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About this topic
Summary The literature on personal identity is vast, and it incorporates a grab-bag of varying approaches, theses, and conceptual understandings.  It is very loosely unified by investigations into the "identities" of "persons," but these are concepts with multiple senses.  This category reflects that diversity.
Key works Alongside discussions of key historical works by John Locke and David Hume (see Perry 1975), investigation into personal identity of many stripes in the contemporary literature has been led by Shoemaker 1963, Williams 1973, Parfit 1984, Noonan 1989, Schechtman 1996, Olson 1997, among others.
Introductions Good introductions in Perry 1975, Rorty 1976, and Olson 2002.
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538 found
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  1. You, I and the Others.B. W. A. - 1982 - Review of Metaphysics 35 (3):638-639.
  2. The Secret of Consciousness: How the Brain Tells 'the Story of Me'.Paul Ableman - 1999 - Marion Boyars.
    This book is about you. How does your brain work and where do your thoughts and dreams come from? How can you harness their creative power? Ableman posits a crucial relationship between language and memory and thus between language and self-awareness. Most startlingly he maintains that the human 'person' is essentially the language component of a large-brained animal. Ableman has researched his theory using existing data derived from the malfunctioning mind as manifested in schizophrenia, sleepwalking, autism, 'out of body' experiences (...)
  3. Book Review. [REVIEW]David Adams - 2003 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 12 (1):131-134.
  4. Personal Identity: A Theoretical and Experimental Analysis.Fernando Aguiar, Pablo Brañas-Garza, Maria Paz Espinosa & Luis M. Miller - 2010 - Journal of Economic Methodology 17 (3):261-275.
    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 (...)
  5. Immortality, Identity, and Desirability.Roman Altshuler - 2015 - In Michael Cholbi (ed.), Immortality and the Philosophy of Death. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 191-203.
    Williams’s famous argument against immortality rests on the idea that immortality cannot be desirable, at least for human beings, and his contention has spawned a cottage industry of responses. As I will intend to show, the arguments over his view rest on both a difference of temperament and a difference in the sense of desire being used. The former concerns a difference in whether one takes a forward-looking or a backward-looking perspective on personal identity; the latter a distinction between our (...)
  6. Intentionality, Time, and Self-Identity: Husserl's Theory of Time and the Problem of Personal Identity.Se-Gweon An - 1990 - Dissertation, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
    In this dissertation I raise three questions: What is Husserl's theory of time?; Can we develop a particular thesis of self-identity and, if so, what would it look like?; How does the thesis work in relation to the problems that are to be solved? ;In chapter II, I give an exposition of Husserl's view on time with the purpose of establishing a framework that will play a decisive role in the formation of a thesis of self-identity. Husserl defines time as (...)
  7. A Question of Personal Identity.Pamela S. Anderson - 1992 - The Personalist Forum 8 (1):55-68.
  8. Immortality.Gabriel Andrade - 2011 - In James Fieser & Bradley Dowden (eds.), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Immortality is the indefinite continuation of a person’s existence, even after death. In common parlance, immortality is virtually indistinguishable from afterlife, but philosophically speaking, they are not identical. Afterlife is the continuation of existence after death, regardless of whether or not that continuation is indefinite. Immortality implies a never-ending existence, regardless of whether or not the body dies (as a matter of fact, some hypothetical medical technologies offer the prospect of a bodily immortality, but not an afterlife). Immortality has been (...)
  9. Personal Identity and Practical Reason.Jonny Anomaly - 2008 - Dialogue 47 (2):331.
  10. Personal Identity and Practical Reason.Jonny Anomaly - 2008 - Dialogue 47 (2):331-350.
    ABSTRACT: This essay examines and criticizes a set of Kantian objections to Parfit's attempt in Reasons and Persons to connect his theory of personal identity to practical rationality and moral philosophy. Several of Parfit's critics have tried to sever the link he forges between his metaphysical and practical conclusions by invoking the Kantian thought that even if we accept his metaphysical theory of personal identity, we still have good practical grounds for rejecting that theory when deliberating about what to do. (...)
  11. Personal Identity and Practical Reason: The Failure of Kantian Replies to Parfit.Jonny Anomaly - 2008 - Dialogue 47 (2):331-350.
    ABSTRACT: This essay examines and criticizes a set of Kantian objections to Parfit's attempt in Reasons and Persons to connect his theory of personal identity to practical rationality and moral philosophy. Several of Parfit's critics have tried to sever the link he forges between his metaphysical and practical conclusions by invoking the Kantian thought that even if we accept his metaphysical theory of personal identity, we still have good practical grounds for rejecting that theory when deliberating about what to do. (...)
