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Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Volume 80, 2006

Intelligence and the Philosophy of Mind

David B. Hershenov
Pages 225-236

Shoemaker’s Problem of Too Many Thinkers

Shoemaker maintains that when a functionalist theory of mind is combined with his belief about individuating properties and the well-known cerebrum transplant thought experiment, the resulting position will be a version of the psychological approach to personal identity that can avoid The Problem of Too Many Thinkers. I maintain that the costs of his solution—that the human animal is incapable of thought—are too high. Shoemaker also has not provided an argument against there existing a merely conscious being that is not essentially self-conscious but is spatially coincident with a person who is essentially self-conscious. Both the person and the merely sentient being will be transplanted when the cerebrum is. And another thought experiment will make it impossible for Shoemaker to identify the person and the merely conscious being.