Narrative, expression and mental substance

Inquiry 48 (5):413-435 (2005)
Abstract
This paper starts from the debate between proponents of a neo-Lockean psychological continuity view of personal identity, and defenders of the idea that we are simple mental substances. Each party has valid criticisms of the other; the impasse in the debate is traced to the Lockean assumption that substance is only externally related to its attributes. This suggests the possibility that we could develop a better account of mental substance if we thought of it as having an internal relation to its states. I suggest that we may be able to do this by relying on the notion of expression. In developing this idea I draw heavily on aspects of Wittgenstein's philosophical psychology, while also developing and criticizing Strawson's account of persons and recent work by Lynne Baker. I conclude by arguing that mental substance, understood in this way, can only be grasped in narrative terms; substantialist and narrative accounts of personal identity, far from being opposed, are mutually supporting and require one another to be coherent
Keywords Consciousness  Expression  Metaphysics  Mind  Narrative  Baker, Lynne Rudder  Strawson, Peter Frederick
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    Patrick Stokes (2012). Is Narrative Identity Four-Dimensionalist? European Journal of Philosophy 20 (S1):e86-e106.
    Patrick Stokes (2008). Locke, Kierkegaard and the Phenomenology of Personal Identity. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 16 (5):645 – 672.
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