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International Journal for Ontology and Metaphysics

Managing Editor: Koridze, Georg

Ed. by Hüntelmann, Rafael / Meixner, Uwe / Tegtmeier, Erwin

Editorial Board: Addis, Laird / Davies, Brian / Hochberg, Herbert / Johansson, Ingvar / Kanzian, Christian / Klima, Gyula / Koons, Robert C / Künne, Wolfgang / Löffler, Winfried / Mulligan, Kevin / Nef, Frederic / Oaklander, Nathan / Oderberg, David / Orilia, Francesco / Plantinga, Alvin / Potrc, Matjaz / Rapp, Christof / Reicher-Marek, Maria Elisabeth / Schantz, Richard / Scholz, Oliver R. / Seibt, Johanna / Simons, Peter / Smith, Barry / Strobach, Niko / Trettin, Käthe / Wachter, Daniel

CiteScore 2018: 0.29

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.257
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.369

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Animalism and Person Essentialism

Kevin W. Sharpe
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  • Department of Philosophy, Saint Cloud State University, Centennial Hall 365, 720 Fourth Avenue South, St. Cloud, Minnesota, MN 56301-4498, USA
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Published Online: 2015-03-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2015-0003


Animalism is the view that human persons are human animals – biological organisms that belong to the species Homo sapiens. This paper concerns a family of modal objections to animalism based on the essentiality of personhood (persons and animals differ in their persistence conditions; psychological considerations are relevant for the persistence of persons, but not animals; persons, but not animals, are essentially psychological beings). Such arguments are typically used to support constitutionalism, animalism’s main neo-Lockean rival. The problem with such arguments is that they wrongly assume that animalism is incompatible with our essentially being psychological beings. In this paper, I discuss a formulation of animalism, what I call psychologically-serious animalism, according to which human persons are essentially human animals and essentially persons. I show how the availability of this neglected formulation of animalism undermines objections based on the essentiality of personhood.

Keywords: animalism; constitution; persistence conditions; personal identity; person essentialism


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About the article

Published Online: 2015-03-31

Published in Print: 2015-05-25

Citation Information: Metaphysica, Volume 16, Issue 1, Pages 53–72, ISSN (Online) 1874-6373, ISSN (Print) 1437-2053, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2015-0003.

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