A Response to Olson’s Animalism Essay

928 Words Nov 25th, 2009 4 Pages
A Response to Olson’s Animalism
1. Introduction
There is a human organism located exactly where you are located. Eric Olson argues that you are identical to that organism. This view is known as animalism. His “thinking animal” argument takes the following form: (1) There is a human animal where you are located; (2) If there’s a human animal where you are located, it is thinking; (3) The only thing thinking where you are located is you; and (4) So, you are a human animal. One argument, which exhibits parallel reasoning and boasts premises motivated in the exact same way, may be employed to resist Olson’s argument. In this paper I will show that this argument, which I will now call the Guanilo-Style argument, is structurally
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Despite, Olson’s argument in defense of these premises we can make an argument with reasoning which parallels that of the Thinking Animal Argument, but leads to an absurd conclusion: you are your head.

3. The Guanilo-Style Argument It is certain that the logical validity of Olson’s argument cannot be questioned. So, rather than questioning this aspect of the argument, we can formulate a parallel argument whose premises are motivated in the exact same way as Olson’s. This argument, which we will call the Guanilo-Style argument would follow in such a way: (1) There’s a head located in the region you’re in; (2) If there’s a head located in the region you’re in, it’s thinking; (3) You’re the only thinking thing located in the region you’re in; and (4) If so, then you are your head. Common sense intuitions tell me that I am not my head and that this is an absurd conclusion to draw. However, since the Guanilo-Style argument boasts premises that are motivated in the exact same way as Olson’s Thinking Animal Argument and as such possesses parallel reasoning, there is no reason to think that Olson’s argument is sound.

4. Conclusion I have presented the Guanilo-Style argument, which rests on individually motivated premises that exactly parallel those of Olson’s Thinking Animal Argument. As such, any attempt to deny or object to the premises of the Guanilo-Style argument must be made

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