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Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy)


Author: Lynne Rudder Baker

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


Publish Date: Publish Date

ISBN-10: 521592631

Pages: Pages

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

In my earlier books, I developed a critique of the dominant view of the mind, according to which attitudes like beliefs are in the first instance brain states, and I offered an alternative, more pragmatic, approach. See Saving Belief: A Critique of Physicalism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1987) and Explaining Attitudes: A Practical Approach to the Mind (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995). On my alternative, attitudes — like believing, desiring, and intending — should be understood not primarily as brain states but as states of whole persons. Such a view raises the questions What is a person? and What is the relation between a person and her body? These are the questions that I hope to answer in this book. The answers require a very rich and detailed theory that I call the ‘Constitution View/ In this book, I set out the Constitution View and defend it against criticism and rival views.

I have tried out much of the theory and argument that appears here at departmental colloquia and at conferences where I have given papers recently: Yale University, Notre Dame University, York University (Ontario), Texas Tech, Texas A&M, University of Oklahoma, University of California (Santa Barbara), Whittier College, Utrecht University (Holland), Conference on Lynne Baker’s Theory of the Attitudes (Tilburg University, Nijmegen University, Dutch Research School in Philosophy [the Netherlands]), American Philosophical Association (Central Division), the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, the Conference on Naturalism (Humboldt University [Berlin]), and the Conference on Epistemology and Naturalism (University of Stirling [Scotland]).

Many philosophers contributed helpful criticism and suggestions along the way. These include J. C. Beall, W. R. Carter, Vere Chappell, Max Cresswell, Kevin Corcoran, Joe Cruz, Michael della Rocca, Ed-mund Gettier III, Anil Gupta, Robert Hanna, Pat Manfredi, Monica Meijsing, Eleonore Stump, Amie Thomasson, Judith Jarvis Thomson, Peter van Inwagen, Albert Visser, Ted Warfield, Dean Zimmerman, and members of my graduate seminar at the University of Massachusetts on Person and Body. Above all, I would like to thank Gareth B. Matthews and Katherine A. Sonderegger, for their never-failing help and encouragement. Earlier versions of points presented here appear elsewhere: “The First-Person Perspective: A Test for Naturalism,” American Philosophical Quarterly 35 (1998): 327-48; “What Am I?” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (1999), 151-9, and “Unity Without Identity: A New Look at Material Constitution,” New Directions in Philosophy: Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Volume 23, Howard Wettstein, ed. (Maiden, MA:
Blackwell Publishers, 1999). I thank the publishers of these articles for permission to use materials from them. I also thank the University of Massachusetts at Amherst for granting me a University Faculty Fellowship in 1996—7 and a sabbatical leave in fall 1998, during which I worked on this project.

Finally, I wish to thank my husband, Tom Baker, for support and solace throughout this project.

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