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Ideas of Eric T. Olson, by Text

[Canadian, b.1963, Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge; then at Sheffield University.]

1997 The Human Animal
p.173 Maybe our persistence conditions concern bodies, rather than persons
     Full Idea: Instead of attributing person-like persistence conditions to bodies, we could attribute body-like persistence conditions to persons, ůso human persons are identical with human organisms.
     From: report of Eric T. Olson (The Human Animal [1997]) by Katherine Hawley - How Things Persist 5.10
     A reaction: In the case of pre-birth and advanced senility, Olson thinks we could have the body without the person, so person is a 'phase sortal' of bodies. A good theory, which seems to answer a lot of questions. 'Person' may be an abstraction.
p.284 For 'animalism', I exist before I became a person, and can continue after it, so I am not a person
     Full Idea: According to 'animalism', I existed before I was a person and I may well go one existing for some time after I cease to be a person; hence, I am not essentially a person, but a human organism.
     From: report of Eric T. Olson (The Human Animal [1997]) by E.J. Lowe - Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind Ch.10
     A reaction: There is a very real sense in which an extremely senile person has 'ceased to exist' (e.g. as the person I used to love). On the whole, though, I think that Olson is right, and yet 'person' is an important concept. Neither concept is all-or-nothing.