On E.J. Lowe’s Argument for Brobdingnagian Atomism
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In a number of his essays E.J. Lowe has presented an interesting argument for the ontological simplicity of the self. This argument became the subject of Eric T. Olson’s polemic reaction, who tried – unsuccesfully – to discover a formal mistake in the argument. Eventually, the modified and improved version of Lowe’s reasoning came out in his paper Identity, Composition, and the Simplicity of the Self. It seemed that the argument for the ontological simplicity of the self has resisted criticism. In my paper, I present a few manoeuvres which can be used by advocates of animalism to dismiss conclusions of Lowe’s argument. An animalist may want to do that for a simple reason: on the basis of animalism it is difficult to argue for the thesis of the simplicity of the self, as persons are – according to animalism – human organisms, that is, composite objects. My analysis shows that the simplicity argument – although it remains formally valid – is not sound in the light of the shown difficulties and shortcomings. This enables me to insist on an animalistic interpretation of the subjectaccording to which the self is a composite material object, identical with a living human organism.
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