A central problem within an influential strand of recent philosophy of mind has been to explain the “conformity of mind to thing” that characterizes knowledge. John Haldane has argued that this problem can be best addressed by a development of Thomas Aquinas’s account of the “formalidentity” of the knowing subject with the object known. However, such a development is difficult to present in a manner perspicuous to a contemporary audience. This paper seeks to present a persuasive account (...) of formalidentity, taking sensory cognition of the individual object as the primary case for examination. Formalidentity is initially explored usingthe notion of encoding, or the systematic transfer of information reflecting efficient and formal causal processes. The mathematical notion of “isomorphism” is thenemployed to describe precisely the features of encoding needed for formalidentity. Forms are defined as formally identical if and only if they are isomorphic. (shrink)
Jointly, separately, and in collaboration with others, Steven French and Décio Krause have been central to recent debates about identity and individuality in modern physics; their new book draws together many threads, and is interesting in all sorts of ways. It’s not an easy read, because it ranges wide and digs deep: you’ll need some knowledge of physics to get anywhere, you’ll need an idea of Who Was Who amongst the Great Physicists to follow the historical sections, and you’ll (...) need plenty of formal know-how to get the most out of the chapters on set theory and logic. But even if you’re not fully-equipped for all this, it is well worth persisting conscientiously, skimming, or cherry-picking, according to your temperament. The book contains valuable insights into the philosophy of quantum physics; the metaphysics of spacetime; the metaphysics, epistemology and semantics of identity, indiscernibility and naming; the logic of indeterminacy; and the nature of sortals. There are thought-provoking methodological asides about the relationships between science and philosophy, between formal theory and interpretation, and between set theory and contingent facts. Moreover, the historical sections show the Great Physicists grappling with these substantive philosophical issues. (Tip: if you’re only going to read one chapter, make it chapter 4, where the philosophical juice is especially concentrated.). (shrink)
Steven French and Decio Krause examine the metaphysical foundations of quantum physics. They draw together historical, logical, and philosophical perspectives on the fundamental nature of quantum particles and offer new insights on a range of important issues. Focusing on the concepts of identity and individuality, the authors explore two alternative metaphysical views; according to one, quantum particles are no different from books, tables, and people in this respect; according to the other, they most certainly are. Each view comes with (...) certain costs attached and after describing their origins in the history of quantum theory, the authors carefully consider whether these costs are worth bearing. Recent contributions to these discussions are analyzed in detail and the authors present their own original perspective on the issues. The final chapter suggests how this perspective can be taken forward in the context of quantum field theory. (shrink)
Steven French and Décio Krause have written what bids fair to be, for years to come, the definitive philosophical treatment of the problem of the individuality of elementary particles in quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. The book begins with a long and dense argument for the view that elementary particles are most helpfully regarded as non-individuals, and it concludes with an earnest attempt to develop a formal apparatus for describing such non-individual entities better suited to the task than (...) our customary set theory. Along the way one is treated to a compendious philosophical history of quantum statistics and a well-nigh exhaustive (I’m tempted to say, “exhausting”) analytical history of philosophical responses to the quantum theory’s prima facie challenge to classical notions of particle individuality. The book is also a salvo from the headquarters artillery company of the “pro” side in the contemporary structuralism wars, and an essay in metaphysical naturalism. Whew! There are too many places where the friendly critic wants to engage the argument, and few where the authors have not already anticipated such engagement. I take this as my excuse, then, for offering not any systematic response to the whole project, but just some questions and observations about several points that caught my attention. (shrink)
Strong Hermeneutics presents a compelling case for the importance of hermeneutics in understanding ethics today. It provides a critical comparison of the enlightenment view of ethics with the postmodern or "weak" view of ethics. The weak view, which Nicholas H. Smith traces back to Nietzsche and identifies in the recent work of Rorty and Lyotard, is skeptical of any universal principles in ethics. The enlightenment view, starting with Kant and taken up in the work of Habermas, casts identity as (...) subject of universal but formal moral constraints. Smith argues that neither of these views can provide a proper framework for ethics. Drawing on the work of Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur and Charles Taylor, he presents a fascinating reworking of key issues in ethics and continental philosophy. (shrink)
The paper takes off from the problem of finding a proper content for the relation of identity as it holds or fails to hold among ordinary things or substances. The necessary conditions of identity are familiar, the sufficient conditions less so. The search is for conditions at once better usable than the Leibnizian Identity of Indiscernibles (independently suspect) and strong enough to underwrite all the formal properties of the relation.It is contended that the key to this (...) problem rests at the level of metaphysics and epistemology alike with a sortalist position. Sortalism is the position which insists that, if the question is whether a and b are the same, it has to be asked what are they? Any sufficiently specific answer to that question will bring with it a principle of activity or functioning and a mode of behaviour characteristic of some particular kind of thing by reference to which questions of persistence or non-persistence through change can be adjudicated.These contentions are illustrated by reference to familiar examples such as the human zygote, the Ship of Theseus and Shoemaker's Brown-Brownson. The first example is hostage for a mass of unproblematical cases. The problems presented by the second and third sort of examples arise chiefly (it is claimed) from an incompleteness in our conceptions of the relevant sort—the what the thing in question is. That incompleteness need not prevent us from knowing perfectly well which thing we are referring to. In the concluding section, sortalism is defended against various accusations of anthropocentrism.The paper touches on the interpretation of Heraclitus, Leibniz's theory of clear indistinct ideas, the difficulties of David Lewis's ‘perdurantist’ or stroboscopic view of persistence, four-dimensionalism, and the relation of personal identity both to experiential memory and to the particular bodily physiognomy of a subject. At some points—as in connection with the so-called Only a and b rule—the paper corrects, supplements or extends certain theses or formulations proposed in the author's Sameness and Substance Renewed (2001). (shrink)
Axel Honneth draws a distinction between three types of recognition: (1) love, (2) respect and (3) social esteem. In his The Struggle for Recognition, the recognition of cultural particularity is situated in the third sphere. It will here be argued that the logic of recognition of cultural identity also demands a non-evaluative recognition, namely a respect for difference. Difference-respect is formal because it is a recognition of the value of a particular culture not "for society" or "as such", (...) but for the social group involved. Yet, although it is formal, difference-respect cannot be reduced to respect for personal autonomy and its preconditions, as Honneth wrongly suggests in Redistribution or Recognition? It is argued here that difference-respect is oriented towards another dimension of the person, namely social attachments. This kind of respect entails a separate register of formal recognition with a corresponding concept of personal identity and a parallel category of social disrespect. What morally justifies difference-respect from a recognition-theoretic approach is the practical relation-to-self that thus becomes possible, namely self-respect as a sense of belonging. The formal conception of the good life that Honneth articulates should include the insight that this sense of belonging is as much a necessary condition for the good life as is personal autonomy. (shrink)
There are well-known quasi-formal arguments that identity is a "strict" relation in at least the following three senses: (1) There is a single identity relation and a single distinctness relation; (2) There are no contingent cases of identity or distinctness; and (3) There are no vague or indeterminate cases of identity or distinctness. However, the situation is less clear cut than it at first may appear. There is a natural formal theory of identity (...) that is very close to the standard classical theory but which does not validate the formal analogues of (1)-(3). The core idea is simple: We weaken the Principle of the Indiscernibility of Identicals from a conditional to an entailment and we adopt a weakly classical logic. This paper investigates this weakly classical theory of identity (and related theories) and discusses its philosophical rami cations. It argues that we can accept a reasonable theory of identity without committing ourselves to the uniqueness, necessity, or determinacy of identity. (shrink)
The degree of realism that Duns Scotus understood his formal distinction to have implied is a matter of dispute going back to the fourteenth century. Both modern and medieval commentators alike have seen Scotus's later, Parisian treament of the formal distinction as less realist in the sense that it would deny any extra-mentally separate formalities or realities. This less realist reading depends in large part on a question known to scholars only in the highly corrupt edition of Luke (...) Wadding, where it is printed as the first of the otherwise spurious Quaestiones miscellaneae de formalitatibus. The present study examines this question in detail. Cited by Scotus's contemporaries as the Quaestio logica Scoti, we establish that it was a special disputation held by Scotus at Paris in response to criticisms of his use of the formal distinction in God, identify its known manuscripts, and provide an analysis based upon a corrected text, showing in particular the total unreliability of the Wadding edition. Our analysis shows that the Logica Scoti does not absolutely prohibit an assertion of formalities as correlates of the formal distinction, even in the divine Person, so long as their non-identity is properly qualified. That is, the positing of formalities does not of itself entail an unqualified or absolute distinction. (shrink)
