the ego i s now conceived of as that portion of our mind to which we a t t r i b u t e se1f-consciousness. To borrow Sartre's terminology, the ego i s the transparent " I " which necessarily accompanies a l l our thoughts Of course t h i s i s also reminiscent of Kant's way of speaking about the matter. Let us then, following Grice, refer to t h i s type of theory, as d i s t i n c t from Descartes' conception, as a "pure ego" theory.'"3 On such a theory, the ego i s conceived of as an ultimate p a r t i c u l a r , which i s to say that, "The s e l f has q u a l i t i e s and stands in r e l a t i o n s , without either being or containing q u a l i t i e s or r e l a t i o n s " , and that t h i s d e f i n i t i o n , " i s meant to exclude from the class of ultimate p a r t i c u l a r s a l l e n t i t i e s which are complex in the way in which the fact that "This i s red" or the event consisting in, "That noise being heard" are complex; for such e n t i t i e s , though they may be p a r t i c u l a r s , contain q u a l i t i e s a 4 2 Refer to, Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness, trans. Hazel Barnes, (New York: Washington Square Press, Inc., 1966). S 3 Refer to the a r t i c l e , "Personal Identity" in the Perry anthology. 83 or r e l a t i o n s as elements, and are not, therefore, ultimate p a r t i c u l a r s " . Given the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of the ego and our self-conscious awareness then, i t i s t h i s ego which explains the unity of our li v e s as persons. That i s , we can know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that we remain the same person throughout our l i v e s because the ego, the "I" which we are d i r e c t l y aware of when we introspect, i s immutable and incorruptible and, further, i t i s this " I " which i s the true s e l f . For consider that, unless i t were connected with p u b l i c l y observable or introspectible f a c t s , one could never v e r i f y , even in p r i n c i p l e , that one had survived. This i s not merely crude v e r i f i c a t i o n i s m either, but rather a case of refusing to admit an entity into our ontology which explains nothing. Now i t seems that there are two alter n a t i v e s possible at this point. Regarding personal s u r v i v a l , one could maintain either that the ego, as conceived above, dies with us when we die or that i t continues to exist independently after our physical bodies expire. The la t t e r view might be the one taken by some Christians where i t i s supposed that, upon conception, God infuses the foetus with a unique and everlasting soul. In thi s way our f a c u l t i e s of sensation and emotion are s t i l l explained in the usual way as the causal e f f e c t s of the brain but the ego, s <- Grice 76. 24 which s t i l l must be conceived of as the locus of our s e l f -r e f l e c t i v e awareness (and our d i s t i n c t i v e character t r a i t s , since we are guaranteed "personal" s u r v i v a l ) , p e r s i s t s after our death. Al t e r n a t i v e l y , one could maintain that the ego i s also a causal ef f e c t of the brain and expires with us when we die.' 3 e Both of these are committed to the claim that any account of our survival as the "same" person must make essential reference to t h i s ego though, to be a Pure Ego theory at a l l . Now i n i t i a l l y , such a theory as the last one considered above might seem plausible and perhaps even convincing. In fact I think many persons actually believe something roughly l i k e t h i s . In substance then, t h i s theory commits one to the view that, although the mind i s a natural causal result of the neurochemical processes of the brain, there i s s t i l l something l e f t out i f t h i s is proposed as a" complete description of our l i v e s as persons. What i s l e f t out i s precisely the notion of t h i s ego which, although d i s t i n c t from the mind, i s a concomitant effect of the same brain processes which cause the mind. It i s t h i s transparent, i n d i v i s i b l e and incorruptible entity which i s the s e l f - r e f l e c t i v e part of our consciousness, our s e l f -consciousness i f you w i l l . However, I am not actually familiar with anyone holding such a view. 25 The i n t u i t i o n underlying the p l a u s i b i l i t y of this view was c e r t a i n l y convincing to Descartes. Consider that when you introspect you are immediately aware that you are aware. More importantly? the f i r s t - p e r s o n intimacy of t h i s awareness indicates that i t i s the " I " introspecting oneself and that t h i s awareness i s private from everyone else. As Descartes himself put i t ; even when I doubt, I cannot doubt that i t i s I who doubts. From this i t seems to require a small step to conclude that, in sqme sense, I am more than simply a mind. I am also this s e l f -r e f l e c t i v e awareness, which i s the " I " whom I carry on my personal dialogue with and which i s what I' associate what i s d i s t i n c t i v e l y myself with. Let us review the three al t e r n a t i v e theories just considered. F i r s t l y , there i s Descartes' own version. On t h i s theory, the immaterial ego i s i d e n t i f i e d with the mind in i t s entirety; a l l of our mental f a c u l t i e s inhere in the immaterial substance of which th i s ego i s composed. Further, t h i s ego i s immutable and everlasting. Secondly, there are two versions of "pure ego" theories. On both of these, the ego i s i d e n t i f i e d only with our s e l f - r e f 1 e c t i v e awareness, a l l our other mental f a c u l t i e s being explained in the normal way as the causal e f f e c t s of the brain. The difference between the two i s that, the f i r s t conceives of t h i s s e l f - r e f l e c t i v e awareness as an everlasting en t i t y akin to a soul, while the second conceives of i t as contemporaneous with the l i v e s of our physical bodies. S6 Presumably, the motivation to the second of these i s to dispense with any notion of an ego conceived of as a "ghost in the machine". That i s , on t h i s theory, the ego i s also a causal result of the brain, but i s retained as the only "reasonable" explanation of what we are aware of when we introspect; i t i s the subject of our experiences and the "person" with whom we carry on our personal dialogue. Unfortunately, the r e s u l t s of s p l i t - b r a i n research have disasterous consequences for anyone holding any sort of ego theory at a l l . It was discovered, several decades ago that severing the corpus callosum could often r e l i e v e the symptoms of epilepsy. The corpus callosum i s the sinewy matrix of f i b e r s which connect the two halves of the cerebral hemispheres. Severing these f i b e r s in e f f e c t cuts the brain in half. 2 2** Subsequent research has also discovered that persons who have had such an operation behave as though they were two d i f f e r e n t persons occupying the same body. Interpretations of these r e s u l t s are divided though. R.W. Sperry, a prominent neorophysician and seminal figure in this f i e l d , argues for the strong claim that we now have two persons where, formerly, we had one. Of course both persons are continuous with the single individual who i s their progenitor but neither i s numerically i d e n t i c a l with him. He maintains that the evidence c l e a r l y indicates that there are two s<f;> Actually the lower and mid-brain are l e f t intact but, since these don't contribute to the higher brain functions, they are irrelevant in t h i s context. 27 persons with very d i f f e r e n t mental c a p a b i l i t i e s (that r e f l e c t the d i f f e r e n t i a l c a p a b i l i t i e s of their respective hemispheres) but, more importantly, they can also have very d i f f e r e n t thoughts, desires and so forth which remain hidden from each other. There are abundant examples such as the man who reached out for his wife with one hand only to push her away with the other, or the man who picked up a newspaper only to have his other hand grab i t and throw i t down. Further, there i s no communication between the two hemispheres at a l l , One of the more general and also more interesting and s t r i k i n g features of thi s syndrome may be summarized as . an apparent doubling in most of the realms of conscious awareness. Instead of the normally unified single stream of consciousness, these patients behave in many ways as i f they have two independent streams of conscious awareness, one in each hemisphere, each of which i s cut o f f from and out of contact with the mental experiences of the other. In other words, each hemisphere seems to have i t s own separate and private sensations; i t s own perceptions; i t s own concepts; and i t s own impulses to act, with related v o l i t i o n a l , cognitive, and learning experiences. Following the surgery, each hemisphere also has thereafter i t s own separate chain of memories that are rendered inaccessible to the r e c a l l process of the o t h e r . s 7 Thomas Nagel, on the other hand, argues that we don't actually have two minds but that, in f a c t , there i s no determinate number of minds at a l l . Rather, he generalizes the res u l t s to claim that there i s no unity to the mind, even when s" 7 Sperry 724. 28 undivided. His argument rests on the claim the mind i s modular in i t s construction. S p e c i f i c a l l y , he claims that the mind i s composed of f a c u l t a t i v e units, for example the f a c u l t i e s of speech, olfactory sensation, t a c t i l e sensation and so on. Each of these f a c u l t i e s i s located in a p a r t i c u l a r area of the brain (although there i s some redundancy of function) and, in the normal, undivided brain they communicate and cooperate with each other in a manner which gives the i l l u s i o n that there i s a single subject of awareness, e e The i l l u s i o n consists in projecting inward to the center of the mind the very subject whose unity we are trying to explain: the individual person with a l l his complexities. The ultimate account of the unity of what we c a l l a single mind consists of an enumeration of the types of functional integration that t y p i f y i t . We know that these can be eroded in d i f f e r e n t ways, and to d i f f e r e n t degrees. The b e l i e f that even in their complete version they can be explained by the presence of a numerically single subject i s an i l l u s i o n . Either t h i s subject contains the mental l i f e , in which case i t i s complex and i t s unity must be accounted for in terms of the u n i f i e d operations of i t s components and functions, or else i t i s an extensionless point, in which case i t explains nothing.'--'5' s e > It i s my conjecture that t h i s " i l l u s i o n " of unity (i.e.:that there i s a single subject of awareness) i s not r e a l l y i l l u s o r y at a l l . Rather, since a l l the various "modules" contribute, in a normal undivided brain, to a single stream of consciousness, there r e a l l y i s only a single subject of awareness after a l l (the d e t a i l s of t h i s w i l l be elaborated in Part 2 when dealing with the sentient being theories). Nagel £42 - 243. 29 With respect to both of the neo-Cartesian positions sketched above? these re s u l t s establish the same point however. The unity of consciousness cannot be maintained in the face of the r e s u l t s of s p l i t - b r a i n research. Consequently one i s forced to hold either that there i s no such entity as an immaterial ego or that i t cannot be i d e n t i f i e d with our se1f-ref1ective awareness. In the l a t t e r case, the ego cannot be used to explain anything which i t has been t y p i c a l l y employed for; i t cannot be the subject of experiences which one ref e r s to when using the personal pronoun " I " , and i t therefore cannot be what explains the unity of our l i v e s as persons. Now the neo-Cartesian might r e s i s t t h i s conclusion by attempting to argue that the experimental results merely establish a d i v i s i o n between the functions of the brain that constitute i t s non-reflective awareness but that the s e l f -r e f l e c t i v e ego i s s t i l l privy to the goings-on in both hemispheres simultaneously, in a manner implying unity at the level of the ego. However, the evidence of Sperry and other's research contradicts t h i s view. Information can be withheld from one hemisphere (for example showing a picture to one side only) and the other hemisphere i s unable to answer questions regarding that material. This implies that there i s no se1f-ref1ective ego which i s simultaneously aware of the content of both streams of consciousness. They are t r u l y isolated from each other and function as self-contained, autonomous individuals. But c l e a r l y 30 t h i s i s impossible i f the ego i s supposed to be i n d i v i s i b l e and incorruptible. If i t were maintained that the ego has been divided along with the mind) then i t would no longer be a pure ego» for r e c a l l that we have already seen that such a pure ego, conceived of as an ultimate particu1ar,cannot be composed of parts. Consequently, i t could longer perform the function required of i t in the context of a theory of personal identity; i t would no longer constitute our s e l f - r e f l e c t i v e awareness which remains unchanged and unitary to individuate one from a l l other individuals. It would, in short, be a redundant entity that would explain nothing. For t h i s reason i t i s here claimed that Cartesian ego theories are f a l s e as a matter of empirical f a c t . 31 CHAPTER 3 Empirical Theories In t h i s chapter we w i l l discuss what are c a l l e d , by Swinburne, 3 0 empirical theories of personal i d e n t i t y . These d i f f e r dramatically from the "pure ego" theories considered in the previous chapter. Where these latt e r purport to explain the unity of one's l i f e as a person v i s a v i s essential reference to a unique ego, empiricist theories explain t h i s unity in terms that are, in p r i n c i p l e , observable. S p e c i f i c a l l y these theories are of two sorts; those that rely on the continuity of psychological c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and those that r e l y on the continuity of physical c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . They are considered together here because they f a l l together by the same sword. To anticipate the res u l t s of our analysis, i t w i l l be shown that, i f one takes the empirical method to i t s l o g i c a l conclusion in the manner of Hume, one is forced to abandon the notion of personal i d e n t i t y . Consequently, Hume i s also considered here and he w i l l come up again in our discussion of P a r f i t ' s reductionist theory in Chapter 8. There i t w i l l be argued that Hume's rejecti o n of personal identity i s the lo g i c a l progenitor of P a r f i t ' s reduc t ioni sm. Dp . c i t . 32 §1 In this section we w i l l consider theories that rely on the continuity of psychological c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . A l l such theories derive ultimately from Locke so our analysis begins quite naturally with him. 1. Lockean memory theory: As a theorist of personal identity, Locke i s actually a tr a n s i t i o n a l figure between Descartes and Hume. Like Descartes, he believes that each of us, in so much as we are persons, i s possessed of an immaterial soul which i s capable of surviving our bodily death. However, unlike Descartes, he did not think that our personal identity was constituted of t h i s immaterial soul. Locke seems to retain the notion only as a convenient explanation of the d i s t i n c t i o n between l i v i n g and inert matter <and also perhaps as a hold-over of certa i n r e l i g i o u s convictions). His arguments against the Cartesian position are more than mere rhetoric, however. In f a c t , they are very revealing of what he actually took our personal identity to be constituted of and so, must be considered here. F i r s t l y , he reasoned, i f our identity as persons consisted in identity of the same immaterial soul and i f thi s same soul were, as some suppose, reincarnated in d i f f e r e n t bodies, then i t follows that these individuals would be the same person. But t h i s i s absurd, reasons Locke, for i t i s impossible that two 33 individuals with no s i m i l a r i t y of memory, personality or temper should be the same. More absurdly, i t i s at least l o g i c a l l y possible that such an immaterial soul could be reincarnated in other than a human body, For, i f the identi t y of soul alone makes the man, and there be nothing in the nature of matter why the same individual s p i r i t may not be united to d i f f e r e n t bodies, i t w i l l be possible that d i f f e r e n t men l i v i n g in distant ages, and of d i f f e r e n t tempers, may have been the same man; .... But yet I think nobody, could he be sure that the soul of Heliogabalus were in one of his hogs, would • yet say that hog were a man or Hel iogabalus. 3 1 Secondly, he argued that i t i s incumbent on such a theorist to show why personal identi t y could not be preserved across changes of immaterial substance. Having already demonstrated that the identity of vegetables and animals i s preserved despite the changes in the material substance of which they are constituted, he argues that the case of immaterial substance must be regarded as analogous in the absence of any argument to the contrary, "And therefore those who place thinking in an immaterial substance only, ... must show why personal identity cannot be preserved in the change of immaterial substances, or variety of p a r t i c u l a r immaterial substances, as well as animal identi t y i s preserved in 3 : 1 Locke 444 - 445. I contend that, in t h i s quote, Locke i s using the term "man" as a synonym for the term "person". 34 the change of material substances, or variety of par t i c u l a r b o d i e s " . 3 3 Thirdly, he argued from the l o g i c a l p o s s i b i l i t y of the d i v i s i o n of souls that, were t h i s to occur, there would then be two immaterial souls that were, in fact, the same person. But th i s i s absurd since i t i s impossible that two persons (or two iterns of any sort for that matter) should be numerically i d e n t i c a l , " C III t must be allowed, that, i f the same consciousness (which, as has been shown, i s quite a d i f f e r e n t thing from the same numerical figure or motion in body) can be transferred from one thinking substance to another, i t w i l l be possible that two thinking substances may make but one person. For the same consciousness being preserved, whether in the same or d i f f e r e n t substances, the personal i d e n t i t y i s p^B5e^ved."^,', Lastly, he argues that, i f reincarnation i s presumed to occur, then i t i s evident that the soul c a r r i e s no memory of i t s previous l i f e with i t . He takes t h i s as an empirical f a c t . Given t h i s , we have no reason to suppose that the two l i v e s sharing the same soul do not constitute unique individuals, Let anyone r e f l e c t upon himself, and conclude that he has in himself an immaterial s p i r i t , which i s that which thinks in him, and in the constant change of his body keeps him the same: and i s that which he c a l l s himself: let 3 3 Locke 453. 3'* Locke 454. 35 him also suppose that i t was the same soul that was in Nestor or Thersites, at the siege of Troy .... which i t may have been? as well as i t i s now the soul of any other man: but he now having no consciousness of any of the actions either of Nestor or Thersites, does or can he conceive himself the same person with either of them?3'" Of these, only the second i s at a l l convincing, for a l l the others seem to presuppose what Locke w i l l later argue for; that our personal identity consists in our self-consciousness. But why should Locke have singled out self-consciousness as that which constitutes our s e l f - i d e n t i t y ? There are several clues in the quotes above. For instance, in the last quote, Locke seems to imply that, without consciousness (using, "consciousness" here to mean memory of a previous conscious act) of the actions of either Nestor or Thersites, one could not even conceive of oneself as identical with either of these individuals. Now this may mean that he thought i t was l o g i c a l l y impossible that two persons could be the same without the same consciousness, but thi s would make his claim uninteresting. I think that what i s r e a l l y going on here i s , f i r s t l y , Locke thought that in such a si t u a t i o n there would be no r e l i a b l e empirical evidence to support the claim that the two individuals were the same person. This i s further supported by the quote immediately preceding; he assumes there that two numerically d i s t i n c t souls sharing the same consciousness must be the same person because, by a l l empirical 3 <* Locke 455 - 456. 36 evidence, they would be indistinguishable. But secondly, I think he also thought that consciousness and memory of our previous conscious acts c a r r i e s with i t the moral and legal obligations that are the lot of moral agents. It i s inconceivable that I should regard myself as the same person as Nestor for then I should also be obliged to accept a l l rewards and punishments that may be due him, even though I should have no memory of the events themselves. But let us follow Locke's own reasoning by identifying the strategy he uses to establish the identity of anything. This strategy consists of two steps. F i r s t l y , one must establish what i t i s that makes an object, X, at some point in time, T i , i d e n t i c a l with i t s e l f <i.e.:distinct from a l l e l s e ) . This i s what Locke refers to as the "Principium Individuationis". Secondly, one establishes that the object, Y, at time Ts> i s the same as X at time J% by establishing a continuity between X and Y. In the case of inanimate objects t h i s l a t t e r i s a f a i r l y straightforward task, for what i d e n t i f i e s the object at time Tx i s existence i t s e l f , "CI3t i s easy to discover what i s so much inquired a f t e r , the principium i n d i v i d u a t i o n i s ; and that, i t i s pl a i n , i s existence i t s e l f , which determines a being of any sort to a part i c u l a r time and place, incommunicable to two beings of the same sort". 2" 3 It i s clear that Locke's meaning here i s that the existence of any object at a particular time and place excludes 3 S Locke 441. 37 a l l other objects of the same sort and so, we can be sure that i t is i t s e l f and no other. Regarding the continuity of an inanimate object with i t s e l f at a later time, Locke t e l l s us that t h i s consists in the continued existence of a similar lump of p a r t i c l e s sharing the same configuration. But to get clear on t h i s , we must establish what he means by the terms "similar" and "configuration". It was obvious to Locke that one could replace parts of an object over time without making i t a numerically d i f f e r e n t object. The standard example i s of a ship which, over the decades, has parts replaced during the course of normal repairs such that, i t eventually no longer has any of the o r i g i n a l parts. On the one hand, we should wish to say that i t was s t i l l the same ship. Yet, on the other hand, i t no longer contains any of the o r i g i n a l materials. So how are we to explain our i n t u i t i o n s that i t i s s t i l l the same ship? Locke's response i s that, f i r s t l y , we s t i l l have a similar lump of p a r t i c l e s . That i s , a l l the parts which have been replaced have been replaced by p a r t i c l es that were q u a l i t a t i v e l y similar <i.e.:made of the same material, of the same dimensions, e t c . ) . Further, there i s a continuity linking the various stages of the ship such that, at no time have a l l the parts been replaced simultaneously. We may state t h i s more exactly as f o11ows: 38 If, at any time T„, object Y i s the numerically same object as X at a previous time T,;,, then X and Y share some parts in common and there i s an overlapping chain of such shared parts linking the two. In t h i s way, we may say that there i s an overlapping chain of shared parts linking the ship throughout i t s duration. But Locke also goes on to say that the parts which constitute the object must also maintain the same configuration. From the context and also from what he says regarding plants and animals (i.e.:the parts constituting plants and animals continue to "participate in the same l i f e " ) , I maintain that his intended meaning must be something roughly l i k e what follows. A l l the parts which constitute any given object, are arranged in certain ways such that, to disturb t h i s arrangement either destroys or a l t e r s the object in such a way that i t becomes a numerically d i f f e r e n t object. An obvious example of the former i s the complete disassembly of the ship. The complete disturbance of the arrangement of the parts has destroyed the object. Regarding the l a t t e r , consider t h i s example. The ship i s r e t i r e d from active duty and bought by a wealthy merchant who has i t reduced in s i z e and d r a s t i c a l l y altered so that i t now serves as a yacht. In t h i s case, the arrangement of the parts has been so altered that we now have a numerically d i f f e r e n t object, although i t has not been destroyed altogether. Given these observations, i t seems that Locke's intended meaning of "configuration" could only have been something l i k e , "the general arrangement of the parts and the 39 r e l a t i o n s between them which, minimally, must be maintained for the object to remain numerically i d e n t i c a l " . In the case of plants and animals, the case becomes somewhat more complicated since even the above notion of configuration may not be preserved throughout the l i f e of the organism. A simple example i s of the c a t e r p i l l a r which becomes a b u t t e r f l y . While we can s t i l l i dentify the organism at any p a r t i c u l a r time, T j ., as s e l f - i d e n t i c a l by the c r i t e r i o n of existence, the continuity of a similar lump of s t u f f sharing the same configuration w i l l not s u f f i c e as a c r i t e r i o n to i d e n t i f y i t at a later time. In such cases, Locke claims that continuity i s established by the continued p a r t i c i p a t i o n of the constituent parts in the same l i f e , "That being then one plant which has such an organization of parts in one coherent body, partaking of one common l i f e , i t continues to be the same plant as long as i t partakes of the same l i f e " . 3 ' ' It seems obvious that the notion of the "continued p a r t i c i p a t i o n of the constituent parts in the same l i f e " i s intended to function analogously to the notion of "configuration" in the case of inanimate objects. But the case of persons i s even more complicated i f we c a r e f u l l y analyze what i s meant by the word "person". Locke maintains that there i s a d i s t i n c t i o n between "man" and "person" such that the continued identity of a man can be established in 3' y Locke 443. 40 the same way as that of plants or animals. That i s , the term "man" refers to the l i v i n g body of the organism alone. But t h i s i s not the case for persons on the accepted meaning of the word, CWIe must consider what person stands for; which, I think, i s a thinking, i n t e l l i g e n t being, that has reason and r e f l e c t i o n , and can consider i t s e l f as i t s e l f , the same thinking thing, in d i f f e r e n t times and places; which i t does by that consciousness which i s inseparable from thinking, and, as i t seems to me, i s essential to i t : i t being impossible for anyone to perceive without perceiving that he p e r c e i v e s 3 3 Further, he argues that t h i s i s the only explanation of our concern for our own happiness, success and so f o r t h ; i t forms the basis of our moral notions of punishment and reward, "Person, as I take i t , i s the name for t h i s s e l f . Wherever a man finds what he c a l l s himself there, I think, another may say i s the same person. It i s a forensic term, appropriating actions and their merit-; and so belongs only to i n t e l l i g e n t agents capable of a law, and happiness, and misery."3''' Having established se If-consc i ousness'*0 as the principium 3 ( 3 Locke 448 - 449. 