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  1. Torin Alter & Stuart Rachels (2004). Epistemicism and the Combined Spectrum. Ratio 17 (3):241-255.
    Derek Parfit's combined-spectrum argument seems to conflict with epistemicism, a viable theory of vagueness. While Parfit argues for the indeterminacy of personhood, epistemicism denies indeterminacy. But, we argue, the linguistically based determinacy that epistemicism supports lacks the sort of normative or ontological significance that concerns Parfit. Thus, we reformulate his argument to make it consistent with epistemicism. We also dispute Roy Sorensen's suggestion that Parfit's argument relies on an assumption that fuels resistance to epistemicism, namely, that 'the magnitude of a (...)
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  2. Julian Baggini, Psychological Reductionism About Persons: A Critical Development.
  3. S. Beck (1998). Back to the Self and the Future. South African Journal of Philosophy 17 (3):211-225.
    The thought-experiment presented by Bernard Williams in 'The self and the future' continues to draw the attention of writers in the debate about personal identity. While few of them agree on what implications it has for the debate, almost all agree that those implications are significant ones. Some have even claimed that it has consequences not only for personal identity, but also concerning the viability of thought-experiment as a method. This paper surveys what these consequences might be at both levels (...)
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  4. Simon Beck (2016). Technological Fictions and Personal Identity: On Ricoeur, Schechtman and Analytic Thought Experiments. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 47 (2):117-132.
    Paul Ricoeur and Marya Schechtman express grave doubts about the acceptability and informativeness of the thought-experiments employed by analytic philosophers (notably Derek Parfit) in the debate about personal identity, and for what appear to be related reasons. I consider their reasoning and argue that their reasons fail to justify their doubts. I go on to argue that, from this discussion of possible problems concerning select thought-experiments, something positive can be learned about personal identity.
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  5. Simon Beck (2015). The Extreme Claim, Psychological Continuity and the Person Life View. South African Journal of Philosophy 34 (3):314-322.
    Marya Schechtman has raised a series of worries for the Psychological Continuity Theory of personal identity (PCT) stemming out of what Derek Parfit called the ‘Extreme Claim’. This is roughly the claim that theories like it are unable to explain the importance we attach to personal identity. In her recent Staying Alive (2014), she presents further arguments related to this and sets out a new narrative theory, the Person Life View (PLV), which she sees as solving the problems as well (...)
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  6. Simon Beck (2014). Transplant Thought-Experiments: Two Costly Mistakes in Discounting Them. South African Journal of Philosophy 33 (2):189-199.
    ‘Transplant’ thought-experiments, in which the cerebrum is moved from one body to another, have featured in a number of recent discussions in the personal identity literature. Once taken as offering confirmation of some form of psychological continuity theory of identity, arguments from Marya Schechtman and Kathleen Wilkes have contended that this is not the case. Any such apparent support is due to a lack of detail in their description or a reliance on predictions that we are in no position to (...)
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  7. Simon Beck (2010). Morals, Metaphysics and the Method of Cases. South African Journal of Philosophy 29 (4):332-342.
    In this paper I discuss a set of problems concerning the method of cases as it is used in applied ethics and in the metaphysical debate about personal identity. These problems stem from research in social psychology concerning our access to the data with which the method operates. I argue that the issues facing ethics are more worrying than those facing metaphysics.
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  8. Simon Beck (2009). Martha Nussbaum and the Foundations of Ethics: Identity, Morality and Thought-Experiments. South African Journal of Philosophy 28 (3):261-270.
    Martha Nussbaum has argued in support of the view (supposedly that of Aristotle) that we can, through thought-experiments involving personal identity, find an objective foundation for moral thought without having to appeal to any authority independent of morality. I compare the thought-experiment from Plato’s Philebus that she presents as an example to other thought-experiments involving identity in the literature and argue that this reveals a tension between the sources of authority which Nussbaum invokes for her thought-experiment. I also argue that (...)
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  9. Simon Beck (2008). Going Narrative: Schechtman and the Russians. South African Journal of Philosophy 27 (2):69-79.
    Marya Schechtman's The Constitution of Selves presented an impressive attempt to persuade those working on personal identity to give up mainstream positions and take on a narrative view instead. More recently, she has presented new arguments with a closely related aim. She attempts to convince us to give up the view of identity as a matter of psychological continuity, using Derek Parfit's story of the “Nineteenth Century Russian” as a central example in making the case against Parfit's own view, and (...)
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  10. Simon Beck (2006). These Bizarre Fictions: Thought-Experiments, Our Psychology and Our Selves. Philosophical Papers 35 (1):29-54.
