Edited By Joao Fonseca and Jorge Goncalves
Animalism and the Remnant-Person Problem
ERIC T. OLSON
Animalism clashes with the conviction that we should go with our transplanted brains. A good reply is that if animalism were true, we could explain easily enough both why the conviction is false and why it seems compelling. But another objection cannot be answered so easily. Animalism seems to imply that the detached brain would be a person who comes into being when the brain is removed and ceases to exist when the brain goes into a new head. And that seems absurd. The paper argues that, although this is equally problem for many views besides animalism, it has no obvious solution.
Animalism is the view that you and I are animals. That is, we are animals in the straightforward sense of having the property of being an animal, or in that each of us is identical to an animal – not merely in the derivative sense of having animal bodies, or of being “constituted by” animals. And by ‘animal’ I mean an organism of the animal kingdom.1
Sensible though it may appear, animalism is highly contentious. The most common objection is that it conflicts with widespread and deep ← 21 | 22 → beliefs about our identity over time. These beliefs are brought out in reactions to fictional cases. Suppose, for instance, that your brain is transplanted into my head. The being who ends up with that organ, everyone assumes, will remember your life and not...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.