Identity, existence, predication, necessity, and truth are vital concepts at the center of philosophy. Yet Colin McGinn believes that orthodox views of these topics are misguided in important ways. Philosophers and logicians have often distorted the nature of these concepts in an attempt to define them according to preconceived ideas. Logical Properties aims to respect the ordinary ways we talk and think when we employ these concepts, while at the same time showing that they are far more interesting and (...) peculiar than some have assumed; these notions correspond to real properties--logical properties--that challenge naturalistic metaphysical views. Written with a minimum of formal terminology, this book deals with logico-linguistic issues as well as ontological ones. The focus is on trying to get to the essence of the concept concerned, not merely finding some established notation for providing formal interpretations. (shrink)
In "Counting and Indeterminate Identity", N. Ángel Pinillos develops an argument that there can be no cases of `Split Indeterminate Identity'. Such a case would be one in which it was indeterminate whether a=b and indeterminate whether a=c, but determinately true that b≠c. The interest of the argument lies, in part, in the fact that it appears to appeal to none of the controversial claims to which similar arguments due to Gareth Evans and Nathan Salmon appeal. I argue (...) for two counter-claims. First, the formal argument fails to establish its conclusion, for essentially the same reason Evans's and Salmon's arguments fail to establish their conclusions. Second, the phenomena in which Pinillos is interested, which concern the cardinalities of sets of vague objects, manifest the existence of what Kit Fine called `penumbral connections', phenomena that the logics Pinillos considers are already known not to handle well. (shrink)
Multi-national corporations (MNCs) have been criticised for not behaving ethically in some situations, which could have a negative effect on their reputation. This study examines the ethics of a large MNC in its relationship with its suppliers. A brief literature review of corporate identity, business ethics and buyer–supplier relationships is undertaken. The views and perceptions of the buying staff and the suppliers to a large South African MNC are obtained and discussed. The results indicate that this MNC has a (...) good corporate reputation among both its suppliers (an important stakeholder) and its own buying department. The existence and implementation of formal codes of ethics was found to be a necessary, but not sufficient condition for good ethical practice. Candid relationships with suppliers emerged as a second and important factor. Ethical perceptions of buyers by suppliers are driven by the management of corporate identity, through the elements of ethical standards and candid relationships. We present a model of corporate identity/reputation in Buyer–Supplier Relationships. (shrink)
: The author of this paper explores a central strand in the complex relationship between Peirce and Kant. He argues, against Kant (especially as reconstructed by Christine Korsgaard), that the practical identity of the self-critical agent who undertakes a Critic of reason (as Peirce insisted upon translating this expression) needs to be conceived in substantive, not purely formal, terms. Thus, insofar as there is a reflexive turn in Peirce, it is quite far from the transcendental turn taken by (...) Immanuel Kant. The identity of the being devoted to redefining the bounds of reason (for the drawing of such bounds is always a historically situated and motivated undertaking) is not that of a disembodied, rational will giving laws to itself. Nor is it that of a being whose passions and especially sentiments are heteronomous determinations of the deliberative agency in question. Rather the identity of this being is that of a somatic, social, and historical agent whose very autonomy not only traces its origin to heteronomy but also ineluctably involves an identification with what, time and again, emerges as other than this agent. A strong claim is made regarding human identity being practical identity (practical identity being understood here as the singular shape acquired by a human being in the complex course of its practical involvements, its participation in the array of practices in and through which such a being carries out its life). An equally strong claim is made regarding the upshot of Peirce's decisive movement beyond Kant's transcendental project: this movement unquestionably drives toward a compelling account of human agency. (shrink)
In this work I first develop, motivate, and defend the view that mereological composition, the relation between an object and all its parts collectively, is a relation of identity. I argue that this view implies and hence can explain the logical necessity of classical mereology, the formal study of the part-whole relation. I then critically discuss four contemporary views of the same kind. Finally, I employ my thesis in a recent discussion of whether the world is fundamentally one (...) in number. (shrink)
This article describes and accounts for variable interests in engineering ethics in France, Germany, and Japan by locating recent initiatives in relation to the evolving identities of engineers. A key issue in ethics education for engineers concerns the relationship between the identity of the engineer and the responsibilities of engineering work. This relationship has varied significantly over time and from place to place around the world. One methodological strategy for sorting out similarities and differences in engineers’ identities is to (...) ask the “who” question. Who is an engineer? Or, what makes one an engineer? While engineering ethics has attracted little interest in France and formal education in the subject might be seen as redundant, German engineering societies have, since the conclusion of World War II, demanded from engineers a strong commitment to social responsibility through technology evaluation and assessment. In Japan, a recent flourishing of interest in engineering ethics appears to be linked to concerns that corporations no longer function properly as Japanese “households.” In each case, deliberations over engineering ethics emerge as part of the process through which engineers work to keep their fields in alignment with changing images of advancement in society. (shrink)
A formal logical system for sortal quantifiers, sortal identity and (second order) quantification over sortal concepts is formulated. The absolute consistency of the system is proved. A completeness proof for the system is also constructed. This proof is relative to a concept of logical validity provided by a semantics, which assumes as its philosophical background an approach to sortals from a modern form of conceptualism.
This paper presents a framework for the design of human-centric identity management systems. Whilst many identity systems over the past few years have been labelled as human-centred, we argue that the term has been appropriated by technologists to claim moral superiority of their products, and by system owners who confuse administrative convenience with benefits for users. The framework for human-centred identity presented here identifies a set of design properties that can impact the lived experience of the individuals (...) whose identity is being managed. These properties were identified through an analysis of public response to 15 historic national identity systems. They capture the practical design aspects of an identity system, from structural aspects that affect the flow of information - Control Points, Subject Engagement, Identity Exposure, Population Coverage—to the metrical aspects that considers how information is used and perceived—Expert Interpretation, Population Comprehension, Information Accuracy, Information Stability, Subject Coupling, Information Polymorphism. Any identity system can be described in terms of these fundamental properties, which affect individuals’ lived experience, and therefore help to determine the acceptance or rejection of such systems. We first apply each individual property within the context of two national identity systems—the UK DNA Database and the Austrian Citizen Card, and then also demonstrate the applicability of the framework within the contexts of two non-government identity platforms—Facebook and Phorm. Practitioners and researchers would make use of this framework by analysing an identity system in terms of the various properties, and the interactions between these properties within the context of use, thus allowing for the development of the potential impacts that the system has on the lived experience. (shrink)
This essay examines an argument of perennial importance against naive Leibnizian absolute identity theory, originating with Ruth Barcan in 1947 (Barcan, R. 1947. ?The identity of individuals in a strict functional 3 calculus of second order?, Journal of Symbolic Logic, 12, 12?15), and developed by Arthur Prior in 1962 (Prior, A.N. 1962. Formal Logic. Oxford: The Clarendon Press), presented here in the form offered by Nicholas Griffin in his 1977 book, Relative Identity (Griffin, N. 1977. Relative (...)Identity. Oxford: The Clarendon Press). The objection considers the property of being necessarily identical to a specific object a as a counterexample to Leibnizian identity conditions, and more particularly to the indiscernibility of identicals, when it is only contingently true that a=b. The inquiry eliminates necessity and reference to a specifically designated object as responsible for the counterexample, leaving only identity. The requirements for an exact reinterpretation of Leibniz's Law in light of counterexamples involving converse intentional properties and the family of properties suggested by the property of being necessarily identical to a where a=b (or an equivalent definite descriptor variation) is only logically contingently true, are formalized in a more powerful, counterexample-resistant version of Leibniz's Law that does not succumb to relative identity as a necessary alternative motivated by desperation over the failure of the absolute identity principle. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that lawmakers must abandon their previous reluctance to engage with questions of personal identity (PI). While frequently seen as an esoteric subject, of limited interest outside of academic philosophy departments, I attempt to show that, in fact, assumptions about PI—and its durability in the face of certain psychological or genetic changes—underpin many current legal rules. This is most perhaps obviously exemplified with regard to reproductive technologies. Yet the Parfitian challenge to identify a victim of (...) ‘bad’ reproductive choices has been largely overlooked in framing legislative responses to such technologies. Furthermore, I argue, it is not only with regard to emerging technologies that questionable assumptions about PI play a role; legal responses to questions about the attribution of criminal responsibility, and about the treatment of demented or brain-injured people, necessitate a frank engagement with such questions. It may be, however, that a multi-faceted approach to PI, which takes account of genetic, psychological and social factors—will prove a better fit for the myriad needs of the legal system than any sort of ‘unified theory of identity’. (shrink)
We propose a formal representation of objects , those being mathematical or empirical objects. The powerful framework inside which we represent them in a unique and coherent way is grounded, on the formal side, in a logical approach with a direct mathematical semantics in the well-established field of constructive topology, and, on the philosophical side, in a neo-Kantian perspective emphasizing the knowing subject’s role, which is constructive for the mathematical objects and constitutive for the empirical ones.