    Philosophers have traditionally used thought-experiments in their endeavours to find a satisfactory account of the self and personal identity. Yet there are considerations from empirical psychology as well as related ones from philosophy itself that appear to completely undermine the method of thought-experiment. This paper focuses on both sets of considerations and attempts a defence of the method.
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  11. Simon Beck (2004). Our Identity, Responsibility and Biology. Philosophical Papers:3-14.
    Eric Olson argues in The Human Animal that thought-experiments involving body-swapping do not in the end offer any support to psychological continuity theories, nor do they pose any threat to his Biological View. I argue that he is mistaken in at least the second claim.
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  12. Simon Beck (2003). Cognition, Persons, Identity. Alternation 10 (1):195-215.
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  13. Simon Beck (2000). Points of Concern. Theoria 47 (96):121-130.
    This is a critical review of Raymond Martin's 'Self-Concern'(1998).
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  14. Simon Beck (1992). Should We Tolerate People Who Split? Southern Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):1-17.
  15. Stephan Blatti, Animalism. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Among the questions to be raised under the heading of “personal identity” are these: “What are we?” (fundamental nature question) and “Under what conditions do we persist through time?” (persistence question). Against the dominant neo-Lockean approach to these questions, the view known as animalism answers that each of us is an organism of the species Homo sapiens and that the conditions of our persistence are those of animals. Beyond describing the content and historical background of animalism and its rivals, this (...)
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  16. Stephan Blatti & Paul F. Snowdon (eds.) (forthcoming). Essays on Animalism: Persons, Animals, and Identity. Oxford University Press.
    Arguably the most significant development in the recent history of the personal identity debate has been the emergence of the view known as "animalism." This volume brings together original contributions on this topic written by both well-known and emerging philosophers. Contributors: Lynne Rudder Baker, Stephan Blatti, David Hershenov, Jens Johansson, Mark Johnston, Rory Madden, Jeff McMahan & Tim Campbell, Eric Olson, Derek Parfit, Mark Reid, Denis Robinson, David Shoemaker, Sydney Shoemaker, Paul Snowdon.
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  17. Edgardo D. Carosella & Thomas Pradeu (2006). Transplantation and Identity: A Dangerous Split? The Lancet 368 (9531):183--184.
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  18. Daniel Cohnitz (2006). Gedankenexperimente in der Philosophie. Mentis.
    Wie ist es wohl, eine Fledermaus zu sein? Wäre ein rein physikalisches Duplikat von mir nur ein empfindungsloser Zombie? Muss man sich seinem Schicksal ergeben, wenn man sich unfreiwillig als lebensnotwendige Blutwaschanlage eines weltberühmten Violinisten wieder findet? Kann man sich wünschen, der König von China zu sein? Bin ich vielleicht nur ein Gehirn in einem Tank mit Nährflüssigkeit, das die Welt von einer Computersimulation vorgegaukelt bekommt? Worauf beziehen sich die Menschen auf der Zwillingserde mit ihrem Wort 'Wasser', wenn es bei (...)
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  19. Daniel Cohnitz (2003). Personal Identity and the Methodology of Imaginary Cases. In Klaus Petrus (ed.), Human Persons. Ontos
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  20. F. Brian Allen & Coleman & G. Peter (2005). Spiritual Perspectives on the Person with Dementia: Identity and Personhood. In Julian Hughes, Stephen Louw & Steven R. Sabat (eds.), Dementia: Mind, Meaning, and the Person. OUP Oxford
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  21. Stephen R. Coleman (2000). Thought Experiments and Personal Identity. Philosophical Studies 98 (1):51-66.
    Thought experiments are profitably compared to compasses. A compass is a simple but useful device for determining direction. Nevertheless, it systematically errs in the presence of magnets ...it becomes unreliable near the North Pole, in mine shafts, when vibrated, in the presence of metal ...experts will wish to use the compass as one element in a wider portfolio of navigational techniques. Analogously, thought experiments are simple but useful devices for determining the status of propositions. Sadly, they systematically err under certain (...)
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  22. Benjamin L. Curtis (2015). There’s No Need to Rethink Desert: A Reply to Pummer. Philosophia 43 (4):999-1010.
    Pummer : 43–77, 2014) ingeniously wraps together issues from the personal identity literature with issues from the literature on desert. However, I wish to take issue with the main conclusion that he draws, namely, that we need to rethink the following principle: Desert.: When people culpably do very wrong or bad acts, they deserve punishment in the following sense: at least other things being equal they ought to be made worse off, simply in virtue of the fact that they culpably (...)
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  23. Alexander Geddes (2013). Think Twice, It's All Right: Animalism, Disunity and the Self. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (3pt3):371-380.
