Philosophical Studies

, Volume 147, Issue 3, pp 347–354

Functionalism and thinking animals


DOI: 10.1007/s11098-008-9287-0

Cite this article as:
Árnadóttir, S.T. Philos Stud (2010) 147: 347. doi:10.1007/s11098-008-9287-0


Lockean accounts of personal identity face a problem of too many thinkers arising from their denial that we are identical to our animals and the assumption that our animals can think. Sydney Shoemaker has responded to this problem by arguing that it is a consequence of functionalism that only things with psychological persistence conditions can have mental properties, and thus that animals cannot think. I discuss Shoemaker’s argument and demonstrate two ways in which it fails. Functionalism does not rid the Lockean of the problem of too many thinkers.


Personal identity The problem of too many thinkers Functionalism Lockeanism Sydney Shoemaker 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University College LondonLondonEngland

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