3':> Locke 466 - 467. Although Locke used the term "consciousness" in the quote above, I am certa i n that his intended meaning in that context i s "se1f-consciousness". Locke's use of the term consciousness was notoriously ambiguous and was f r e e l y used to refer to memory, se1f-consciousness, consciousness (as opposed to unconsciousness) and perhaps other meanings as well, as pointed out by Anthony Flew i n , "Locke and the Problem of Personal Identity", Locke and  Berkeley: A Co l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays, ed. C.B. Martin and D.M. Armstrong, (New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1968), 41 i n d i v i d u a t i o n s of persons, Locke's next task was to establish the c r i t e r i o n of continuity for persons. He claims that this l i e s in the continuity of consciousness i t s e l f , which i s the constant companion of a l l our thoughts, For, since consciousness always accompanies thinking, and i t i s that which makes every one to be what he c a l l s s e l f , and thereby distinguishes himself from a l l other thinking things: in t h i s alone consists personal identity, i . e . , the sameness of a rati o n a l being; and as far as thi s consciousness can be extended backwards to any past action or thought, so far reaches the identity of that person; i t i s the same s e l f now i t was then; and i t i s by the same s e l f with t h i s present one that now r e f l e c t s on i t , that that action was done,"1 Now in t h i s case Locke i s using consciousness to refer to memory when he talks of i t being extended backwards to past actions and thoughts and, so, the c r i t e r i o n of continuity for persons i s memory. This may be stated more c l e a r l y as follows: P e at time T E i s the same person as P i at time Tx i f f P* and P-,s are both persons and P s contains an actual memory at T 3 of an experience had by P,. at T:l 155-178. Locke 449. The term "actual memory" i s intended to distinguish those memories which are genuine in the sense that X has an actual memory of an experience which he himself had. This meets the counterexample that, since I remember an experience which happened to my brother because he related t h i s to me, we must therefore be the same person. Such memories w i l l be c a l l e d "memories" s i m p l i c i t e r . The category of memories s i m p l i c i t e r i s broader than that of actual memories and includes the l a t t e r within i t . That i s , actual memories are memories which are also genu i ne. 48 We s h a l l consider objections to thi s theory in the course of examining the subsequent development of theories of psychological continuity in the following section. g.Qualitative psychological continuity: The most obvious flaw in Locke's conception i s that i t i s l o g i c a l l y impossible for someone to forget everything of his past and remain the same person. But there i s a simple response that can be made. We simply a l t e r the claim to read as follows: P a at T K is the same person as P i at T i i f f Px and P s are both persons and P a contains or could (contingently) contain an actual memory of an experience had by P i But t h i s formulation remains vulnerable to Reid's "Brave Officer Paradox". The General as a young boy was caught stealing apples and was flogged. Then l a t e r , as a young o f f i c e r , he was decorated for h is bravery in ba t t l e . Now the old general can remember h i s decoration as a young man but he can no longer remember the flogging as a young boy. But the young o f f i c e r could. So, the paradox i s that the young o f f i c e r i s the same person as the young boy and the old general i s the same person as the young o f f i c e r , but the general i s not the same person as the young boy. Ordinarily we suppose that identi t y i s a t r a n s i t i v e notion such that, i f A = B and B = C, then A = C. Reid's counterexample shows that the above identity r e l a t i o n for persons i s not t r a n s i t i v e . 43 Quinton was the f i r s t to formulate a version to account for Reid's paradox by constructing the ancestral r e l a t i o n of the above.*'*3 We divide a persons l i f e into episodes, each of which i s an instantaneous time-slice. Then, we can say that Ps> i s the same person as Px i f f there i s a sequence of such episodes such that Px is the f i r s t and P s i s the l a s t , and each contains, or could contain, a memory of an experience contained in the one immediately previous to i t . But Grice countered with the "Senile General" paradox. This case i s just l i k e the one before except that the senil e old general remembers the flogging as a young boy but he cannot remember the decoration as an o f f i c e r nor anything since that time. Here the old general i s the same person as the boy and the boy i s the same person as the young o f f i c e r , but the o f f i c e r and the general are not the same person. Grice's solution was to d i s j o i n the ancestral r e l a t i o n above with i t s converse and to add the re l a t i o n s . of resemblance, in terms of personality, behavioural dispositions and so fo r t h . He substitutes the term "total temporary state" (hereafter: t.t.s.) to designate t h i s broader notion of resemblance that i s intended to include a l l facets of our psychological l i f e . Replacing our talk of episodes then, for talk of these t.t.s.'"", we have the f o 11owi ng: 'ia> This theory i s set out in Quinton's a r t i c l e , "The Soul", which i s contained in the anthology edited by John Perry, Personal Identity, (Berkeley: U. of C. Press, 1975) 53 - 72. 44 PE» i s the same person as P i i f f there i s a sequence of t.t.s.'"> linking the two such that each t . t . s . in the sequence contains, or could (contingently) contain, a memory of an experience in the t . t . s . immediately previous to i t or vice versa and/or each t . t . s . in the sequence i s linked by the r e l a t i o n of resemblance to i t s neighbors. Ingenious as t h i s example i s in meeting counterexamples, i t remains vulnerable to the objection o r i g i n a l l y raised by Bishop Butler to the ef f e c t that a l l such theories are c i r c u l a r , in so much as the notion of memory presupposes personal i d e n t i t y . P a r f i t has an ingenious reply to thi s however, which w i l l be considered when discussing P a r f i t ' s reductionism in Chapter 8. Further, as argued by Flew, t h i s d e f i n i t i o n i s simultaneously too stringent and too lenient. One can imagine examples where we should wish to say that Px i s the same person as P s but the d e f i n i t i o n would rule otherwise or vice versa. For example, consider the case of a man stricken with complete amnesia such that he can remember only how to speak, walk and so for t h . Let us add the further d e t a i l that his ailment allows him to experience only the specious present. He retains no short term memories. In such a case, we would wish to say that he was s t i l l the same man, yet the theory claims otherwise. Conversely, imagine the case of a man who comes to resemble me in a l l psychological respects, while remaining physically quite d i s t i n c t . We should not wish to say that he was the same person as myself, yet the theory claims that he i s . A similar example, used by P a r f i t , i s one where I have an iden t i c a l r e p l i c a made of myself. On Grice's theory, we 45 would be the same person, despite our i n t u i t i o n s on the matter. But let us consider theories that r e l y on the continuity of physical c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s to see i f they fare any better. §E We w i l l examine the arguments for the p r i o r i t y of bodily continuity as presented by Bernard Williams i n , "The Self and the Future'"'5' in section 1 before moving on to consider combined continuity theories in section 2. l.The basic theory; William's argument for the p r i o r i t y of bodily continuity i s presumed to follow from these claims. F i r s t l y , in so much as we are concerned for our own future, i t can be shown that t h i s concern must follow the body, since i t i s the normal cause of what we take ourselves to be. That i s , the continuity of our mental l i v e s i s causally dependent on the continued existence of the same brain. Secondly, i t can be shown that this causal dependence i s violated by thought experiments which .imagine cases of bodily exchange. S p e c i f i c a l l y , i t can be shown that such cases assume that there i s some c r i t i c a l level of change such that, before t h i s level one i s the same person and after this l e v e l , one becomes a numerically d i f f e r e n t person. But t h i s supposition cannot be v e r i f i e d since, for one thing we could never discover, by any empirical means at our disposal, what t h i s c r i t i c a l l i m i t '*3 Contained in the Perry anthology. 46 could be. And, for another thing, i t can be shown that none of the levels of change introduce anything which, from the perspective of the victim, can be seen as relevant to his concerns for his own future. Let us move on to consider the d e t a i l s of Williams' argument then. He presents his case by f i r s t having us consider the case of two men, c a l l them A and B, who are trapped by a d i a b o l i c a l s c i e n t i s t who intends to exchange their bodies. Now, Williams f i r s t cautions us that i t i s d i f f i c u l t to describe t h i s s i t u a t i o n at a l l in a way that i s not question-begging. We can only say that, after the process i s completed, the utterances coming from each are expressive of the memories previously had by the other and s i m i l a r l y for other behaviours, such as movements, to the extent that these are expressive of character. But there i s a further problem with the notion of memory, as i t i s normally construed. For i t i s a necessary condition of our being seriously prepared to say that we are now confronted with A, in the body of B, that we should take the utterances coming from that body as genuinely expressive of memories of A's past, But memory i s a causal notion; and as we actually use i t , i t seems a necessary condition on X"s present knowledge of X's e a r l i e r experiences constituting memory of those experiences that the causal chain linking the experiences and the knowledge should not run outside X's body. Hence i f utterances coming from a given body are to be taken as expressive of memories of the experiences of B, there should be some suitable causal link between the appropriate 47 state of that body and the o r i g i n a l happening of those experiences to B.^13 Let us say then? that the method u t i l i z e d i s to extract the information from each brain and store t h i s temporarily in a holding device? from which i t i s then transmitted to the other brain. We s h a l l assume, for the time-being, that t h i s constitutes an appropriate causal link and accept t h i s as an accurate description of the event as exchanging bodies in non question-begging terms. Now a further d e t a i l i s added to the effect that the s c i e n t i s t t e l l s each individual that, after the operation, one of them w i l l be tortured and the other w i l l be given $100,000. Each i s then asked which body he would prefer to receive the torture and which the $100,000. If they accept the description of the operation as exchanging bodies, then i t would be reasonable to suppose that A should say that he wished for the B-body person to receive the money and the A-body person the torture. S i m i l a r l y , B should reply that he would l i k e the A-body person to receive the money and the B-body person the torture. If the s c i e n t i s t should then reveal that he intends to give the money to the A-body, person and to torture the B-body person, then A can r i g h t l y say that that i s not the outcome he chose and B can r i g h t l y claim that that i s the outcome he chose. We can further suppose that, "•!=i Wi 1 1 iams 180. 48 after the experiment, the A-body person w i l l express s a t i s f a c t i o n with the r e s u l t s , while the B-body person w i l l complain. These observations seem to support the conclusion that this thought experiment does indeed describe a s i t u a t i o n we should c a l l an exchange of bodies. But now let us consider a s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t case. In t h i s case I am the prisoner, and I am told that I w i l l be tortured tomorrow. Clearly, I have good reason to be concerned for my future welfare. But, I am also told that, shortly before the torture, my brain w i l l be tampered with in such a way that I w i l l remember nothing. Surely, argues Williams, I have just as much reason as before to be concerned since i t w i l l s t i l l be me who w i l l s u f f e r . I can e a s i l y imagine a case where I am in a serious car accident and suffer amnesia and then wake up in great agony. The mere fact that I would have also suffered amnesia i s not s u f f i c i e n t reason to make me no longer fear the prospect of pain. In f a c t , argues Williams, i t should cause me greater concern since I w i l l also suffer psychological damage. What i f he now adds the d e t a i l that, in addition to complete amnesia of the d e t a i l s of my own l i f e , I s h a l l have a completely fabricated set of memories installed? Surely t h i s would not cheer me up either for I can just as e a s i l y imagine a case where, previous to my accident, I go mad and come to believe that I am actually Napoleon, complete with apparent memories of my l i f e as 4 9 the diminutive d i c t a t o r . Again I have no reason to suppose that this should lessen my concern for i t w i l l s t i l l be me who s h a l l suffer, despite my delusions. In the last case, I am further told that the fabricated l i f e history w i l l be an actual r e p l i c a of the l i f e history of some actual, l i v i n g person. We w i l l be psychologically identical up to the time of the operation. Again, I have no reason to be less concerned for my welfare, for what should i t matter to me that, previous to being tortured, I s h a l l come to have the memories of someone else? Indeed, th i s should add to my horror. Now Williams argues that we have, in the last case, redescribed the same events which we previously decided was a case of exchanging bodies. There are only two differences here which Williams dismisses as irrelevant. F i r s t l y , in the second version, the torture i s throughout represented as going to happen to me. This i s irrelevant, according to Williams, on the grounds that, as long as I can follow what i s being told to me, and i f , on further r e f l e c t i o n , I decide that I have good grounds for concern, then that i s a l l that matters, "I could consider that behind my fears l i e s some such p r i n c i p l e as t h i s : that my undergoing physical pain in the future i s not excluded by any psychological state I may be in at the time, with the platitudinous exception of those psychological states which in themselves exclude experiencing pain, notably ( i f i t i s a 50 psychological state) u n c o n s c i o u s n e s s " S e c o n d l y , in the second version, there i s no essential reference made to any other person except in the incidental r o l e of being, in some sense, the o r i g i n of my fabricated l i f e h istory. This d e t a i l i s also irrelevant though since my knowledge of any other person cannot in any way change the facts of my future; I w i l l s t i l l have my psyche tampered with and then be tortured and, surely, nothing else can matter to me, My s e l f i s h concern i s to be told what i s going to happen to me and now I know: torture, preceded by changes of character, brain operations,changes in impressions of the past. The knowledge that one other person, or none, or many w i l l be s i m i l a r l y treated may affect me in other ways, of sympathy, greater horror at the power of th i s tyrant, and so f o r t h ; but surely i t cannot affect my expectations of torture?"4"''• The g i s t of Williams argument then i s t h i s . There i s a normal causal antecedent of our experiences, memories and so for t h , and t h i s i s the brain. Further, we can see from examining the case which supposedly describes an exchange of bodies that i t i s question-begging. If suitably redescribed, the case shows that we must suppose that, somewhere along the continuum of changes perpetrated on the victim, we must reach some c r i t i c a l l i m i t such that, further changes r e s u l t in a d i f f e r e n t person. This supposition i s counterintuitive according to Williams and, Williams 187. **v Williams 190. 51 furthermore 5 we have no means of determining what this l i m i t could be. Consider again the continuum of cases described in the second version, (i) A i s subjected to an operation which causes total amnesia; <ii) amnesia i s produced in A, and other interference leads to certain changes in his character; ( i i i ) changes in his character are produced, and at the same time certain i l l u s o r y "memory" b e l i e f s are induced in him; these are of a quite f i c t i t i o u s kind and do not f i t the l i f e of any actual person; (iv) the same as ( i i i ) except, that both the character t r a i t s and the memory impressions are designed to be appropriate to another actual person, B; (v) the same as ( i v ) , except that the result i s produced by putting the information into A from the brain of B, by a method which leaves B the same as he was before; <vi) the same happens to A as in <v), but B is not l e f t the same, since a similar operation i s conducted in the reverse dire c t ion.** 0 The case of (i) should be straightforward. Clearly, A has good reason, in t h i s case, to be concerned for the promised torture. S i m i l a r l y , h is concern seems to extend quite naturally to both ( i i ) and ( i i i ) , since neither of these introduces anything new in p r i n c i p l e . In fa c t , i t would seem that A should have good reason to be even more concerned in these cases since he w i l l not only be physically tortured, but sha l l be psychologically damaged as well. Although (iv) introduces another person, B, he does not seem to be introduced in any essential way. That i s , from A's perspective, the existence of B can have Williams 190. 52 no material implications for his own welfare. Nor, in this case, is the causal condition for memories being actual memories s a t i s f i e d . And even though th i s causal condition i s perhaps s a t i s f i e d in (v), i t s t i l l seems reasonable to suppose that t h i s would make no material difference to A's concern for his own welfare. A l l that can be said i s that we now have an actual model for the memories induced in A, which i s also their cause. Further, i f A's concerns depend upon the issue of whether or not he actually i s B, then t h i s i s c l e a r l y not s a t i s f i e d in t h i s case, since we have another individual who i s undisputably B, in the normal sense. We-can only suppose then that the change occurs in ( v i ) , yet there seems to be no good reason to suppose that t h i s should be the case since, i f A's o r i g i n a l fears could reach through the expected changes in (v), as they did in (iv) and ( i i i ) , then c e r t a i n l y they can reach through in ( v i ) . Indeed, from the point of A's expectations and fears, there i s less difference between (vi) and (v) than there is between (v) and (iv) or between (iv) and ( i i i ) . In those t r a n s i t i o n s , there were at least differences - though we could not see that they were r e a l l y relevant differences-in the content and cause of what happened to him; in the present case there i s absolutely no difference at a l l in what happens to him, the only difference being in what happens to someone else.'+'v Williams 192. 53 Williams' claim then, i s that continuity of the body must take precedence because i t i s the continued existence of the numerically same brain which i s the normal cause of our memories, character t r a i t s and so f o r t h . While his arguments have been persuasive, i t i s again a f a i r l y easy matter to construct counterexamples. For instance, imagine the case of a man who steps into a machine which begins replacing a l l the c e l l s of his body while he remains conscious. Upon completion, he i s constructed of e n t i r e l y new matter, yet there has been complete continuity, both psychologically and physically (in the sense that there has been continuous existence of a cause of his psychological c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s ) . Now i t may be objected that this i s just the l i m i t i n g case of the normal replacement of c e l l s that occurs throughout our l i v e s , but th i s i s not so, for the c e l l s of our central nervous system are never replaced. We have the same ( i .e. '.numerical ly i dentical) brain c e l l s when we die as we were born with; they are never replaced and they never regenerate. Given t h i s , what are we to say about th i s person, regarding the matter of his personal survival? If Williams' objections to the psychological c r i t e r i a are correct then, despite his being psychologically continuous with his former s e l f , he cannot have survived as the same person. On the other hand, i f our counterexample works against Williams' arguments for the p r i o r i t y of bodily continuity, then i t again seems that he has not survived as the same person, despite the q u a l i t a t i v e physical s i m i l a r i t y . 54 Perhaps the solution i s to both the c r i t e r i a of physical us consider such theories. construct a theory that includes and psychological continuity. Let g.Combined continuity theories; Since I am not d i r e c t l y f a m i l i a r with anyone holding such a theory, I w i l l , following Swinburne, discuss them in the most general terms as a theoretical p o s s i b i l i t y . F i r s t l y , the motivation to such a combination theory arises from the following dilemma. Theories of psychological continuity rule i t out as a logi c a l p o s s i b i l i t y that a man should lose his memory and character and yet remain the same person, yet we o r d i n a r i l y suppose t h i s to be possible. On the other hand, theories of physical continuity rule i t out as l o g i c a l l y impossible that a man should move from one spatiotemporal location to another without tracing a continuous path between the two. Yet i t i s at least a lo g i c a l p o s s i b i l i t y that a man should do so. For example, imagine the case of a man stepping into a teletransporter, whereupon he i s beamed to a remote location without passing through the intervening space intact as a human organism. The obvious solution for an empirical theorist i s to construct a compromise theory that combines the c r i t e r i a of physical and psychological continuity as follows. P s at time T e i s the same person as P:). at time T:i i f f both are persons and there i s a continuous link of episodes such that, either; a) each episode contains, or could 55 ( c o n t i n g e n t l y ) c o n t a i n , a memory of an experience i n the episode immediately p r i o r to i t or v i c e v e r s a , or; b) at each episode there i s a body (or f u n c t i o n i n g b r a i n ) that i s q u a l i t a t i v e l y s i m i l a r to i t s neighbors. It might be o b j e c t e d that there c o u l d be two or more persons who could s a t i s f y such a c r i t e r i o n . In such a case a c l a u s e could be added to the e f f e c t t h a t , "CNDeither person at Ts» i s the same person as P% at Jx, or that the person who s a t i s f i e s the b o d i l y c r i t e r i o n i s the same person as P* ; or the theory w i l l p r o v i d e some other s o l u t i o n . Or the theory may p r o v i d e some other d e t a i l e d account of how such c r i t e r i a as b o d i l y c o n t i n u i t y , s i m i l a r i t y of memory or c h a r a c t e r are to be understood and balanced a g a i n s t each o t h e r . Now there i s an uncomfortable f e e l i n g that emerges from a l l t h i s . We have begun from the premise that the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which seem to be d e f i n i t i v e of persons are a l s o the key to what c o n s t i t u t e s our personal i d e n t i t y , yet i t has been n o t o r i o u s l y d i f f i c u l t to c o n s t r u c t a p l a u s i b l e and coherent account along these l i n e s . Even the combination theory must, i n e v i t a b l y , r e l y on ad hoc r e s t r i c t i o n s to be able to meet obvious counterexamples, g i v i n g the e n t i r e e d i f i c e an a i r of c o n t r i v a n c e . But, more damaging s t i l l i s the problem of open-texture which was mentioned i n Chapter 1 and i s taken up again i n the next s e c t i o n . Swinburne E33. 56 §3 I indicated in the introduction to t h i s chapter that a l l empirical theories may be considered together because they are a l l g u i l t y of the same flaw.' 3 1 1 A l l . are based on the mistaken assumption that i t i s possible to provide a d e f i n i t i o n of personal iden t i t y , in terms of the continuity of observable c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , such that, i f given a l l the relevant factual data, we s h a l l be able to decide unambiguously, in a l l actual or imaginable cases, whether or not Px i s the same person as P s. To understand why thi s assumption i s mistaken, consider the f o i l owing. F i r s t l y , there i s the problem of ambiguity. There w i l l always be marginal cases where we simply do not know where to draw the l i n e . Most r e f e r e n t i a l terms of natural language are vague to the extent that they have a core meaning that i s c l e a r l y enough understood but the periphery i s not c l e a r l y demarcated. Such i s the case with most of the c r u c i a l terms involved in the topic of personal identity such as "person", "man", " s e l f " and so for t h . Secondly, there i s the problem, alluded to in Chapter 1, of the open-texturedness of many of our concepts. To quote Flew, CSlince our ordinary language, and the concepts of ordinary language, have been evolved or introduced to deal with the situations which are o r d i n a r i l y met with, and not with the extraordinary, we may reasonably expect some f a i l u r e s of adaptation when new and unexpected sit u a t i o n s arise The old est J draw oh both Swinburne and Flew for t h i s discussion. 57 conceptual machinery breaks down. The old terminological tools f a i l to cope with the new t a s k s . 0 1 The difference between these two i s best i l l u s t r a t e d by the use of an example. The term "man" can have several meanings depending on context and purpose. It might refer generally to the species or, i f used in a court of law, i t might be intended to distinguish a l e g a l l y responsible adult from a boy. This i s an example of ambiguity. But now r e c a l l the case of Locke's where he admits that, were the soul of Heliogabalus to be reincarnated into a hog, we should be reluctant to c a l l him a man. But what i f the pig were to behave precisely l i k e Heliogabalus in every respect; he i s even able to answer a l l questions put to him and so f o r t h . Now what should we say? This l a t t e r i s an example of open-texturedness. In the case of ambiguity, we can s t i p u l a t e a r b i t r a r i l y that a l e g a l l y responsible "man" s h a l l be an individual 18 years of age or more, but such a r b i t r a r y s t i p u l a t i o n i s not always appropriate nor even possible. Further, s t i p u l a t i o n w i l l not solve the problem of open-texture. We cannot provide any descriptive d e f i n i t i o n that w i l l , a p r i o r i , take into account a l l possible puzzle cases such as the one of Heliogabalus and his hog. Further, no such descriptive d e f i n i t i o n i s possible because they a l l mistake the c r i t e r i a for answering the question of ^ Flew 174. 58 whether P i i s the same person as P f S for what i t i s that constitutes personal id e n t i t y ; they mistake epistemology for metaphysics. Even i f the concept were not open-textured > t h i s problem would remain. While the evidence of psychological or bodily continuity may be the best we have to answer the above question, i t w i l l not answer the metaphysical question of what personal identity consists i n , Wherein does the identit y of persons consist? The identity does not consist s o l e l y in the continuity of one or more observable c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , for empiricist theories took a l l of these into account. ... The only alternative i s to say that personal identity i s something ultimate. It i s unana1yzeab1e into conjunctions or disjunctions of observable properties. 1' 5"-So, our h i s t o r i c a l survey has revealed a dilemma. On the one hand, we may try to explain personal identity in terms of something ultimate, such as a pure ego theory of the sort considered in Chapter 2. Thus f a r , a l l such attempts have f a i l e d . On the other hand, there are good i n t u i t i v e reasons to think that the key l i e s in the continuity of cert a i n observable c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which we o r d i n a r i l y take to be the d i s t i n c t i v e t r a i t s of persons, yet t h i s attempt has also f a i l e d . In the next section we w i l l examine Hume's pos i t i o n . There i t w i l l be argued that he took the empiricist approach to i t s l o g i c a l conclusion only to discover that our idea of personal identity i s a f i c t i o n that cannot be j u s t i f i e d . S E Swinburne 240. 59 §4 Hume begins by attacking Locke's principium individuationis as follows. A single perception of any object cannot? in i t s e l f , convey the idea of identity for thi s would imply that the proposition, "thi s object i s se1f-identica1", i s analytic, which i t surely i s n ' t . The idea that i s r e a l l y conveyed in such perceptions i s that of unity. Nor can we ground the idea of identity in the perceptions of a series of objects that resemble each other, for thi s conveys the idea of d i v e r s i t y . Now for Hume, the perception of the same object at di f f e r e n t times i s equivalent to such a serie s of perceptions of closely related objects. This follows from his phenomena1ist theory of perception to the eff e c t that what we d i r e c t l y perceive are our perceptions and not the objects themselves. Further, each perception e x i s t s as a ' l o g i c a l l y d i s t i n c t e n t i t y . In thi s way i t i s l o g i c a l l y impossible that we should ever be able to simultaneously compare the d i s t i n c t perceptions of a single object at dif f e r e n t times to ensure that i t was, in fa c t , se1f-identica1. From what impression could we obtain the idea of identity then? According to Hume, there i s no such impression. Rather, the idea arises from the combination of the ideas of unity and time or, more properly, duration. That i s , duration implies succession and when we combine this with the notion of unity, we conceive of the same object p e r s i s t i n g unchanged, "Thus the p r i n c i p l e of individuation i s nothing but the invariableness or 60 uninteruptedness of any object, thro' a suppos'd variation of time, by which the mind can trace i t in the various periods of i t s existence, without any break of the view, and without being obliged to form the idea of m u l t i p l i c i t y or number".85 *• But, he argues we have no such idea of the s e l f , for the s e l f i s not grounded in any one impression but i s the entity to which our perceptions are supposed to have reference. That i s , selves "have" perceptions. Further, i f there were any one impression that did give r i s e to the idea of the s e l f as i t i s commonly understood, then i t would have to continue unchanged throughout our l i v e s . Hume here i s maintaining that there must be s t r i c t numerical identity of the s e l f throughout our l i v e s to accurately r e f l e c t i t s usage in ordinary language. And he emphatically maintains that there is no one impression that does remain unchanged in thi s way. Rather, Hume likens the mind to a theatre where the perceptions pass across the stage in rapid succession and persons are nothing more than bundles of percept ions, I may venture to affirm of the rest of mankind, that they are nothing but a bundle or c o l l e c t i o n of d i f f e r e n t perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable r a p i d i t y , and are in perpetual flux and movement. .... There i s properly no si m p l i c i t y in i t at one time, nor identity at di f f e r e n t , whatever natural propension we may s <- Hume, Treatise 201 . 