This paper is a modification of Nicola Guarino and Christopher Welty's conception of the subsumption relation. Guarino and Welty require that that whether one property may subsume the other should depend on the modal metaproperties of those properties. I argue that the part of their account that concerns the metaproperty carrying a criterion of identity is essentially flawed. Subsequently, I propose to constrain the subsumption relation not, as Guarino and Welty require, by means of incompatible criteria of absolute (...) class='Hi'>identity but by means of incompatible criteria of relative identity. After discussing the benefits of applying relative identity in ontological investigations I provide a formal framework in which to prove a counterpart of the identity criteria constraint. (shrink)
Genetic information is becoming increasingly used in modern life, extending beyond medicine to familial history, forensics and more. Following this expansion of use, the effect of genetic information on people’s identity and ultimately people’s quality of life is being explored in a host of different disciplines. While a multidisciplinary approach is commendable and necessary, there is the potential for the multidisciplinarity to produce conceptual misconnection. That is, while experts in one field may understand their use of a term like (...) ‘gene’, ‘identity’ or ‘information’ for experts in another field, the same term may link to a distinctly different concept. These conceptual misconnections not only increase inefficiency in complex organisational practices, but can also have important ethical, legal and social consequences. This paper comes at the problem of conceptual misconnection by clarifying different uses of the terms ‘gene’, ‘identity’ and ‘information’. I start by looking at three different conceptions of the gene; the Instrumental, the Nominal and the Postgenomic Molecular. Secondly, a taxonomy of four different concepts of identity is presented; Numeric, Character, Group and Essentialised, and their use is clarified. A general concept of Information is introduced, and finally three distinct kinds of information are described. I then introduce Concept Creep as an ethical problem that arises from conceptual misconnections. The primary goal of this paper is to reduce the potential for conceptual misconnection when discussing genetic identity and genetic information. This is complimented by three secondary goals—1) to clarify what a conceptual misconnection is, 2) to explain why clarity of use is particularly important to discussions of genes, identity and information and 3) to show how concept creep between different uses of genetic identity and genetic information can have important ethical outcomes. (shrink)
This paper explores the intersections between national identity and the production of medical/population genomics in Mexico. The ongoing efforts to construct a Haplotype Map of Mexican genetic diversity offers a unique opportunity to illustrate and analyze the exchange between the historic-political narratives of nationalism, and the material culture of genomic science. Haplotypes are central actants in the search for medically significant SNP’s (single nucleotide polymorphisms), as well as powerful entities involved in the delimitation of ancestry, temporality and variability (www.hapmap.org). (...) By following the circulation of Haplotypes, light is shed on the alignments and discordances between socio-historical and bio-molecular mappings. The analysis is centred on the comparison between the genomic construction of time and ethnicity in the laboratory (through participant observation), and on the public mobilisation of a “Mexican Genome” and its wider political implications. Even though both: the scientific practice and the public discourse on medical/population genomics are traversed by notions of “admixture”, there are important distinctions to be made. In the public realm, the nationalist post-revolutionary ideas of Jose Vasconcelos, as expressed in his Cosmic Race (1925), still hold sway in the social imaginary. In contrast, admixture is treated as a complex, relative and probabilistic notion in laboratory practices. I argue that the relation between medical/population genomics and national identity is better understood as a process of re-articulation (Fullwiley Social Studies of Science 38:695, 2008), rather than coproduction (Reardon 2005) of social and natural orders. The evolving process of re-articulation conceals the novelty of medical/population genomics, aligning scientific facts in order to fit the temporal and ethnic grids of “Mestizaje”. But it is precisely the social and political work, that matches the emerging field of population genomics to the pre-existing projects of national identity, what is most revealing in order to understand the multiple and even subtle ways in which population genomics challenges the historical and identitarian frames of a “Mestizo” nation. (shrink)
We begin to fill a lacuna in the relevance logic enterprise by providing a foundational analysis of identity in relevance logic. We consider rival interpretations of identity in this context, settling on the relevant indiscernibility interpretation, an interpretation related to Dunn''s relevant predication project. We propose a general test for the stability of an axiomatisation of identity, relative to this interpretation, and we put various axiomatisations to this test. We fill our discussion out with both formal (...) and philosophical remarks on identity in relevance logic. (shrink)
Using web standards, such as uniform resource identifiers (URIs), XML and HTTP, for naming and describing resources which are not information objects is the key difference between the Web as we know it today and the Semantic Web. Naming and interlinking this type of resources by HTTP URIs (instead of individual constants in a formal language) is the key feature which distinguishes traditional knowledge representation from web-scale knowledge representation. However, this use of URIs brought back attention to the old (...) philosophical problem of identity and reference in a new form. In this paper, we analyze the new version of the problem, provide a formal model for dealing with it when interlinking knowledge on the Web, and argue for the need of a distinction between the use of URIs for describing and accessing resources, and the use of URIs for fixing the reference . We show that in the current practice of linking data these roles are not clearly distinguished, and that this fact may cause unwanted effects and prevent some basic forms of data integration. We also discuss the role of an entity name system as a potential piece of infrastructure for fixing the reference in the Semantic Web. (shrink)
In this essay I shall argue that the crucial assumptions of Kripke's argument, i.e. the collapse of the appearance/reality distinction in the case of phenomenal states and the idea of a qualitatively identical epistemic situation, imply an objective principle of identity for mental-state types. This principle, I shall argue, rather than being at odds with physicalism, is actually compatible with both the type-identity theory of the mind and Kripke's semantics and metaphysics. Finally, I shall sketch a version of (...) the type-identity theory. (shrink)
The individual management of online identity, as part of a wider politics of personal information, privacy, and dataveillance, is an area where public policy is developing and where the public sector attempts to intervene. This paper attempts to understand the strategies and methods through which the UK government and public sector is engaging in online identity management. The analysis is framed by the analytics of government (Dean 2010) and governmentality (Miller and Rose 2008). This approach draws attention to (...) the wide assemblage of public and private actors with shared regimes of practice and fields of visibility, as well as to the extent to which individual actors are made responsible for their own identity management. The paper also uses communication and discursive research to examine the potential failings of engagement efforts. Communication theory suggested that the assumption of individual responsibility, alongside linguistic distortions created by this way of understanding the problematic of identity management, complicate and fundamentally limit engagement activity. (shrink)
During the last few years a large number of companies have emerged offering DNA testing via the Internet “direct-to-consumer”. In this paper, I analyse the rhetoric appeal to personal identity put forward on the websites of some of these consumer genomics companies. The investigation is limited to non-health-related DNA testing and focuses on individualistic and communitarian—in a descriptive sense—visions of identity. The individualistic visions stress that each individual is unique and suggest that this uniqueness can be supported by, (...) for example, DNA fingerprinting. The communitarian visions emphasise that individuals are members of communities, in this case genetic communities. It is suggested that these visions can be supported by, for example, various types of tests for genetic ancestry tracing. The main part of the paper is devoted to an analysis of these communitarian visions of identity and the DNA tests they refer to. (shrink)
The article argues for a shift of perspective in identity management (IDM) research and development. Accessibility and usability issues affect identity management to such an extent that they demand a reframing and reformulation of basic designs and requirements of modern identity management systems. The rationale for the traditional design of identity management systems and mechanisms has been security concerns as defined in the field of security engineering. By default the highest security level has been recommended and (...) implemented, often without taking end-user needs and accessibility issues into serious consideration. The article provides a conceptual framework for inclusive IDM, a brief overview of the regulatory status of inclusive IDM and a taxonomy of inclusive identity management methods. Several widespread IDM approaches, methods and techniques are analyzed and discussed from the perspective of inclusive design. Several important challenges are identified and some ideas for solutions addressing the challenges are proposed and discussed. (shrink)
Identity governance is an emerging concept for fine-grained conditional disclosure of identity information and enforcement of corresponding data handling policies. Although numerous technologies underlying identity management have been developed, people still have difficulty obtaining a clear picture of how their identity information is maintained, used, and propagated. An identity management framework is described for tracking the history of how a person’s identity information is handled after it is transferred across domains of control and for (...) enforcing meta-policies related to managing identity information distributed over the Internet. With this framework, organizations that manage identity information can improve accountability for their data practices and thereby increase their trustworthiness. The framework also enables users to control and optimize the propagation of their identity information in a user-centric manner. (shrink)
Aaron Cotnoir does all sorts of interesting things in his contribution to this volume. He makes a helpful distinction between syntactic and semantic objections to the thesis that composition is identity, and outlines some empirical points relevant to the syntactic issue. But the centrepiece is his development of a formal framework for addressing the semantic objections.
