By John Perry
It is a list of conversations of Gretchen Weirob, a instructor of philosophy at a small Midwestern
college, and of her associates. The conversations came about in her health facility room at the 3 nights
before she died from accidents sustained in a bike coincidence. Sam Miller is a chaplain and a long-
time pal of Weirob’s; Dave Cohen is a former pupil of hers.
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Additional info for A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality
I hope that the reader will agree with me that even the A version of this argument holds a great deal of intuitive force. However, the key premise here, A2, is by no means uncontroversial, and in fact touches on issues that have excited major interest in metaphysics and philosophy of language over the past quarter century. The first objection is that the Main Argument assumes a sort of descriptivist semantics that has been largely overthrown by Kripke (1972) and Putnam (1975). While neither Kripke nor Putnam is a proponent of reductionism, many have viewed their ‘‘New Semantics’’ as supplying a refutation of the Negative EMC.
Such an explanation would require us to specify types of physical description (albeit relational ones) that would underwrite the applicability of descriptions in the special sciences. This requires finding a level of explanation that is neither local to the phenomena being explained nor completely global, in the form of a list of all of the physical facts. Externalist theories of mind generally do at least implicitly specify such a level; for example, the organism in its causal and normative relations to physical objects and social/linguistic practice.
3. Psychological reduction: Can mental phenomena like consciousness and intentionality be reduced to facts in the natural sciences? 4. Psychological supervenience: Do mental phenomena supervene upon the facts of the natural sciences? 5. Positive Epistemology-to-Metaphysics Connection (Positive EMC): Does a reduction of A to B entail that A supervenes upon B? 6. Negative Epistemology-to-Metaphysics Connection (Negative EMC): Does the irreducibility of A to B entail that A does not supervene upon B?
A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality by John Perry