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  1. Was I Ever a Fetus?Eric T. Olson - 1997 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (1):95-110.
    The Standard View of personal identity says that someone who exists now can exist at another time only if there is continuity of her mental contents or capacities. But no person is psychologically continuous with a fetus, for a fetus, at least early in its career. has no mental features at all. So the Standard View entails that no person was ever a fetus---contrary to the popular assumption that an unthinking fetus is a potential person. It is also mysterious what (...)
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  2. Life After Death and the Devastation of the Grave.Eric T. Olson - 2015 - In Keith Augustine & Michael Martin (eds.), The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life After Death. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 409-423.
    This paper—written for nonspecialist readers—asks whether life after death is in any sense possible given the apparent fact that after we die our remains decay to the point where only randomly scattered atoms remain. The paper argues that this is possible only if our remains are not in fact dispersed in this way, and discusses how that might be the case. -/- 1. Life After Death -- 2. Total Destruction -- 3. The Soul -- 4. Body-Snatching -- 5. Radical Resurrection (...)
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  3. What is the problem of biological individuality.Eric T. Olson - 2021 - In Anne Sophie Meincke & John Dupré (eds.), Biological Individuality: Perspectives from Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Biology. New York: Routledge. pp. 63-85.
    One big question in biology is what life is, but another is how life divides into living things. This is the problem of biological individuality. Proposed statements of the problem have been vague and incomplete. And proposed theories of biological individuality are not detailed enough to solve the problem even if they are correct. The root of these troubles is that their authors have not recognized the metaphysical claims presupposed in their statement of the problem. Making these claims explicit will (...)
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  4. Partial Twinning and the Boundaries of a Person.Eric T. Olson - 2023 - Belgrade Philosophical Annual 36 (1):7-24.
    In special cases of partial twinning, two heads, each supporting a more-orless normal human mental life, emerge from a single torso. It is often argued that there must be two people in such a case, even if there is only one biological organism. That would pose a problem for ‘animalism’, the view that people are organisms. The paper argues that it is very hard to say what sort of non-organisms the people in such cases would be. Reflection on partial twinning (...)
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  5. The Metaphysics of Transhumanism.Eric T. Olson - 2022 - In Karolina Hübner (ed.), Human: A History (Oxford Philosophical Concepts). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 381-403.
    Transhumanists want to free us from the constraints imposed by our humanity by means of “uploading”: extracting information from the brain, transferring it to a computer, and using it to create a purely electronic person there. That is supposed to move us from our human bodies to computers. This presupposes that a human being could literally move to a computer by a mere transfer of information. The chapter questions this assumption, then asks whether the procedure might be just as good, (...)
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