Derivative Properties and the Too Many Thinkers Problem

Joungbin Lim 1
  • 1 Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Elizabeth City State University, 1704 Weeksville Rd., Elizabeth City, NC 27909, USA
Joungbin Lim


The central objection to the constitution view is the too many thinkers problem – if the animal that constitutes you thinks and you are not it, then there are two thinkers within the region you occupy. Lynne Rudder Baker claims that the animal thinks only derivatively, in virtue of constituting the person that thinks nonderivatively, and this leads to a solution to the too many thinkers problem. This paper offers two objections to Baker’s solution. First, the idea of derivative/nonderivative properties faces a dilemma unacceptable to constitutionalists: either the too many thinkers problem is reinstated or the constitution view is undermined by the idea itself. Further, Baker should concede that the person thinks in virtue of brain functions. This implies, contra Baker’s claim, that the person thinks derivatively and the animal thinks nonderivatively. The paper also considers a way in which Baker might respond to the two objections.

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