Thread: Dar al-Hikma
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:14 AM
wstewart wstewart is offline
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: XCV
Default Re: Dar al-Hikma

Originally Posted by Spacemonkey View Post chief concern with the argument for existential passage is that the only grounds present for Paul for maintaining personal identity (or consciousness identity) across the time-gap are clearly absent for Nicos. If we only judge Paul to have survived the stroke as the numerically same person (perhaps wrongly given the breakdown in psychological continuity) due to his bodily continuity, then this seems perfectly sufficient grounds for denying continued personal identity (or consciousness identity) between Nicos and Thanos where such continuity is absent.
The essay does not posit persistence of a unique personal identity throughout the scenario of Old/New Paul, or throughout the scenario of Nicos and Thanos, so this particular concern doesn't actually apply to essay reasoning.

re: precedence of unfelt time-gaps over personal identity

Revisiting your question about precedence, I can say that although precedence of one personal identity criterion over the others is dependent on the aspect of personal identity at issue, there is a sense in which unfelt time-gaps take precedence over all personal identity criteria:

The two concepts are related: unfelt time-gaps map to personal identity mainly through the concepts' mutual dependence on subjectivity. We've seen that the unfelt time-gap, as a concept, is plausible. It corresponds with subjective/objective transitions, which delimit personal identity. And we've seen in the Old/New Paul scenario that the unfelt time-gap can remain plausible even with permanent loss of episodic memory and a lengthy disruption of physical continuity of the thalamocortical loops sustaining subjectivity, in coma. Together these stipulations constitute loss of the subjectivity, memory and continuity that provide the criteria of personal identity. In this way the unfelt time-gap could be said to take precedence over personal identity: it remains plausible even when no aspect of a persisting personal identity is possible.

For this reason it seems unlikely that one could say, "Old Paul's unfelt time-gap is impossible, or else incomprehensible, because personal identity [x]," where [x] is some aspect of a persisting personal identity. The passive function of the unfelt time-gap just does not require active maintenance of a personal identity criterion.

This much seems true of Old and New Paul - but of course the same functional conditions are found in the scenario of Nicos and Thanos. That scenario presents no difference that would obviously invalidate the precedence of unfelt time-gaps over personal identity. And given that Darwin's nature can be expected to produce the same result whenever the same functional conditions appear, what result should we expect in the scenario of Nicos and Thanos? A result differing from existential passage would call for its own explanation, and judging from previous debates that explanation would quite possibly require more metaphysical entities than are required by existential passage reasoning.

This is one way of stating the proponent view of existential passage as a parsimonious, default expectation. Hence the essay title, of course.

Last edited by wstewart; 07-28-2013 at 06:31 AM.
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