  12. Personal Identity: The Galton Details.Keith Arnold - 1989 - Philosophia 19 (1):35-44.
  13. Theory of Personhood in Nishida Kitarō and Mou Zongsan: Reflections on Critical Buddhism's View of the Kyoto School.Tomomi Asakura - 2015 - Taiwan Journal of East Asian Studies 12 (1):41-63.
    This paper attempts to interpret the theory of personhood in the works of Nishida Kitarō (1870-1945) in a way that refutes a certain type of Nishida interpretation that Critical Buddhism offers. According to this type of interpretation, the logic of basho is a modern version of the Qixinlun system. Based on this interpretation, Critical Buddhism denounces Kyoto School philosophy as "topical Buddhism." This paper shows how Nishida himself consciously differentiates his philosophy from the idealistic and monistic system with which the (...)
  14. Locke's Theory of Personal Identity.Margaret Atherton - 1983 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 8 (1):273-293.
  15. You've Changed: Sex Reassignment and Personal Identity. Edited by Laurie J. Shrage.Kim Atkins - 2011 - Hypatia 26 (4):877-881.
  16. The Identity of the Self.Bruce Aune - 1983 - Review of Metaphysics 36 (3):724-726.
  17. Recent Work on Personal Identity.James Baillie - 1993 - Philosophical Books 34 (4):193-206.
  18. Problems in Personal Identity.James Baillie - 1993 - New York: Paragon House.
  19. The Problem of Personal Identity.James Baillie - 1990 - Cogito 4 (2):106-112.
  20. How to Count People.Mark Bajakian - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (2):185 - 204.
    How should we count people who have two cerebral hemispheres that cooperate to support one mental life at the level required for personhood even though each hemisphere can be disconnected from the other and support its "own" divergent mental life at that level? On the standard method of counting people, there is only one person sitting in your chair and thinking your thoughts even if you have two cerebral hemispheres of this kind. Is this method accurate? In this paper, I (...)
  21. Review: Précis of Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View. [REVIEW]Lynne Rudder Baker - 2002 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (3):592 - 598.
  22. Chitchat on Personal Identity.David Barnett - unknown
    Jitney and her grown twin brother, Cletus, are cleaning out their mother’s attic. Cletus has found a photograph of a child with a squirrel in one hand, a meatball in the other, and a nametag that reads ‘Kid’. Cletus and Jitney mull over the photo from the comfort of two ragtag armchairs.
  23. You Are Simple.David Barnett - 2010 - In Robert C. Koons & George Bealer (eds.), The Waning of Materialism. Oxford University Press. pp. 161--174.
    I argue that, unlike your brain, you are not composed of other things: you are simple. My argument centers on what I take to be an uncontroversial datum: for any pair of conscious beings, it is impossible for the pair itself to be conscious. Consider, for instance, the pair comprising you and me. You might pinch your arm and feel a pain. I might simultaneously pinch my arm and feel a qualitatively identical pain. But the pair we form would not (...)
  24. Shakespeare's Invention.Joe Barnhart - 1999 - The Personalist Forum 15 (2):366-372.
  25. The Rise and Fall of the Conscious Self: A History of Western Concepts of Self and Personal Identity.John Barresi - manuscript
    I will trace the history of western conceptions of soul and self from the ancient Greeks to the present. The story line that I will present is based mainly on material covered in two books by Ray Martin and myself: _The Naturalization of the Soul: Self and Personal Identity in the_.
  26. Naturalization of the Soul: Self and Personal Identity in the Eighteenth Century.John Barresi & Raymond Martin - 1999 - Routledge.
    _Naturalization of the Soul_ charts the development of the concepts of soul and self in Western thought, from Plato to the present. It fills an important gap in intellectual history by being the first book to emphasize the enormous intellectual transformation in the eighteenth century, when the religious 'soul' was replaced first by a philosophical 'self' and then by a scientific 'mind'. The authors show that many supposedly contemporary theories of the self were actually discussed in the eighteenth century, and (...)
