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Emergent Individuals

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We explain the thesis that human mental states are ontologically emergent aspects of a fundamentally biological organism. We then explore the consequences of this thesis for the identity of a human person over time. As these consequences are not obviously independent of one's general ontology of objects and their properties, we consider four such accounts: transcendent universals, kind-Aristotelianism, immanent universals, and tropes. We suggest there are reasons for emergentists to favour the latter two accounts. We then argue that within such ontologies, emergentism about properties pushes one to the stronger claim that there are emergent individuals, though not individuals which are dual to person's bodies — substance emergentism, but not substance dualism.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Indiana University at Bloomington, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2003


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