Animalism and Person Essentialism

Metaphysica 16 (1):53-72 (2015)
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Abstract

Animalism is the view that human persons are human animals – biological organisms that belong to the species Homo sapiens. This paper concerns a family of modal objections to animalism based on the essentiality of personhood (persons and animals differ in their persistence conditions; psychological considerations are relevant for the persistence of persons, but not animals; persons, but not animals, are essentially psychological beings). Such arguments are typically used to support constitutionalism, animalism’s main neo-Lockean rival. The problem with such arguments is that they wrongly assume that animalism is incompatible with our essentially being psychological beings. In this paper, I discuss a formulation of animalism, what I call psychologically-serious animalism, according to which human persons are essentially human animals and essentially persons. I show how the availability of this neglected formulation of animalism undermines objections based on the essentiality of personhood.

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Kevin Sharpe
St. Cloud State University

Citations of this work

Animalism.Andrew M. Bailey - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (12):867-883.
Generic Animalism.Andrew M. Bailey & Peter van Elswyk - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (8):405-429.
Animalism is Either False of Uninteresting (Perhaps Both).Matt Duncan - 2021 - American Philosophical Quarterly 58 (2):187-200.
Varieties of Animalism.Allison Krile Thornton - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (9):515-526.

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