Bodily Thought and the Corpse Problem



Árnadóttir ST (2013) Bodily Thought and the Corpse Problem. European Journal of Philosophy, 21 (4), pp. 575-592.

A key consideration in favour of animalism-the thesis that persons like you and me are identical to the animals we walk around with-is that it avoids a too many thinkers problem that arises for non-animalist positions. The problem is that it seems that any person-constituting animal would itself be able to think, but if wherever there is a thinking person there is a thinking animal distinct from it then there are at least two thinkers wherever there is a thinking person. Most find this result unacceptable, and some think it provides an excellent reason for accepting animalism. It has been argued, however, that animalists face an analogous problem of too many thinkers, the so-called corpse problem, as they must accept both 1) that we are distinct from our bodies, as our bodies can and we cannot persist through death as corpses and 2) that our bodies can think. I argue that the best reasons animalists have for accepting the two claims that generate the distinctness part of the problem double up as reasons to reject the claim that our bodies can think, and vice versa. I argue further that Lockeans cannot similarly get around their problem of too many thinkers.

European Journal of Philosophy: Volume 21, Issue 4

Publication date31/12/2013