Rosenberg Ch 2 -
(2.1)The Having Theory: the relationship between either a person and a soul or
a person and a body is some form of “possession” or “ownership” signaled by the
Rosenberg’s argument: The questions regarding a person who dies “What
becomes of the person?” and “Where does the corpse come from” cannot be
answered coherently by the Having Theory.
No account of the history of a person’s possessions following his death has any
consequences regarding the history of the person himself following his death, so
the Having theory does not have an answer for question 1.
An analogy: a pancreas is something a person has. Suppose when I die my
pancreas will be surgically removed and kept healthy and alive. The history of my
pancreas will continue after my death. It does not follow that my history will
continue after my death. The fate of my pancreas does not equal my fate.
Rosenberg argues that knowing what becomes of the soul does not mean we
know what becomes of ourselves. The fact that the history of my soul continues
after death does not imply that my history does. Thus, the Having theory leaves
my fate completely undetermined.
(2.2) Having a Soul - In a Manner of Speaking
A person’s “having” a soul is a very different sort of thing from a person “having”
a pancreas. A person’s having a soul is not a form of ownership at all - souls and
bodies that we are said to “have” are not things or entities but merely nominal
objects, illusions of linguistic appearances.
(i) He has a muscular body
She has a generous soul
Taken at face value, (i) and (ii) appear to state a relationship of having,
ownership. The surface grammar is fully analogous to the surface grammar of
sentences which do state such a relationship (iii) & (iv): He has an enlarged liver
(iv) She has a red pontiac
(v) He has a short temper
She has an even disposition
Regarding (v) and (vi): There is no temptation to suppose that there are things or
entities - a temper and a disposition- which have histories of their own, distinct
from the histories of those who “have” them. They are idioms, or manners of
speaking. Rather than stating a relationship between two things, these sentences
simply attribute a property to one thing, saying what they are like, not what they
possess. We can paraphrase them to remove misleading impressions:
(v*) He is irascible
(vi*) She is calm
The two sets of sentences state the same facts. We may conclude that (v) and
(vi) are also each about only one thing- and the temper and disposition
mentioned are not entities but nominal objects, such as smiles.
Souls and bodies are also merely nominal objects, and paraphrasing shows this:
(i*) He is muscular
(ii*) She is generous
Paraphrasing cannot be applied to sentences (iii) and (iv) for livers and Pontiacs
are things in their own right and have a history of their own, and are things a
person can possess.
The Having theory treats souls and bodies as if they were things in their own
right which stand in special relationships to persons,
T1 Mistakes linguistic appearances for linguistic reality.
Even if we pretend that bodies and souls are things people have, the theory still
fails to answer the question of what happens to the history of a person when they
(2.3) A Second Try - The ‘Team’ Theory
T2: A person is a soul and a body, that is, a person consists of a soul
united with a body.
An analogy: The battery of a baseball club. According to a dictionary, a
battery is “a team’s pitcher and catcher for a game considered as a unit.”
TB: A battery is a pitcher and a catcher, that is, a battery consists of a
pitcher working with a catcher.
According to T2, death is a separation of soul and body, the dissolution of
Analogously, if the pitcher or catcher is replaced, the battery composing
them is retired. The pitcher or catcher can have a history which...
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