Against the Maximality Principle

C. S. Sutton 1
  • 1 Department of Philosophy, Virginia Commonwealth University, 915 W. Franklin St., Richmond, VA 23284-2025, USA
C. S. Sutton

Abstract

To hold that only one conscious thing is sitting in your chair, philosophers have appealed to maximality: If a property M is maximal, then anything that has property M does not have large proper parts that have property M. Philosophers have said that ordinary objects are maximal, including houses, cats, rocks, and have argued by analogy that consciousness is maximal. I argue that the maximality principle mistakenly excludes some members of a kind. Thus, it is not the correct principle to explain why, for example, you are conscious but the proper part that is all-of-you-but-your-arm is not conscious.

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