61 have to imagine that s i m p l i c i t y and ident i t y . ° While i t i s one thing to show that our notion of the s e l f i s ill-founded, i t i s another to then explain where we obtain t h i s idea. Hume's explanation i s psychological, as hinted in the above quotation where he refers to our "natural propension" to form such an idea. S p e c i f i c a l l y , i t res u l t s from a confusion of the ideas of: 1) identity; an object which p e r s i s t s without change and 2) d i v e r s i t y ; that of a succession of related objects. The tendency to confuse the two re s u l t s from the fact that a succession of similar objects i s subjectively indistinguishable from imagining an object p e r s i s t i n g unchanged. That i s , although the mind i s actually constituted of a succession of impressions that are related by causation and resemblance, we inaccurately substitute the idea of identity in i t s place. There are other factors which contribute to t h i s propensity, for instance, the slow rate of change in persons from day to day. The f i c t i o n of the " s e l f " has arisen s p e c i f i c a l l y because philosophers have assumed that there must be some such entity to be the referent of our impressions, attributes and so fo r t h . Now while Hume derides the notion of a s e l f as some sort of self-subsistent e n t i t y , he does have a theory of what persons actually are. This was hinted at above when mentioning his view ! S S Hume, Treatise 252 - 253. 62 of the mind as a succession of impressions that are related by causation and resemblance. To return to the analogy of the mind as a theatre then, the impressions of any one bundle succeed each other according to these r e l a t i o n s . Consequently, we may say that d i s t i n c t impressions belong to the same person i f they are linked by the r e l a t i o n s of causation of resemblance. Of course Hume would never admit to t h i s for he maintains that we do not per s i s t as the same person. Rather, he offered t h i s as what we have instead of personal i d e n t i t y . There i s a problem with Hume's analysis, for note that he claims that our propensity to attribute identity to persons i s aided by the slow rate of change that can be observed. Further, he claims that persons are nothing more than bundles of perceptions, which seems to imply that one i s nothing more than what i s contained in one's stream of consciousness. So, the f i r s t claim seems to rely on observations of a person's physical c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , while the second implies that persons are purely mental e n t i t i e s . When we observe others we do not observe their minds but their bodies and these physical c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s are what change gradually. And even when we introspect, we cannot observe any such gradual change i f his theory of the mind as a kind of theatre i s r i g h t . Rather we observe a rapid succession of constantly varying impressions. He was also wrong to i n s i s t on s t r i c t numerical identity in the case of persons and we s h a l l discuss t h i s further in Chapter 8. But he i s right in so far as 63 he maintained that no empirical theory of personal identity could be j u s t i f i e d - We shall also see that he was at least partly correct in characterizing persons as bundles of perceptions that are linked by the r e l a t i o n s of causation and resemblance. In the next part of the manuscript we s h a l l consider theories that r e l y on the d i s t i n c t i o n between persons and sentient beings. Such theories regard sentient beings as ultimate e n t i t i e s , but of a sort e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t from Cartesian egos. Then, in Part 3 we w i l l consider P a r f i t ' s reductionist theory, which takes Hume's gambit arguing that our standard notion of personal identity cannot be j u s t i f i e d . v 64 PART E SENTIENT BEING THEORIES 65 CHAPTER 4 Sentient Beings: A Further Fact In t h i s chapter i t i s my intention to introduce the basic d i s t i n c t i o n between persons and sentient beings and to explain why sentient beings are relevant in a discussion purportedly about "personal" s u r v i v a l . §1 As a person one i s also a sentient being. This f a c t , which i s established below, i s true of a l l persons. It i s also true of many organisms which are not persons. S p e c i f i c a l l y , most animals are sentient beings but they w i l l not, l i k e ourselves, also be persons. 5 0 It i s even possible for some individuals to cease being persons at some point in their l i v e s <as a resu l t of i l l n e s s , s e n i l i t y or whatever) while continuing to be sentient beings. It should be clear then that the concept of "sentient-being" i s of wider scope than that of "person" and i s meant to include, in addition to the example of sentient animals already given, any possible inhabitants of other planets that would be sentient (of course, some of these might also qualify as persons). "s's For our purposes i t i s uninteresting to decide exactly where, in the phylogenetic scale, to draw the line between organisms that are sentient and those that aren't. 66 What exactly i s meant then by the term sentient being? At th i s point I define a sentient being as a "haver-of-experiences" or, equiva1ent1y, as a subject of experiences. To be a subject of experience, one must be conscious. Consciousness i s here intended to mean the opposite of anaesthesia; to be aware. Now to be a person, one must, minimally, be conscious and, therefore, a subject of experiences. This establishes the claim made above that a l l persons are also sentient beings. For the moment though, let us ponder this notion of "havers-of-experiences". F i r s t l y , i t is intended to express the essential property of sentient beings. That i s , a l l sentient beings are havers-of-experiences. Secondly, the experiences themselves need only be of the most rudimentary sort. There i s no requirement that the experiences "had" by any sentient being must be of the sort which one might c a l l refined in any way, for example the experience of aesthetic pleasure one might feel upon l i s t e n i n g to Bach. In fa c t , i f one were barely conscious and was experiencing only a du l l throb of pain, that would be s u f f i c i e n t to be the sort of experience appropriate to a sentient being. That i s why the concept of sentient being i s of much wider scope than that of person. This also points to what i t is that further distinguishes persons from a l l other sentient beings; i t w i l l be at least partly a matter of the quality of the experiences. This underscores the observation above that some individuals can cease to be persons at some point in their l i v e s as a resu l t of i l l n e s s or whatever. Clearly, such cases w i l l r e s u l t from a decline in the quality of experiences "had" by that 67 i n d i v i d u a l . The example of the man who has declined to a state of bare consciousness and who experiences only a d u l l throb of pain i s a case in point. As a subject of experience then, we may say that a sentient being i s a stream of consciousness where the occurrent experiences may be of even the most rudimentary sort. But where are a l l of these various streams of consciousness to be found?' The reply i s , in psychological space (hereafter p-space) . a*> A l l streams of consciousness then, occur in p-space and each individual stream of consciousness w i l l occupy i t s ' own particular location within p-space, known as i t s ' own p-location. The picture that begins to emerge then i s as follows. Sentient beings are conscious e n t i t i e s which, in virtue of their consciousness, are capable of being subjects of experience. As subjects of experience we are not concerned with the q u a l i t a t i v e nature of the experiences themselves but only with the fact that experiences occur at a l l . Given t h i s , we may say that sentient beings are r e a l l y just streams of consciousness. In so much as sentient beings are just streams of consciousness, each sentient being i s associated with one and only one p-location and a l l of these p-locations occur within p-space. Sentient beings may be distinguished within p-space then, by the fact that each occupies i t s ' own pa r t i c u l a r p-location. Thus, p-locations serve to s<<;> i tfefBr u n t i i later a discussion of the nature of p-space and the related notions that follow. 68 numerically individuate sentient beings within p-space. Further, regarding the content of these p-locations, each w i l l be exhaustively described by the t o t a l i t y of experiences "had" by that p a r t i c u l a r sentient being or, equiva1ent1y, by a complete description of that p a r t i c u l a r sentient being's stream of consc iousness. §E It i s now time to consider the notions of p-space and p-location. These notions w i l l here be defended in terms of certa i n analogies which are claimed to hold between these notions and those of physical space and time. The underlying argument i s that, together, these two concepts (i.e.:physica1 space and time) allow us to numerically individuate a l l physical events occurring within physical space. That i s , presuming Leibniz' "Principle of the Indiscernibi1ity of Identicals" to be true, we can conclude that any two physical events which are q u a l i t a t i v e l y i d e n t i c a l must necessarily occur at d i f f e r e n t locations i f they occur simultaneously, or at d i f f e r e n t times i f they occur at the same location. No other option i s possible. S i m i l a r l y , i t w i l l be argued that, given any two q u a l i t a t i v e l y i d e n t i c a l mental events which occur within p—space, i t can be concluded that they necessarily occur at d i f f e r e n t p-locations i f they are simultaneous, or at d i f f e r e n t times i f they share the same p-location. The following analogies then are presumed to hold with the notions of physical space and time; 69 (1) Q u a l i t a t i v e l y id e n t i c a l physical events can be numerically distinguished using the indexicals of location in physical space and/or location in time. S i m i l a r l y , q u a l i t a t i v e l y i d e n t i c a l mental events can be numerically individuated using the indexicals of location in p-space and location in time. (2) Temporal location, taken together with eith er of the other two, i s metaphysically ' adequate to numerically individuate a l l events in a purely non-qualitative way. That i s , p-space and physical space share the indexical of location in time to numerically distinguish a l l events. <3) Physical space and p-space endure. That i s , each location in either physical space or p-space may host a p o t e n t i a l l y i n f i n i t e number of d i s t i n c t events (although by (2) each individual event could be distinguished from a l l others by the additional use of a temporal index i c a l ) . Obviously there w i l l also be certain disana1ogies, which should not be surprising in l i g h t of the disanalogies that hold between the notions of physical space and time. These disanalogies include; (1) Temporal movement i s only possible in one di r e c t i o n , while movement in physical space i s passible in many dir e c t i o n s . (2) There are only two directions in time but many in physical space. (3) The rate of movement in physical space i s variable while the rate of movement in time i s no t. (4) We have some control over the rate of movement in physical space but none over the rate of movement in time. In the same way, the following disanalogies hold between p-space on the one hand and both physical space and time on the other; 70 (1) p-space i s discontinuous; there i s no intervening topology between individual p-locations such that any mental event occurring at one can s h i f t or "jump" to another. <2) A l l p-locations occurring within p-space are equidistant from each other; each sentient being's experiences are equidistant from the experiences of every other sentient being. Regarding the f i r s t disanalogy above, there i s one necessary q u a l i f i c a t i o n . The exceptional case of the fusion of two d i s t i n c t streams of consciousness would v i o l a t e this desideratum, since we would have a case where the content of at least one stream of consciousness was now occurring at an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t p-location. For, in such a case, we must suppose that either, <1) both of the o r i g i n a l streams of consciousness now occur at a d i f f e r e n t p-location or, <£) that one of the o r i g i n a l streams now occurs together with the other stream at the p-location o r i g i n a l l y "had" by the other. On either alternative we must suppose that at least one of the streams of consciousness has leaped the discontinuous landscape of p-space to arrive at a d i f f e r e n t p-location. However, we must recognize this as a log i c a l p o s s i b i l i t y for consider the following case of a c h i l d born without a corpus callosum which, according to P a r f i t i n, Reasons and Persons, has actually been known to o c c u r . B O Given c s a Recall from Chapter E that the corpus callosum i s a fibrous material which connects the two hemispheres of the brain. Here we are not considering severing t h i s connection but, rather, the case of someone born without a corpus callosum to establish the l o g i c a l p o s s i b i l i t y of fusion where there had never previously been a single stream of consciousness. 71 such a case, l e t us imagine some future state of neuro-surgery which enables them to connect this individual's hemispheres resul t i n g in a single stream of consciousness where previously there had been two. Again our alternatives are to suppose that either one of the o r i g i n a l streams now shares the p-location o r i g i n a l l y occupied by the other alone or that both now occur together at an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t p-location. Either of these alternatives forces us to acknowledge that the f i r s t disanalogy above can be violated though, at least to the extent that i t i s a logical p o s s i b i l i t y that a stream of consciousness can s h i f t to another p-location. However, i t i s only in the case of such a fusion that the desideratum that nothing which happens at one p-location can "leap" to another w i l l be vi o l a t e d . Under no other circumstances w i l l this be possible. The reason for t h i s , which w i l l be elaborated in the next chapter, i s that streams of consciousness are caused by brains. As such then, the stream of consciousness associated with the brain which i s i t s ' cause w i l l always occur at the same p-location p r e c i s e l y because the p-location i t s e l f i s a concomitant cause of the same brain. Of course t h i s view regards causal necessity as a contingent r e l a t i o n since i t has already been admitted that i t i s a l o g i c a l p o s s i b i l i t y that a stream of consciousness should s h i f t to another p-location. This amounts to the claim that i t i s l o g i c a l l y possible that consciousness should be transferred to a d i f f e r e n t brain and t h i s , in turn, 72 necessitates the view that the connection i t s associated stream of consciousness i s a between any brain and contingent one. §3 We must now explore further the relationship between sentient beings and p-locations. The claim i s simply that? as a sentient being my stream of consciousness occurs at a pa r t i c u l a r p-location within p-space which, minimally, has the following properties. F i r s t l y , t r i v i a l l y i t i s d i s t i n c t from a l l other p-locations that occur in p-space. Secondly, i t i s temporally coextensive with my l i f e as a sentient being; that i s , one sentient being, one p-location. And t h i r d l y , together with temporal location, i t is metaphysically adequate to individuate a l l of my experiences. On t h i s theory then, a sentient being i s nothing more than a bundle of experiences (i.e.:a stream of consciousness) that a l l share the same p-location. Again notice that no further claims are being made about the q u a l i t a t i v e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the actual experiences (i.e.-token or occurrent) at any p a r t i c u l a r p-location. The claim i s only that, i f any experiences occur "here", then they belong to " t h i s " sentient being. In so much as we are considering sentient beings, the q u a l i t a t i v e nature of these experiences i s irrelevant; they need only be of the most rudimentary sort to qua l i f y as the sorts of experiences appropriate to sentient beings. This observation raises the question of the relevance of sentient beings in a 73 discussion purportedly about "personal" survival though and i t i s to t h i s that we must now turn our attention. §4 F i r s t l y , imagine the case of a prisoner of war who i s subjected to certain highly sophisticated brainwashing techniques so that a l l of his personal memories have been obliterated and replaced with a complete and fabricated l i f e history. Further, a l l of his personal b e l i e f s and character t r a i t s have been r a d i c a l l y altered. Upon meeting him, a l l of his family and close friends would probably agree that he was a very d i f f e r e n t person, not in the sense of numerically d i f f e r e n t but, rather, r a d i c a l l y changed. Any theory which maintained ( l i k e those considered in Chapter 3) that personal identity was a matter of the continuity of certain psychological c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s would be forced to conclude that he was indeed a numerically d i f f e r e n t person. As discussed above, th i s i s an example of the open-texturedness of the concept of person. Since the continuity of psychological c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s i s a matter of their q u a l i t a t i v e appropriateness across time, we find ourselves in t h i s case forced to conclude that the victim i s indeed a d i f f e r e n t person. This view would occasion d i f f i c u l t y for his family and friends who would continue to regard him as, in some sense, the same person. And I think most of would agree that there would be something unsatisfactory and even counterintuitive about the reply of the psychological continuity theorist. 74 • f course we have also seen that one may attempt to explain survival as the same person in terms of the continuity of the same brain (or at least a functioning part of the same brain). On t h i s alternative we would claim that he was indeed the same person since he s t i l l had the same (i.e.:numerical1y identical) brain. But t h i s i s r e a l l y begging the question to the extent that i t e n t i r e l y f a i l s to address the issue of his complete psychological change. Additionally however, we may imagine a case l i k e the following. Consider President Reagan, who begins to transform over a period of weeks u n t i l he comes to resemble H i t l e r to the extent that they are physically indistinguishable, even though he remains unchanged psychologically. I contend that we should not know what to say in such a case regarding the "personal identity" of Reagan; we would fi n d ourselves unsure as to whether or not he had in fact survived as Ronald Reagan. But the physical theorist would reply that the continuity of Reagan's body i s irrelevant to the question of his survival as the same person. What matters i s that he r e t a i n the same (i.e.:numerica11y identical) brain. Since t h i s i s the case, i t follows that, despite physical appearances, he i s s t i l l Ronald Reagan. But now imagine that t h i s change in his physical appearance i s precipitated by the replacement of a l l the p a r t i c l e s of his body such that, when he actually comes to resemble H i t l e r , none of his o r i g i n a l c e l l s remain. Now what might our physical theorist say? I think that he would be forced 75 to say that Reagan was now a d i f f e r e n t person despite the fact of his remaining psychologically unchanged. We may even imagine a more dramatic example yet along the lines of P a r f i t ' s combined spectrum c a s e . 3 9 In such a case we again imagine Reagan beginning to transform slowly over a period of weeks, where the changes are again presumed to coincide with the replacement of his own c e l l s . F i n a l l y , after the process has been completed, Reag an resembles Jimmy (2a,x~ ^ &x~ ^  both physically and psychologically and there are none of his o r i g i n a l c e l l s remaining. In such a case both the psychological theorist and the physical theorist would conclude that he was a d i f f e r e n t person. The problem underscored by these examples, which was discussed in the last chapter, i s that, in some contexts, the concept of person i s open-textured; that i s , the rules of our language do not always permit us to unambiguously decide whether or not someone has remained the same person. However, i t i s unambiguously decidable that he i s the same sentient being. This is established by showing that one remains the same sentient being throughout one's l i f e . Again, this i s taken to follow from the claim that retention of the numerically same brain i s causally necessary and s u f f i c i e n t for the continued existence of s' v Combined spectrum cases w i l l be discussed further in Part 3 when dealing with P a r f i t ' s reductionist theory. 76 the same p-location and? concomitantly, of the same stream od consc i ousness. At t h i s point one may object that? in the last two examples where Reagan's body was gradually replaced by e n t i r e l y new material, we no longer have the same brain. But r e c a l l that, on this theory, retention of the same brain i s regarded as only contingently necessary. What i s actually s i g n i f i c a n t i s retention of the cause of one's stream of consciousness and, given the contingency of the association between cause and e f f e c t , i t need not be the numerically same cause. Indeed, this was the significance of the observation above that the transfer of consciousness i s a lo g i c a l p o s s i b i l i t y . Now since, in the cases considered here, there existed continuously a cause of Reagan's stream of consciousness, we can be sure that his stream of consciousness and i t s associated p-location never ceased to ex i s t . Hence, th i s i s r e a l l y a case that i s analogous to the transfer of consciousness considered above. So, we conclude that one's l i f e as a sentient being subtends the period inclusive of the occasion of one's f i r s t experience (however rudimentary) and the occasion of one's last experience (i.e.-one's death). Although I may cease to be a person at some point in my l i f e , for reasons already noted above, I w i l l always be a sentient being. And even though my character may change so r a d i c a l l y that i t may no longer be clear whether or not I am the 77 same person, I w i l l always be the same sentient being. In thi s way, the concept of sentient being remains d i s t i n c t in many contexts where the concept of person i s open-textured. These considerations w i l l j u s t i f y our concern with sentient beings in a discussion about personal s u r v i v a l , for i f we cannot decide whether or not someone has remained the same person, then i t follows that we cannot decide whether or not he has survived as the same person. But we may have good enough grounds for supposing that someone has remained the same sentient being and so th i s concept must be the fundamental notion of any discussion about personal s u r v i v a l . 78 CHAPTER 5 Constraints for a Theory of Personal Survival The purpose for having a l i s t of constraints for any metaphysical theory i s to rule out, a p r i o r i , p a r t i c u l a r theories as implausible. To th i s end, the constraints are supposed to act l i k e a sieve which " f i l t e r out" these implausible theories. It i s essential then that our l i s t of constraints should r e f l e c t , as accurately and as completely as possible, our best i n t u i t i o n s on the subject. In th i s chapter I w i l l explicate a l i s t of constraints which, I claim, must be s a t i s f i e d by any theory that i s to be commensurate with our i n t u i t i o n s regarding personal identity and personal s u r v i v a l . In §3 I present a discussion which i s intended to convince the reader that, indeed, these constraints are the ones which are necessary for any theory that i s to s a t i s f y our i n t u i t i o n s on these matters. This discussion w i l l be p a r t i c u l a r l y c r u c i a l in Chapter 9 when we compare the sentient being theory developed in Chapter 7 with Derik P a r f i t ' s reductionist theory. There i t w i l l be argued that P a r f i t ' s theory leads to ce r t a i n highly implausible r e s u l t s and that t h i s can be explained in terms of that theory's i n a b i l i t y to s a t i s f y the constraints developed here. In §4 we w i l l reconsider the theories discussed in Chapters 2 and 3 in terms of these constraints. 79 §1 There are f i v e c o n s t r a i n t s of c e n t r a l importance that w i l l be l i s t e d here i n a d d i t i o n to s e v e r a l other c o n s t r a i n t s that are of somewhat l e s s importance. These l a t t e r might be c a l l e d p r o v i s i o n a l c o n s t r a i n t s o r , perhaps, o b s e r v a t i o n s . The order i n which a l l of these are l i s t e d i s of no- p a r t i c u l a r s i g n i f i c a n c e . THE CONTINGENT BRAIN CONSTRAINT: R e t e n t i o n of the same b r a i n , or at l e a s t a f u n c t i o n i n g part of i t , i s a c a u s a l l y necessary and s u f f i c i e n t c o n d i t i o n f o r s u r v i v a l as the same s e n t i e n t being. E q u i v a l e n t l y , we may say that r e t e n t i o n of the same b r a i n i s a c o n t i n g e n t l y necessary and s u f f i c i e n t c o n d i t i o n f o r s u r v i v a l as the same s e n t i e n t b e i ng. T h i s f o l l o w s from the s u p p o s i t i o n mentioned i n the l a s t chapter that the cau s a l r e l a t i o n i s conceived of as contingent because, as w i l l be argued l a t e r , i t i s a l o g i c a l p o s s i b i l i t y that consciousness could be t r a n s f e r r e d to a d i f f e r e n t b r a i n . Given t h i s , I make the f o l l o w i n g c l a i m s . F i r s t l y , r e t e n t i o n of the same b r a i n 6 0 i s both a necessary and a s u f f i c i e n t c o n d i t i o n f o r s u r v i v a l as the same s e n t i e n t being because the stream of consciousness which i s the s e n t i e n t being and the p - l o c a t i o n at which the stream occurs are both concomitant e f f e c t s of the b r a i n . Yet, to be at a l l p l a u s i b l e , i t must be maintained that < b° Whenever r e f e r e n c e i s made to r e t e n t i o n of the same b r a i n i n the context of a s e n t i e n t being theory i n t h i s t h e s i s , i t i s to be taken as e l l i p t i c a l f o r the phrase, " r e t e n t i o n of the same b r a i n or a f u n c t i o n i n g p a r t of i t i n a s t a t e capable of supp o r t i n g consciousness". 