Chapter

SOMATIST THEORIES OF OUR IDENTITY

Ingmar Persson

in The Retreat of Reason

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780199276905
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603198 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199276900.003.0022
 							SOMATIST THEORIES OF OUR IDENTITY

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If the criticisms of immaterialism and non-reductionism in chapter 19 and of matter-based psychological views in chapter 20 are correct, it would seem that animalism or the biological view that personal identity consists in the identity of human organisms must be right. This chapter argues that this view is also mistaken, for we can imagine that the organic matter of our bodies is imperceptibly transformed into something inorganic. But it would be absurd to say that we cease to exist in these circumstances when our consciousness flows on without any introspectible change; so, we are not essentially human organisms. The upshot is a factual nihilism, that no view of our nature and identity can be tenable because there are incompatible psychologist and animalist strands in our commonsensical conception of ourselves.

Keywords: animalism; biological view; human organism; nihilism; personal identity

Chapter.  8783 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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