Reductionism vs. the Further Fact View
The main point of today's class was to set out the main reasons for these two views.
Further fact intuitions
The Further Fact view is the one that we started with, on day one. I am convinced that I am the one who saw the glider do the loop. There was one conscious thing who saw that and it was me, the same conscious thing that sees the words appearing on the computer screen right now.
You can make the same point concerning the future. What I need to be the case in order for me to survive until tomorrow morning is that I see something tomorrow morning. I can be a lunatic with no memories, false beliefs, radically changed character, and so on. But if there is something that it's like for me, if I can see things, then I still exist.
The main argument for the further fact view concerns the difficulty of conceiving of a situation in which it's indeterminate whether I am the same person as person B.
I reasoned like this.
(a) If it's indeterminate whether I am the same person as B, then it's indeterminate whether I am feeling B's excruciating pain.
(b) If it's indeterminate whether I'm feeling B's excruciating pain, then it's indeterminate whether I'm feeling excruciating pain.
That, I claimed, is not a situation that I can coherently imagine. I haven't the foggiest idea what it means for it to be indeterminate whether I'm feeling pain.
Arguments for reductionism
If you grant that there are no Separately Existing Entities, you can't sustain the Further Fact View.
If there were always a determinate Further Fact about personal identity, it would obtain in the spectrum cases. Where is it?
If there were always a determinate Further Fact about personal identity, it would obtain in the fission cases. Where is it? Which one of the two transplants is identical with me? Or am I dead? Is a double success a failure?
Why is the determinacy question important?
Kristie chipped in with the crucial question: who cares about the determinancy dispute? What turns on it? Is it supposed to be interesting in it's own right?
It's mainly interesting because if it's possible for personal identity questions to have indeterminate answers, then something that we believe to be a deep fact about persons is false, namely, the intuitions underlying the Further Fact View.
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