Personal Identity and Self as Narrative : Formal Identity and Narrative Identity as Two Essential Building Blocks in the Constitution of Self
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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This thesis gives an overview of the topic of personal identity from a philosophical viewpoint, describing both numerical and qualitative aspects. Reductionist approaches to numerical identity, such as the neo-Lockean psychological continuity theory of Derek Parfit or the physical criterion theory of Bernard Williams, are subject to a discussion. Apart from some significant criticisms in detail, there is the more general problem that they appear to imply a kind of neo-dualism. As a consequence, the author suggests a holistic approach to numerical personal identity which is more in accord with our times, placing the body firmly at the center of focus. The section on qualitative identity aims to develop a more complex theory of psychological continuity and continuity per se than that generally found in the literature. The suggestion is made that the most viable way to bring together the various strands of personal identity, both numerical and qualitative, is a concept of narrativity. Narratives are both indicative of and constitutive of personal identity.
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