2023-03Thematic Section
More Substance, Please: A Reply To Michael Esfeld’s Minimalist Ontology of Persons


Michael Esfeld has recently put forth his ontology of persons, with which he hopes to secure freedom and irreducible personhood as well as scientific realism, all by working with minimal ontological assumptions. I present his view and investigate it, finding it too minimalistic: Esfeld’s featureless matter points do not warrant an emergence of persons from matter, and his claim that persons can create themselves by adopting a normative attitude seems more like a just-so story. Also, Esfeld’s rejection of classical mind-body dualism seems premature. I present as an alternative a modified mind-body dualism which solves the problems of Esfeld’s view and argue that embedding it in a theistic worldview is favorable for any account that seeks to establish irreducible personhood.


persons, naturalism, Super-Humeanism, causal closure, dualism, minimalist ontology

How to cite:

Cucu, Alin Christoph. “More Substance, Please: A Reply To Michael Esfeld’s Minimalist Ontology of Persons.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 7, no. 3 (2023):  48-66. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2023.0023.


Alin Christoph Cucu
University of Lausanne
Quartier Centre, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland


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