80 t h i s requirement i s contingent. To see the force of this» r e c a l l from Chapter 2 that Descartes u t i l i z e d an ingenious argument to show that i t i s possible that consciousness could exist independently of physical substance. He thought that he had established his radic a l dualism by showing that, since i t was possible to conceive of the two separated in th i s way without contradiction, i t therefore followed that they are in fact d i s t i n c t . As mentioned above (i.e.:Chapter 2), I have found no evidence to establish that Descartes distinguished between .logical and physical p o s s i b i l i t y and I conjecture that, therefore, Descartes' mistake was to think that his r.orce i vab i 1 i ty claim established, as a matter of fa c t , that minds exist independently of bodies in the actual world. That i s , he mistakenly took his "proof" of log i c a l p o s s i b i l i t y to establish the truth of radic a l dualism as a fact about the actual world. In fac t , a l l i t shows i s that i t i s a category mistake to propose that the two are inseparable in t h i s way. In t h i s world i t i s a matter of empirical fact that consciousness i s always associated with brains. But this connection which obtains in the actual world as a matter of empirical fact i s a contingent one, because there i s a possible world in which there are streams of consciousness that are not associated with brains. There might s t i l l be some confusion regarding the nature of the relationship that i s being implied here between brains on the one hand and streams of consciousness and p-locations on the 81 other. The claim being made here i s that, although retention of the same brain i s causally necessary and s u f f i c i e n t for survival as the same sentient being, i t i s in no way cons t i t u t i v e of what i t i s to be a sentient being. The requirement for retention of the same brain i s a fact of the world because of certain basic causal laws which hold. To say that i t i s not constitutive of what i t i s to be a sentient being i s simply to claim that, qua sentient being, we are only concerned with the fact that there i s a stream of consciousness and not with what might cause that stream of consciousness. Let us now c l a r i f y exactly what i s meant here by the "same" brain. The claim here i s that, at each time T i in a sentient being's l i f e , the brain must be "numerically continuous" with the brain at any time T 0 previous to T x, where the points T 0 and T:,. may be joined by a series of any number of points of time Tr,, each of which i s joined to •the one next to i t by the same r e l a t i o n of numerical c o n t i n u i t y . 6 1 The sense of continuity intended here i s that i t should be the same brain or at least a functioning part of i t in a state capable of supporting consciousness. Notice also that only numerical continuity i s required here and not numerical ide n t i t y . For consider the case where the brain i s severed in two (as in the case of s p l i t - b r a i n treatments considered in Chapter 2). In such a case, i t i s *,:L A similar notion of "numerical continuity" was developed by Sikora in the manuscript previously c i t e d . 82 obvious that numerical identi t y i s not preserved for i t i s impossible that the two resultant half-brains should be numerically i d e n t i c a l with the o r i g i n a l single brain. That i s , the brain at each time Tr, need not be the self-same ide n t i c a l brain, but only numerically continuous with the o r i g i n a l brain. The si g n i f i c a n c e of numerical continuity w i l l become evident when discussing P a r f i t ' s interpretation of the sign i f i c a n c e of s p l i t -brain r e s u l t s in Chapter 9 . P a r f i t claims that since the re s u l t s of s p l i t - b r a i n research show c l e a r l y that numerical identity i s irrelevant to personal s u r v i v a l , i t follows that being survived by an id e n t i c a l r e p l i c a would be about as good as ordinary s u r v i v a l . I w i l l argue that, in the case of a r e p l i c a , not even numerical continuity i s preserved for, as a cause of the stream of consciousness associated with i t , the r e p l i c a ' s brain i s cer t a i n l y not numerically continuous with my own in the sense required. Notice further, though, that this requirement i s claimed to hold only for survival as the same sentient being and not for survival as the same person. Were the claim to be made for remaining the same person there could be a c o n f l i c t as a result of certain other considerations that are partly constitutive of our l i v e s as persons <i.e.:the continuity of q u a l i t a t i v e l y appropriate psychological c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s ) . For example, i f at time Tr, we are confronted with two persons such that one has a brain which i s numerically continuous with a person at a previous 83 time T.i, but who shares no psychological c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s in common with that previous person, while the second person shares many psychological c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s but does not have a brain that i s numerically continuous with the previous person, then we should not know what to say. This i s another case which demonstrates the open-texture of the concept of person which was discussed in Chapter 3. Clearly, in such a case we can see that retention of the same brain, in the sense defined above, i s not s u f f i c i e n t for remaining the same person, although i t i s necessary since to be the same person one must also be the same sentient being. In the rase of the simpler notion of sentient being though, retention of the same brain, or a functioning part of i t in a state capable of supporting consciousness, i s necessary and s u f f i c i e n t for su r v i v a l . Since the q u a l i t a t i v e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of one's stream of consciousness are irrelevant to the question of survival as the same sentient being, and since we know that continuity of the same brain i s s u f f i c i e n t for retention of the same p-location, we know that retention of the same brain i s also s u f f i c i e n t for remaining the same sentient being. THE TRANSFER CONSTRAINT: The i n t u i t i o n which underlies t h i s constraint may not be immediately evident but I s h a l l establish that the consequences of denying t h i s constraint would indeed be c o u t e r i n t u i t i v e . The constraint i s that transfer of consciousness to a dif f e r e n t brain should not be ruled out by our theory as l o g i c a l l y impossible. 84 That i s j although i t i s probably physically impossible that such a transfer should ever occur, i t i s a l o g i c a l p o s s i b i l i t y . In the case of such a transfer, both the stream of consciousness and the associated p-location must be transferred together since both are concomitant effects of the same underlying cause. Also, i f we consider the alternatives, we s h a l l see that t h i s i s indeed the case. F i r s t l y , we may suppose that the stream of consciousness i s transferred without the associated p-location. Now r e c a l l from the discussion of William's in Chapter 3 that, to accurately describe the scenario as a case of transfer of consciousness, we must imagine that the person who previously occupied the A-body now occupies the B-body. But for this to be. the case, he must also be the same sentient being otherwise, ipso facto, he cannot be the same person. And, to be the same sentient being, we must also have the same p-location for thi s i s what numerically individuates sentient beings (i.e.:sentient beings are distinguished by their unique location in p-space). So, in the case where we imagine the stream of consciousness i s transferred without the associated p-location, we can no longer have the same sentient being. Properly speaking then, we should not say that the stream of consciousness has been transferred at a l l but, rather, that we have altered the consciousness of the B-body person such that i t has come to resemble the consciousness of the A--body person. 85 Another alternative i s to suppose that we have transferred the p-location without the associated stream of consciousness. On this alternative i t follows by default that we have not transferred the stream of consciousness though and so the result i s not what we are seeking to esta b l i s h . So, i t should be seen that the only accurate description of an event we should c a l l a transfer of consciousness must involve the transfer of both the stream of consciousness i t s e l f and i t s ' associated p-location. Now for the promised explanation of the i n t u i t i o n underlying this constraint: the claim i s that such a transfer i s conceivable <i.e.:it can be thought of without contradiction; i t i s a coherent, a l b e i t physically unrealizeable, situation) and so i t would be a category mistake to construe consciousness as a sort of entity which could not be so transferred. Like the argument above which showed that consciousness can, in some possible world, exist independently of brains, t h i s argument establishes that transfer of consciousness i s s i m i l a r l y true in some possible worlds. But we have also seen that, given such a transfer, both the stream of consciousness and the attendant p-location are necessarily transferred together. Further we can see that consciousness cannot "be" a brain, since to speak of the transfer of one brain to another would be absurd. 86 THE PHENQMENOLUGICAL CONSTRAINT: A l l that matters in survival as the same sentient being i s what i s contained in one's stream of consciousness. That i s , despite the fact of the causal dependence on the brain for survival as the same sentient being, t h i s i s in no way consti t u t i v e of what we mean by such s u r v i v a l . Rather, our l i v e s as sentient beings are e n t i r e l y constituted by the phenomenological content of our streams of consciousness. The proof of thi s l i e s in the f a c t , already discussed, that the causal dependence on the brain i s contingent only since we can coherently imagine a possible world in which our streams of consciousness exist exactly as they do in t h i s world but are not associated with brains ( i . e . : a phenomena 1ist world). It i s even conceivable that such a world would not be deterministic at a l l and, hence, no causal explanations are necessary at a l l or even possible. Now someone might object that, while t h i s i s true, even in such a phenomena1ist world our streams of consciousness must necessarily be associated with Cartesian egos or souls or some such thing. The claim here then, i s that the phenomenological content of one's stream of consciousness i s not e n t i r e l y c o n s t i t u t i v e of one's l i f e as a sentient being, but only partly c o n s t i t u t i v e of i t ; there i s the further fact of one's soul or whatever to be accounted f o r . This objection f a i l s though for the same reasons as above. That i s , even granting the p o s s i b i l i t y of 87 some "entity" of some sort which could do the job a Cartesian theorist wants> without the attendant d i f f i c u l t i e s outlined in Chapter 2, i t i s s t i l l possible to coherently imagine a possible world in which there are streams of consciousness but no associated e n t i t y of any sort. Now I think i t may be that t h i s objection i s grounded on the i n t u i t i o n that, in such a world, there would be nothing to make the stream of consciousness "mine". To this I reply that i t would be mine precisely because i t would occur at my p-location. Now i t might be further objected that there would be no way to v e r i f y t h i s , for i t i s a fact that, in t h i s world, we are able to v e r i f y such things because we can, in most cases, identify the person's body. In a world where there were no bodies, we could not ide n t i f y any stream of consciousness nor could we be assured that any experience, despite its'" q u a l i t a t i v e appropriateness, belonged to any par t i c u l a r sentient being. To t h i s I reply that t h i s objection is g u i l t y of the same confusion of metaphysics with epistemology which was outlined in Chapter 1; regardless of whether or not we could v e r i f y the f a c t , i t would s t i l l be true that, i s such a world, " t h i s " stream of consciousness would be mine because i t occurs "here", where "here" refers to my p-location. And, from the f a c t , ex hypothesi, that one cannot coherently imagine a possible world in which there are sentient beings but no streams of consciousness, i t follows that the phenomeno1ogica1 content of one's stream of consciousness i s at least partly constitutive of one's l i f e as a sentient being. Further, for reasons already discussed, i t i s 88 claimed here that this i s e n t i r e l y c o n s t i t u t i v e of one's l i f e as a sentient being. THE DIVISION CONSTRAINT: An account of survival as the same sentient being should be compatible with the fact that there may be d i v i s i o n of consciousness and that t h i s would be about as good as normal s u r v i v a l . It w i l l be rec a l l e d that the empirical fact of such d i v i s i o n of consciousness was discussed in Chapter 2 and i t i s further claimed here that t h i s would be about as good as ordinary survival since both resultant streams of consciousness would be numerically continuous with the o r i g i n a l stream. THE TEMPORAL CONSTRAINT: The q u a l i t a t i v e nature of one's experiences often provide evidence for the claim that one i s the same sentient being as one was a year before or ten years before or whatever, but these q u a l i t a t i v e considerations can do nothing more than provide such evidence. S p e c i f i c a l l y , they are in no way con s t i t u t i v e of our li v e s as sentient beings for r e c a l l from the previous chapter that, in so much as we are concerned with sentient beings, we need only establish the fact that there i s a stream of consciousness; we are only concerned with the brute fact of the existence of the stream i t s e l f . The q u a l i t a t i v e considerations are irrelevant to the extent that even the most rudimentary sorts of experiences w i l l be appropriate for sentient beings. The force 89 of t h i s point w i l l be best exemplified by considering the following. Imagine the case of a man coming out of a coma just before dying. During the last few moments of his l i f e , he i s not at a l l lucid and, in f a c t , he babbles away in gibberish and displays none of the psychological c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s that we t y p i c a l l y regard as q u a l i t a t i v e l y appropriate for persons. Now on most c r i t e r i a of "personhood" we would say that, although the man was conscious (in the sense opposed to anaesthesia), he was not a person and, ipso facto, he was not the same person he was previous to his decline into the coma. In thi s way we can see how the q u a l i t a t i v e nature of our experiences i s at least partly determinative of the ownership, qua person, of those experiences. Now consider further the same man, but t h i s time his period of gibberish behaviour i s followed by a b r i e f period of l u c i d i t y before his death. In fact the man i s able to recognize his family and the doctor and displays a l l the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c personality t r a i t s h i s family expect of him. Now, what are we to say about this in lig h t of the claim above that the qua 1 i t a t i v e nature of our experiences i s in no way determinative of our l i v e s as sentient beings? For c l e a r l y i t seems that, in such a case, the occurrence of those lucid experiences just before the man's death determined the ownership of the gibberish experiences. S p e c i f i c a l l y , they made those gibberish experiences belong to the same person that existed before the decline into unconsciousness, for we have already agreed that, in the absence of these lucid 90 experiences, the gibberish person at a l l and, hence, person. experiences would could not possibly not belong to any belong to the same The conclusion to emerge from t h i s i s that, although the qu a l i t a t i v e nature of our experiences i s at least partly determinative of our l i v e s as persons i t i s in no way s i m i l a r l y determinative of our l i v e s as sentient beings. In terms of temporality, t h i s means that the occurrence of experiences i s a l l that i s s i g n i f i c a n t in determining the ownership, qua sentient being, of any experiences that have occurred previous to them. Although q u a l i t a t i v e considerations may provide evidence for the claim that t h i s i s the same person and, hence, the same sentient being, they do no more than that. A l t e r n a t i v e l y , we may claim that the man in the example above i s the same sentient being as he was previous to his decline in virtue of something i n t r i n s i c to the f i r s t experience following recovery of consciousness and not because of any e x t r i n s i c , q u a l i t a t i v e considerations. 6 1- To claim otherwise would force us to hold that, the experiences of the man coming out of a coma only to reach a state of bare sentience would constitute a tiny l i f e of their own. Conversely, i f these experiences were followed by a state of f u l l 6 S This constraint presupposes that one's l i f e as a sentient being (and also as a person) i s discontinuous. S p e c i f i c a l l y , there are gaps in one's l i f e as a sentient being that correspond to the periods of unconsciousness in our l i v e s . This topic of gaps in the l i v e s of sentient beings w i l l be discussed at length in Chapters 6 and 7. 91 consciousness, then we would say that the experiences "had" during t h i s period of bare sentience did belong to the same person (and, ipso facto, the same sentient being) as before the decline into the coma. §2 In addition to the constraints l i s t e d above there are the following "observations" as I sha l l c a l l them which, although not as important as the actual constraints, are s t i l l s i g n i f i c a n t enough to be mentioned. F i r s t l y , survival as the same sentient being i s , necessarily, an all-or-nothing matter. That i s , identity as the same sentient being i s a matter of " s t r i c t i d e n t i t y " and not of "loose i d e n t i t y " as in the case of persons. Because survival as the same person i s at least partly determined by the continuity of c e r t a i n psychological c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , where thi s continuity is established by the q u a l i t a t i v e appropriateness of the later experiences, i t i s a loose kind of ide n t i t y . That i s , this kind of continuity can be shown to hold to varying degrees. This i s precisely the insight which motivated Derek P a r f i t to formulate his reductionist theory of personal i d e n t i t y (this w i l l be discussed at length in Part 3). This i s also, as already discussed, the reason why the notion of personhood i s open-textured. However, in the case of sentient beings, one either i s the same sentient being or one i s not; the continuity implied 92 here i s a matter of s t r i c t numerical i d e n t i t y . This observation i s a consequence of the Phenomenological Constraint and the Temporal Constraint. That i s , to the extent that we are concerned to establish that someone has survived as the same sentient being, we need only establish that the same stream of consciousness has survived (i.e.:that experiences are occurring); we are not concerned with the q u a l i t a t i v e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the occurrent experiences, but only with the brute fact of their occurrence at a particular p-location. Secondly, experience ownership claims should have the same meaning, qua sentient being, with respect to their tense. That i s , they should translate from present to past or from future to present, etc., without any change in ownership, at least in so much as the ownership claim i s with respect to some par t i c u l a r sentient being. To see t h i s , consider that the claim, " t h i s " experience belongs to " t h i s " sentient being i s equivalent to the claim that, " t h i s " experience i s a component of " t h i s " stream of consciousness. Given t h i s , i t follows that tense translations w i l l not affect ownership because the experience w i l l s t i l l be a component of the same (i.e.:numerica1ly identical) stream of consciousness. So, the above claim, "This experience belongs to this sentient being" translates as, "That experience belongs to that sentient being", where the reference of the noun i s the same. S i m i l a r l y , the claim that, "That experience w i l l belong to this sentient being", would translate as, "This experience 93 belongs to thi s sentient of the noun i s the same. "Temporal Constraint". being This ", where, once again, the reference observation i s a consequence of the §3 I now propose to discuss why only a theory which can meet these constraints w i l l be commensurate with our i n t u i t i o n s regarding what i s involved in survival as the same sentient being. J hope to achieve t h i s goal by reductio ad absurdum; by demonstrating the consequences of denying any of the constraints. F i r s t l y , regarding the Contingent Brain Constraint, enough has probably been said already. S u f f i c e i t to say that, to deny the contingency of ' t h i s relationship would be to commit a category mistake, while to deny the causal necessity of brains for the existence of minds would contradict abundant empirical evidence to the eff e c t that brains cause minds. S i m i l a r l y , regarding the Transfer Constraint, the denial of thi s as a l o g i c a l p o s s i b i l i t y would constitute a category mistake ( i . e . : t h i s denial would categorize streams of consciousness as the sorts of things which cannot conceivably be so transferred). Secondly, i f one denied the Phenomenological Constraint, <i.e.:that a l l that matters to one's survival as the same sentient being i s the fact of the occurrence of one's stream of consciousness) then one would be forced to admit that there must be some further factor to be taken account of when describing the 94 nature of our l i v e s as sentient beings. But what could t h i s "further f a c t " be? We have already seen that i t could not be anything l i k e a Cartesian ego or a soul, for i t i s perfectly consistent to imagine possible worlds where there are streams of consciousness just l i k e our own but which are not at a l l associated with anything l i k e such an e n t i t y . Also, since retention of the same brain i s only causally <i.e:contingent1y) necessary, i t cannot be c o n s t i t u t i v e ( i . e . : i t i s not essential) of our l i v e s as sentient beings. However, we have seen that sentient beings are e s s e n t i a l l y streams of consciousness; in fa c t , that i s a l l there i s to being a sentient being. Thirdly, regarding the Division Constraint, the denial of this would contradict abundant empirical evidence and i s therefore simply f a l s e . And l a s t l y , the denial of the Temporal constraint would force one to the conclusion that experiences coming after a period of unconsciousness could determine . the ownership of experiences occurring e a r l i e r . But t h i s should seem i n t u i t i v e l y absurd after a l l . For r e c a l l that, i f this were the case, then the experiences of the man coming out of the coma only to reach a state of bare sentience would constitute a tiny l i f e of their own. Conversely, i f these experiences were followed by a state of f u l l consciousness wherein the man f u l l y resembled his former s e l f , then we would say that the experiences "had" during the period of bare sentience did, after a l l , belong to the same person (and, ipso facto, the same sentient being) as before the 95 decline into a coma. In t h i s way the experiences during his state of l u c i d i t y would determine} r e t r o a c t i v e l y , the ownership of experiences which had occurred previous to them, which is absurd. This further underscores the observation that survival as the same sentient being i s an all-or-nothing matter. §4 Let us now consider the theories covered in Chapters E and 3 in l i g h t of these constraints. F i r s t l y , there i s the Cartesian theory. Such a theory can meet the Contingent Brain Constraint, the Transfer Constraint and the Temporal Constraint. It cannot s a t i s f y the Phenomenological Constraint, since the further fact of t h i s "ego" which "has" the experiences must also be accounted for in the exhaustive description of what i t i s that constitutes a sentient being. And of course, as already covered in some d e t a i l , i t cannot s a t i s f y the Division Constraint. Secondly there are psychological continuity theories. Such theories can s a t i s f y the Contingent Brain Constraint, the Transfer Constraint, the Phenomenological Constraint and the Division Constraint. They cannot, however, s a t i s f y the Temporal Constraint since ownership i s determined by the q u a l i t a t i v e appropriateness of one's experiences, character t r a i t s , etc. So, the occurrence of q u a l i t a t i v e l y appropriate experiences following a period of bare sentience would force us to the conclusion that the experiences during t h i s period of bare sentience did, after 96 a l l * belong to the same person. Conversely) in the absence of such q u a l i t a t i v e l y appropriate experiences, the experiences during the period of bare sentience would constitute a tiny l i f e of thei r own. Lastly, there are the physical continuity theories. Such a theory would s a t i s f y the Temporal Constraint and the Divi s i o n Constraint only. It obviously could not s a t i s f y the Contingent Brain Constraint, since retention of the self-same brain i s es s e n t i a l . For similar reasons i t also could not s a t i s f y the Transfer Constraint. And since an account of survival must make essential reference to the retention of the same brain, i t cannot s a t i s f y the Phenomenological Constraint. It i s not necessary to consider separately the combined theory. 9 7 CHAPTER 6 Sentient Being Theories: Two Alternatives In this chapter I w i l l discuss the d e t a i l s of p-space and of p-locations with the intention of showing how our construal of these notions affects the i n t u i t i v e p l a u s i b i l i t y of sentient being theories generally. The chapter begins with a b r i e f r e i t e r a t i o n of the general d e t a i l s of the notions of p-space and p-locations from Chapter 4 and then moves on to a discussion of the d i s t i n c t i o n between q u a l i t a t i v e and non-qualitative psychological r e l a t i o n s . This leads naturally to a discussion of two alternatives of thi s theory that have been defended by Robert E l l i o t and Richard Sikora respectively. After discussing the inadequacies of both of these alternatives, the stage w i l l have been set for the introducti on, in Chapter V, of the version of the sentient being theory to be defended here. I c a l l t h i s version the "minimal neural a c t i v i t y " theory. §1 Let us r e c a l l then, from Chapter 4, that p-locations function as indices which pick out individual streams of consciousness in p-space by being the unique place within p-space where a l l of the experiences of any par t i c u l a r sentient being occur. It i s a f a c t , ex hypothesi, that a l l of the experiences at any pa r t i c u l a r p-location w i l l a l l belong to the same sentient being, for we have defined a sentient being as 98 e s s e n t i a l l y a stream of consciousness "at" a particular p-location. More importantly, the r e l a t i o n between the stream of consciousness and the p-location at which i t occurs i s non-qu a l i t a t i v e , (this w i l l be dealt with at length in 12). In t h i s way we are able to claim that the r e l a t i o n between the two adds nothing to the content of the stream of consciousness i t s e l f . That i s , because the r e l a t i o n between the two i s non-qualitative and because the p-location has no ontological status independently of the occurrence of experiences, the p-location i t s e l f i s not a further fact to be accounted for when giving an exhaustive description of the content of the stream of consciousness of any pa r t i c u l a r sentient being; i t does not contribute any q u a l i t a t i v e features to the stream i t s e l f . The p-location functions purely as an indexical which i s metaphysically adequate to numerically individuate sentient beings within p-space, since each sentient being w i l l be uniquely associated with one and only one p-location. But what are we to make of the claim that the relationship between a stream of consciousness and the p-location at which i t occurs i s non-qualitative? To answer t h i s we must investigate the d i s t i n c t i o n between q u a l i t a t i v e and non-qu a l i t a t i v e psychological r e l a t i o n s . §2 A r e l a t i o n between experiences which i s a function of the quality of those experiences i s a q u a l i t a t i v e r e l a t i o n . Some examples w i l l make t h i s c l e a r e r . If, while looking through a 9 9 magazine, I see a picture of Venice and am subsequently reminded of my vacation there last year, because the photograph arouses certain associative memories for example, then there i s a q u a l i t a t i v e r e l a t i o n between my present experience of the picture in the magazine and my memory of being in Venice last year. Qualitative r e l a t i o n s permeate our mental goings-on in a myriad of ways. For example, any behaviour which I display that i s appropriate given my character, w i l l be q u a l i t a t i v e l y related to dispositions I have to behave in certain ways and so f o r t h . An example ci t e d by Dr. Sikora i s t h i s , "A has always been an impulsive person. Consequently, i t would be q u a l i t a t i v e l y appropriate i f A'™ future experiences also displayed impul s i veness . Sentient being theories re l y heavily on the notion of non-q u a l i t a t i v e psychological r e l a t i o n s between experiences. The reasons for t h i s have already been explored. Recall from Chapter 3 that any theory which purports to explain the unity of a person's l i f e by reference to the q u a l i t a t i v e continuity of certa i n psychological c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s (e.g.:character, b e l i e f s , intentions and so forth) w i l l , on certain occasions, be forced to admit that a pa r t i c u l a r case i s undecidable. That i s , in some cases we w i l l not be able to decide, given the empirical evidence at our disposal, whether or not X i s the same person as Y. We noted that t h i s was a consequence of the open-texture of the s e Sikora 6. 