Identifying the problem of personal identity

In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Harry Silverstein (eds.), Time and Identity. Mit Press. 129 (2010)
Abstract
This paper has two main aims. The first is to propose a new way of characterizing the problem of personal identity. The second is to show that the metaphysical picture that underlies my proposal has important implications for the 3D/4D debate. I start by spelling out several of the old ways of characterizing the problem of personal identity and saying what I think is wrong with each of them. Next I present and motivate some metaphysical principles concerning property instantiations that underlie my proposal. Then I introduce the new way of characterizing the problem of personal identity that I am recommending, and I show that it avoids the difficulties facing the old ways. I also mention several vexing problems that arise in connection with certain popular views about personal identity, and I argue that if we formulate the problem of personal identity in the way that I am proposing, then each of these problems can be handled fairly easily. Finally, I show that there is an additional benefit to adopting my proposal, namely, that several other important problems facing anyone who endorses a 3D view of persistence (as opposed to the 4D, “temporal parts” view of persistence) can all be resolved in a relatively straightforward..
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