Friday, December 23, 2016

Notes from Corcoran on Identity

Notes Based on Kevin Corcoran's "Constitution View" Chapter (Rethinking Human Nature)

1. Saul Kripke sets forth an argument similar to the one presented in Corcoran's "Constitution View" (CV) chapter: "If X is possibly distinct from Y, then X is necessarily distinct from Y." One could also reason, "Necessarily, if X is possibly distinct from Y, then X and Y are not identical."

Example: "Necessarily, if the body is possibly distinct from the mind, then the body and the mind are not identical."

Example 2: "Necessarily, if brain events are possibly distinct from mental events, then brain events and mental events are not identical."

2. "Identical"-what does it mean for a thing X to be "identical" with a thing Y?

We are talking about objects being numerically identical (e.g., Y is not a replica of X). For instance, one and the same book or car could be quantitatively identical through time. However, what features of the objects themselves allow us to make claims about numerical/quantitative identity? What about the issue of personal identity? What criteria exist to determine whether a person remains the same through time?

3. Regarding the metaphysics of constitution and constitution relations, see pages 66-67.

4. Conditions for human personhood include: a) the capacity for intentionality; b) [capacity for] a first-person perspective; c) being essentially constituted by our bodies.

5. What CV is and is not. See note 6 on page 69.

6. Corcoran seems to argue that my body came into existence before "I" did and it is "conceivable" that my body will continue to exist after I die. Therefore, he apparently reasons, I am not identical with my body.

7. Spatio-temporal continuity and personhood (pp. 70ff). Different objects have their own persistence conditions (PC), but causal considerations are germane in each case. In other words, bananas and persons have different persistence conditions.

My observation: Questions pertaining to identity arise when discussion about the resurrection from the dead ensues. Do we have souls? Are we totally physical beings? These questions impinge upon personal identity.

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