    According to animalism, each of us is numerically identical to a human animal. Disunity cases—cases in which a human animal lacks some form of mental unity—are often thought to pose a problem for animalism. Tim Bayne (2010) has recently offered some novel arguments against animalism based on one particular disunity case, namely Cerberus: a single animal with two heads, each housing its own stream of consciousness. I show that Bayne's arguments are flawed, and that animalism is capable of handling the (...)
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  24. Tamar Szabó Gendler (2002). Personal Identity and Thought-Experiments. Philosophical Quarterly 52 (206):34-54.
    Through careful analysis of a specific example, Parfit’s ‘fission argument’ for the unimportance of personal identity, I argue that our judgements concerning imaginary scenarios are likely to be unreliable when the scenarios involve disruptions of certain contingent correlations. Parfit’s argument depends on our hypothesizing away a number of facts which play a central role in our understanding and employment of the very concept under investigation; as a result, it fails to establish what Parfit claims, namely, that identity is not what (...)
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  25. Sören Häggqvist (1993). Real People: Personal Identity Without Thought Experiments Kathleen Wilkes Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988, 264 Pp., £25.00. [REVIEW] Dialogue 32 (01):171-.
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  26. David B. Hershenov (2008). A Hylomorphic Account of Thought Experiments Concerning Personal Identity. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 82 (3):481-502.
    Hylomorphism offers a third way between animalist approaches to personal identity, which maintain that psychology is irrelevant to our persistence, andneo-Lockean accounts, which deny that humans are animals. This paper provides a Thomistic account that explains the intuitive responses to thought experiments involving brain transplants and the transformation of organic bodies into inorganic ones. This account does not have to follow the animalist in abandoning the claim that it is our identity which matters in survival, or countenance the puzzles of (...)
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  27. Joachim Horvath & Thomas Grundmann (eds.) (2012). Experimental Philosophy and its Critics. Routledge.
    Experimental philosophy is one of the most recent and controversial developments in philosophy. Its basic idea is rather simple: to test philosophical thought experiments and philosophers’ intuitions about them with scientific methods, mostly taken from psychology and the social sciences. The ensuing experimental results, such as the cultural relativity of certain philosophical intuitions, has engaged – and at times infuriated – many more traditionally minded "armchair" philosophers since then. In this volume, the metaphilosophical reflection on experimental philosophy is brought yet (...)
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  28. Jens Kipper (2016). Substance and the Concept of Personal Identity. Ergo, an Open Access Journal of Philosophy 3 (1).
    In this paper, I identify and discuss the following feature of our judgments about hypothetical scenarios concerning the identity of persons: with respect to the vast majority of scenarios, both members of a pair of logically complementary propositions about personal identity are conceivable. I consider a number of explanations of this feature that draw on the metaphysics and the epistemology of personal identity, none of which prove to be satisfactory. I then argue that in order to give an adequate explanation, (...)
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  29. Douglas C. Long (1974). The Bodies of Persons. Journal of Philosophy 71 (10):291-301.
    Much mischief concerning the concept of a human body is generated by the failure of philosophers to distinguish various important senses of the term 'body.' I discuss three of those senses and illustrate the issues they can generate by discussing the concept of a Lockean exchange of bodies as well as the brain-body switch.
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  30. Kristie Miller (2004). How to Be a Conventional Person. The Monist 87 (4):457-474.
    Recent work in personal identity has emphasized the importance of various conventions, or ‘person-directed practices’ in the determination of personal identity. An interesting question arises as to whether we should think that there are any entities that have, in some interesting sense, conventional identity conditions. We think that the best way to understand such work about practices and conventions is the strongest and most radical. If these considerations are correct, persons are, on our view, conventional constructs: they are in part (...)
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  31. Shaun Nichols & Michael Bruno (2010). Intuitions About Personal Identity: An Empirical Study. Philosophical Psychology 23 (3):293-312.
    Williams (1970) argues that our intuitions about personal identity vary depending on how a given thought experiment is framed. Some frames lead us to think that persistence of self requires persistence of one's psychological characteristics; other frames lead us to think that the self persists even after the loss of one's distinctive psychological characteristics. The current paper takes an empirical approach to these issues. We find that framing does affect whether or not people judge that persistence of psychological characteristics is (...)
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  32. Eric T. Olson (2015). Life After Death and the Devastation of the Grave. In Keith Augustine & Michael Martin (eds.), The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life After Death. Rowman & Littlefield 409-423.
