Personal identity and self-ownership

Social Philosophy and Policy 22 (2):100-125 (2005)
Abstract
Defenders of the thesis of self-ownership generally focus on the “ownership” part of the thesis and say little about the metaphysics of the self that is said to be self-owned. But not all accounts of the self are consistent with robust self-ownership. Philosophical accounts of the self are typically enshrined in theories of personal identity, and the paper examines various such theories with a view to determining their suitability for grounding a metaphysics of the self consistent with self-ownership. As it happens, only one such theory is suitable: the hylemorphic theory of Aristotle and Aquinas. To adopt such a theory, however, is to see that self-ownership may in some respects have implications different from those many of its defenders take it to have. Footnotesa For comments on earlier versions of this essay, I thank Christopher Kaczor, Ellen Frankel Paul, the participants at an Institute for Humane Studies current research workshop in January 2004, and the other contributors to this volume.
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