Anderson and Belnap devise a model theory for entailment on which propositional identity equals proposional coentailment. This feature can be reasonably questioned. The authors devise two extensions of Anderson and Belnap’s model theory. Both systems preserve Anderson and Belnap’s results for entailment, but distinguish coentailment from identity.
This paper aims to analyze the role of personal identity in altruism. To this end, it starts by reviewing critically the growing literature on economics and identity. Considering the ambiguities that the concept of social identity poses, our proposal focuses on the concept of personal identity. A formal model to study how personal identity enters in individuals' utility function when facing a dictator game decision is then presented. Finally, this ?identity-based? utility function is (...) studied experimentally. The experiment allows us to study the main parameters of the model, suggesting that we should move with caution when attributing identities to individuals. (shrink)
Philosophy sometimes has the reputation of dealing with matters outside the realm of ‘everyday life’, and trading in ideas that float free from anything beyond the armchair in which we sit contemplating them. In this paper, I discuss a standard armchair-branch of philosophy – personal identity theory – and the real-life effects it either has had or has apparently failed to have upon two philosophers: David Hume and Derek Parfit. Both arrive at similar and quite radical beliefs about personal (...)identity. And both have documented the difficulty of sustaining these beliefs in their day-to-day lives. For those considering embarking upon philosophical study – whether formally or not – this last point may seem discouraging, reinforcing a picture of a discipline that even on the admission of its own practitioners has little impact on everyday life or concerns. I will explore these two philosophers’ views on personal identity in some detail, and outline the conflicts which they claim to exist between their philosophical and non-philosophical thinking. I will go on to propose that these conflicts do not in fact reinforce an opposition between everyday life and philosophy. (shrink)
What primitive concepts does formal ontology require? Forsaking as too indirect the linguistic way of discerning the categories of being, this paper considers what primitives might be required for representing things in themselves (noumena) and representations of them in a thoroughly crafted large autonomous multi-purpose database. Leaving logical concepts and material ontology aside, the resulting 32 categories in 13 families range from the obvious (identity/difference, existence/non-existence) through the fairly obvious (part/whole, one/many, sequential order) and the surprisingly familiar (illocutionary (...) modes, mass/count, indexical/descriptive) to the controversial (moment/fundament, transparent/opaque) and the arcane (modes of class delimitation, taxonomic rank, aspects of designators). Any such list is speculative and tentative, but the test of this one will be in its implementation, a new departure for philosophical category theories. (shrink)
Agency and identity -- Necessitation -- Acts and actions -- Aristotle and Kant -- Agency and practical identity -- The metaphysics of normativity -- Constitutive standards -- The constitution of life -- In defense of teleology -- The paradox of self-constitution -- Formal and substantive principles of reason -- Formal versus substantive -- Testing versus weighing -- Maximizing and prudence -- Practical reason and the unity of the will -- The empiricist account of normativity -- The (...) rationalist account of normativity -- Kant on the hypothetical imperative -- Against particularistic willing -- Deciding and predicting -- Autonomy and efficacy -- The function of action -- The possibility of agency -- Non-rational action -- Action -- Attribution -- The psychology of action -- Expulsion from the garden : the transition to humanity -- Instinct, emotion, intelligence, and reason -- The parts of the soul -- Inside or outside -- Pull yourself together -- The constitutional model -- Models of the soul -- The city and the soul -- Platonic virtues -- Justice : substantive, procedural, and platonic -- Kant and the constitutional model -- Defective action -- The problem of bad action -- Being governed by the wrong law -- Or five bad constitutions -- Conceptions of evil -- Degrees of action -- Integrity and interaction -- Deciding to be bad -- The ordinary cases -- Dealing with the disunified -- Kant's theory of interaction -- My reasons -- Deciding to treat someone as an end in himself -- Interacting with yourself -- How to be a person -- What's left of me? (shrink)
Secundum Petrum Bieri dualismus ontologicus hoc trilemma generat: 1) Status mentis non sunt status physici. 2) Status mentis causalitatem exerceunt in regionem statuum physicorum. 3) Regio statuum physicorum est causaliter clausa. Haec tertia propositio a Bieri “physicalismum methodologicum” exprimere dicitur. Ut hoc trilemma solvat, Bieri unum eius membrorum reicere suadet. Hylemorphismus causalitatem mentis ut causalitetem formalem explicat, relationem vero hominis ad mundum ut causalitatem efficientem. Unde clausura causalis mundi de causalitate efficiente intelligi potest, quae in physica investigatur. Liberum arbitrium ab (...) intentione mentis originem trahit. Etiam possibilitas libertatis humanae ex intentionalitate mentis explicari potest. Libertas adhuc hominis ut electio unae duarum optionum intelligi potest. Homo eligens rationes ponderat, quae sunt abstractae et distinctae a causis efficientibus rerum materialium, quae sunt concretae. Doctrina hylemorfica insuper fundamenum sufficiens ad problema identitatis personae per tempus solvendum praebere potest. Quoniam omnia elementa materialia in homine per tempus mutantur – imo DNA mutari potest –, principium identitatis immateriale esse debet. Pro principio identitatis igitur forma substantialis personae accipi potest, quae est metaphysica explicatio naturae mentis, quae actionem liberam electione deliberata per intentionalitatem libertatemque arbitrii inchoare potest)Peter Bieri formulates the assumptions of the ontological dualism via a trilemma: 1) Mental states are not physical states. 2) Mental states have causal effects in the realm of physical states. 3) The realm of physical states is causally closed. Bieri labels the third sentence of this trilemma as methodological physicalism. In order to solve this trilemma Bieri proposes to abandon one of the three premises. Hylomorphism explains mental causality as formal causality, and the relation between human beings and the world as efficient causality. Thus, the causal closure of the world can be understood as closure of the efficient causes, which are studied by physics. Free decision begins with the intentionality of the mind. The possibility of human freedom can also be explained through the intentionality of the mind. Human freedom can be understood as a choice between two alternatives. When choosing, human beings weigh reasons which are abstract and distinct from the efficient causes of material objects that are concrete. Hylomorphism can, further, provide sufficient grounds for solving the issue of personal identity through time. Since all the material elements in a human being change through time – even the DNA can change – the principle of identity cannot be material in character. Thus, it is the substantial form of a person (i.e. the metaphysical explanation of the mind, which is capable of initiating free action through its intentionality and freedom of choice in deliberate decision making) that can be accepted as the principle of identity. (shrink)
The problem of personal identity is often said to be one of accounting for what it is that gives persons their identity over time. However, once the problem has been construed in these terms, it is plain that too much has already been assumed. For what has been assumed is just that persons do have an identity. A new interpretation of Hume's no-self theory is put forward by arguing for an eliminative rather than a reductive view of (...) personal identity, and by approaching the problem in terms of phenomenology, Buddhist psychology, and the idea of a constructed self-image. (shrink)
There are two main views about the nature of personal identity. I shall briehy describe these views, say without argument which I believe to be true, and then discuss the implications of this view for one of the main conceptions of rationality. This conception I shall call "C1assical Prudence." I shall argue that, on what I believe to be the true view about personal identity, Classical Prudence is indefensible.