  27. Hume's Labyrinth Concerning the Idea of Personal Identity.Donald L. M. Baxter - 1998 - Hume Studies 24 (2):203-233.
    In the Treatise Hume argues that the self is really many related perceptions, which we represent to ourselves as being one and the same thing. In the Appendix he finds this account inconsistent. Why? The problem arises from Hume's theory that representation requires resemblance. Only a many can represent a many recognized as such, and only a one can represent something as one. So for the many distinct perceptions (recognized as such) to be represented as one and the same, the (...)
  28. “I Am Who I Am”: On the Perceived Threats to Personal Identity From Deep Brain Stimulation. [REVIEW]Françoise Baylis - 2013 - Neuroethics 6 (3):513-526.
    This article explores the notion of the dislocated self following deep brain stimulation (DBS) and concludes that when personal identity is understood in dynamic, narrative, and relational terms, the claim that DBS is a threat to personal identity is deeply problematic. While DBS may result in profound changes in behaviour, mood and cognition (characteristics closely linked to personality), it is not helpful to characterize DBS as threatening to personal identity insofar as this claim is either false, misdirected or trivially true. (...)
  29. The Inclusion Model of the Incarnation: Problems and Prospects.Tim Bayne - 2001 - Religious Studies 37 (2):125-141.
    Thomas Morris and Richard Swinburne have recently defended what they call the ‘two-minds’ model of the Incarnation. This model, which I refer to as the ‘inclusion model’ or ‘inclusionism’, claims that Christ had two consciousnesses, a human and a divine consciousness, with the former consciousness contained within the latter one. I begin by exploring the motivation for, and structure of, inclusionism. I then develop a variety of objections to it: some philosophical, others theological in nature. Finally, I sketch a variant (...)
  30. Technological Fictions and Personal Identity: On Ricoeur, Schechtman and Analytic Thought Experiments.Simon Beck - 2016 - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 47 (2):117-132.
    Paul Ricoeur and Marya Schechtman express grave doubts about the acceptability and informativeness of the thought-experiments employed by analytic philosophers (notably Derek Parfit) in the debate about personal identity, and for what appear to be related reasons. I consider their reasoning and argue that their reasons fail to justify their doubts. I go on to argue that, from this discussion of possible problems concerning select thought-experiments, something positive can be learned about personal identity.
  31. Transplant Thought-Experiments: Two Costly Mistakes in Discounting Them.Simon Beck - 2014 - South African Journal of Philosophy 33 (2):189-199.
    ‘Transplant’ thought-experiments, in which the cerebrum is moved from one body to another, have featured in a number of recent discussions in the personal identity literature. Once taken as offering confirmation of some form of psychological continuity theory of identity, arguments from Marya Schechtman and Kathleen Wilkes have contended that this is not the case. Any such apparent support is due to a lack of detail in their description or a reliance on predictions that we are in no position to (...)
  32. Am I My Brother's Keeper? On Personal Identity and Responsibility.Simon Beck - 2013 - South African Journal of Philosophy 32 (1):1-9.
    The psychological continuity theory of personal identity has recently been accused of not meeting what is claimed to be a fundamental requirement on theories of identity - to explain personal moral responsibility. Although they often have much to say about responsibility, the charge is that they cannot say enough. I set out the background to the charge with a short discussion of Locke and the requirement to explain responsibility, then illustrate the accusation facing the theory with details from Marya Schechtman. (...)
  33. The Misunderstandings of the Self-Understanding View.Simon Beck - 2013 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 20 (1):33-42.
    There are two currently popular but quite different ways of answering the question of what constitutes personal identity: the one is usually called the psychological continuity theory (or Psychological View) and the other the narrative theory.1 Despite their differences, they do both claim to be providing an account—the correct account—of what makes someone the same person over time. Marya Schechtman has presented an important argument in this journal (Schechtman 2005) for a version of the narrative view (the ‘Self-Understanding View’) over (...)
  34. Understanding Ourselves Better.Simon Beck - 2013 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 20 (1):51-55.
    Marya Schechtman and Grant Gillett acknowledge that my case in ‘The misunderstandings of the Self-Understanding View’ (2013) has some merits, but neither is moved to change their position and accept that the Psychological View has more going for it (and the Self-Understanding View less) than Schechtman originally contended. Schechtman thinks her case could be better expressed, and then the deficiencies of the Psychological View will be manifest. That view is committed to Locke’s insight about the importance of phenomenological connections to (...)
  35. Morals, Metaphysics and the Method of Cases.Simon Beck - 2010 - South African Journal of Philosophy 29 (4):332-342.
    In this paper I discuss a set of problems concerning the method of cases as it is used in applied ethics and in the metaphysical debate about personal identity. These problems stem from research in social psychology concerning our access to the data with which the method operates. I argue that the issues facing ethics are more worrying than those facing metaphysics.
