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February 1 Lecture

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University of Toronto St. George
Stephen Biggs

PHL240 February 1, 2011 Closest Continuer Theory Lecture 4 Nozick Body, Mind and Closest Continuer -Williams and Thomson advance a theory on which the body is most central to survival -Locke and Parfit advance a theory on which the mind is most central to survival -Nozick doesnt offer a view that competes with these claims about what is most central -Instead Nozick suggests that, whatever is most central, certain aspects of the debate should be thought about Introducing Closest Continuer Theory -ship is gradually changed plank by plank until every piece has been replaced; matter that composes is it entirely new -is this still the ship of Theseus? Intuitively, yes it is the same ship, even though the matter is different -what if another ship was constructed entirely from the pieces of the old ship; which is the ship of Theseus? Lesson: why would the presence of a second ship throw us into confusion? -if refurbished ship had what it takes to be the ship of Theseus when alone, then refurbished ship should still have what it takes when new ship comes along -Nozick says the arrival of the second ship makes a difference to us -our job isnt to tell people what the reactions to these cases should be, it is to make sense of our intuitions why does it throw us into confusion The closest continuer theory holds that to be something is to be its closest continuer -the ship of Theseus is whichever returning ship is the closest continuer of the ship that originally left the port -Nozick leaves open which ship is the closest; perhaps spatial contiguity is more important for closeness than material Parfit Case 4 -half of browns brain is stuck in purp
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