100 concept of person in ce r t a i n contexts, when the concept i s defined within an empirical theory. I further claimed, in Chapter 4, that the concept of sentient being remains d i s t i n c t in many contexts where the concept of person i s open-textured., This i s the case s p e c i f i c a l l y because, in so much as we are concerned with sentient beings, we are not concerned with the q u a l i t a t i v e nature of the experiences that constitute one's stream of consciousness but only with the brute fact of their occurrence. Obviously, t h i s can only be the case i f the unity of one's l i f e as a sentient being can be cashed out in terms of psychological r e l a t i o n s between experiences that involve only non-qualitative r e l a t i o n s . In f a c t , i t w i l l be maintained here that there are two types of non-qualitative psychological r e l a t i o n s : synchronic unifying r e l a t i o n s and diachronic unifying r e l a t i o n s . Synchronic unifying r e l a t i o n s account for the unity of the simultaneous components of our experiences at a par t i c u l a r instant. For example, l i k e Descartes we could speak of fe e l i n g the warmth of the f i r e , the smell of the burning logs, the t a c t i l e sensation of the melted wax in our hand while at the same time looking out the window we could see men walking by in the street. Now a l l of these sensations occur as the simultaneous components of experience and, i t w i l l be maintained here, they are related to each other non-qua1itatively by the synchronic unifying r e l a t i o n . The r e l a t i o n i t s e l f consists in the fact that these components of experience are related in t h i s way simply in 101 virtue of their occurring at the same p-location simultaneously. That i s , the p-location "bundles" the simultaneous components of experience just by being the "place" where they a l l occur. S i m i l a r l y , a l l experiences, considered as synchronically unified wholes, w i l l be non-qua1itatively related by the diachronic unifying r e l a t i o n . That i s , the diachronic unifying r e l a t i o n consists in the fact that any experiences that occur within the same continuous stretch of consciousness w i l l be diachronical]y related in a non-qualitative way simply in virtue of their occurring at the same p-location. Again, the p-location "bundles" the experiences that occur within any continuous stretch of consciousness just by being the "place" where they a l l occur. Further, i t should be obvious that the bundling does not contribute anything q u a l i t a t i v e to the content of the stream of consciousness, since the bundling i s not a component of the experiences themselves; the bundling i s just a matter of sharing the same p-location in much the same way that two people may share the same address. In any case where we are trying to determine whether experiences which have occurred at di f f e r e n t times belong to the same sentient being these non-qualitative r e l a t i o n s w i l l take precedence over q u a l i t a t i v e r e l a t i o n s . In f a c t , the q u a l i t a t i v e r e l a t i o n s w i l l only be relevant when we are talking about persons. When attempting to determine i f X i s the same person as Y, we must rel y on observable c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . Now take an 102 example where you have just spotted someone you think may be an old f r i e n d ; c a l l him X, but, since you haven't seen him in years, you can't be sure from appearance alone. Rather than embarrass yourself by approaching X, you decide to observe him from a distance as unobtrusively as possible. You w i l l watch him to see i f his behaviour, mannerisms and so forth are appropriate, given what you remember about your old f r i e n d . That i s , your judgement w i l l depend on whether or not you think that the displayed character t r a i t s are q u a l i t a t i v e l y appropriate given what you know about the person. But when we are concerned with whether or not X i s the same sentient being as Y, from a metaphysical viewpoint we need only be concerned with the non—qualitative re l a t i o n s since these are a l l that determine whether or not an experience belongs to the same p-location. Non-qualitative r e l a t i o n s , p a r t i c u l a r l y the diachronic r e l a t i o n , w i l l be dealt with later in section 2 of §3 when discussing an alternative version of the sentient being theory held by Sikora. But now, with the d e t a i l s of the last two chapters and the discussion of q u a l i t a t i v e and non-qualitative r e l a t i o n s at our disposal, we can move on to an examination of two alternative versions of the sentient being theory. We w i l l commence with the theory held by Professor Robert Elliot.*"'* professor E l l i o t i s at the Educational College of Brisbane in A u s t r a l i a . I am presenting the d e t a i l s of his theory here from r e c o l l e c t i o n of a discussion with him. He has not, to the best of my knowledge, published anything on the topic and I hope that the presentation here i s accurate. 103 §3 1 .p-locations as self-subsistent e n t i t i e s : The d i s t i n c t i v e feature of E l l i o t ' s theory i s that p-space and p-locations are attributed an independent ontological status akin to physical space. 6 0 A l l other d e t a i l s remain the same, sentient beings are s t i l l defined as e s s e n t i a l l y streams of consciousness "at" a pa r t i c u l a r p-location. The difference then, consists in the fact that, where streams of consciousness and p-space were previously described as concomitant e f f e c t s of the same cause ( i . e . i t h e brain), on E l l i o t ' s theory t h i s i s not so; p-space i s a s e l f - s u b s i s t i n g entity in i t s ' own ri g h t . On E l l i o t ' s theory then, to speak metaphorically, a sentient being just "moves into" a p-location. Further, the association between the two i s claimed to be contingent in the sense that the f i r s t experience of any sentient being just " f a l l s into" some p-location or other purely gratuitously. Subsequently, i t i s claimed that a l l other experiences of the sentient being w i l l continue to occur at the same p-location. As before then, i t i s claimed that every sentient being i s uniquely associated with one and only one p-location. Given t h i s , p-locations continue to serve their purpose as indexicals which allow us to numerically individuate sentient beings. Also, as before, the p-location u n i f i e s the experiences of the stream of consciousness, both 4 , 5 3 Unless one believes that physical space just consists in the r e l a t i o n s between objects. 104 synchronically and diachronica11y. On thi s theory however, the p-location bundles the experiences and the simultaneous components of experience rather in the way that a container bundles a load of hardware; that i s , the bundling i s no longer simply a resu l t of the experiences and the simultaneous components of experience just sharing the same p-location ( l i k e two people sharing the same address) but i s the resu l t of being contained in the same space. Now there are several objections that may be brought against this theory but i t may be in s t r u c t i v e to f i r s t inquire why E l l i o t should have been motivated to construct such a theory. The reason is to be able to explain how i t i s that sentient beings survive gaps in consciousness. For consider that, as described above, the diachronic unifying r e l a t i o n can only unify experiences that occur within a continuous stretch of consciousness. Most of us would agree that we are a l l unconscious at various times in our li v e s during dreamless sleep for example. It i s obvious then that our streams of consciousness occur discontinuous1y; they have a "gappy" existence. But i t was previously maintained that the stream of consciousness and i t s ' associated p-location are temporally coextensive so, i t follows that p-locations occur discontinuously as well. Now i f thi s i s so, then what i s to explain the reoccurrence of the same p-location across such gaps? Well, for E l l i o t t h i s problem i s eliminated for p-locations do riot exist discontinuously and so, we can be assured that the 105 sentient being survives periods of unconsciousness as the same sentient being ( i . e . : i t continues to occupy the same p-location throughout i t s ' l i f e ) . As we s h a l l see in section 2, Richard Sikora defends a d i f f e r e n t theory which postulates a type of diachronic r e l a t i o n that i s responsible for unifying the stream of consciousness across such gaps. But let us now consider some objections to E l l i o t ' s theory. F i r s t l y , one might object that the very fact that we have added to our ontology makes the theory less desirable than one which does not. E l l i o t ' s response would be that t h i s theory gives him greater explanatory power, with respect to the problem of gaps in consciousness, and t h i s alone i s s u f f i c i e n t to j u s t i f y the ontological commitment. Furthermore, he would reply that the notion of an independently exi s t i n g p-space i s not so strange i f one i s w i l l i n g to grant property dualism, for surely these mental events must exist somewhere. He might even claim that i t i s no stranger than the notion of an independently existing physical space which many take for granted. Let us grant him enough then to see i f t h i s claim i s j u s t i f i e d . Secondly though, i t i s a l o g i c a l p o s s i b i l i t y on E l l i o t ' s theory that there could be more p-locations than there are sentient beings. In f a c t , unless the claim i s that an available p-location just "pops" into existence when needed, I cannot see how there could not be more p-locations than sentient beings. 106 And, i f there were more p-locations than there are sentient beings, then there would necessarily have to be some empty p-locations. On t h i s view, there could even be an i n f i n i t e number of p-locations in p-space and some of these would also contain sentient beings; c l e a r l y , those which are not sentient beings would be merely empty p-locations. Hence, what distinguishes a sentient being from a merely empty p-location on t h i s view i s the occurrence of experiences at any p-location peculiar to some par t i c u l a r sentient being. The problem i s that t h i s seems to threaten their very function as indices, for consider the case where a sentient being occupies a p-location, then dies, and another sentient being subsequently moves into the same p-location. What distinguishes the two sentient beings on such a theory? It seems that E l l i o t has a choice between two alternatives but both involve ad hoc r e s t r i c t i o n s . On the one hand, he may claim that p-locations and streams of consciousness are temporally coextensive as before and, in t h i s way, the above problem of i d e n t i f i c a t i o n i s obviated. But then E l l i o t must offe r us an explanation of how p-locations conveniently "pop" into and out of existence. Recall that on the previous formulation (described in Chapter 4), t h i s i s not a problem, for the p-location w i l l necessarily be temporally coextensive with the associated stream of consciousness because both p-space and p-locations are concomitant e f f e c t s of the brain. On the other hand, he may wish to deny that p-locations just conveniently "pop" into and out of existence as needed but, in this case, he 107 would have to face the problem above: how to individuate two or more sentient beings that may occupy the same p-location at d i f f e r e n t times. Secondly, regardless of which of the above alternatives he should choose, he owes us an explanation of why, after the f i r s t experience gratuitously f a l l s into just some p-location or other, a l l the subsequent experiences continue to occur at the same p-location. The only possible reply, i t seems, would be that t h i s follows ex hypothesis. He might go on to say something l i k e the following. In so much as consciousness i s coextensive with brains, the neuro-physio1ogica1 correlates of experience occur in physical space and likewise the experiences themselves occur in p - s p a c e . 6 6 S i m i l a r l y , just as the particular location in physical space where the neuro-physio1ogica1 correlates of experience occur i s contingent, so likewise for the experiences themselves occurring in p-space. However, a l l the experiences of any par t i c u l a r sentient being w i l l always occur at the same p-location because each p-location i s equidistant from a l l others ( r e c a l l that t h i s was one of the distinguishing c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of p-space); there i s no intervening topology to permit transfer of consciousness to another p-location. Hence, although the f i r s t experience of any sentient being " f a l l s into" some empty p-location or other gratuitously, a l l subsequent experiences of that sentient being w i l l also occur there as a matter of course. 6 6 Again assuming property dualism, which E l l i o t does. 108 Except for the case of fusion already noted, the streams of consciousness that constitute sentient beings cannot traverse the discontinuous landscape of p-space to arr i v e at any other p-location. However, as noted by Professor Hanson, i t i s not obvious that a stream of consciousness should need a landscape to traverse the gap between d i f f e r e n t p-locations. Why i s i t that i t can't simply jump? Of course t h i s i s not a problem during any continuous stretch of consciousness, for the p-location and the associated stream of consciousness w i l l be associated v i s a v i s the diachronic unifying r e l a t i o n . Therefore, we can be sure that, during any continuous stretch of consciousness, a l l the experiences of any sentient being w i l l be diachronically united at the same p-location. But E l l i o t cannot r e l y on th i s as an explanation of why, after a period of unconsciousness, the f i r s t experience does not occur "at" a di f f e r e n t p-location. Thirdly, given the ontological status of p-locations on E l l i o t ' s theory, i t would constitute a further fact to be taken account of in our description of a sentient being. Recall (from Chapter 4) that p-locations are temporally coextensive with their associated streams of consciousness and that the association between the two i s non-qualitative; the diachronic u n i f i c a t i o n of the experiences in any continuous stretch of consciousness i s just a consequence of their a l l sharing the same p-location, rather l i k e two people sharing the same address. But on E l l i o t ' s theory the p-location i s conceived of as something l i k e a 109 container rather than merely as an indexical. On this conception the r e l a t i o n between the experiences and the p-location as a container must be accounted for since i t i s a fact that the experiences are now "contained"; they do not simply occur "at" a part i c u l a r p-location. So, any complete description of what i t i s to be a sentient being on E l l i o t ' s theory, must make essential reference to the p-location, qua container, as an explanation, for example, of why the experiences are located where they are, how they are contained, and so on. For example, i f I am s i t t i n g in a chair, then a complete description of myself at that time must make reference to the chair; as an explanation of why I am situated as I am and so f o r t h . The p-location i s now a r e l a t a to be accounted f o r . Now E l l i o t ' s reply i s that the association between the s e l f -subsistent p-location and the experiences i s a contingent one. That i s , the f i r s t experience of a sentient being just " f a l l s into" some p-location or other gratuitously and subsequent to that a l l experiences of "that" sentient being w i l l continue to occur at the same p-location. Given t h i s contingent r e l a t i o n , he goes on to claim that the r e l a t i o n i s also non-qualitative and therefore the p-location need not be accounted for as a r e l a t i o n a l item. If I understand him cor r e c t l y then, the claim i s that since the association between the stream of consciousness and the p-location i s contingent i t follows that i t i s also non-q u a l i t a t i v e . And since i t i s non-qualitative, i t follows that the 110 p-location adds nothing to the q u a l i t a t i v e content of the stream of consciousness. Since t h i s i s the case, the p-location can be shown to serve as an indexical only, despite i t s independent ontological status; i t need not be considered as a r e l a t i o n a l item that must be accounted f o r . Now I think this response f a i l s for the following reason. It trades on a confusion regarding the meaning of the terms "non-q u a l i t a t i v e " and "contingent". To say that the relationship between two items i s contingent does not imply that the relationship i s also non-qualitative, yet t h i s i s precisely what E l l i o t seems to be claiming. Further, as claimed above, i t does not follow from the fact that the r e l a t i o n between the two might be non-qualitative that, therefore, the p-location i s not a r e l a t a to be accounted f o r . E l l i o t seems to be assuming that, since the r e l a t i o n between the two i s both non-qualitative and contingent, the fact of the p-location's ontological status i s irrelevant. Yet I claim that t h i s i s not so; i t i s now a further fact that must be accounted for in any description of sentient beings. As noted above, i t acts rather l i k e a container and, therefore, i t must be referred to as an explanation, at the very least, of why my stream of consciousness i s oriented t h i s way rather than that for example. Now E l l i o t has also emphasized the claim that, on his theory, p-space i s a metaphysical primitive and, so, perhaps he 11 1 i s to be construed as follows. Given the fact that p-space i s a metaphysical primitive, i t s ' ontological status i s irrelevant when describing a stream of consciousness, in the same way that one might claim that the ontological status of physical space i s irrelevant when describing a physical event. In the causal explanation of any event occurring in physical space, no reference i s made to space i t s e l f as one of the re l a t a of the event. Rather, we a r b i t r a r i l y select some frame of reference, using the coordinates of space and time, to numerically individuate that event. Analogously, we lay a set of coordinates over p-space as a frame of reference to numerically distinguish mental events. Now since we might have l a i d out the coordinates in any way, i t follows that the relationship between any experiences and the p-location at which they occur i s contingent. And since I think he would also wish to say that r e l a t i o n s to frames of reference are non-qualitative, i t follows that the r e l a t i o n between the p-location and the stream of consciousness is both contingent and non-qualitative. I s i m i l a r l y remain unconvinced by thi s l i n e of argument for the simple reason that i t f a i l s to establish the claim that the r e l a t i o n between experiences and p-locations i s non-qualitative. To say that one rela t a i s merely a frame of reference does not establish the claim that other items which are related to i t are necessarily related non-qualitatively. Further, i t i s not clear, from the fact that he would regard the p-location as an unana1yzeab1e primitive, that, therefore, i t s ' ontological status i s irrelevant 1 IE to i t s ' function as an indexical. We are then obliged to ask what the frame of reference i s l a i d over- The fact remains that he has made the claim that p-locations subsists even when there are ho experiences occurring at them, and thi s c e r t a i n l y seems to commit him to an ontological status for p-space and thi s needs exp1 a ining. However, i f we assume that his theory i s compatible with the p o s s i b i l i t y of empty p-locations, then he would be forced to refine the o r i g i n a l d e f i n i t i o n of what i t i s to be a sentient being. On the o r i g i n a l d e f i n i t i o n , empty p-locations would now turn out to be sentient beings and i t would follow that there are many sentient beings who have no experiences and never w i l l . So i t i s necessary to make some appeal to experiential content in our d e f i n i t i o n ; X i s a sentient being i f f , (1) X i s e s s e n t i a l l y a stream of consciousness "at" a p-location d i s t i n c t from a l l other p-locations (E) there i s experiential content (of at least a rudimentary sort) occurring at X'» p-location Regarding clause (E), i t i s not required that these experiences occur continuously. In f a c t , there seems to be considerable evidence to indicate that there are frequent periods in the l i v e s of a l l sentient beings in which there w i l l be no occurrent experiences; for example, during periods of unconsciousness or sleep. Now perhaps i t i s possible to make a theory l i k e E l l i o t ' s 113 work i f i t can be shown that there i s some way of construing his claims in a way that can adequately meet the objections. However, there i s an alternative theory, favoured by Dr. Richard Sikora, which r e l i e s on a non-qualitative, gap-crossing r e l a t i o n to explain how sentient beings survive gaps in consciousness. g.Gap-crossing r e l a t i o n a l theory: The d i s t i n c t i v e feature of Sikora's theory i s that he explains the diachronic unity of streams of consciousness across gaps in terms of what he c a l l s a "non-qualitative, gap-crossing r e l a t i o n " which w i l l be explicated below. On t h i s theory, streams of consciousness and their associated p-locations are conceived of as temporally coextensive. Consequently there are never any empty p-locations. The problematic issue of the ontological status of p-locations i s obviated by denying that they can occur independently of sentient beings; that i s , p-space i s explained as a causal ef f e c t of brains and there just i s a particular p-location associated with each stream of consciousness. Since both streams of consciousness and p-space are conceived of as concomitant e f f e c t s of brains, p-space does not have any ontological status independently of sentient beings, as i s the case with E l l i o t ' s theory. On Sikora's theory then, the association of an experience with the p-location at which i t occurs i s non-qualitative; the p-location functions purely as an indexical to numerically individuate the sentient being "having" the experience. Given t h i s , and the fact that p-space has no 114 independent onto 1ogica1 status, the p-location i s not a further fact to be accounted for in a complete description of a sentient being; p-locations function only to individuate sentient beings and they need not (in fact cannot) be accounted for as a r e l a t i o n a l item in any description of a sentient being. Consequently, the description of any p a r t i c u l a r sentient being w i l l involve no more than a description of the experiential content of that sentient being's stream of consciousness at a p a r t i c u l a r p-location. The fact that the stream of consciousness occurs at a p a r t i c u l a r p-location i s a metaphysical fact that i s co n s t i t u t i v e of sentient beings but, since the r e l a t i o n between the two i s non-qualitative, the p-location i t s e l f does not add to the q u a l i t a t i v e content of the stream of consciousness. But now let us consider the nature of t h i s non-qualitative, gap-crossing r e l a t i o n . Prima f a c i e , there w i l l be a problem for any sentient being theory that does not r e l y on the strategy employed by E l l i o t in dealing with the periods of unconsciousness that are presumed to occur in the l i v e s of a l l sentient beings. Since, on Sikora's theory, there are no empty p-locations and since no experiences occur during periods of genuine unconsciousness (as d i s t i n c t from, say, dreaming periods of sleep) i t follows that the p-location must cease to exist during such periods. So, we are faced with a v a r i a t i o n of the problem that perplexed John Locke when he attempted to explain how i t i s that we are able to survive regular periods of unconsciousness as 1 15 the same person. Somehow, i t must be possible for these p-locations to "reoccur" (as the same p-location) i f th i s theory i s to be successful. The solution to t h i s dilemma, on Sikora's theory, involves the postulation of a non-qualitative, gap-crossing r e l a t i o n . The r e l a t i o n i t s e l f consists in the fact the experiences occurring before a gap in consciousness become linked to those following the gap simply in virtue of occurring at the same p-location. This r e l a t i o n then, can only link experiences within the same p-location and never across p-locations. And since i t i s non-qualitative, i t adds nothing to the actual content of the stream of consciousness, qua sentient being. We should also pause to note that t h i s i s a type of diachronic, non-q u a l i t a t i v e , unifying r e l a t i o n . Sikora has at least three arguments to show that this gap-crossing r e l a t i o n only links experiences across gaps to the same p-location. In essence the claim i s that t h i s i s true in vi r t u e of something i n t r i n s i c to the f i r s t experience of any period of consciousness i t s e l f . He f i r s t argues from the continuity of consciousness during any continuous span as follows, CA311 of the experiences of any continuous span of consciousness not only share the same consciousness; they are also a l l associated with the same brain. The obvious explanation for t h i s c o r r e l a t i o n i s that i t i s because they are a l l associated with the same brain that they a l l have the same p-location. But i f t h i s explanation i s correct, experiences associated with the same brain w i l l have the same p-location whether or not they are separated by periods of unconsciousness so that there r e a l l y i s a non-qualitative 116 psychological r e l a t i o n for bridging periods of unconsciousness. 6 7 Now Sikora readily admits that t h i s argument, in i t s e l f , can only establish that brains are a necessary condition for retaining the same p-location; t h i s argument does not also establish that retention of the same brain i s s u f f i c i e n t for retention of the same p-location. But secondly, he argues by reductio absurdum that anyone who denies that the same p-location i s preserved across gaps in consciousness i s forced to a contradiction. Anyone holding such a view must hold some version of what he c a l l s the "Cantilever Theory". In outline, the Cantilever Theory holds that; <1) Since a d i f f e r e n t p-location occurs across gaps in consciousness, and <£) Since we o r d i n a r i l y suppose that a l l the experiences of any continuous stretch of consciousness occur at the same p-location, (3) We must further suppose that the f i r s t experience of any continuous stretch gets i t s p-location in some way diff e r e n t than the rest and the subsequent experiences are "glued" to i t in some way. The A c h i l l e ' s heel of thi s theory i s that i t must admit that the i n i t i a l experience in a continuous series gets i t s p-location in a di f f e r e n t way than the rest. It cannot get i t from being glued to other experiences as the rest do: there isn't an experience immediately before i t for i t to be glued to, and though i t could be glued to the following experience, i t can't get i t s p-location from that because i t w i l l already have a p-location before the later experience occurs. Instead i t would seem that an i n i t i a l experience must get i t s p-location from some Sikora E4. 117 sort of association with the brain while those that fallow i t get thei r s from being fastened d i r e c t l y or i n d i r e c t l y to an i n i t i a l exper ience. <5,"p' He then proceeds to explicate a l l possible versions that such a theory might take and concludes that a l l involve contradictions. Lastly, there i s the argument from i n i t i a l experiences, (1) p-locations remain the same for any continuous span of consciousness. (2) There are times when we are completely unconscious. (3) The p-locations of i n i t i a l experiences are caused by the brain with which they are assoc i ated. (4) Either (a) the same brain always gives the same p-location to i n i t i a l experiences or; <b) i t does not. (5) It follows from <1), (2), (3) and <4a) that a l l experiences associated with the same brain have the same p-location even i f they are separated by a break in consciousness which means that the p-location theory i s true. Therefore i f (4b) i s f a l s e the p-location theory i s true. (6) If (4b) i s true changes in the brain cause i t to give d i f f e r e n t p-locations to experiences occurring at di f f e r e n t times. (7) It follows from (1), (2), and (6) that i f (4b) i s true, either; (a) Changes in the brain capable of a l t e r i n g the p-location of one;'s experiences only occur while we are unconscious or (b) they also occur while we are conscious but the brian i s "shifted into neutral" so they have no e f f e c t . (8) Both (7a) and (7b) are f a l s e (he has argued for thi s in a previous argument on the grounds that both are implausible, ad hoc assumptions). (9) Therefore (4b) i s f a l s e . (10) Therefore (by 5) the p-location theory i s true. 6 , 3 Sikora 25 - 26. Sikora 28 - 29. 118 The burden of p l a u s i b i l i t y for t h i s account l i e s with the notion of a non-qualitative, gap-crossing r e l a t i o n . To recapitulate then, we seem faced with the following choice: we may regard p-locations as s e l f - s u b s i s t i n g and consequently capable of p e r s i s t i n g while empty. In t h i s way we avoid the need for a non-qualitative, gap-crossing r e l a t i o n but find ourselves saddled with the problem of the controversial nature of the ontological status of such p-locations. A l t e r n a t i v e l y , we could regard p-locations as coextensive with sentient beings, thereby disallowing the p o s s i b i l i t y of empty p-locations. In this way, the problem of their ontological status i s obviated but the gap-crossing r e l a t i o n becomes necessary to explain the unity of sentient beings across gaps in consciousness. In the following chapter we w i l l examine a further a l t e r n a t i v e which w i l l , hopefully, square with our i n t u i t i o n s while avoiding the dilemmas faced by these other theories. 