Mental Excess and the Constitution View of Persons

Philosophical Papers 46 (2):211-243 (2017)
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Abstract
Constitution theorists have argued that due to a difference in persistence conditions, persons are not identical with the animals or the bodies that constitute them. A popular line of objection to the view that persons are not identical with the animals/bodies that constitute them is that the view commits one to undesirable overpopulation, with too many minds and too many thinkers. Constitution theorists are well aware of these overpopulation concerns and have gone a long way toward answering them. However, there is one mental excess worry that remains especially problematic. It is argued here that the worry about too many thoughts, or too many instantiations of mentality in general, remains a serious threat to the constitution view of persons. What exactly the threat is and how it arises is described in detail in Section III. It is then shown that attempts to allay the concern are unsuccessful. I argue, in particular, that appealing to the distinction between derivative and non-derivative instantiation fails to solve the problem.
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