Presentation: Elizabeth Schechter, “On the Possibility of Pluralindividualism”

Elizabeth Schechter (Washington University at St. Louis, Philosophy), who is currently a fellow at the National Humanities Center, will present a work-in-progress paper entitled “On the Possibility of Pluralindividualism” at the next PPRG meeting, which will be Thursday, May 7 from 7:30-9:00pm in room 213 of Caldwell Hall. RSVP to Dan if you plan to attend or if would like a copy of the paper.

Abstract: I have argued that there are within a split-brain subject two distinct thinkers of I-thoughts, Righty and Lefty. These I-thinkers do not recognize each other as such (lack of mutual recognition) and indeed cannot distinguish themselves from each other on ordinary first-personal grounds (lack of self-distinction). Righty and Lefty are therefore not distinct quo persons, but are instead thinking parts of one person: the split-brain subject as a whole.

This chapter concerns the possibility and desirability of plural personhood in the split-brain subject. Righty and Lefty cannot be distinct persons unless they develop the capacity for self-distinction and mutual recognition. Their living the lives of distinct persons would further require that second parties learn to recognize and relate to them as such (social recognition). Although such achievement would be difficult, they probably aren’t impossible. The possibility of plural personhood raises a troubling question, however: is there, or was there, an unmet obligation to encourage Righty and Lefty to develop into distinct persons? The only defensible negative answer to this question requires accepting the intrinsic moral significance of the individual human animal.

Discussion of Decision-Making Capacity

Jennifer Hawkins (Duke) will lead our discussion during the next PPRG meeting. We will discuss Scott Kim’s “The Place of Ability to Value in the Evaluation of Decision-Making Capacity” and Jennifer Hawkins’ response: “Decision-Making Capacity and Value”. Both papers are forthcoming in Philosophy and Psychiatry: Problems, Intersections and New Perspectives, edited by Dan and Gary (Routledge). We’ll meet on Thursday, April 2 from 7:00pm-8:30pm in room 213 of Caldwell Hall. Contact Dan if you would like a copy of the readings.

The next two PPRG meetings will be at the usual time and place on the following dates:

Thursday, May 7, to discuss Elizabeth Schecter’s “On the Possibility of Pluralindividualism”

Thursday, June 4, to discuss Kozuch and McKenna’s “Free Will, Moral Responsibility and Mental Illness” and Sripada’s response “Mental Illness, Moral Responsibility, and Expression of the Self.”

Current Issue of Public Affairs Quarterly on the DSM-5

Check out the current edition of Public Affairs Quarterly (January 2015, Vol. 29, No.1)!

It is guest edited by Dan Moseley and contains the following essays:

“The DSM-5 Definition of Mental Disorder” by Devin Singh and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

“Psychological Justice: DSM-5, False Positive Diagnosis, and Fair Equality of Opportunity” by Jerome Wakefield

“Revision and Representation: The Controversial Case of DSM-5″ by Dominic Sisti and Rebecca Johnson

“Hyponarrativity and Context-Specific Limitations of the DSM-5″ by Serife Tekin and Melissa Mosko

The articles are available here:

Discussion: Kozuch and McKenna, “Free Will, Moral Responsibility, and Mental Illness”

The new plan for next week’s meeting (Thursday, March 5 in room 213 of Caldwell Hall) is to discuss Benjamin Kozuch and Michael McKenna’s “Free Will, Moral Responsibility, and Mental Illness” and Chandra Sripada‘s commentary on it, entitled, “Mental Illness, Moral Responsibility, and Expression of the Self.” This fascinating exchange is forthcoming in Moseley and Gala’s Philosophy and Psychiatry: Problems, Intersections and New Perspectives (Routledge). RSVP to Dan if you plan to attend or would like a copy of the papers.