A Notable Theoretical Convergence

There is a remarkable theoretical convergence between Wayne Stewart's "existential passage" and Tom Clark's "generic subjective continuity" as explained on the Death, Nothingness, and Subjectivity page.

In a wonderfully written monograph (a book, really), Metaphysics By Default, Wayne Stewart presents an independently developed thesis directly parallel to the argument in Death, Nothingness, and Subjectivity (DNS).  Without having encountered my paper, he uses very much the same thought experiment to support the intuition of generic subjective continuity, what he calls “existential passage”  (see in particular Chapter 9).  The passage across birth and death, as he describes it, is “a shift of perceived existential ‘moment,’ a natural relocation of the awareness of existence.”  This seems very close to the idea in DNS that what we should anticipate at death is the continuing “sense of always having been present.”  

I’m happy to report that Stewart’s thesis, like mine, is entirely naturalistic, in that the basis for consciousness and subjectivity is taken to be the brain (more generally, a suitably enhanced central nervous system), so that nothing mysterious is literally carried over between subjects.  Yet subjectivity continues across objective gaps between physically instantiated subjects, and this is a psychologically important fact for us.  Needless to say, it was very gratifying to learn of Wayne Stewart’s work, which I highly recommend to your attention.