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Animalism and the Vagueness of Composition

In: Organon F, vol. 26, no. 2
Radim Bělohrad


Year, pages: 2019, 207 - 227
Language: eng
Animalism; Lockeanism; partial identity; personal iden-tity; supervaluations; vagueness
Article type: Research Article
Document type: Research Article
About article:
Lockean theories of personal identity maintain that we per-sist by virtue of psychological continuity, and most Lockeans say that we are material things coinciding with animals. Some animalists ar-gue that if persons and animals coincide, they must have the same intrinsic properties, including thinking, and, as a result, there are ‘too many thinkers’ associated with each human being. Further, Lockeans have trouble explaining how animals and persons can be numerically different and have different persistence conditions. For these reasons, the idea of a person being numerically distinct but coincident with an animal is rejected and animalists conclude that we simply are animals. However, animalists face a similar problem when confronted with the vagueness of composition. Animals are entities with vague boundaries. According to the linguistic account of vagueness, the vagueness of a term consists in there being a number of candidates for the denotatum of the vague term. It seems to imply that where we see an animal, there are, in fact, a lot of distinct but overlapping entities with basically the same intrinsic properties, including think-ing. As a result, the animalist must also posit ‘too many thinkers’ where we thought there was only one. This seems to imply that the animalist cannot accept the linguistic account of vagueness. In this paper the author argues that the animalist can accept the linguistic account of vagueness and retain her argument against Lockeanism.
How to cite:
ISO 690:
Bělohrad, R. 2019. Animalism and the Vagueness of Composition. In Organon F, vol. 26, no.2, pp. 207-227. 1335-0668. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31577/orgf.2019.26202

Bělohrad, R. (2019). Animalism and the Vagueness of Composition. Organon F, 26(2), 207-227. 1335-0668. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31577/orgf.2019.26202
About edition:
Publisher: Institute of Philosophy of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences
Published: 8. 5. 2019
Radim Bělohrad