We can start with some science fiction. Here on Earth, I enter the Teletransporter. When I press some button, a machine destroys my body, while recording the exact states of all my cells. The information is sent by radio to Mars, where another machine makes, out of organic materials, a perfect copy of my body. The person who wakes up on Mars seems to remember living my life up to the moment when I pressed the button, and he is in (...) every other way just like me. Of those who have thought about such cases, some believe that it would be I who would wake up on Mars. They regard Teletransportation as merely the fastest way of travelling. Others believe that, if I chose to be Teletransported, I would be making a terrible mistake. On their view, the person who wakes up would be a mere Replica of me. (shrink)
What is the self? And how does it relate to the body? In the second edition of Personal Identity, Harold Noonan presents the major historical theories of personal identity, particularly those of Locke, Leibniz, Butler, Reid and Hume. Noonan goes on to give a careful analysis of what the problem of personal identity is, and its place in the context of more general puzzles about identity. He then moves on to consider the main issues and arguments (...) which are the subject of current debate, including the work of Bernard Williams and Derek Parfit, and makes new and challenging interpretations of them. This new edition contains additional material assessing the biological approach which has become increasingly popular in recent years, and extends the treatment of indeterminate identity to take account of the epistemic view of vagueness. This book covers the problem of personal identity from its origin in Locke's work to the most recent debates in the philosophical literature, and will be invaluablereading for any student of the topic. (shrink)
Locke’s account of personal identity has been highly influential because of its emphasis on a psychological criterion. The same consciousness is required for being the same person. It is not so clear, however, exactly what Locke meant by ‘consciousness’ or by ‘having the same consciousness’. Interpretations vary: consciousness is seen as identical to memory, as identical to a first personal appropriation of mental states, and as identical to a first personal distinctive experience of the qualitative features of one’s own (...) thinking. There is wide agreement, however, that Locke’s theory of personal identity is meant to complement his moral and theological commitments to a system of divine punishment and reward in an afterlife. But these commitments seem to require also a metaphysical criterion, and Locke is insistent that it cannot be substance. The difficulty reconciling the psychological and metaphysical requirements of the theory has led, at worst, to charges of incoherence and, at best, to a slew of interpretations, none of which is widely accepted. (shrink)
Psychologically based accounts of personal identity over time start from a view of persons as experiencing subjects. Derek Parfit argues that if such an account is to justify the importance we attach to identity it will need to provide a deep unity of consciousness throughout the life of a person, and no such unity is possible. In response, many philosophers have switched to a view of persons as essentially agents, arguing that the importance of identity depends upon (...) agential unity rather than unity of consciousness. While this shift contributes significantly to the discussion, it does not offer a fully satisfying alternative. Unity of consciousness still seems required if identity is to be as important as we think it is. Views of identity based on agential unity do, however, point to a new understanding of unity of consciousness which meets Parfit's challenge, yielding an integrated view of identity which sees persons as both subjects and agents. Footnotesa I am indebted to many friends and colleagues for their input in the course of writing this essay. I would like especially to thank David DeGrazia, Anthony Laden, Ray Martin, Marc Slors, and the editors of Social Philosophy and Policy. (shrink)
Most philosophers writing about personal identity in recent years claim that what it takes for us to persist through time is a matter of psychology. In this groundbreaking new book, Eric Olson argues that such approaches face daunting problems, and he defends in their place a radically non-psychological account of personal identity. He defines human beings as biological organisms, and claims that no psychological relation is either sufficient or necessary for an organism to persist. Olson rejects several famous (...) thought-experiments dealing with personal identity. He argues, instead, that one could survive the destruction of all of one's psychological contents and capabilities as long as the human organism remains alive--as long as its vital functions, such as breathing, circulation, and metabolism, continue. (shrink)
Sydney Shoemaker argues that the functionalist theory of mind entails a psychological-continuity view of personal identity, as well as providing a defense of that view against a crucial objection. I show that his view has surprising consequences, e.g. that no organism could have mental properties and that a thing's mental properties fail to supervene even weakly on its microstructure and surroundings. I then argue that the view founders on "fission" cases and rules out our being material things. Functionalism tells (...) us little if anything about personal identity. (shrink)
Since the appearance of a widely influential book, Self-Knowledge and Self-ldentity, Sydney Shoemaker has continued to work on a series of interrelated issues in the philosophy of mind and metaphysics. This volume contains a collection of the most important essays he has published since then. The topics that he deals with here include, among others, the nature of personal and other forms of identity, the relation of time to change, the nature of properties and causality and the relation between (...) the two, dualism and immortality, and the nature of mental states. All the essays show the same care and precision in argument as the earlier book, but they also reveal a substantial shift in Professor Shoemaker's position to a form of materialism. In fact, a number of papers together constitute what is probably the most subtle and rigorous defence yet of a sophisticated functionalism in the account of the mind. (shrink)
Locke’s theory of personal identity was philosophically groundbreaking for its attempt to establish a non-substantial identity condition. Locke states, “For the same consciousness being preserv’d, whether in the same or different Substances, the personal Identity is preserv’d” (II.xxvii.13). Many have interpreted Locke to think that consciousness identifies a self both synchronically and diachronically by attributing thoughts and actions to a self. Thus, many have attributed to Locke either a memory theory or an appropriation theory of personal (...) class='Hi'>identity. But the former stumble on circularity and the latter is insufficient for Locke’s moral theory insofar as he is committed to a theory of divine rectification. The common problem is that Locke’s theory seems to demand an objective, or metaphysical, fact of a continuing consciousness that does not appeal to a traditional notion of substance for the continuity. I’m suggesting something new. In II.xxvii of the Essay, we see an ambiguity in Locke’s use of the term ‘consciousness’. Locke seems to see consciousness as both a mental state by means of which we are aware of ourselves as perceiving and as the ongoing self we are aware of in these conscious states. First, I make the textual argument why we should read Locke as having a conception of a metaphysical fact of a continuing consciousness that does not appeal to thinking or bodily substance to establish its continuity. I then argue that the metaphysical fact of an enduring consciousness is revealed to us as a phenomenological fact of experience. Due to the nature of certain kinds of perceptual situations we have an experience of ourselves as temporally extended. Although the text bears out that Locke seemed to think there is a fact of an ongoing consciousness, I argue that it is consistent with his reluctance elsewhere that he makes no further epistemological or ontological claims about it. Finally, I provide an account of Locke’s understanding of memory and its relation to consciousness that supports the claim that consciousness is something ontologically distinct from either thinking or bodily substance. (shrink)
In this paper, I attempt to map out the 'logical geography' of the territory in which issues of mental content and of personal identity meet. In particular, I investigate the possibility of combining a psychological criterion of personal identity with an externalist theory of content. I argue that this can be done, but only by accepting an assumption that has been widely accepted but barely argued for, namely that when someone switches linguistic communities, the contents of their thoughts (...) do not change immediately, but only after the person becomes integrated within the new linguistic community. I also suggest that recent work on personal identity, notably by Derek Parfit, has tacitly assumed internalism regarding mental content. I do not intend to argue for either externalism or a psychological criterion. My aim is merely to explicate the issues involved in making them compatible. (shrink)
Philosophers have long suggested that our attitude of special concern for the future is problematic for a reductionist view of personal identity, such as the one developed by Derek Parfit in Reasons and Persons. Specifically, it is often claimed that reductionism cannot provide justification for this attitude. In this paper, I argue that much of the debate in this arena involves a misconception of the connection between metaphysical theories of personal identity and our special concern. A proper understanding (...) of this connection reveals that the above-mentioned objection to reductionism cannot get off the ground. Though the connection I propose is weaker than the connection typically presupposed, I nonetheless run up against a conclusion reached by Susan Wolf in “Self-Interest and Interest in Selves.” According to Wolf, metaphysical theses about the nature of personal identity have no significance for our attitude of special concern. By arguing against Wolf’s treatment of self-interest, I suggest that her arguments for this conclusion are misguided. This discussion leads to further clarification of the nature of the link between theories of personal identity and our special concern and, ultimately, to a better understanding of the rationality of this attitude. (shrink)
Saul Kripke, in a series of classic writings of the 1960s and 1970s, changed the face of metaphysics and philosophy of language. Christopher Hughes offers a careful exposition and critical analysis of Kripke's central ideas about names, necessity, and identity. He clears up some common misunderstandings of Kripke's views on rigid designation, causality and reference, and the necessary a posteriori and contingent a priori. Through his engagement with Kripke's ideas Hughes makes a significant contribution to ongoing debates on, inter (...) alia, the semantics of natural kind terms, the nature of natural kinds, the essentiality of origin and constitution, the relative merits of 'identitarian' and counterpart-theoretic accounts of modality, and the identity or otherwise of mental types and tokens with physical types and tokens. No specialist knowledge in either the philosophy of language or metaphysics is presupposed; Hughes's book will be valuable for anyone working on the ideas which Kripke made famous in the philosophy world. (shrink)
Considerations of personal identity bear on John Searle's Chinese Room argument, and on the opposed position that a computer itself could really understand a natural language. In this paper I develop the notion of a virtual person, modelled on the concept of virtual machines familiar in computer science. I show how Searle's argument, and J. Maloney's attempt to defend it, fail. I conclude that Searle is correct in holding that no digital machine could understand language, but wrong in holding (...) that artificial minds are impossible: minds and persons are not the same as the machines, biological or electronic, that realize them. (shrink)
In this paper it is argued that the multiple realizability argument and Kripke's argument are based on schemas of identifications rather than identification. In fact, "heat = molecular motion" includes a term "molecular motion" that does not capture a natural kind, nor has a unique referent. Is properly framed, this schema suits also for the type identity theory of mind. Some consequences of this point are evaluated.
