Publication Date

2016-04-14

Availability

Embargoed

Embargo Period

2018-04-14

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Philosophy (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2016-03-25

First Committee Member

Mark Rowlands (co-chair); Simon Evnine (co-chair)

Second Committee Member

Amie Thomasson

Third Committee Member

Berit Brogaard

Fourth Committee Member

Amy Kind

Abstract

What are we? According to the two most common answers we are either psychological beings or biological organisms. In my dissertation I develop a novel account, which combines the advantages of these views while avoiding their main pitfalls. I start by arguing against the most developed theory of organism persistence, according to which human organisms persist in virtue of their brainstems persisting. Next, by drawing on the literature on natural properties and biological laws, I argue that biological organisms can persist through death. While organisms don’t necessarily cease to exist when they die, we normally do: according to my New Bodily View we are bodies that are bundles of physical and mental tropes, whereas organisms are bundles of exclusively physical tropes. This account not only solves various metaphysical problems about the relation between persons and organisms, but can also handle a novel puzzle I raise for rival views concerning the relation between bodily and self-awareness.

Keywords

body; bodily awareness; personal identity; self-awareness; organisms; properties

Available for download on Saturday, April 14, 2018

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