A Map of Selves defines a concept of selfhood, radically different from the Cartesian, neo-Humean, materialist and animalist concepts which now dominate analytical philosophy of mind. A self, as this book defines it, is an enduring substance with a quality which is its constant possession, which it does not share with any other substance, and which is often remembered by it as its own. The author maintains that we are selves as so defined. He criticises the panpsychist theory that material objects are composed of selves analogous to ours, and argues, further, for the existence of at least one transcendent self, whose activity explains both our own existence and the existence of the natural world. He ends by considering whether things would be worse for us if selves as the book defines them did not exist, and we were, as some philosophers suppose we are, just brains, or sequences of mental events, or hylemorphic structures, or subjects which last no longer than the specious present.
Nathan’s carefully argued and original book will be of interest to researchers in metaphysics and philosophical psychology, and to their students.
Table of Contents
1. Human Selves
1.1 A Remembered Quality
2. Ulterior Selves?
2.2 Ignorance and Simplicity
2.3 The Confinement of Qualities
3. At Least One Transcendent Self
3.2 Evidential Sufficient Reason
3.3 An explanatory inference
3.4 The causation of disseveralities
3.5 Essence and Existence
3.6 An argument from causation
3.7 An argument from existence
4. If Selves Did Not Exist
A: Primitive Modality
B: Consensual Propositions.
N.M.L. Nathan is a former Reader in Philosophy and now Hon. Senior Fellow in the University of Liverpool, UK. His books include Evidence and Assurance (1980), Will and World (1992), and The Price of Doubt (Routledge, 2000).