This paper establishes that the occasional identity relation and the contingent identity relation are both non-transitive and as such are not properly classified as identity relations. This is achieved by appealing to cases where multiple fissions and fusions occur simultaneously. These cases show that the contingent and occasional identity relations do not even satisfy the time-indexed and world-indexed versions of the transitivity requirement and hence are non-transitive relations.
The first book synthesizing the many different topics that surround the issue of personal identity, this text makes an important contribution to the philosophy of personal identity and mind, and to epistemology.
This paper offers a critical assessment of the current state of the debate about the identity and individuality of material objects. Its main aim, in particular, is to show that, in a sense to be carefully specified, the opposition between the Leibnizian ‘reductionist’ tradition, based on discernibility, and the sort of ‘primitivism’ that denies that facts of identity and individuality must be analysable has become outdated. In particular, it is argued that—contrary to a widespread consensus—‘naturalised’ metaphysics supports both (...) the acceptability of non-qualitatively grounded (both ‘contextual’ and intrinsic) identity and a pluralistic approach to individuality and individuation. A case study is offered that focuses on non-relativistic quantum mechanics, in the context of which primitivism about identity and individuality, rather than being regarded as unscientific, is on the contrary suggested to be preferable to the complicated forms of reductionism that have recently been proposed. More generally, by assuming a plausible form of anti-reductionism about scientific theories and domains, it is claimed that science can be regarded as compatible with, or even as suggesting, the existence of a series of equally plausible grades of individuality. The kind of individuality that prevails in a certain context and at a given level can be ascertained only on the basis of the specific scientific theory at hand. (shrink)
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 each of her sources of authority presents further difficulties for her project. Finally, I argue that it is not clear that her thought-experiment is one that actually involves identity in any crucial way. As a result, the case she offers does not offer any satisfactory support for her view on the relation between identity, morality and thought-experiments, but we do gain some insights into what that relation really is along the way. (shrink)
Olson (1997a) tries to refute the Psychological Approach to personal identity with his Fetus Argument, and Mackie (1999) aims to do the same with the Death Argument. With the help of a suggestion made by Baker (1999), the following discussion shows that these arguments fail. In the process of defending the Psychological Approach, it is made clear exactly what one is and is not committed to as a proponent of the theory.
Part of the appeal of the biological approach to personal identity is that it does not have to countenance spatially coincident entities. But if the termination thesis is correct and the organism ceases to exist at death, then it appears that the corpse is a dead body that earlier was a living body and distinct from but spatially coincident with the organism. If the organism is identified with the body, then the unwelcome spatial coincidence could perhaps be avoided. It (...) is argued that such an identification would be a mistake. A living organism has a different part/whole relationship and persistence conditions than the alleged body. A case will be made that the concept ‘human body’ is a conceptual mess, vague in an unprincipled manner, and that an eliminativist stance towards dead bodies is the appropriate response. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
In a recent article, Trenton Mericks argues that psychological continuity analyses (PC-analyses) of personal identity over time are incompatible with endurantism. We contend that if Merricks's argument is valid, a parallel argument establishes that PC-analyses of personal identity are incompatible with perdurantism; hence, the correct conclusion to draw is simply that such analyses are all necessarily false. However, we also show that there is good reason to doubt that Merricks's argument is valid.
It is easy to become battle-weary in metaphysics. In the face of seemingly unresolvable disputes and unanswerable questions, it is tempting to cast aside one’s sword, proclaiming: “there is no fact of the matter who is right!” Sometimes that is the right thing to do. As a case study, consider the search for the criterion of personal identity over time. I say there is no fact of the matter whether the correct criterion is bodily or psychological continuity.1 There exist (...) two candidate meanings for talk of persisting persons, one corresponding to each criterion, and there is simply no fact of the matter which candidate we mean. An argument schema for this sort of “no fact of the matter” thesis will be constructed. An instance of the schema will be defended in the case of personal identity. But scrutiny of this instance will reveal limits of the schema. Questions not settled by conceptual analysis—in particular, some very difficult questions of fundamental ontology—have answers. So do certain questions that can be settled by conceptual analysis, namely those that would be answered definitively by ideal philosophical inquiry. Whether there is a fact of the matter is not easily ascertained merely by looking to see whether disputes seem unresolvable or questions unanswerable: sometimes the truth is out there, however hard (or even impossible) it may be to discover. (shrink)
The received view of multiple personality disorder (MPD) presupposes a form of realism, according to which the 'secondary personality' is an independent conscious entity joined to the psyche of the host. The received view of MPD is endorsed by the majority of psychologists, as are the major diagnostic criteria for MPD. Realism of this type, gives rise to a certain problem concerning the personal identity of the secondary personality, namely, who this individual is. It is argued that three broad (...) answers to the Question of Who in the context of MPD have been proposed in the history of psychology and psychiatry: psychological realism (Janet and the Dissociationist School); psychological anti-realism (Freud and the Psychoanalytic School), and neural realism (Wigan, Sperry and Gazzaniga). These views are examined. In addition, the relationship of the Question of Who to the traditional problem of personal identity is examined. It is argued that philosophers such as Locke, Reid and Parfit have either overlooked or presupposed the Question of Who. (shrink)
In this paper, I compare John Locke’s “memory theory” of personal identity and Memento (directed by Christopher Nolan). I argue that the plot of Memento is ambiguous, in that the main character (Leonard Shelby, played by Guy Pearce) seems to have two histories. As such, Memento is but a series of puzzle cases that intend to illustrate that, although our memories may not be chronologically related to one another, and may even be fused with the memories of other persons, (...) those memories still constitute personal identity. Just as Derek Parfit argues, perhaps there is no personal identity as such, since only survival (in some degree) matters to us. In Memento, Leonard Shelby is not identity to his former self, but survives to some extent. (shrink)
