Suppose your cerebrum was removed from your skull and placed in a vat in such a way that its neural functioning continued. So then where are you: Are you in the vat, or where the cerebrum-less body with heartbeat and breathing is?
Most people say you're in the vat. So persons go with their cerebra. But the animal, it seems, stays behind—the cerebrum-less body is the same animal as before. So, persons aren't animals, goes the argument.
I think the animal goes with the cerebrum. Here's a heuristic.
- Typically, if an organism of kind K is divided into two parts A and B that retain much of their function, and the flourishing of an organism of kind K is to a significantly greater degree constituted by the functioning of A than that of B, then the organism survives as A rather than as B.
Another related heuristic:
- Typically, if an organism of kind K is divided into two parts A and B that retain much of their function, and B's functioning is significantly more teleologically directed to the support of A than the other way around, then the organism survives as A rather than as B.
My heart exists largely for the sake of the rest of my body, while it is false to say that the rest of my body exists largely for the sake of my heart. So if I am divided into a heart and the rest of me, as long as the rest of me continues to function (say, due to a mechanical pump circulating blood), I go with the rest of me, not the heart. But while the cerebrum does work for the survival of the rest of my body, it is much more the case that the rest of the body works for the survival of the cerebrum.
There may also be a control heuristic, but I don't know how to formulate it.