Edited by David Shoemaker (Tulane University)
|Summary||One of the primary methods of argument with respect to the metaphysics of personal identity has been to pump intuitions on a wide variety of puzzle cases, many of which involve science fiction. These include brain and body swaps, teletransportation, fission, fusion, and many more. The basic idea is to test the limits of our conceptual commitments by prizing apart various features of our identity that are typically conjoined. For example, what would happen if my body went in one direction and my psychological stream went in another? Where would I go? This method is highly controversial, however, with several theorists questioning both the possibility of such cases as well as their utility for determining the identity conditions for non-fictional creatures like us.|
|Key works||John Locke offered the original body swap case between a Prince and a cobbler (see Perry 1975), and others who have appealed to many varieties of puzzle cases to argue for their conclusions about personal identity include Shoemaker 1963, Wiggins 1967, Nagel 1971, Lewis 1976, Parfit 1984, Noonan 1989, Martin 1998, and McMahan 2002. Those wary or critical of this "method of puzzle cases" include Williams 1970, Wilkes 1988, Johnston 1989, Gendler 2002, and DeGrazia 2005.|
|Introductions||Encyclopedia entry that includes discussion of identity and puzzle cases: Gallois 2008. No introductory texts on puzzle cases alone, but an excellent (albeit challenging) deployment of the method is Part III of Parfit 1984, and an excellent (albeit challenging) discussion of its limits is Wilkes 1988.|
Mind Uploading* (13)
Fission and Split Brains
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David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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