If personal identity consists in non-branching psychological continuity, then the sharp breaks in psychological connectedness characteristic of Multiple Personality Disorder implicitly commit psychological continuity theories to a metaphysically extravagant reification of alters. Animalist theories of personal identity avoid the reification of alternate personalities by interpreting multiple personality as a failure to integrate alternative autobiographical memory schemata. In the normal case, autobiographical memory cross-classifies a human life, and in so doing provides access to a variety of interpretative frameworks with (...) their associated clusters of general event memory and episodic memory. Multiples exhibit erratic behavior because they cannot access reliably the intersecting autobiographical memory schemata that permit graceful transitions between social roles, behavioral repertoire and emotional dispositions. Selves, in both normal and certain pathological cases, are best understood as semi-fictional narratives created by human animals to serve their social, emotional and physical needs. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to derive a perfectly general criterion of identity through time from Locke’s Principle, which says that two things of the same kind cannot occupy the same space at the same time. In this way, the paper pursues a suggestion made by Peter F. Strawson almost thirty years ago in an article called ‘Entity and Identity’. The reason why the potential of this suggestion has so far remained unrealized is twofold: firstly, the suggestion (...) was never properly developed by Strawson, and secondly, it seemed vulnerable to an objection that he himself raised against it. Consequently, the paper’s aim is to further develop Strawson’s suggestion, and to show that the result is not vulnerable to the objection that seemed fatal to its underdeveloped predecessor. In addition, the paper aims to defend Locke’s Principle against alleged counterexamples such as those produced by Leibniz, Fine and Hughes. (shrink)
Social identity poses one of the most important challenges to rational choice theory, but rational choice theorists do not hold a common position regarding identity. On one hand, externalist rational choice ignores the concept of identity or reduces it to revealed preferences. On the other hand, internalist rational choice considers identity as a key concept in explaining social action because it permits expressive motivations to be included in the models. However, internalist theorists tend to reduce (...) class='Hi'>identity to desire—the desire of a person to express his or her social being. From an internalist point of view, that is, from a viewpoint in which not only desires but also beliefs play a key role in social explanations as mental entities, this article rejects externalist reductionism and proposes a redefinition of social identity as a net of beliefs about oneself, beliefs that are indexical, robust, and socially shaped. (shrink)
Let the moral question of personal identity be the following: what is the nature of the entities we should focus our prudential concerns and ascriptions of responsibility around? (If indeed we should structure these things around any entities at all.) Let the semantic question of personal identity be the question of what is the nature of the entities that ‘person’ is true of. A naive (in the sense of simple and intuitive) view would have it that the two (...) questions are so intimately connected that the entities we should focus our concerns and ascriptions around are, pretty trivially, the persons. In part, my aim here is to evaluate this naive view. However, I will not actually attempt to give a definite verdict on it. Rather, I will identify the assumptions under which the naive view is true, and discuss how to go about evaluating those assumptions. (shrink)
Marya Schechtman argues that psychological continuity accounts of personal identity, as represented by Derek Parfit's account, fail to escape the circularity objection. She claims that Parfit's deployment of quasi-memory (and other quasi-psychological) states to escape circularity implicitly commit us to an implausible view of human psychology. Schechtman suggests that what is lacking here is a coherence condition, and that this is something essential in any account of personal identity. In response to this I argue first that circularity may (...) be escaped using quasi-psychological states even with the addition of the coherence condition. Second, I argue that there is something right about the coherence condition, and a major task of this paper is to identify its proper theoretical role. I do so by reflection on integration therapies for people with multiple personality disorder (MPD). The familiar distinction between the moral and the metaphysical concept of the person is developed alongside such reflection. Connecting these two issues I argue that coherence acts as a normative constraint on accounts of personal identity, but that the normative dimension of personhood is not essential to our notion of a person tout court. (shrink)
The special and unique attitudes that we take towards events in our futures/pasts—e.g., attitudes like the dread of an impeding pain—create a challenge for “Reductionist” accounts that reduce persons to aggregates of interconnected person stages: if the person stage currently dreading tomorrow’s pain is numerically distinct from the person stage that will actually suffer the pain, what reason could the current person stage have for thinking of that future pain as being his? One reason everyday subjects believe they have a (...) substantially extended temporal existence stems from introspection—they introspectively experience their selves as being temporally extended. In this paper, I examine whether a Reductionist about personal identity can co-opt this explanation. Using Galen Strawson’s recent work on self-experience as a resource, I reach both a negative and a positive conclusion about the prospects of such a position. First, the relevant kind of self-experience—i.e., the introspective experience of one’s self as being a substantially temporally extended entity—will not automatically arise within a person stage simply in virtue of that stage being psychologically connected to/continuous with other person stages. Second, the relevant kind of self-experience will arise, however, in virtue of person stages weaving together their respective experiences, actions, etc. via a narrative. This positive conclusion points towards a new Reductionist position that focuses upon a narrative, and not mere psychological continuity, in attempting to justify the special attitudes we take towards events in our futures/pasts. (shrink)
The condition known as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) or Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is metaphysically strange. Can there really be several distinct persons operating in a single body? Our view is that DID sufferers are single persons with a severe mental disorder. In this paper we compare the phenomenology of dissociation between personality states in DID with certain delusional disorders. We argue both that the burden of proof must lie with those who defend the metaphysically extravagant Multiple Persons view (...) and that there is little theoretical motivation to yield to that view in light of the fact that the core symptoms of DID bear remarkable similarity to the symptoms of these other disorders where no such extravagance is ever seriously entertained. (shrink)
Among theories of personal identity over time the simple view has not been popular among philosophers, but it nevertheless remains the default view among non philosophers. It may be construed either as the view that nothing grounds a claim of personal identity over time, or that something quite simple (a soul perhaps) is the ground. If the former construal is accepted, a conspicuous difficulty is that the condition of causal dependence between person-stages is absent. But this leaves such (...) a view open to an objection from the failure to provide a condition of individuation. If, on the other hand something like a soul is said to ground personal identity over time, such an account turns out to be more suited to a kind of continuity view. (shrink)
Recently, several authors have claimed to have found graph-theoretic counterexamples to the Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles. In this paper, I argue that their counterexamples presuppose a certain view of what unlabeled graphs are, and that this view is optional at best.
The eleven new papers in this volume address fundamental and interrelated philosophical issues concerning modality and identity, issues that were pivotal to the development of analytic philosophy in the twentieth century, and remain a key focus of debate in the twenty-first. Identity and Modality brings together leading researchers in metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of science, and the philosophy of mathematics.
This paper disputes a common definition of token identity theory. It also observes that within the philosophical literature there are two significantly different definitions of token identity theory that are commonly used.