1 19 CHAPTER 7 The Minimal Neural A c t i v i t y Theory In the previous chapter we examined two theories of personal survival that r e l y on the notion of sentient beings as the fundamental concept. We saw that those theories face the following dilemma: We could regard p-locations as self-subsistent e n t i t i e s in their own r i g h t , thereby avoiding the dilemma of how to explain the reoccurrence of the same p-location across breaks in consciousness. We must then provide an account of the ontological status of these p-locations that w i l l not rely on any sort of q u a l i t a t i v e r e l a t i o n s between the p-location i t s e l f and the experiences that occur there. This, we discovered, i s not an easy thing to do convincingly. A l t e r n a t i v e l y , we could regard p-locations as temporally coextensive with sentient beings and claim that they have no ontological status independently of their function as indices which serve to individuate the various streams of consciousness occurring within p-space. In thi s way, we may avoid the problems alluded to above but now we fin d ourselves forced to accept the strange (and some would say, couterintuitive) notion of a non-qualitative, gap-crossing r e l a t ion. The theory to be expounded here, l i k e those discussed in the previous chapter, i s a sentient being theory. In substance, i t ISO most clos e l y resembles the l a t t e r in that p-locations are here regarded as temporally coextensive with sentient beings. It d i f f e r s from that theory though in that i t dispenses with the problematical gap-crossing r e l a t i o n s . §1 The motivation to develop t h i s theory arose from fe e l i n g that something very much l i k e the sentient being theories already discussed must be ri g h t . It accords well with my i n t u i t i o n that, were an individual to decline to the point where he were no longer regarded as a person, he would s t i l l be a sentient being and, hence, capable of f e e l i n g pain at the very least. Furthermore, since he would be uncontroversia 11y the same sentient being, he would be j u s t i f i e d , previous to his decline, for any concerns he might have for the future welfare of that sentient being. Additionally, such a theory neatly avoids the problems encountered by those theories considered in Chapters 2 and 3 while yet admitting the i n t u i t i v e l y obvious point that the qu a l i t a t i v e nature of ce r t a i n psychological c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s i s essential to our notion of personhood. And yet we are able to do this without s a c r i f i c i n g the i n t u i t i o n that our survival as the same sentient being i s an all-or-nothing matter. This r e s u l t , to anticipate a conclusion to be developed l a t e r , allows us to avoid the i n t u i t i v e l y repugnant conclusion sanctioned by Derek P a r f i t ' s reductionist theory, to the ef f e c t that being survived by r e p l i c a would be about as good as ordinary s u r v i v a l . 121 Clearly, the problems encountered by the sentient being theories considered above are considerable though and i t i s from the e f f o r t to circumvent those d i f f i c u l t i e s that this theory arose. If this theory i s to retain i t ' s i n i t i a l i n t u i t i v e p l a u s i b i l i t y , i t i s c r u c i a l that i t be formulated in such a way that p-locations are not granted a kind of Platonic existence and then b l i t h e l y claimed to be related in a non-qualitative way to the experiences that occur "at" them. S i m i l a r l y , i t would seem prudent to avoid, i f possible, the need for anything as controversial as a non-qualitative gap-crossing r e l a t i o n . The "minimal neural a c t i v i t y " theory (hereafter: MNA theory) succeeds in i t s goal of presenting a sentient being theory of personal survival that obviates these d i f f i c u l t i e s . Let us proceed then, to an examination of t h i s theory. §2 On t h i s alternative account, the following apparently mutually inconsistent propositions w i l l be true; (1) As a person I am also a sentient being. (2) As a sentient being I am e s s e n t i a l l y a stream of consciousness "at" a pa r t i c u l a r p-location (or equiva1ent1y, a "haver-of-experiences" or a subject of experiences "at" a par t i c u l a r p-location). (3) p-locations do not occur independently of sentient beings, but are temporally coextensive with them. (4) In the l i f e of any sentient being there w i l l be only one p-location associated with 122 " i t ; a l l experiences of " t h i s " sentient being occur at " t h i s " p-location. (5) No non-qualitative, gap-crossing r e l a t i o n s are necessary to explain the unity of a sentient being across gaps in consciousness. While I frankly doubt that we are ever t o t a l l y unconscious during sleep (even during dreamless sleep), I take the case of someone in a coma to be paradigmatic of unconsciousness. Yet there seem to be unobjectionable grounds for claiming that someone coming out of a coma i s the same sentient being as he was before the coma (and probably also the same person). It does not follow that any gap-crossing r e l a t i o n s are necessary to account for t h i s unity across such uncontroversi a 1 periods of unconsciousness though. To i l l u s t r a t e , consider this analogy. Certain programmable ca l c u l a t o r s that do not use software to store programs are capable of retaining programs in the memory, even while shut o f f , for up to 1 year. They do thi s by maintaining a minimal current-flow in their c i r c u i t r y which i s both necessary and s u f f i c i e n t to keep the memory "active"; i . e . : i t i s at least able to r e t a i n the program entered, although i t cannot run the program or accept input. If we consider the case of the calculator while shut o f f as analogous to a sentient being while unconscious, then the solution to our dilemma i s clea r . Even in periods of unconsciousness, the brain maintains a certai n minimal amount of neural a c t i v i t y which i s both necessary and s u f f i c i e n t to keep the p-location "active". This guarantees the continued existence of the p-location during these gaps in 123 consciousness and, since survival as the same sentient being depends on retention of the same p-location, i t follows that there are no gaps in the l i v e s of sentient beings during such periods of unconsciousness. Furthermore, there i s empirical evidence to support t h i s view. The medical profession can e a s i l y distinguish between someone who i s in a coma, or unconscious, and someone who i s brain-dead. The re s u l t s of encephalographic brain scans indicate that, while unconscious, there s t i l l occurs a minimal amount of neural a c t i v i t y . When even t h i s i s absent, the only a c t i v i t y of the central nervous system i s that of the autonomic, life-support functions and such persons are said to be brain dead. It may be objected that the empirical fact of this minimal amount of neural a c t i v i t y establishes nothing in this context unless i t can be shown that i t has some connection to sentience. Otherwise, without the connection to sentience, one could argue that any other c h a r a c t e r i s t i c you choose could be regarded as the sign that the p-location i s present, for example, a certain level of blood—sugar, or whatever. A l t e r n a t i v e l y , one might construe th i s to be a m a t e r i a l i s t i c theory of mind; the minimal neural a c t i v i t y of the brain i s necessary and s u f f i c i e n t for sentience just because i t " i s " sentience (where the " i s " indicates i d e n t i t y ) . But then i t may be countered that, in so much as the brain i s spatio-temporally located, there i s no.need for p-space 12*+ or p-locations to numerically individuate sentient beings. We would then have a substantially d i f f e r e n t theory from those considered in the last chapter though, for consider that a theory such as the one outlined here would v i o l a t e both the Contingent Brain Constraint and the Transfer Constraint of Chapter 5. I w i l l accept neither of these alt e r n a t i v e s though. Rather, I w i l l argue that the minimal neural a c t i v i t y i s an indication that the sentient being i s likewise minimally conscious. S p e c i f i c a l l y , I s h a l l treat the concept of consciousness as a scaling concept, in accordance with i t s ' treatment by the medical profession. Hence, to say that one i s unconscious i s actually a misnomer i f i t i s taken to mean "not conscious"; rather, someone who i s unconscious i s only minimally conscious. This underscores our e a r l i e r observation that, qua sentient being, one's level of consciousness need only be of the most minimal level to be s u f f i c i e n t for one to be "having" experiences.6'"'' This i s precisely why the concept of sentience was observed to be of much wider scope than that of person; even a r e p t i l e i s sentient and, as I claim, so i s person in a coma. These observations also underscore the observation made above to the effect that the medical profession readily distinguishes between someone in a coma and someone who i s brain-dead. The answer should now be *»'v I contend that someone in a coma who i s experiencing only a d u l l throb of pain i s s t i l l "having" experiences although I admit that t h i s i s not the ordinary sense of "experience". 125 clear that, in fa c t , i t i s the brain-dead victim who i s actually unconscious in the sense of "not conscious". Again the j u s t i f i c a t i o n for treating consciousness as scaling concept i s empirical. The medical profession treat i t as such and have an elaborate set of standard tests which measure the level of awareness of the patient in terms of his or her s e n s i t i v i t y to stimulation."'' 0 The claim here i s that these levels of awareness correspond to level s of consciousness and that, when 7 0 The medical scale of the levels of consciousness i s cal l e d the "Glasgow Coma Scale". The tests measure the patient's response along three parameters of s e n s i t i v i t y to stimulation, corresponding to the response of the eyes, verbal response and motor response. The lower the score, the less conscious i s the pat i ent j (A) Eyes: (4) Eyes open spontaneously <3) Eyes open to speech (E) Eyes open to pain <1) No response (B) Verbal: (5) Oriented - time, place, person <4) Confused (3) Incomprehensible sentences and/or words <E) Incomprehensible sounds (1) No response (C) Motor: (6) Obeys commands (5) Localizes pain <4) Withdrawal response due to pain <3) Flexion response - decerebrate r ig id i ty (2) Extension response - decortigate r i g i d i t y (1) No response These tests are only intended to function as a diagnostic device that indicate the awareness of the patient but the claim here i s that these levels of awareness correspond to measurable levels of neural a c t i v i t y which in turn indicate d i s t i n c t levels of consciousness. 126 unconscious in the sense of being in a coma, one i s actually minimally conscious. S i m i l a r l y , during dreamless sleep one i s less conscious than someone who i s awake but yet more conscious than someone in a coma. It i s here claimed then, that sentient beings do not lead "gappy" l i v e s at a l l and so there are no gaps to be explained away. Further, this theory also supports the claim made e a r l i e r that, as a sentient being, the most minimal level of consciousness i s s u f f i c i e n t to q u a l i f y as sentience. Now i t might be objected to t h i s that I am r e f e r r i n g to a di f f e r e n t sort of consciousness from that talked about by E l l i o t and Sikora. From th i s i t would follow that the theory offered here cannot constitute a solution to their problem. The argument would be that, when r e f e r r i n g to consciousness, even the sort appropriate to sentient beings, they meant conscious awareness of the type referred to by Locke; that i s , conscious awareness of one's thoughts as belonging to oneself and the a b i l i t y to r e c a l l these as memories of thoughts had by oneself. Quoting Locke, For, since consciousness always accompanies thinking, and i t i s that which makes every one to be what he c a l l s s e l f , and thereby distinguishes himself from a l l other thinking things: in t h i s alone consists personal ident i t y , i . e . , the sameness of a rational being; and as far as t h i s consciousness can be extended backwards to any past action or thought, so far reaches the identity of that person; i t i s the same s e l f now i t was then; and i t i s by the same s e l f with t h i s present one that now r e f l e c t s on i t , that that action was done. 7 1 V 1 Locke 449. 1E7 I r e s i s t t h i s conclusion and argue that, in so much as they are sentient being theorists, they are s i m i l a r l y committed to the claim that consciousness, qua sentience, can be a matter of degree. For r e c a l l that sentience has been defined (in Chapter <4 ) as the minimal sort of awareness that would be s u f f i c i e n t to be a subject of experiences. In so much as they agree with the claim that even animals low on the evolutionary scale qualify as sentient beings, they cannot be construed to be talking of sentience in the same sense as Locke. This sort of consciousness is self-consciousness as opposed to consciousness s i m p l i c i t e r ( i . e . : the opposite of unconsciousness). It might be further objected that, despite the res u l t s of encephalographic brain scans, i t has not been established that someone in a coma i s conscious in any sense appropriate to the notion of sentience intended here, i.e.:such an individual may exhibit d i f f e r e n t brain patterns from someone brain-dead, but this does not establish that he i s !'having" experiences. To t h i s I respond that, f i r s t l y , such individuals are not always unresponsive along a l l three parameters of measurable s e n s i t i v i t y indicated in footnote 1. They often respond to stimuli by grasping, moaning and so f o r t h . This implies at least minimal awareness of their surroundings which in turn implies that they are "having" experiences. But secondly, even when unresponsive, I claim that the measurable brain a c t i v i t y i s an indication that the individual i s at least sentient. Consider the example of a 128 • man in an accident who i s badly injured and declines to a state of coma. If we could follow his subjective experiences as he declines we might notice that his awareness of his environment declined by degrees such that he f i r s t lost his visual component, then his auditory component, then his olfactory component and so on. Eventually, we f i n d our victim with no awareness of his environment at a l l and he i s completely unresponsive to stimulation yet there remains a d u l l and continuous sensation of pain. I argue that even t h i s d u l l sensation of pain i s s u f f i c i e n t for our victim to qualify as sentient. §3 From these considerations i t follows that gap-crossing rel a t i o n s are not necessary to explain the unity of sentient beings across gaps in consciousness for there r e a l l y are no such gaps in the l i v e s of sentient beings. The gap referred to occurs in the l i f e of the person; that i s , an individual who i s unconscious i s no longer a person but i s s t i l l sentient. Furthermore, since p-locations are temporally coextensive with streams of consciousness, they do not occur independently of them. As such, they function purely as indexicals e f f e c t i v e l y individuating sentient beings by their unique location in p-space. As argued previously, they add nothing q u a l i t a t i v e to the content of one's stream of consciousness; they simply bundle the experiences of a sentient being in the sense of being the place where a l l the experiences occur. Such a theory then, o f f e r s us 129 the best r e s u l t s of the theories considered above. Like the f i r s t , i t explains the unity of sentient beings without relying on any kind of gap-crossing r e l a t i o n . And, l i k e the second, i t regards p-locations as temporally coextensive with sentient beings, thereby avoiding the d i f f i c u l t i e s associated with postulating independently existing p-locations. Such a theory, l i k e the two considered previously, i s , according to our c l a s s i f i c a t i o n system, a "further f a c t " theory. That i s , the notion of a sentient being i s a further fact to be accounted for in the analysis of what i t i s to be a person. It should be noted however, that both t h i s theory and the gap-crossing theory d i f f e r dramatically from the sort of further fact implied by Cartesian ego theorists. Like the Cartesian ego theory, these theories regard the c r u c i a l factor in survival as non-qualitative but, unlike the Cartesian theory, this non-qu a l i t a t i v e factor i s not regarded as some sort of immaterial substance. That i s , both the Cartesian theory and the sentient being theory explain the unity of person's l i v e s in terms of something ultimate but, in the case of the Cartesian theory, t h i s ultimate entity i s conceived of as a sort of substance d i f f e r e n t in type from the physical s t u f f of which we o r d i n a r i l y suppose persons to be constituted. E l l i o t ' s theory, on the other hand, seems to also be a "further f a c t " theory of what i t i s to be a sentient being. In so much as he regards p-space as onto logica11y independent of sentient beings, i t constitutes a further fact in 130 the analysis of what i t i s to be a sentient being. And, l i k e the cartesian theory i t regards this further fact which is cons t i t u t i v e of our l i v e s as sentient beings as something substantial yet immaterial and, in p r i n c i p a l , beyond experience. These two then are "substance" theories and, for many, th i s would be s u f f i c i e n t reason for rejecting the self-subsistent theory of p-locations regardless of those reasons already considered in Chapter 6. We sha l l see, in the next section, that there are also other grounds for rejecting such a theory. There i s a further point of s i m i l a r i t y between Sikora's gap-crossing theory and the minimal neural a c t i v i t y theory. These theories hold that survival i s contingently dependent upon retention of the same <i.e.:numerica11y ide n t i c a l ) brain. The claim here i s not that retention of the same brain i s in any way cons t i t u t i v e of what i t i s to be the same sentient being but, rather, that there i s a causal dependence which holds in virtu e of c e r t a i n basic natural laws. We w i l l consider these points of difference and s i m i l a r i t y further in the next section when we compare the three sentient being theories in terms of the constraints outlined in Chapter 5. §4 For s i m p l i c i t y we w i l l designate the three as follows; 1) the s e l f - s u b s i s t i n g p-location theory w i l l be referred to as "E" for E l l i o t ' s theory 131 2) the non-qualitative5 gap-crossing r e l a t i o n theory w i l l be referred to as "S" for Sikora's theory 3) the minimal neural a c t i v i t y theory w i l l be referred to as "H" for Henry's theory Regarding the Contingent Brain Constraint, a l l three theories are compatible with i t but only "S" and "H" require i t . It i s a requirement for these theories in so much as both regard p-space and streams of consciousness as concomitant e f f e c t s of brains. Again i t must be stressed that this requirement i s causal and not necessary (on the interpretation of the causal r e l a t i o n as contingent); i t in no way implies that retention of the same brain i s cons t i t u t i v e of our l i v e s as sentient beings. It i s conceivable that both p-space and streams of consciousness could occur without being associated with a brain, or even anything resembling a brain, (i.e.:there i s a possible world in which the causal laws of our own do not hold and a l l that exists are streams of consciousness and p-space). Consequently, to construe the connection between brains on the one hand and p—locations and experiences on the other, as necessary in any l o g i c a l sense would be to commit a category mistake. The claim here i s simply that in this world, the actual world, as a result of certain natural causal laws, retention of the same brain i s a contingently necessary and s u f f i c i e n t condition for survival as the same sentient being. 132 On the other hand, "E" i s , on at least one construal, only weakly compatible with t h i s constraint in the sense that brains would be causally necessary but not causally s u f f i c i e n t . They aren't causally s u f f i c i e n t because they don't determine the p-location. And, unless "E" included the s t i p u l a t i o n that brains are causally necessary for the occurrence of experiences, brains would not even be necessary for survival as the same sentient being. Even with this s t i p u l a t i o n though, "E" i s only weakly compatible to the extent that brains are construed as necessary for the occurrence of experiences "at" a p a r t i c u l a r p-location, but are not necessary for the p-location i t s e l f ; the brain, qua cause, i s necessary only for the occurrence of experiences since t h i s i s a l l that distinguishes empty p-locations from sentient beings (i.e.:p-1ocations where experiences occur). That i s , on this construal, brains are causally necessary but not causally suff i c i ent. A l l three theories are compatible with the Transfer Constraint. Recall from Chapter 5 that, for the event to be accurately described as a transfer of consciousness, we must suppose that both the stream of consciousness and the associated p-location are transferred together. We saw that t h i s followed from a consideration of the alternatives f o r , i f we suppose that the stream of consciousness i s transferred without the associated p-location, then we haven't actually transferred the stream of consciousness to some other brain at a l l . Rather, we have altered 133 the conscious at some p-location associated with a d i f f e r e n t brain such that i t has come to resemble the consciousness at our o r i g i n a l p-location; that i s , to c a l l i t a transfer of consciousness at a l l , we must be able to say that i t i s now the "same" sentient being (which means the same p-location) at a d i f f e r e n t brain. On the other hand? i f we suppose that we have transferred the p-location without the associated stream of consciousness) then, by default, we have not transferred the consciousness and so, once again, the event cannot be accurately described as a transfer of consciousness. So, in any case where both the stream of consciousness and the associated p-location are transferred together, we have a case of transfer of consciousness to a d i f f e r e n t brain and a l l three theories are compatible with t h i s . Clearly "E" v i o l a t e s the Phenomenological Constraint since there i s something over and above what i s contained in one's stream of consciousness, viz the p-location i t s e l f (which on his view i s a seperate e n t i t y ) , that i s essential to survival as the same sentient being. As mentioned above, such a theory resembles Cartesianism, at least to the extent that i t posits a independently existing substance <ie.:p-space) which i s partly c o n s t i t u t i v e of one's l i f e as a sentient being. As such i t i s not only a further fact theory of what i s involved in being a person but i t i s also a further fact theory regarding what i s involved 134 in being a sentient being. Both "S" and "H" are compatible with th i s constraint. Regarding both the Temporal Constraint and the Division Constraint, a l l three theories should be compatible. On t h i s point I see no difference between them. They should a l l agree on the two provisional constraints as well (i.e.:the all-or-nothing constraint and the experience ownership constraint). Summarizing our r e s u l t s then, we see that "E" strongly vi o l a t e s at least one constraint (i.e.:the Phenomeno1ogica1 Constraint) and i s only weakly compatible with the Contingent Brain Constraint. Theories "S" and "H" on the other hand are both strongly compatible with a l l our constraints. Given the argument in Chapter 5 which established why a theory which can meet these constraints i s more consonant with our i n t u i t i o n s than one which cannot, we are l e f t to conclude that theory "E" i s less plausible than either "S" or "H". The decision between "S" and "H" w i l l depend on whether one i s w i l l i n g to accept the notion of a non-q u a l i t a t i v e , gap-crossing r e l a t i o n rather than the notion that the minimal neural a c t i v i t y which does, as a matter of empirical f a c t , occur even during unconsciousness i s evidence of minimal consciousness in the sense required by such a theory. I argue that the l a t t e r choice i s preferable for the following reasons. F i r s t l y , we have already established that the experiences which characterize sentient beings at the most general level need only 135 be of the most rudimentary sort. In fact, they are so rudimentary that the p a r t i c u l a r s of the q u a l i t a t i v e features of these experiences are irrelevant when giving a complete account of the sentient being's stream of consciousness. Secondly, the MNA theory allows us to explain what i s involved in our survival in a way that i s compatible with certain well established empirical r e s u l t s . It seems to require a substantially smaller leap of f a i t h to believe that such neural a c t i v i t y could be characterized as experiences of the sort required than to accept the notion of such a gap-crossing r e l a t i o n . 136 PART 3 REDUCTIONIST THEORIES 137 CHAPTER 8 Reductionist Theories We w i l l commence t h i s chapter with a review of Hume's position, showing why he was wrong to argue that one could not have unity in the case of something constituted of a succession of c l o s e l y resemblant parts and why he was wrong to i n s i s t that to survive as the same person, one must remain unchanged. In §H, I w i l l explicate the connection between Hume and P a r f i t ' s reductionist theory, showing how the la t t e r i s the lo g i c a l descendant of Hume's theory. In §3 I w i l l show how P a r f i t establishes the truth of reductionism and, f i n a l l y , in §4, the theory i t s e l f w i l l be explicated. §1 It w i l l be recalled from Chapter 3 that Hume claimed our notion of personal identity i s ill-founded and cannot be j u s t i f i e d . He argued that, as persons, we are constituted of bundles of impressions which are linked by the relations of causation and resemblance. Therefore, a person i s , properly speaking, constituted of a succession of d i s t i n c t objects (i.e.:"impressions") and i s not a single object. Further, there i s no par t i c u l a r impression which remains unchanged throughout the l i f e of any person to establish the kind of continuity we presume i s necessary to survive as the same person. Consequently, there i s neither unity nor numerical identity in the l i v e s of 138 persons and so, when we say that someone i s the same person, we are simply wrong. Now in the f i r s t place, Hume i s here implying that i t would be wrong to say that a succession of objects i s , properly speaking, a single thing. Consequently, i t i s impossible for someone to remain the same person because, in so much as we are a succession of impressions, we are actually a c o l l e c t i o n of closely related persons and not a single person at a l l . Now consider a set, jri, of d i s t i n c t but closely related objects, 0 :l, through 0,,. In this series we have n d i s t i n c t objects but only one s e t . 7 2 There i s no contradiction in saying that we have n objects and one &. Just as we can say that a succession of words constitute a sentence, so we can say that a succession of impressions constitute a person. Persons just happen to be the sorts of things that are constituted of parts in this way. Quoting Penelhum, So, in spite of Hume, there i s no contradiction in saying that certain kinds of things are composed of a succession of parts, and yet are each only one thing. Whether a thing can have many parts or not depends e n t i r e l y on what sort of thing i t i s . Most things (including people) d a . 7 3 A similar example was used by Terence Penelhum in, "Hume on Personal Identity", contained in the anthology, Hume: A Col l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays, ed. V.C. Chappell, (New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1966) S13 - 239. •>>3 per,elhum 226. 