Monday, January 31, 2005

"Theseus" Peer Review

First off, thanks Dan, for being the first to take a leap and leave a post. In case you have not noticed, Dan has a very interesting post just below this one on Unger. Check it out and tell him why you think he's wrong or why you think that those who think he's wrong are wrong.

Second, here is the peer review assignment for next Monday. Please type up your answers and make sure you answer all of the questions. Comment to this post if you have questions or run into trouble. I am going out of town but I will try to check the blog while I'm gone. Also, comment to Dan's post. Here's the assignment:

Review your peer's "Theseus" argument.

1. Does the argument have the correct conclusion?
2. Following the guidelines in the Argument Manual, symbolize your peer's argument.
3. Is the argument valid?
4. If so, by what forms do its conclusions follow?
5. If it's not valid, what suggestions can you give to help make the argument valid?
6. Has your peer correctly identified the premises that would be denied by proponents of ME, TT, and N, respectively?
7. How can you tell?
8. Is your peer's citation correct?
9. If not, suggest ways to improve it.

Unger

I think Unger goes wrong in assuming that people are simply a collection of particles. One of his main points is that due to the very large number of component pieces that make up a human, gradual removal does very little, and it seems unlikely that there is a threshold point at which too many components have been removed. This idea of a threshold is indeed somewhat absurd, which is why I find it difficult to refute his argument about tables not exisiting. However, when speaking of humans, I think that in terms of what defines a human, functionality and some sort of consciousness are inherent in what we deem as "human". Within this light, it seems that the threshold problem has been resolved, because if the collection of particles we are talking about (the person) is still able to function to a point they could be defined as human. If one particle is removed and that functionality has ceased, so to has the human object. This does raise interesting ideas however about what we define to be human, e.g., a living brain with no body, etc.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

New Reading and Writing: An Argument that You Don't Exist

The new readings and writing assignments are up on the home page. The readings include Unger's argument that he does not exist. If he's right, the problem generalizes and none of us exist. So what do people think? Where does Unger go wrong? (It would help to figure out just what he says before we criticize it, but I'm not asking anybody to PEE the argument (yet). I'm just asking for criticism. Unless, that is, you accept the conclusion.)

Monday, January 24, 2005

Third Writing Assignment

Revise the argument that you presented and explained for 01.24. Make sure that the argument is valid and that it lacks idle premises. State which premise you think is the weakest. State which premise a ‘Just-Matter’ theorist would deny. State which premise a Takeover Theorist would deny. Finally, state whether you think the ‘Just Matter’ Theorist’s or the Takeover Theorist’s reply is more plausible. A perfectly acceptable way to do this assignment is as follows:

Argument
Premise 1
Premise 2
Premise 3
Conclusion

Reason to think (1) is true: Blah blah blah.
Reason to think (2) is true: Blah blah blah.
Reason to think (3) is true: Blah blah blah.

I think the weakest premise is (n), because Blah blah blah.
The ‘Just-Matter’ Theorist would deny premise (n).
The Takeover Theorist would deny premise (n).
I think that the _____ Theorist’s response is more plausible.

Citation

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Second Writing Assignment

Note: The links for the readings from the course schedule should be working fine now. Details of the second writing assignment are as follows:

Writing Assignment 2

Using the resources we have been developing for identifying and presenting arguments, present a puzzle discussed by Rea other than the Debtor’s Paradox. Briefly state reasons in support of the premises of the paradox you present. Identify the premise you think is weakest and explain why. Do this even if you think the argument is sound. That is, even if you think all of the premises are true. Be sure to correctly cite your source(s).

This assignment should be brief; it should require no more than one page. You are encouraged to discuss your proposals for how to present, explain, and/or evaluate the argument you choose to discuss with other students here.

A perfectly acceptable way to do this assignment is as follows:

Argument
Premise 1
Premise 2
Premise 3
Conclusion

Note: The conclusion of your argument should be 'Therefore, a and b are coincident'. The values of 'a' and 'b' depend on the puzzle that you choose to present. For the purposes of this assignment, a and b are coincident just in case a is distinct from b and a and b occupy exactly the same place at the same time.

Reason to think (1) is true: Blah blah blah.
Reason to think (2) is true: Blah blah blah.
Reason to think (3) is true: Blah blah blah.

I think the weakest premise is (n), because Blah blah blah.

Citation

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

First Writing Assignment

In all likelihood, the first writing assignment will be hard. It is difficult to get the hang of presenting and explaining valid arguments. If you are stuck or unsure about whether the argument you extracted is valid, this is a good place to try it out. It is important to note that there is no single correct way to validly present the argument; almost any valid argument can be presented in several different ways. So please feel free to post what you have so far either as a comment to this post or as a separate post.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Welcome

Welcome to the class blog for CAS 105: Objects, Persons, and Identity.

To create your own post, just click on 'Blogger' in the upper left hand corner, sign in, click on 'Objects, Persons, and Identity', and click on 'Create New Post'. Write something and click 'Publish Post'. Other than coming up with something to say, that's all there is to it. Feel free to comment on this post if you have trouble creating your own post.