Persons and Bodies

Persons and Bodies : A Constitution View

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What is a human person, and what is the relation between a person and his or her body? In her third book on the philosophy of mind, Lynne Rudder Baker investigates what she terms the person/body problem and offers a detailed account of the relation between human persons and their bodies. Baker's argument is based on the 'Constitution View' of persons and bodies, which aims to show what distinguishes persons from all other beings and to show how we can be fully material beings without being identical to our bodies. The Constitution View yields answers to the questions 'What am I most fundamentally?', 'What is a person?', and 'What is the relation between human persons and their bodies'? Baker argues that the complex mental property of first-person perspective enables one to conceive of one's body and mental states as one's own.
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"Baker (Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst) develops a sustained argument defending view of persons. Her argument links the body to the mind by means of the constitution view..." Choice "As usual, Ruddr-Baker provides an extremely clear and subtle defense of a provocative position that goes against much mainstream theorising." Dec 2001 "I found it a fascinating read, and so will anyone who is interested in the metaphysics of material objects. Those who take seriously the idea that there might really be such thing as constitution, moreover, may well be convinced that Baker has presented the best, most convincing version of 'constitutionalism.'" The Philosophical Review "...Persons and Bodies is a fine book, carefully argued throughout as well as elegantly and enjoyably written...the book should not be missed." Philosophical Christi
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Table of contents

Preface; Part I. The Metaphysical Background: 1. Persons in the material world; 2. The very idea of constitution; 3. The first-person perspective; Part II. The Constitution View Explained: 4. The constitution view of human persons; 5. Personal identity over time; 6. The importance of being a person; Part III. The Constitution View Defended: 7. The coherence of the idea of material constitution; 8. The coherence of the constitution view; 9. In favor of the constitution view.
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About Lynne Rudder Baker

Lynne Rudder Baker is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the author of Explaining Attitudes (Cambridge UP, 1995), Persons and Bodies (Cambridge UP, 2000), The Metaphysics of Everyday Life (Cambridge UP, 2007), and Saving Belief (Princeton UP, 1987).
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