139 In the second place, Hume was wrong to suppose that for something to remain numerically i d e n t i c a l , i t must remain unchanged. An acorn which grows to become an oak i s s t i l l the same plant in the numerical sense but i t i s now a tree, whereas before i t was an acorn. In f a c t , as pointed out by Penelhum, one cannot be said to .have changed unless one i s , numerically, the same person. The only sort of thing which cannot change without becoming a numerically d i s t i n c t entity i s something which i s , by d e f i n i t i o n , an unchanging thing. An example ci t e d by Penelhum i s a musical note. As soon as the tone i s raised or lowered, i t becomes a di f f e r e n t note. The plethora of objects in the world admit of a wide latitude of permissable changes, from musical notes which are, by d e f i n i t i o n , unchanging, to e n t i t i e s l i k e persons which remain numerically i d e n t i c a l despite dramatic change throughout a l i f e t i m e , What kinds of changes can occur without our having to say that the thing has ceased to exist and given place to something else depends on what kind of thing we are talking about. To know what such changes are i s part of what i t i s to know the meaning of the class—term for that sort of object. A house, or a person, i s something which admits of many changes before we could say i t has ceased to e x i s t . To know what these changes are i s to know, in part at least, what the words "house" and "person" mean.7'* To return to the example of the acorn, we can show how i t remains numerically i d e n t i c a l despite the changes that occur by Penelhum 227. 140 temporally indexing i t s ' properties. In thi s way we may say that the oak, which " i s now" large, i s the acorn which "was" small. S i m i l a r l y , we may say that t h i s person, who " i s now" old, i s the same person who "was" young, or thi s person, who "was once" impulsive, i s the same person who " i s now" cautious. Conversely, t h i s person who " i s now" impulsive i s the same person who " w i l l be" cautious. I r o n i c a l l y , Hume himself distinguished two senses of the word "Ide n t i c a l " . He refers to these as the numerical sense and the s p e c i f i c sense, ETlhough we commonly be able to distinguish pretty exactly betwixt numerical and s p e c i f i c i d e n t i t y , yet i t sometimes happens that we confound them, and in our thinking and reasoning employ the one for the other. Thus a man who hears a noise that i s frequently interrupted and renewed, says i t i s s t i l l the same noise, though ' t i s evident the sounds have only a s p e c i f i c identity or resemblance, and there i s nothing numerically the same but the cause which produced them. 7 0 From th i s i t i s clear that two things may be s p e c i f i c a l l y i d e n t i c a l i f they are q u a l i t a t i v e l y indistinguishable, yet they w i l l be numerically d i s t i n c t . Hence, to remain unchanged i s to remain i d e n t i c a l in both the s p e c i f i c and the numerical sense, but the converse need not hold. Unfortunately, although Hume recognized the d i s t i n c t i o n , he seems to have missed i t s signi f i c a n c e in thi s respect. Thus, he mistakenly assumes that v s Hume, Treatise 257 - E58. 141 for a person to remain the self-same person <i.e.:numerica1ly i d e n t i c a l ) , he must r e t a i n s p e c i f i c i d e n t i t y . But, as the analogy nf the acorn shows, persons can remain numerically ide n t i c a l without s p e c i f i c i d e n t i t y . In t h i s respect, persons resemble acorns rather than musical notes. In the next section we w i l l examine P a r f i t ' s theory which takes Hume's position to i t s l o g i c a l conclusion. Following Hume, he maintains a theory of psychological continuity in terms of the links of resemblance and causation. Given t h i s , he concludes that personal survival i s a matter of degree. Our l i v e s as persons consist of a series of clos e l y related episodes that belong to various persons, such that the resemblance between individuals diminishes with increasing time. §2 E s s e n t i a l l y , the reductionist claims that i t i s possible to give a complete description of r e a l i t y without any reference to persons. This follows from the fact that i t i s possible to provide a completely impersonal description of persons. To quote P a r f i t , "A person's existence just consists in the existence of a brain and body, and the occurrence of a series of interrelated physical and mental e v e n t s " . 7 6 A consequence of t h i s , to be discussed at length below, i s that i t w i l l sometimes be the case that the question of one's identity w i l l be indeterminate. That v 6 P a r f i t 210. 142 i s , i t w i l l , in some circumstances, be an empty question to use P a r f i t ' s phrasing. The connection with Hume i s t h i s . P a r f i t has arrived at his position by arguing that personal identity i s a matter of the continuity of psychological c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , which he cashes out in terms of a theory of causation and resemblance along the lines of Hume. Further, he argues that the connectedness on which t h i s continuity supervenes can hold to any degree. In cases where i t holds strongly, we can say that X i s the same person as Y and where i t does not hold at a l l , we can say that X i s not the same person as Y. But there are many cases, in the middle ranges, where continuity holds only to a diminished degree and, in these cases, the question of whether X i s the same person as Y i s an empty question. Notice that P a r f i t i s not simply making the epistemological claim that we don't or can't know what the answer to the question i s . Rather, he i s making the metaphysical claim that, properly speaking, there i s no answer in such cases. We can know a l l the facts regarding the case and s t i l l not know whether or not X has survived as the same person. P a r f i t agrees with Hume to thi s extent then, that our standard notion of personal identity i s f a l s e . He further agrees that the unity of our l i v e s i s to be explained in terms of the continuity of psychological c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s that i s broader than Locke's notion of memory and that the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s themselves 143 are linked by resemblance and causation. Now where Hume would claim that? properly, there i s no identity in the l i v e s of persons at a l l and that his theory of the links between our "impressions" i s what we have instead of such identity, P a r f i t argues that we do have identity but that i t does not hold throughout one's l i f e . Rather, one's l i f e i s actually constituted of a series of successive persons who resemble each other to varying degrees. The degree of resemblance diminishes with time such that those individuals furthest removed may only resemble to a limited degree or perhaps (in some rare cases, usually only found in thought experiments) not even at a l l . It i s arguable that P a r f i t has taken Hume's position to i t s lo g i c a l conclusion then, in so much as he begins from Hume's premise that there i s no substance or enti t y , either material or immaterial, which explains the unity of our l i v e s as persons. Empirically, a l l we can be assured of i s the resemb1ance. over time, both physically and psychologically, of the people we know and i t i s an obvious fact that this resemblance holds to varying degrees. Further, i f there i s no separately existing entity which is the "subject" of experience, then i t follows that persons can be described in a purely impersonal way. P a r f i t i s aware of Hume's flaws to the extent that he r e a l i z e s that to have identity, one need not remain unchanged and nor i s i t impossible for a succession of resemblant parts taken together to constitute one thing. A l l that i s required i s q u a l i t a t i v e s i m i l a r i t y . Let us 144 turn our attention then to P a r f i t ' s arguments for establishing the truth of reductionism to understand how he has arrived at these conclusions. §3 In outline, P a r f i t argues as follows. F i r s t he shows that, i f we believe that our identity must always be determinate, then we are also committed to the b e l i e f that we are, as persons, some sort of separately existing entity apart from our bodies. That i s , we exist as some sort of pure ego. He then shows that we cannot be such an e n t i t y . Given t h i s , i t follows that our identity i s sometimes indeterminate. Further, he argues that, i f reductionism were f a l s e , then our identity would always be determinate but, since t h i s has been shown not to be the case, i t follows that reductionism i s true. We are f i r s t invited to consider the "Psychological Spectrum" case in which a man, trapped by a d i a b o l i c a l s c i e n t i s t , i s told that he w i l l have his character altered in a series of steps by throwing switches u n t i l he comes to psychologically resemble Napoleon. Each stage w i l l closely resemble i t s neighbors and the entire spectrum i s intended to cover a l l possible degrees of psychological connectedness. Now in the cases at the near end, i t i s undeniable that he w i l l be the same person. But what of the cases at the far end? Well, consider Williams' example from Chapter 3. If the man were told that, after a complete 145 transformation he would be tortured, we can ask, "Should he be concerned for his welfare?". Williams considered t h i s argument to be a refutation of psychological continuity as a c r i t e r i o n of personal i d e n t i t y , on the grounds that i t would s t i l l be the same man who would fe e l the pain of torture. He reasoned that, since we can be sure that i t would s t i l l be the same man who would feel the pain in the cases at the near end, how could i t be the case that a series of s l i g h t changes could eventually result in a d i f f e r e n t person? We would be forced to conclude that there must be some c r i t i c a l l i m i t where the accumulated changes pr e c i p i t a t e the t r a n s i t i o n to a new person. But this seems highly implausible for there i s no empirical evidence of what such a c r i t i c a l l i m i t might be. It seems that we could only a r b i t r a r i l y s t i p u l a t e such a l i m i t and t h i s contradicts our b e l i e f that our personal identity must always be always determinate. Now Williams took thi s to be an argument for taking physical continuity as the c r i t e r i o n of personal i d e n t i t y . In response to this P a r f i t i n v i t e s us to consider the "Physical Spectrum" case where the same degree of small changes alter a man's physical appearance u n t i l he completely resembles Greta Garbo at age 30. Also, the changes involve the replacement of his c e l l s with new ones so that, at the far end, there would be none of his o r i g i n a l c e l l s l e f t . In t h i s extreme case either we believe that i t i s s t i l l the same person, in which case we must believe that i t i s psychological continuity which i s the mark of the person, or we believe that he i s a d i f f e r e n t person. But i f we believe the 146 latter? then we are again forced to conclude that there i s some c r i t i c a l percentage of c e l l s which, when replaced, result in a di f f e r e n t person. Again, such a view i s hard to believe, p a r t i c u l a r l y since there are no empirical means of discovering what t h i s c r i t i c a l percentage might be. If we believe that the man i s the same person, we are also forced to conclude that psychological continuity provides personal identity even in the absence of the normal cause (i.e.:the continued existence of the same brain). But now P a r f i t presents the "Combined Spectrum" case which involves a l l of the possible variations in the degrees of both physical and psychological connectedness. In the case at the far end, the man would resemble Greta Garbo at age 30, both psychologically and phys i c a l l y , and there would be none of his own c e l l s remaining. If we believe that t h i s man i s s t i l l the same person, then we must conclude that his existence as the same person must consist in the persistence of some separately existing entity along the li n e s of a Cartesian ego. There i s cl e a r l y no alternative since i t cannot, in such a case, consist in the continuity of either the same brain or of the man's psychological c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . A l t e r n a t i v e l y , we could conclude that he was no longer the same person and t h i s would imply that, in the middle cases, the question of the victim's identity i s sometimes indeterminate or that there i s some, as yet undetermined, level of change such that the victim becomes a 147 numerically d i f f e r e n t person. The last hypothesis i s counterintuitive and, further, there are no empirical means for determining what such a l i m i t could be. Consequently, our choices are either, (1) we are Cartesian egos and our identity i s always determinate or, <2) our identity i s sometimes indeterminate and reductionism i s true. P a r f i t next proceeds to demonstrate the imp1ausibi1ity of the Cartesian view. F i r s t he notes, we have no knowledge that such an entity e x i s t s , either from observation of others or from introspection. Secondly, even i f we did have such evidence, we could not know that i t persisted continuously. We could never know that i t was not the case that i t was destroyed every instant and subsequently replaced with a new one. Thirdly, i t s existence does not follow as a deductive consequence of our experiences as Descartes seems to have supposed. Descartes concluded that since he thought there must be an " I " which thinks. But, in fa c t , he was only e n t i t l e d to conclude that, "This i s a thought, therefore there i s at least one thought being thought". Of course Descartes' mistake was a natural one given the way we talk, but his conclusion was not j u s t i f i e d . Lastly and most damaging though, are the re s u l t s of s p l i t - b r a i n research discussed in Chapter 2. This evidence contradicts the unity of consciousness that i s necessary for the Cartesian argument to go through. Any other alternative would have to deny the identity of the ego with our self-consciousness so that the ego i t s e l f would remain 148 unitary and undividedj despite the destruction of the unity of one's consciousness. But then t h i s ego would be an empty hypothesis; i t could not explain what i t has t y p i c a l l y been invoked f o r , v i z , the unity of our self-conscious awareness and, ipso facto, the unity of our l i v e s as persons. Quoting P a r f i t , "When the b e l i e f in Cartesian egos i s cut loose from any connections with either p u b l i c a l l y observable or privately introspectible f a c t s , the charge that i t i s u n i n t e l l i g i b l e becomes more plausible".-'""'' And t h i s i s not merely v e r i f i c a t i o n i s m , as P a r f i t points out, but, rather, the reasonable assumption that we should reject any entity which we have no good reasons to believe i n . Since P a r f i t has conclusively proven that we cannot exist as any such separately e x i s t i n g entity and since there are good empirical reasons to believe that the brain i s the cause of our psychological continuity, we have good reasons to believe that reductionism must be true. Returning to the Combined Spectrum case, we can see that the connectedness of our psychological and physical c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s can hold to any degree and t h i s implies that our personal identity i s sometimes indeterminate,' which in turn implies the truth of reductionism. I w i l l now s p e l l out the d e t a i l s of the theory. P a r f i t 228. 149 §4 P a r f i t begins with a d i s t i n c t i o n between psychological connectedness and psychological continuity. Psychological connectedness i s the holding of part i c u l a r d i r e c t psychological connections. Psychological continuity is the holding of overlapping chains of strong connectedness. 7 6 1 Some examples w i l l i l l u s t r a t e . A direct psychological connection between myself yesterday and myself today would be the action I perform today as a result of an intention I formed yesterday or, again, a memory of an event from yesterday. Now the distinguishing c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of connectedness i s that i t can hold to any degree. There may be p o t e n t i a l l y thousands of such dire c t psychological connections that could hold between myself yesterday and myself today, but c e r t a i n l y not a l l of them w i l l hold in f a c t . For example, I cannot remember what I had for breakfast yesterday. This makes i t d i f f i c u l t to say exactly what should count as enough dire c t connections to establish connectedness between myself yesterday and today. Let us say then, that, "there i s enough connectedness i f the number of connections, over any day, i s at least half the number of dire c t connections that hold, over every day, in the l i v e s of nearly every actual person".'7""*' When there are enough such direct connections, then there w i l l be strong connectedness. Psychological continuity then, w i l l consist in the holding of 7 ( 3 P a r f i t 206. P a r f i t 206. 150 overlapping chains of such connectedness so that, even i f there are no dire c t connections between myself now and myself 20 years ago, there would s t i l l be continuity. Note that personal identity i s a t r a n s i t i v e r e l a t i o n however. If the senile old general i s the same person as the brave young o f f i c e r and the brave young o f f i c e r i s the same person as the boy who was flogged, then the boy who was flogged is the same person as the senile old general. But connectedness i s not a t r a n s i t i v e r e l a t i o n , for I can be strongly connected to myself yesterday without being connected at a l l to myself 20 years ago. So, strong connectedness cannot be the c r i t e r i o n of ident i t y . Since continuity i s a t r a n s i t i v e r e l a t i o n , i t must be the c r i t e r i o n of personal i d e n t i t y . Here then i s P a r f i t ' s formulation of the c r i t e r i o n of psychological continuity: (1) There i s psychological continuity i f and only i f there are overlapping chains of strong connectedness. X today i s the same person as Y at some past time i f and only i f <2) X i s psychologically continuous with Y, (3) th i s continuity has the right kind of cause, and <4) there does not exist a d i f f e r e n t person who i s also continuous with Y. (5) Personal Identity over time just consists in the holding of facts l i k e (2) to ( 4 ) . < Regarding the q u a l i f i c a t i o n above, v i z , "the right kind of cause", P a r f i t distinguishes three kinds of cause; E«O p a r f i t 207. 151 (1) The normal cause <i.e.:the continued existence of the same brain). (2) Any r e l i a b l e cause. (3) Any cause at a l l . These three causes correspond to three versions of the continuity c r i t e r i o n just presented? which are referred to as, the "Narrow", the "Wide" and the "Widest" version respectively. In the case of the Narrow version, the psychological c r i t e r i o n coincides with the physical c r i t e r i o n . P a r f i t contends that both the physical and the psychological c r i t e r i o n are reductionist because both are committed to the claim that, the fact of a person's identity over time just consists in the holding of c e r t a i n more pa r t i c u l a r facts and i s in no way dependent on the existence of any separately existing e n t i t y . This in turn implies the claim that these facts can be described in a completely impersonal way. Using "event" to refer to a l l the events peculiar to persons, both physical and mental, P a r f i t states the reductionist position as follows, A person's existence just consists in the existence of a brain and body, and the occurrence of a series of interrelated physical and mental e v e n t s . 8 1 From which he concludes that a person just i s a particular brain and body, and such a series of interrelated events. a i p a r f i t 210. 152 P a r f i t concurs with the Widest version of the psychological c r i t e r i o n noted above though. To establish this he has us consider two cases of teletransportation. In the f i r s t , c a l l e d simple teletransportat ion, I step into a booth, press a button, and then seem to momentarily lose consciousness. The machine reads the complete state description of my body as i t disassembles i t . This information i s then beamed to a receiving booth on Mars where an exact duplicate of myself i s created from new matter. On the narrow theory, I have committed suicide only to be replaced by an exact r e p l i c a . On the wide version, i t i s unclear whether I have survived or not, since i t i s not clear whether or not we should c a l l t h i s a " r e l i a b l e cause". And on the widest version, which i s compatible with any cause, I have surv i ved. How s h a l l we decide between the alternatives? Let us consider the second case of teletransportation, called the branch-line case. In t h i s example, I step into the booth and push the button, whereupon I seem to lose consciousness for a second, a l l just as before. But t h i s time, when I regain consciousness I am not on Mars, but s t i l l in the booth on Earth. Stepping out of the booth I am told that a new method has been devised of teleporting people such that their state descriptions can be read without disassembly and, hence, I can remain on Earth while an exact r e p l i c a w i l l carry out my business for me on Mars. It i s hoped that I w i l l enjoy the convenience of t h i s new service. 153 Then, as I prepare to leave I am taken aside by the manager of the f a c i l i t y who t e l l s me that there i s a problem with the new system and, although there were no problems with the creation of my r e p l i c a , I can expect to die in no more than several weeks from heart damage. Later, I am able to speak with my r e p l i c a on Mars who t r i e s to console me by assuring me that he w i l l care for my wife and children, f i n i s h the book I am writing and so f o r t h . In the case of simple teletransportation, where I do not coexist with my r e p l i c a , i t i s easier to believe that i t i s a simple method of t r a v e l l i n g but, in the branch-line case, where we overlap, there seems to be good reason to believe that I w i l l die, regardless of what happens to my r e p l i c a . P a r f i t denies t h i s claim however, and argues that being survived by an exact r e p l i c a who i s completely psychologically continuous with me i s "about as good as ordinary s u r v i v a l " . 8 2 He argues for this on the grounds that, although we are not numerically i d e n t i c a l , we are q u a l i t a t i v e l y identical and that t h i s q u a l i t a t i v e identity contains a l l that matters to our survival i f we examine the f a c t s dispassionately. F i r s t l y , we have already agreed that psychological continuity i s a l l that our personal identity consists i n , so the only matter of contention here i s the nature of the cause. Mow secondly, P a r f i t argues, the only reason we are inclined to think that the continued existence of the same brain i s necessary <i.e.:the normal cause) i s because, in the 3 3 p a r f i t 201. 154 overwhelming majority of cases, psychological continuity coincides with numerical identity in thi s way. And l a s t l y , as the case of s p l i t minds shows, we can have something which anyone would agree i s about as good as ordinary survival and yet we do not, in t h i s case, have numerical i d e n t i t y . For r e c a l l that we now have two people where previously there was one. Two persons cannot be numerically i d e n t i c a l with one, so there i s not numerical identity here. There i s simply no other basis for thi s prejudice claims P a r f i t . So, a l l that matters to our personal survival i s r e l a t i o n "R" which i s defined as, "psychological connectedness and/or continuity with the right kind of cause.", where, "The right kind of cause could be any cause". 3 3 But what i f one should balk at t h i s , claiming, " a l r i g h t P a r f i t , I w i l l agree with the wide version and accept that r e l a t i o n R i s a l l that matters, as long as there i s a r e l i a b l e cause, but I cannot go so far as to accept that any cause w i l l do". To thi s P a r f i t r e p l i e s that we could imagine some unreliable treatment for a f a t a l disease such that, in most cases nothing i s achieved but in a few cases there i s complete recovery. The effect i s just as good, even though i t s cause was unreliable. P a r f i t argues that i t would be f o o l i s h for anyone to refuse the treatment since there i s nothing to lose and perhaps much to be gained. The above case of teletransportation i s analogous, "In 3 3 P a r f i t 215. 155 our concern about our own future, r e l a t i o n R, with any cause" .t;;"* what fundamentally matters i s There i s one f i n a l d e t a i l of P a r f i t ' s theory to be covered. It might be argued that, since his theory s t i l l r e l i e s on psychological continuity, i t remains vulnerable to Bishop Butler's claim that i t presupposes personal identity ( r e c a l l that discussion of this point was deferred in Chapter 3). P a r f i t has a very s l i c k response to thi s that involves the d i s t i n c t i o n between normal and quasi-memory. Quasi-memories include normal memories such that, "I have an accurate quasi-memory of a past experience i f , (1) I seem to remember having an experience, (2) someone did have t h i s experience, and (3) my apparent memory i s causally dependent, in the right kind of way, on that past experience. " a e i On this d e f i n i t i o n , ordinary memories are a subclass of quasi-memories. S p e c i f i c a l l y , they are quasi-memories of our own experiences. Now Butler's objection goes through because our normal concept of memory implies that we can only remember our own memories. But thi s i s not the case with the broader notion of quasi-memory. It is l o g i c a l l y possible that I should quasi-remember other peoples experiences. For example, i t might become p a r f i t 215. ^ P a r f i t 220. 156 possible for neuro surgeons to implant other people's memories in anyone else's brain. Or, from a previous example we have considered, the r e p l i c a of myself on Mars w i l l quasi-remember my experiences. So, in his d e f i n i t i o n of r e l a t i o n R, P a r f i t ' s intended meaning i s the continuity of quasi-memories, quasi-intentions and so f o r t h . Let us now summarize the substantive conclusions of reduc t i oni sm, <1) We are not separately existing e n t i t i e s , apart from our brains and bodies, and various interrelated physical and mental events. Our existence just involves the existence of our brains and bodies, and the doing of our deeds, and the thinking of our thoughts, and the occurrence of certa i n other physical and mental events. Our identity over time just involves (a) Relation R - psychological connectedness and/or psychological continuity, either with the normal cause or with any cause, provided (b) that there i s no dif f e r e n t person who i s R-related to me. (2) It i s not true that our identity i s always determinate. I can always ask, "Am I about to die?" But i t i s not true that, in every case, t h i s question must have an answer, which must be either Yes or No. In some cases t h i s would be an empty question. (3) There are two u n i t i e s to be explained: the unity of consciousness at any time, and the unity of a whole l i f e . These two un i t i e s cannot be explained by claiming that d i f f e r e n t experiences are had by the same person. These u n i t i e s must be explained by describing the r e l a t i o n s between these many experiences, and their r e l a t i o n s to this person's brain. And we can refer to these experiences, and f u l l y describe the re l a t i o n s between them, without claiming that these experiences are had by a person. 157 < <+) Personal identity i s not what matters. What fundamentally matters i s r e l a t i o n R, with any cause. This r e l a t i o n i s what matters even when, as in a case where one person i s R-related to two other people, r e l a t i o n R does not provide personal ide n t i t y . Two other r e l a t i o n s may have some s l i g h t importance: physical continuity, and physical s i mi 1 ar i ty .f3<!i> In the next chapter, we w i l l discuss some problems with P a r f i t ' s analysis and then move on to a comparison of reductionism with the M.N.A. theory considered in Chapter 7. P a r f i t 216 - 217. 158 CHAPTER 9 Reductionism and the M.N.A. Theory: A Comparison This chapter commences with a discussion of some general problems that plague reductionist theories and then moves on, in §2, to a comparison of reductionism and the M.N.A. theory of Chapter 7. §1 F i r s t l y , there i s a problem with the conclusion which P a r f i t draws from his analysis of the res u l t s of s p l i t - b r a i n research. He argues that, in such a case we have clear evidence that the unity of consciousness has been destroyed and yet we have something that i s about as good as ordinary s u r v i v a l . It i s evident that, in such a case, numerical identity i s not preserved for i t i s impossible that the two resultant streams of consciousness should be numerically i d e n t i c a l with the single stream which i s their progenitor. From t h i s P a r f i t concludes that numerical identity i s not what matters in personal s u r v i v a l . Rather, a l l that matters i s r e l a t i o n R, which amounts to the continuity of our psychological c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , with any cause. He then goes on to conclude that, therefore, we should regard being replaced by an ide n t i c a l r e p l i c a as also about as good as ordinary survival for the two cases are analogous. 