Continuously Thinking Animals (Departmental Seminar)
Prof. Nicholas Rimell
4:30pm-6:30pm HK Time
Room 220, Fung King Hey Building with synchronous online broadcasting on Zoom
Limited seats for face-to-face seminar. Registrations will be handled on a first come, first served basis
Register to the Face-to-Face Seminar by 3 Nov 2022:
Link to Online Seminar (No registration is required):
It’s long been established that animalism – the view that we are (human) animals – is at least logically consistent with psychological continuity theory, the view that we persist through relations of psychological continuity. Yet these views are generally considered to conflict. Indeed, as far as I know, no contemporary philosopher explicitly endorses both views. I suspect that this is primarily for three reasons. First, jointly accepting these views requires us to deny a popular account of material objects, one that is permissive with respect to what sorts of objects there are while being restrictive with respect to what sorts of changes an object can survive. Second, and relatedly, adding animalism to psychological continuity theory arguably undermines the standard motivation for psychological continuity theory. Third, animalism seems to fit more naturally with an alternative to psychological continuity theory (namely, biological continuity theory) while psychological continuity theory seems to fit more naturally with alternatives to animalism.
In spite of all this, I think we have very good reason to accept the combination of animalism and psychological continuity theory. I shall demonstrate this in the process of developing an account of the metaphysics of human persons – and of material objects more generally – that implies, among other things, that we are accidentally animals and essentially (or at least continuously) thinking things.
Delivered in English.
All are welcome.