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Persons and their parts

Jansen, Charles Marinus; (2020) Persons and their parts. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the metaphysics of human persons. In it, I consider two questions. The first question concerns what types of change we can survive. Here, I argue against the popular `wide psychological view’. According to this view, our survival requires the presence of particular kinds of psychological connection between our present and future selves, but does not set constraints on the way in which these connections are realised; it is all the same whether our bodies and brains continue to exist, or whether we are beamed from one place to another by teleportation. I argue that we do not have firm intuitions in favour of the wide psychological view, that the view must be carefully formulated in order to give a coherent account of our identity, and that--when so formulated--it is less attractive than an alternative `narrow view’, on which our survival requires the continued existence of the realisers of our mental states. The second question concerns the parts that we have. Here, I defend the thesis that we have humanoid form against the view that we are only the size of our brains. I do so by arguing that many of our mental states are primarily attributable to humanoid entities, and (at best) only derivatively attributable to anything that is presently brain-sized. The picture that emerges from the thesis as a whole is one on which our `normal' or `characteristic' form is humanoid, but we have a central individuating nucleus, whose continued functioning is sufficient for our continued existence. I find this an attractive view, and conclude the thesis by considering its implications for Kit Fine's account of the nature of material things.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Persons and their parts
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10116132
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