159 The problem here i s that P a r f i t has f a i l e d to r e a l i z e the significance of numerical continuity. Recall from Chapter 5, when discussing the Contingent Brain Constraint? that "numerical continuity" i s a term intended to capture the notion that both streams of consciousness which result from s p l i t - b r a i n s are continuous with the single stream which i s their progenitor s p e c i f i c a l l y in the sense that they a l l share a common cause ( i . e . : the same brain or at least a' functioning portion of i t capable of supporting consciousness). That i s , each resultant half brain i s numerically i d e n t i c a l with the respective half of the o r i g i n a l undivided brain. Hence, the cases are not analogous at a l l , for in the case of the r e p l i c a , t h i s numerical continuity does not hold. While the conclusion that numerical identity i s not what matters in personal survival i s correct, P a r f i t goes too far in concluding that being survived by an iden t i c a l r e p l i c a would be about as good as ordinary s u r v i v a l , for th i s ignores the signi f i c a n c e of numerical continuity. The two cases are relevantly d i s s i m i l a r to t h i s extent, that in the case of the s p l i t - b r a i n patient, the two streams of consciousness which are numerically continuous with the o r i g i n a l single stream continue to "have" the experiences, but in the case of the r e p l i c a , i t i s an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t (i.e.:numerica11y d i s t i n c t and discontinuous) stream of consciousness "having" the experiences. A more fo r c e f u l way of putting this i s that, in the case of my r e p l i c a , i t i s not me "having" the experiences of completing my book, loving my family and so on. Rather, i t i s someone else who 160 just This This happens to resemble me? both physically and psychologically, is not about as good as survival but i s death, absolutely, w i l l be dealt with at greater length below. Lastly, there i s a c o n f l i c t on P a r f i t ' s theory with something that we should regard as at least l o g i c a l l y possible, v i z , the p o s s i b i l i t y that there could be two or more streams of consciousness that were q u a l i t a t i v e l y i d e n t i c a l . On P a r f i t ' s theory t h i s i s l o g i c a l l y impossible, since there are no means to distinguish them. This follows from the fact that P a r f i t r e l i e s on the q u a l i t a t i v e nature of our experiences to determine ownership and, given t h i s , i t would be l o g i c a l l y impossible to have two streams of consciousness that were q u a l i t a t i v e l y i d e n t i c a l . Unless he can provide some other c r i t e r i o n for distinguishing various streams of consciousness, q u a l i t a t i v e identity implies numerical i d e n t i t y . Further, i t can be shown that P a r f i t could not, as a matter of p r i n c i p l e , ever come up with any such c r i t e r i o n for t h i s would v i o l a t e the central claim of reductionism: that i t i s possible to give a complete description of r e a l i t y without making any reference to persons because, "A person's existence just consists in the existence of a brain and body and a series of interrelated physical and mental e v e n t s " . 3 7 Any additional c r i t e r i o n would mean that there would be a further fact to be taken account of when describing a person's existence; i t could no longer consist solely in the m-y p a r f i t 210. 161 existence of a par t i c u l a r brain and body and a series of interrelated physical and mental events. This i s not a problem for sentient being theories since what distinguishes a stream of consciousness on such a theory i s i t s ' unique location in p-space. We s h a l l deal with t h i s at greater length below when we compare P a r f i t ' s theory with the fi . N . A . theory. §2 In t h i s section, P a r f i t ' s theory w i l l be compared with the M.N.A. theory with respect to the constraints outlined in Chapter 5. F i r s t l y , regarding the Contingent Brain Constraint, P a r f i t ' s theory c l e a r l y runs afoul of t h i s . Recall that t h i s constraint claims that retention of the same brain i s causally necessary (where causal necessity i s conceived of as a contingent relation) and s u f f i c i e n t for survival as the same sentient being, s p e c i f i c a l l y because i t i s the normal cause of the stream of consciousness which i s the sentient being. P a r f i t ' s theory rejects t h i s in favour of the claim that a l l that matters to our personal identity i s r e l a t i o n R with any cause. Further, he has arrived at thi s mistaken view because, as noted above, he has incorrectly appraised the re s u l t s of s p l i t - b r a i n research. S p e c i f i c a l l y , he has moved from the v a l i d conclusion that numerical identity i s not cons t i t u t i v e of personal survival to the mistaken conclusion that these r e s u l t s also prove that numerical continuity i s ir r e l e v a n t . But this has been shown to be fa 1se. 162 P a r f i t ' s theory i s able to s a t i s f y the Transfer Constraint though. This, i t w i l l be r e c a l l e d , i s the constraint that i t should be at least l o g i c a l l y possible that consciousness could be transferred to another brain although i t i s almost c e r t a i n l y physically impossible due to the holding of certain natural causal laws <i.e.:retention of the same brain i s causally necessary and s u f f i c i e n t for the occurrence of one's stream of consciousness). P a r f i t ' s theory i s also able to s a t i s f y the Phenomenological Constraint, which maintains that, a l l that matters in survival i s what i s contained in one's stream of consciousness. S i m i l a r l y , both theories w i l l agree with the Division Constraint. Clearly, the r e s u l t s of these experiments are c r u c i a l to P a r f i t ' s position and he has c e r t a i n l y taken them into account. Such agreement i s not forthcoming with respect to the Temporal Constraint though, for at least two reasons. F i r s t l y , for P a r f i t , experiences are not "owned" or "had" by any person or subject at a l l since, properly speaking, there are not persons but only pa r t i c u l a r bodies which have associated with them sets of interrelated physical and mental events. Secondly, even i f he did admit to ownership of experiences in any sense at a l l , t h i s would be determined by the e x t r i n s i c q u a l i t a t i v e nature of the experiences and not by something i n t r i n s i c to the experiences 163 themselves. This, as has been shown, i s s p e c i f i c a l l y the result of P a r f i t ' s insistence on psychological continuity as the c r i t e r i o n of personal i d e n t i t y , for psychological continuity i s cashed out in terms of the q u a l i t a t i v e appropriateness of the experiences. Consequently, the problem for P a r f i t here i s that for someone recovering consciousness, i f the quality of his experiences are too rudimentary to link them to his e a r l i e r s e l f , then they wouldn't be his experiences unless they were followed by other experiences that were q u a l i t a t i v e l y appropriate in a way that would link them to his e a r l i e r s e l f . Consider the following example. A man i s asleep and i s suddenly covered in b o i l i n g o i l . It i s easy to imagine that the only experience he would have the instant between recovering consciousness and dying would be sheer agony. On P a r f i t ' s theory, these experiences of agony would not belong to the same person who went to sleep unless he survived long enough to also have experiences that were q u a l i t a t i v e l y appropriate to his former s e l f . B r i e f l y summarizing our r e s u l t s so far then, we see that P a r f i t ' s reductionist theory can only meet two of the f i v e constraints which, as i t was argued in Chapter 5, are necessary i f we are to have a theory of personal identity that can square with our i n t u i t i o n s regarding what i s involved in matters of personal s u r v i v a l . Further, i t i s incompatible with both of our additional constraints which, though less important, are s t i l l s i g n i f i c a n t . These are the constraint that survival as the same 164 sentient being i s an all-or-nothing matter and that experience ownership claims should have the same meaning with respect to tense. Regarding the f i r s t , P a r f i t ' s theory contradicts by default since he has not even recognized the d i s t i n c t i o n between persons and sentient beings. S t i l l , the fact that survival i s , in some sense, an all-or-nothing matter i s an i n t u i t i o n most people have and he i s not able to account for i t at a l l . In fact, he blatantly contradicts t h i s i n t u i t i o n claiming that, in some cases, the question of one's survival cannot even be answered; i t is an empty question. Regarding the second, we may say that the contradiction i s again by default since the essence of P a r f i t ' s theory i s that there i s no subject at a l l which "has" the experiences. It i s worth mentioning though that, even i f P a r f i t did claim that there was a subject of experiences, his theory would s t i l l contradict t h i s constraint. This follows from the fact that he regards persons as constituted of a series of successive individuals who more or less c l o s e l y resemble each other. Hence, i t i s perfectly compatible on P a r f i t ' s theory to claim that ownership need not be attributed to the same person at widely disparate times. As a re s u l t of these considerations then, i t i s here claimed that P a r f i t ' s theory i s considerably less plausible than the M.N.A. theory expounded in Chapter 7. This claim w i l l be further established in my concluding remarks which follow in the next chapter. 165 CHAPTER lO Conclusion Let us return to the dilemma posed in Chapter 3 then. There i t was claimed that) generally speaking, there are only two strategies one may take to explain what our personal identity consists i n . F i r s t l y , one might follow Descartes' lead and attempt to construct a theory of some sort of independently existing e n t i t y , construed as an ultimate p a r t i c u l a r or pure ego. This ultimate entity i s conceived of as the true s e l f , the s e l f -r e f l e c t i v e subject of experiences which remains unchanged throughout one's l i f e . P a r f i t c a l l s a l l such attempts "further f a c t " theories since t h i s ego, qua ultimate e n t i t y , i s a further fact in addition to the existence of one's brain and body and the interrelated series of mental and physical events that constitute a l l that i s observable regarding persons. This strategy w i l l not work as P a r f i t , Nagel and others have pointed out, because the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of thi s ego with one's se1f-ref1ective awareness, which i s necessary for the theory to explain the unity of our li v e s as persons, i s incompatible with the re s u l t s of s p l i t -brains and divided consciousness. Secondly, one might take Locke's lead and attempt to frame the account in terms of the continuity of observable c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . Locke, convinced that the term "person" was a forensic term that i d e n t i f i e d moral agents, framed his account in 166 terms of the continuity of r e f l e c t i v e consciousness which i s usually established by memory. I n i t i a l l y , t h i s seems i n t u i t i v e l y plausible since our notion of person, which i s closely tied to the necessary and s u f f i c i e n t conditions for moral agency, i s usually cashed out in terms of these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . Others have argued that since the brain i s the cause of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s that we take to be d e f i n i t i v e of persons, i t i s the continuity of the body, or at least the brain, that i s the basis of personal s u r v i v a l . Again there i s i n t u i t i v e p l a u s i b i l i t y to t h i s conception for we usually i d e n t i f y persons by identifying their bodies. That i s , in the overwhelming number of cases, we j u s t i f y the claim that X at time Ti i s the same person as Y at a previous time T 0, by r e i d e n t i f y i n g the d i s t i n c t i v e physical c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of Y on X; i t i s the physical continuity of persons that we normally employ to r e i d e n t i f y them. But we have also seen that no such alt e r n a t i v e based on the continuity of observable c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s can work either, for a l l such theories mistake the c r i t e r i a for j u s t i f y i n g claims we make about persons for what personal identity consists i n . The c r i t e r i a that j u s t i f y our claim that someone has survived are epistemologica1 c r i t e r i a and cannot t e l l us what the metaphysics of our personal survival consists i n . The only other alternative i s to follow Hume and acknowledge that our ordinary notion of personal identity i s ill-founded and cannot be j u s t i f i e d . It was P a r f i t ' s insight to take Hume's 167 theory to i t s lo g i c a l conclusion and argue that, instead, personal survival i s a matter of degree by showing that the kind of connectedness on which our psychological continuity supervenes i s a matter of degree. Our analysis has revealed both what i s right and what i s wrong with P a r f i t ' s reductionism. He i s at least partly correct to assert that personal i d e n t i t y consists in the continuity of psychological c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . And, l i k e Hume, he recognized the necessity of construing the relevant c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s in the broadest sense, rather than lim i t i n g these to memory alone. Also, l i k e Hume, he i s correct to i n s i s t that the notion of causation must be brought into the account of our mental episodes as an explanation of what lin k s these episodes together. And, as we have seen, P a r f i t i s se n s i t i v e to the flaws in Hume's analysis. He has properly recognized what eluded Hume, that a person, although constituted of a series of mental episodes linked together, can s t i l l be regarded as a single entity and that this entity need not remain unchanged to r e t a i n numerical i d e n t i t y . That i s , numerical identity does not require q u a l i t a t i v e identity since the properties of persons can be temporally indexed. So we are able to say of t h i s person who " i s now" large, that he i s the same person who "was once" small. However, in taking Hume's analysis to i t s l o g i c a l conclusion, he has remained within the empirical paradigm and, hence, his position remains vulnerable to the flaws plaguing a l l such theories. These have been discussed at length above and need 168 not be repeated here, but i t i s worthwhile to note that P a r f i t has committed some that are peculiar to his theory. F i r s t l y , he has incorrectly assessed the re s u l t s of s p l i t - b r a i n research to conclude that since numerical identity i s not relevant to personal s u r v i v a l , i t follows that a l l that matters i s r e l a t i o n R (i.e.rpsychological continuity defined in terms of his notion of connectedness) with any cause. From th i s he goes on to conclude that being survived by an ide n t i c a l r e p l i c a would be about as good as ordinary s u r v i v a l . The la t t e r conclusion, as we have seen, i s mistaken precisely because th i s r e p l i c a would not be numerically continuous with me. The normal cause of my stream of consciousness (i.e.:my brain) would have been destroyed and t h i s i s death. And l a s t l y , we have seen that his position cannot admit the l o g i c a l p o s s i b i l i t y of there being two q u a l i t a t i v e l y i d e n t i c a l streams of consciousness. This i s because he has provided us with no means to individuate persons except by the qu a l i t a t i v e nature of their streams of consciousness. Given t h i s , two q u a l i t a t i v e l y i d e n t i c a l streams of consciousness would be indistinguishable, (this would not be a problem for any sentient being theory though since sentient beings are distinguished by their unique location in p-space). More importantly, he denies that, as persons, we are also subjects of experience. That i s , he denies that we the sorts of things which "have" experiences. And, he denies that our survival i s an all-or-nothing matter, a claim most people would probably f i n d absurd. 169 In t h i s thesis, I have argued that our personal identity consists in something ultimate: the further fact that we remain the numerically same sentient being. This i s a further fact of what i t i s to be a person, but i s not the same sort of further fact as a Cartesian ego. It i s not conceived of as an ultimate p a r t i c u l a r , or an independently existing e n t i t y and thi s notion of sentient being i s perf e c t l y compatible with the re s u l t s of s p l i t - b r a i n s and divided consciousness. Further, t h i s theory allows us to salvage the i n t u i t i o n s that we are e n t i t i e s which "have" experiences and that our survival i s an all-or-nothing matter. There i s also a Humean flavour to thi s theory though, for I have argued that as sentient beings we are e s s e n t i a l l y streams of consciousness or, as Hume would say, a "bundle" or succession of impressions. But we are now able to explain the dilemma which so sorely vexed Hume; what i s i t that actually "bundles" the impressions together? The answer, on the theory presented here, is that a l l the experiences of any person are bundled together simply in virtue of their a l l sharing the same p-location. The claim i s not that the experiences are bundled by being contained within t h i s p-location <as seems to be the case on E l l i o t ' s theory), but rather that they just occur "at" the p-location, in the same way that several people may share the same address. The argument, which assumes dualism (i.e.:that our experiences are 170 mental events d i s t i n c t from the neuro-physica1 events which cause them)» i s that our experiences must occur somewhere. They are not located in physical space, so, ipso facto, they occur in p-space. Now since experiences are caused by brains, i t i s argued that p-space i s s i m i l a r l y a concomitant effect of brains; i t i s just a consequence of there being experiences. Now we can be sure that a l l the experiences "at" any part i c u l a r p-location w i l l a l l be of the same sentient being since we have defined the term "sentient being" as, a stream of consciousness "at" a particular p-location. Further, given the causal dependence of experiences and p-space on brains, the same p-location w i l l always be associated with the same brain and, by extension, with the same stream of consciousness. It i s further argued that although both the stream and the p-location are causally related to the brain, they are only contingently related to each other. So i t i s a contingent fact that one's stream of consciousness occurs at a "par t i c u l a r " p-location; i t i s not contained there, i t just occurs there. Let us now return to P a r f i t and ask in what sense was he correct to i n s i s t that psychological continuity i s at least partly c o n s t i t u t i v e of our l i v e s as persons? The answer, as L.ocke r e a l i z e d , i s that our l i v e s as persons are intimately tied to the notion of moral agency. We need to be able to ide n t i f y persons so that we can know whom to reward and whom to punish for actions that they have done in the past. So we need to be able to establish the attributes of persons that are cr u c i a l to being 171 moral agents and also what i t i s that connects " t h i s " moral agent today with "that" one who performed such and such an action yesterday. But we also need to establish the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of persons that remain r e l a t i v e l y stable so that we can know what to expect from others around us. Now the very c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which we usually take to establish personhood (i.e.:moral agency) and which we usually look to to determine what "sort" of person someone i s , are these psychological t r a i t s . And i t i s the continuity of these t r a i t s that allow us to predict how persons are l i k e l y to behave and, together with the physical c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , help us to identif y persons across time. But, as noted by Amelie Rorty, the c r i t e r i a that we take to be d e f i n i t i v e of personhood (i.e.:the necessary and s u f f i c i e n t conditions of moral agency) are at least partly a matter of soci a l convention. A society that focuses primarily on the sorts of actions that are thought to follow from rati o n a l choice w i l l c r i t e r i a for i d e n t i f i c a t i o n in the continuity of psychological t r a i t s believed to assure rati o n a l choice. If these capacities are sharply changed, the individual may no longer be thought to be a person, even though she i s s t i l l regarded as the same human i n d i v i d u a l . ... In any case, controversies about conditions for personal identity r e f l e c t differences about the conditions that establish an individual as a responsible agent.» Q < 3° Rorty 4 - 5 . 172 It i s for th i s reason that the c r i t e r i a that establish personhood cannot be a description of what metaphysically constitutes our personal i d e n t i t y , since t h i s metaphysical issue i s a matter of ontology and not one of s o c i a l convention. As Rorty points out, any analysis of persons in terms of necessary and s u f f i c i e n t conditions, "becomes l e g i s l a t i v e and normative, no longer straightforwardly a n a l y t i c a l l y descriptive".' 3''' &'* Rorty E. 173 Works Cited: Ayer , A.J. Hume. Oxford: Oxford University Press? 1780. Butler, Joseph. "Of Personal Identity." Personal Identity. ed. John Perry. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1975. 99 - 106. Descartes, R. "A Discourse on Method." The Philosophy of Descartes. trans. John Veitch. New York: Tudor Publishing Co., 1901. 148 - 205. , "The Meditations." The Philosophy of Descartes. trans. John Veitch. New York: Tudor Publishing Co., 1901. 206 - 282. , "The Passions of the Soul." Descartes: Selections. ed. Ralph M. Eaton. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1927. 361-403. , "The P r i n c i p l e s of Philosophy." The Philosophy of Descartes. trans. John Veitch. New York: Tudor Publishing Co., 1901. 283-362. , "A Treatise on Man." Descartes: Selections. ed. Ralph M. Eaton. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, .1927. 350 - 355. Flew, Anthony. "Locke and the Problem of Personal Identity." Locke and Berkeley: A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays. ed. C.B. Martin and D.M. Armstrong. New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1968. 155-178. Fodor, Jerry. The Modularity of Mind: An Essay on Faculty  Psychology. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1983. Hume, David. A Treatise of Human Nature. ed. L.A. Selby-Bigge. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978. , Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding. ed. L.A. Selby-Bigge. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975. Grice, H.P. "Personal Identity." Personal Identity, ed. John Perry. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1975. 73 - 95. Kant, Immanuel. Critigue of Pure Reason. trans. Norman Kemp Smith. London: The MacMillan Press Ltd., 1929. Locke, John. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. ed. A.C. Fraser. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1894. 174 Malcolm, N. "Descartes' Proof That His Essence Is Thinking." Descartes: A Col l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays. ed. W i l l i s Doney. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1967. 312-337. Margalit, Avishai. "Open Texture." Meaning and Use. ed. A. Margalit. Dordrecht: Reidel, 1979. 141-152. Nagel, Thomas. "Brain Bisection and the Unity of Consciousness." Personal Identity. ed. John Perry. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1975. 227 -246. Nozick, Robert. Philosophical Explanations. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981. P a r f i t , Derek. Reasons and Persons. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984. Penelhum, Terrence. "Hume on Personal Identity." Hume: A Col l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays. ed. V.C. Chappell. New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1966. 213-239. Perry, John. "The Problem of Personal Identity." .Persona 1 Ident i ty. ed. John Perry. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1975. 3 - 30. Quinton, Anthony. "The Soul." Personal Identity. ed. John Perry. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1976. 53 - 72. Reid, Thomas. "Of Mr. Locke's Account of Our Personal Identity." Personal Identity. ed. John Perry. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1975. 113 - 134. Rorty, Amelie Oksenberg. "Introduction." The Identities of Persons. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1976. 1-16. Sartre, Jean-Paul. Being and Nothingness. trans. Hazel Barnes New York: Washington Square Press, Inc., 1966. Sikora, Richard. Personal Identity, Psychological Location and  Survival. unpublished manuscript. Smith, Norman Kemp. The Philosophy of David Hume. New York: St. Martins Press, 1941. Sperry, R.W. "Hemisphere Deconnection and Unity in Conscious Awareness." American Psychologist, vol.23, 1968. 723 - 733. Sprigge, T.L.S. Theories of Existence. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Ltd., 1984. 175 Williams, Bernard. Descartes: The Project of Pure Enquiry. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Ltd., 1978. , "The Self and the Future." Personal Identity. ed. John Perry. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1975. 179-198. Ayer, A.J. Hume. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980. 176 INDEX Actual world (2) Amb i gui ty problem of (57) Anaesthesia (67) Ancestral r e l a t i o n (44) Bodily exchange (46) Brain processes (25) Brain-dead (124) Branch-line case the (153) Brave Of f i c e r Paradox (43) Bundles of experiences (73), (102) of impressions (61), (138) Butler Bishop (45) Cantilever Theory the (117) Causal link (48) Causal necessity (72) Cause (25) Cerebral hemispheres (27) Coma (124) Combined continuity theories (55) Combined spectrum (76), (147) Conceivabi1ity (19) Concomitant e f f e c t s (114) Configuration (38) Connectedness (143), (150) Consciousness (67) Constituent parts (40) Constitutive (18) Contingent (72), (81) Cont i nu i ty c r i t e r i o n of (42) physical (1) physical, psychological (32), (143) psychological (1), (151) Corporeality (20) Corpus callosum (27), (71) Descar tes Rene (11) Discontinuous p-space (71) 177 Diversity (60) Division of consciousness (89) Dualism (12) Ego (11) Cartesian, pure (147) E l l i o t Robert (98) Emp i r ica1 theory of personal identi t y (1), (32) Entity (11), (61) Episodes (44) Epistemological question of personal identity (1) Epistemology (59) Essence (12), (18) Essential nature (18) Events mental, physical (69) Exper iences occurrent (73) F1 ew Anthony (45) Further fact theory (12), (130) Fusion (71) Gaps in consciousness, in p-locations (5), (105) Gr ice H.P. (23) Haver-of-experiences (67) Hume David (32), (60), (138) Ident i c a l numerical sense, s p e c i f i c sense (141) Impression (60) Indestructible (12) Indexicals (98) I n d i v i s i b l e (11) I n i t i a l experiences argument from (118) Interact ion mind/body (21) 178 Leibni z G.W. (69) Locke John (1), (33) Lockean memory theory (33) Logical p o s s i b i l i t y (32), (80) Loose identity (92) Margalit (4) Avishai Memory (42) Metaphysical question of personal identity (1) Metaphysics of personal identity (59) Mind (17) Modular theory of mind (29) Nagel Thomas (28) Non-qualitative, gap-crossing r e l a t i o n (5), (114) Numerical continuity (82), (160) Numerical identity (16), (61), (83),,(138) Numerically individuate (69) Ontology (24) Open-texture (4) Open-1ex turedness problem of (57) P-location (68) P a r f i t Derek (7), (32), (142) Penelhum Terrence (139) Person (3), (41) Personal identity (12) Personal survival (12) Personhood (13) Physical continuity theory of personal ident i t y (46) Physical space (69) Physical spectrum (146) Possib i 1 i ty l o g i c a l , physical (22) Possible world (22), (88) Principium Individuationis (37) 179 Psychological r e l a t i o n s q u a l i t a t i v e , non-qualitative (4) Psychological space p-space (68) Psychological spectrum (145) Pure.ego (83) Qualitative nature (68) Qualitative psychological continuity (43) Quasi-memory (156) Qu i nton Anthony (44) Reductionism (7) Reduct ioni st theory (143) Reid Thomas (43) Relation "R" (155) Relat ions q u a l i t a t i v e , non-qualitative (99) Replica (83), (159) Resemb1ance (44) , <144 > Ror ty Amelie (172) Scaling concept (8) of consciousness (125) of psychological connectedness (151) Self-consciousness (23), (41) Se1f-ref1ective awareness (23) Self-same (16) Senile general paradox (44) Sentience (124) Sentient being (3), (66) S i kora Richard (5), (98) Simple teletransportation (153) Simultaneous components of experience (101) Soul (24) Sperry R.W. (27) S p l i t - b r a i n (27), (148) Stream of consciousness (68) S t r i c t identity (92) Subject of experiences (67) Substance immaterial, mental, unextended (12) material, physical, extended (12) 180 Substratum (17) Succession of related objects (60) of related impressions (138) Sw i nburne R.G. (1 ) Temporal indexing (140) Temporally coextensive (73), (114) THE CONTINGENT BRAIN CONSTRAINT (80) THE DIVISION CONSTRAINT (89) The Minimal Neural A c t i v i t y Theory (120), (159) THE PHENOMENOLOGICAL CONSTRAINT (87) THE TEMPORAL CONSTRAINT (89) THE TRANSFER CONSTRAINT (84) Total temporary state t . t . s . (44) Transitive r e l a t i o n (43), (151) Ultimate pa r t i c u l a r (23) Unifying r e l a t i o n s diachronic, synchronic (101) Unity (24), (60), (138) Verificationism (24) W i l l i ams Bernard (46) 181 

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