In order to avoid the problems faced by standard realist analyses of the “relation” of instantiation, Baxter and, following him, Armstrong each analyze the instantiation of a universal by a particular in terms of their partial identity. I introduce two related conceptions of partial identity, one mereological and one non-mereological, both of which require at least one of the relata of the partial identity “relation” to be complex. I then introduce a second non-mereological conception of partial (...) class='Hi'>identity, which allows for both relata to be simple. I take these three conceptions to exhaust the plausible ways of construing two entities as being partially identical. I then argue that there is no analysis (including those offered by Baxter and Armstrong) of a universal and a particular as being partially identical consistent with any of these three conceptions that (i) is coherent, (ii) is consistently realist, (iii) does not lead to absurd consequences, and (iv) offers a “solution” to the problem of instantiation that avoids the problems with the other standard realist responses. In so arguing, I offer a criticism of the analysis of instantiation as partial identity that is independent of the standard criticism that it entails the necessity of predication. (shrink)
In his well-known 1952 dialogue Max Black describes a counterexample to the Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles (PII). The counterexample is a world containing nothing but two purportedly indiscernible iron spheres. Reflecting on Black's example, Robert Adams uses the possibility of a world containing two almost indiscernible spheres to argue for the possibility of the indiscernible spheres world. One of Adams's almost indiscernible spheres has a small impurity, and, Adams writes, "Surely... the absence of the impurity would not (...) make such a universe impossible." The appeal to "surely" constitutes a gap in Adams's argument. This paper bridges the gap with a premise that exploits the counterfactual conditional and the related notion of causal independence. The paper then argues that causal independence bears in a similar way on an issue Nathan Salmon raises concerning Kripke's argument for the Essentiality of Origins. (shrink)
The topic of personal identity has prompted some of the liveliest and most interesting debates in recent philosophy. In a fascinating new contribution to the discussion, Peter Unger presents a psychologically aimed, but physically based, account of our identity over time. While supporting the account, he explains why many influential contemporary philosophers have underrated the importance of physical continuity to our survival, casting a new light on the work of Lewis, Nagel, Nozick, Parfit, Perry, Shoemaker, and others. Deriving (...) from his discussion of our identity itself, Unger produces a novel but commonsensical theory of the relations between identity and some of our deepest concerns. In a conservative but flexible spirit, he explores the implications of his theory for questions of value and of the good life. (shrink)
In the literature on multiple realizability and the identity theory, cases of neural plasticity have enjoyed a very limited role. The present article attempts to remedy this small influence by arguing that clinical and experimental evidence of quite extensive neural reorganization offers compelling support for the claim that psychological kinds are multiply realized in neurological kinds, thus undermining the identity theory. In particular, cases are presented where subjects with no measurable psychological deficits also have vast, though gradually received, (...) neurological damage. Common objections and concerns are also discussed and rejected. 1 Introduction2 The GRP, Serial Lesion Effect, and Multiple Realizability2.1 A case study of the serial lesion effect2.2 Evaluating the case study’s evidence for multiple realizability3 The GRP More Generally4 Objections to the GRP as Evidence for Multiple Realizability4.1 Small plastic effects and neurological taxonomies4.2 But do neural regions and locations even matter at all?4.3 But are there not other options besides location?5 Conclusion. (shrink)
Addressing many topics in epistemology and metaphysics, this treatise sets out a new theory of the unity of objects, and discusses personal identity, the metaphysics of possible worlds, the continuity in space time, and the nature of philosophical theorizing.
It is commonly believed that there is a fundamental incompatibility between multiple realization and type identity in the philosophy of mind. This claim can be challenged, however, since a single neural type may be realized by different microphysical types. In this case, the identity statement would connect the psychological and the neural type, while the neural type, in turn, could be multiply realized by different microphysical types. Such a multiple realization of higher level types occurs quite frequently even (...) within physics and it should be acceptable for physicalism in general. (shrink)
Many contemporary bioethicists claim that the possession of certain psychological properties is sufficient for having full moral status. I will call this thepsychological approach to full moral status. In this paper, I argue that there is a significant tension between the psychological approach and a widely held model of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID, formerly Multiple Personality Disorder). According to this model, the individual personalities or alters that belong to someone with DID possess those properties that proponents of the psychological (...) approach claim suffice for full moral status. If this account of DID is true, then the psychological approach to full moral status seems to entail that the two standard therapies for treating DID might, on occasion, be seriously immoral, for they may well involve the (involuntary) elimination of an entity with full moral status. This result should give proponents of the psychological approach pause, for most people find the claim that current treatments of DID are ethically suspect highly counter-intuitive. (shrink)
Sydney Shoemaker has claimed that functionalism, a theory about mental states, implies a certain theory about the identity over time of persons, the entities that have mental states. He also claims that persons can survive a "Brain-State-Transfer" procedure. My examination of these claims includes description and analysis of imaginary cases, but-notably-not appeals to our "intuitions" concerning them. It turns out that Shoemaker's basic insight is correct: there is a connection between the two theories. Specifically, functionalism implies that "non-branching functional (...) continuity" is sufficient for personal identity. But there is no implication that it is necessary. And the "BST" procedure may not preserve functional continuity. I consider several possibilities. On what may be the most attractive, the survivor of this-or any similar-procedure is not identical with the original person, but related to him or her as are the survivors in a case of fission. (shrink)
Trinitarians claim there are three Divine persons each of which is God, and yet there is only one God. It seems they want three to equal one. It just so happens, some metaphysicians claim exactly that. They accept Composition as Identity: each fusion is identical to the plurality of its parts. I evaluate Composition as Identity's application to the doctrine of the Trinity, and argue that it fails to give the Trinitairan any options he or she didn't already (...) have. Further, while Composition as Identity does give us a new way to assert polytheism, its help requires us to endorse a claim that undercuts any Trinitarian motivation for the view. (shrink)
A series of representations must be semantics-driven if the members of that series are to combine into a single thought. Where semantics is not operative, there is at most a series of disjoint representations that add up to nothing true or false, and therefore do not constitute a thought at all. There is necessarily a gulf between simulating thought, on the one hand, and actually thinking, on the other. A related point is that a popular doctrine - the so-called 'computational (...) theory of mind' (CTM) - is based on a confusion. CTM is the view that thought-processes consist in 'computations', where a computation is defined as a 'form-driven' operation on symbols. The expression 'form-driven operation' is ambiguous, and may refer either to syntax-driven operations or to morphology-driven operations. Syntax-driven operations presuppose the existence of operations that are driven by semantic and extra-semantic knowledge. So CTM is false if the terms 'computation' and 'form-driven operation' are taken to refer to syntax-driven operations. Thus, if CTM is to work, those expressions must be taken to refer to morphology-driven operations; and CTM therefore fails, given that an operation must be semantics-driven if it is to qualify as a thought. CTM therefore fails on every disambiguation of the expressions 'formal operation' and 'computation,' and it is therefore false. (shrink)
This book gathers together thirteen of Peter van Inwagen's essays on metaphysics, several of which have acquired the status of modern classics in their field. They range widely across such topics as Quine's philosophy of quantification, the ontology of fiction, the part-whole relation, the theory of 'temporal parts', and human knowledge of modal truths. In addition, van Inwagen considers the question as to whether the psychological continuity theory of personal identity is compatible with materialism, and defends the thesis that (...) possible states of affairs are abstract objects, in opposition to David Lewis's 'extreme modal realism'. A specially-written introduction completes the collection, which will be an invaluable resource for anyone interested in metaphysics. (shrink)
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder) is a condition in which a person appears to possess more than one personality, and sometimes very many. Some recent criminal cases involving defendants with DID have resulted in "not guilty" verdicts, though the defense is not always successful in this regard. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Stephen Behnke have argued that we should excuse DID sufferers from responsibility, only if at the time of the act the person was insane (typically (...) delusional); otherwise the presumption should be that persons with DID are indeed responsible for their actions. We find their interpretation of DID and of the way in which the requirements for criminal insanity relate to this condition worrying and likely to result in injustice to DID sufferers. Our thesis is that persons with DID cannot be responsible for their actions if the usual features of the condition are present. A person with DID is a single person in the grip of a very serious mental disorder. By focusing on the features of DID which have, as we argue, the effect of deluding the patient, we try to show that such a person is unable to fulfill the ordinary conditions of responsible agency (namely, autonomy and self-control). (shrink)
It is often claimed that emotions are linked to formal objects. But what are formal objects? What roles do they play? According to some philosophers, formal objects are axiological properties which individuate emotions, make them intelligible and give their correctness conditions. In this paper, I evaluate these claims in order to answer the above questions. I first give reasons to doubt the thesis that formal objects individuate emotions. Second, I distinguish different ways in which emotions are (...) intelligible and argue that philosophers are wrong in claiming that emotions only make sense when they are based on prior sources of axiological information. Third, I investigate how issues of intelligibility connect with the correctness conditions of emotions. I defend a theory according to which emotions do not respond to axiological information, but to non-axiological reasons. According to this theory, we can allocate fundamental roles to the formal objects of emotions while dispensing with the problematic features of other theories. (shrink)
This book is part of the growing field of practical approaches to philosophical questions relating to identity, agency and ethics, working across continental and analytical traditions. Kim Atkins explains and justifies the basis of the practical approach through an explication of the structures of human embodiment and an account of how those structures necessitate a narrative model of selfhood, understanding and ethics. She highlights how recent work on agency and autonomy implicitly draws upon conceptions of embodiment and intersubjectivity that (...) underpin the narrative view. (shrink)