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Lecture

February 1 Lecture

2 Pages
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Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHL240H1
Professor
Stephen Biggs

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PHL240 February 1, 2011 Closest Continuer TheoryLecture 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
aboutIntroducing 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 purple, green gets the other half
-until green came alone, we think brown survives as purple
Where is Brown? Three possibilities; Nowhere
-we are forced to say the Brown survived in this case; is there a plausible way to maintain his survival
when the second person comes along
-according to the theory, Brown is whichever of green and purple is his closest continuer; by hypothesis
they are equal
-Brown doesnt survive, even though he did before green came on the scene because the two are new
people are equally close to Brown
-if we say that Brown doesnt survive in either of them, we go against Nozicks view because its crazy that
once green comes in, purple doesnt survive as Brown any more, although we think he did survive through
purple before green appeared
The Source of Confusion
-if Nozick is right and the closest continuer theory is intuitive why is there confusion?
The confusion in discussions of personal identity stems from an acceptance of two false principles:
1.Relevance Principle whether a person at time 1 is identical with a person at time 2 depends only
on facts about the people at these times and how they are related
2.Uniqueness Principle if a person at time 1 is identical with a person at time 2 in virtue of
relation R holding between them, then nothing distinct from the person at time 2 can possibly bear
R to the person at time 1
Relevance Principle
-guy at time 1, guy at time 2, whether blue is identical with green depends on the states of each and the
relations that hold between the two of them; if another guy is stuck in between them, it doesnt matter in
relation to if blue survives as green
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Description
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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