  36. Martha Nussbaum and the Foundations of Ethics: Identity, Morality and Thought-Experiments.Simon Beck - 2009 - South African Journal of Philosophy 28 (3):261-270.
    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 (...)
  37. These Bizarre Fictions: Thought-Experiments, Our Psychology and Our Selves.Simon Beck - 2006 - Philosophical Papers 35 (1):29-54.
    Philosophers have traditionally used thought-experiments in their endeavours to find a satisfactory account of the self and personal identity. Yet there are considerations from empirical psychology as well as related ones from philosophy itself that appear to completely undermine the method of thought-experiment. This paper focuses on both sets of considerations and attempts a defence of the method.
  38. Points of Concern.Simon Beck - 2000 - Theoria 47 (96):121-130.
  39. Points of Concern.Simon Beck - 2000 - Theoria 47:121-130.
    This is a critical review of Raymond Martin's 'Self-Concern' (1998), focusing especially on his criticism of Parfit's use of fission thought-experiments and his own 'fission rejuvenation' thought-experiment.
  40. Leibniz, Locke and I.Simon Beck - 1999 - Cogito 13 (3):181-187.
  41. The Method of Possible Worlds.Simon Beck - 1992 - Metaphilosophy 23 (1-2):119-131.
  42. Personal Identity and Metaphysics.Ansgar Beckermann - unknown
    The traditional philosophical problems surrounding the issue of personal identity arise from trying to answer the following series of questions in a systematic way1. Given a person X, we want to know: (1) With which past and future entities is X (numerically) identical? (2) Which facts determine the answer to (1)?
  43. Impersonal Identity and Corrupting Concepts.Kathy Behrendt - 2005 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 43 (2):159-188.
    How does the concept of a person affect our beliefs about ourselves and the world? In an intriguing recent addition to his established Reductionist view of personal identity, Derek Parfit speculates that there could be beings who do not possess the concept of a person. Where we talk and think about persons, selves, subjects, or agents, they talk and think about sequences of thoughts and experiences related to a particular brain and body. Nevertheless their knowledge and experience of the world (...)
  44. The Self, Agency, and Responsibility: A Rejoinder to Siderits.Jiri Benovsky - forthcoming - Philosophy East and West.
    In the same issue of Philosophy East and West, Mark Siderits has written a reply to my article "Buddhist philosophy and the non-Self view". This is a rejoinder to Siderits' reply.
  45. Book Reviews. [REVIEW]Jonathan Berg, Ruth Weintrab, Irwin Goldstein & Finngeir Hiorth - 1993 - Philosophia 22 (1-2):195-210.
    Identity, Consciousness, and Value, by Peter Unger.
  46. A Dilemma for the Soul Theory of Personal Identity.Jacob Berger - 2018 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 83 (1):41-55.
    The problem of diachronic personal identity is this: what explains why a person P1 at time T1 is numerically identical with a person P2 at a later time T2, even if they are not at those times qualitatively identical? One traditional explanation is the soul theory, according to which persons persist in virtue of their nonphysical souls. I argue here that this view faces a new and arguably insuperable dilemma: either souls, like physical bodies, change over time, in which case (...)
  47. Book Review. Naturalization of the Soul: Self and Personal Identity in the Eighteenth Century Raymond Martin John Barresi. [REVIEW]David Berman - 2001 - Mind 110 (438):508-512.
  48. Aspects of the Self: John Campbell's Past, Space, and Self.Jose Luis Bermudez - 1995 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 38 (4):1-15.
  49. Folk Concepts of Person and Identity: A Response to Nichols and Bruno.Renatas Berniūnas & Vilius Dranseika - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (1):96-122.
    Nichols and Bruno claim that the folk judge that psychological continuity is necessary for personal identity. In this article, we evaluate this claim. First, we argue that it is likely that in thinking about hypothetical cases of transformations, the folk do not use a unitary concept of personal identity, but instead rely on different concepts of ‘person’, ‘identity’, and ‘individual’. Identity can be ascribed even when post-transformation individuals are no longer categorized as persons. Second, we provide new empirical evidence suggesting (...)
  50. Michael Tye,Consciousness and Persons. Unity and Identity.Andreas Blank - 2006 - Pragmatics and Cognitionpragmatics and Cognition 14 (1):188-191.
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