    This paper—written for nonspecialist readers—asks whether life after death is in any sense possible given the apparent fact that after we die our remains decay to the point where only randomly scattered atoms remain. The paper argues that this is possible only if our remains are not in fact dispersed in this way, and discusses how that might be the case. -/- 1. Life After Death -- 2. Total Destruction -- 3. The Soul -- 4. Body-Snatching -- 5. Radical Resurrection (...)
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  33. Eric T. Olson (2014). The Metaphysical Implications of Conjoined Twinning. Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (S1):24-40.
    Conjoined twinning is said to show that the number of human people—the number of us—can differ from the number of human organisms, and hence that we are not organisms. The paper shows that these arguments either assume the point at issue, rely on dubious and undefended assumptions, or add nothing to more familiar arguments for the same conclusion.
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  34. Theron Pummer (2014). Does Division Multiply Desert? Philosophical Review 123 (1):43-77.
    It seems plausible that (i) how much punishment a person deserves cannot be affected by the mere existence or nonexistence of another person. We might have also thought that (ii) how much punishment is deserved cannot increase merely in virtue of personal division. I argue that (i) and (ii) are inconsistent with the popular belief that, other things being equal, when people culpably do very wrong or bad acts, they ought to be punished for this—even if they have repented, are (...)
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  35. Duncan Purves (2015). The Significance of Personal Identity for Death. Bioethics 29 (9):681-682.
    I respond to David Shoemaker's arguments for the conclusion that personal identity is irrelevant for death. I contend that we can accept Shoemaker's claim that loss of personal identity is not sufficient for death while nonetheless maintaining that there is an important theoretical relationship between death and personal identity. I argue that this relationship is also of practical importance for physicians' decisions about organ reallocation.
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  36. Andrea Sauchelli (forthcoming). The Animal, the Corpse, and the Remnant-Person. Philosophical Studies:1-14.
    I argue that a form of animalism that does not include the belief that ‘human animal’ is a substance-sortal has a dialectical advantage over other versions of animalism. The main reason for this advantage is that Phase Animalism, the version of animalism described here, has the theoretical resources to provide convincing descriptions of the outcomes of scenarios problematic for other forms of animalism. Although Phase Animalism rejects the claim that ‘human animal’ is a substance-sortal, it is still appealing to those (...)
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  37. Simon Saunders & D. Wallace (2008). Branching and Uncertainty. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3):293-305.
    Following Lewis, it is widely held that branching worlds differ in important ways from diverging worlds. There is, however, a simple and natural semantics under which ordinary sentences uttered in branching worlds have much the same truth values as they conventionally have in diverging worlds. Under this semantics, whether branching or diverging, speakers cannot say in advance which branch or world is theirs. They are uncertain as to the outcome. This same semantics ensures the truth of utterances typically made about (...)
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  38. Simon Saunders & David Wallace (2008). Saunders and Wallace Reply. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3):315-317.
    A reply to a comment by Paul Tappenden (BJPS 59 (2008) pp. 307-314) on S. Saunders and D. Wallace, "Branching and Uncertainty" (BJPS 59 (2008) pp. 298-306).
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  39. Mark K. Spencer (2010). A Reexamination of the Hylomorphic Theory of Death. Review of Metaphysics 63 (4):843-870.
  40. Kevin P. Tobia (2015). Personal Identity and the Phineas Gage Effect. Analysis 75 (3):396-405.
    Phineas Gage’s story is typically offered as a paradigm example supporting the view that part of what matters for personal identity is a certain magnitude of similarity between earlier and later individuals. Yet, reconsidering a slight variant of Phineas Gage’s story indicates that it is not just magnitude of similarity, but also the direction of change that affects personal identity judgments; in some cases, changes for the worse are more seen as identity-severing than changes for the better of comparable magnitude. (...)
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  41. Bernard Williams (1970). The Self and the Future. Philosophical Review 79 (2):161-180.
  42. Arnold Zuboff (1990). One Self: The Logic of Experience. Inquiry 33 (1):39-68.
    Imagine that you and a duplicate of yourself are lying unconscious, next to each other, about to undergo a complete step-by-step exchange of bits of your bodies. It certainly seems that at no stage in this exchange of bits will you have thereby switched places with your duplicate. Yet it also seems that the end-result, with all the bits exchanged, will be essentially that of the two of you having switched places. Where will you awaken? I claim that one and (...)
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  43. Arnold Zuboff (1978). Moment Universals and Personal Identity. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 52:141-55.
    This paper could be thought of as divided into two parts. In the first I show through a series of thought experiments that it is a mistake to think of one’s individual experience as necessarily belonging to only one particular place, time and organism. In repetitions across a universe large enough to host them, the particular experience that one finds oneself in, which can be individuated only by the detailed type that is the entirety of its momentary subjective content, would (...)
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