Edited by Timothy Campbell (Rutgers University - New Brunswick)
About this topic
Summary The metaphysics of personhood primarily addresses two questions: what is the nature of persons and what are their persistence conditions across time?  Addressing the former question prompts investigations into the nature of the self (if distinct from the person), consciousness, mind, and embodiment.  Addressing the latter prompts investigations into theories of personal identity.  Because many view "person"as a thoroughly normative notion, however, its study is often connected closely to investigations into value and practical identity.
Key works Primarily metaphysical investigations into personhood are taken up repeatedly by major figures throughout the history of philosophy, from Plato to Descartes to Kant.  In the contemporary literature, there are clear discussions by Baker 2000, Olson 2007, Shoemaker 1963, and van Inwagen 2001. Personhood as a normative ("forensic") concept was introduced by John Locke, in "Of Identity and Diversity" (see Perry 1975).  Contemporary normatively-based explorations of personhood include Frankfurt 1971 and Korsgaard 1989
Introductions Gallagher 2011, Martin, Raymond and Barresi, John, eds., Personal Identity (2003).
Related categories
Subcategories:See also:History/traditions: Persons

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  1. Substanz, Relation oder beides: Augustinus und Heidegger zur Frage ‘Was sind Personen?’ (Substance, Relation or Both: Augustine and Heidegger on the Question ‘What are Persons?’).Anne Sophie Meincke - 2012 - Crossing Borders. Grenzen (Über)Denken. Beiträge Zum 9. Internationalen Kongress der Österreichischen Gesellschaft Für Philosophie in Wien.
    What are persons? There are two traditional answers: the relation model of person according to which a person is nothing more than a function of her relationships to other persons and the substance model which construes the person as persisting independently of relations and accidental properties. In my paper, I explore two interesting intersections of these models occurring in Augustine's speculative doctrine of trinity and in Heidegger’s early Theory of Dasein. Are Augustine’s and Heidegger’s conceptions of person convincing reconciliations of (...)
  2. On the Resurrection of the Dead: A New Metaphysics of Afterlife for Christian Thought.James T. Turner Jr - 2018 - London: Routledge.
    Christian tradition has largely held three affirmations on the resurrection of the physical body. Firstly, that bodily resurrection is not a superfluous hope of afterlife. Secondly, there is immediate post-mortem existence in Paradise. Finally, there is numerical identity between pre-mortem and post-resurrection human beings. The same tradition also largely adheres to a robust doctrine of The Intermediate State, a paradisiacal disembodied state of existence following the biological death of a human being. This book argues that these positions are in fact (...)
  3. Kind‐Dependent Grounding.Alex Moran - 2018 - Analytic Philosophy 59 (3):359-390.
    Are grounding claims fully general in character? If a is F in virtue of being G, does it follow that anything that’s G has to be F for that reason? According to the thesis of Weak Formality, the answer is ‘yes’. In this paper, however, I argue that there is philosophical utility in rejecting this thesis. More exactly, I argue that two outstanding problems in contemporary metaphysics can be dealt with if we maintain that there can be cases of what (...)
  4. Are My Temporal Parts Agents?Alexander Dietz - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    When we think about ethics, we normally focus on a particular sort of agent: the individual person. Some philosophers have argued that we should rethink the limits of what counts as an ethically relevant unit of agency by expanding outward, and claiming that groups of people can have normative reasons for action. In this paper, I explore whether we can go in the other direction. Are there sub‐personal beings who count as agents with their own reasons for action? In particular, (...)
  5. Edward Jonathan Lowe.James Miller - 2018 - The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Edward Jonathan Lowe (usually cited as E. J. Lowe) was one of the most significant philosophers of the twentieth and early twenty-first century. He made sustained and significant contributions to debates in metaphysics, ontology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophical logic, and philosophy of religion, as well as contributing important scholarly work in early modern philosophy (most notably on Locke). -/- Over the length of his career, Lowe published eleven single-authored books, four co-edited collections, and well over 300 papers (...)
  6. Moral Enhancement Can Kill.Parker Crutchfield - 2018 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 43 (5):568-584.
    There is recent empirical evidence that personal identity is constituted by one’s moral traits. If true, this poses a problem for those who advocate for moral enhancement, or the manipulation of a person’s moral traits through pharmaceutical or other biological means. Specifically, if moral enhancement manipulates a person’s moral traits, and those moral traits constitute personal identity, then it is possible that moral enhancement could alter a person’s identity. I go a step further and argue that under the right conditions, (...)
  7. Does Integrated Information Lack Subjectivity.Janko Nešić - 2018 - Theoria: Beograd 61 (2):131-145.
    I investigate the status of subjectivity in Integrated Information Theory. This leads me to examine if Integrated Information Theory can answer the hard problem of consciousness. On itself, Integrated Information Theory does not seem to constitute an answer to the hard problem, but could be combined with panpsychism to yield a more satisfying theory of consciousness. I will show, that even if Integrated Information Theory employs the metaphysical machinery of panpsychism, Integrated Information would still suffer from a different problem, not (...)
  8. Self-Consciousness and "Split" Brains: The Minds' I.Elizabeth Schechter - 2018 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    Elizabeth Schechter explores the implications of the experience of people who have had the pathway between the two hemispheres of their brain severed, and argues that there are in fact two minds, subjects of experience, and intentional agents inside each split-brain human being: right and left. But each split-brain subject is still one of us.
  9. Был ли бог стоиков личностью? (Was the Stoic God a Person?).Pavel Butakov - 2017 - ΣΧΟΛΗ: Ancient Philosophy and The Classical Tradition 11 (2):558-569.
    Peter Forrest claims that his “Personal Pantheist” conception of God is in agreement with the Stoic pantheism. The traditional interpretation, however, treats the Stoic God as the non-personal universal law. I demonstrate that arguments in favor of the personal interpretation typically imply either a personalist or an anthropocentric metaphysical foundation. I also argue that the Stoics were neither personalists nor anthropocentrists, therefore those arguments should be rejected.
  10. Relations in the Trinitarian Reality: Two Approaches.Pavel Butakov - 2014 - ΣΧΟΛΗ: Ancient Philosophy and The Classical Tradition 8 (2):505-519.
    The Greek model of the Trinity, based on the Theological Orations of Gregory of Nazianzus, treats the Trinitarian relations as connections between the Father and the two other persons: the Son and the Holy Spirit. The two relations have to be heteronymous, and have to be interpreted from the extreme realistic position. The Latin Trinitarian model, based on Boethius’ De Trinitate, treats relations as three subsistent persons. The relations have to be unidirectional: from the Father to the Son, and from (...)
  11. The Metaphysics of Economic Exchanges.Massin Olivier & Tieffenbach Emma - 2017 - Journal of Social Ontology 3 (2):167-205.
    What are economic exchanges? The received view has it that exchanges are mutual transfers of goods motivated by inverse valuations thereof. As a corollary, the standard approach treats exchanges of services as a subspecies of exchanges of goods. We raise two objections against this standard approach. First, it is incomplete, as it fails to take into account, among other things, the offers and acceptances that lie at the core of even the simplest cases of exchanges. Second, it ultimately fails to (...)
  12. Working One’s Life Away: Precarity, Personhood, and the Dissolution of Identity in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.Geoffrey R. Owens - 2015 - Semiotics:45-53.
  13. The Real Distinction Between Mind and Body.Stephen Yablo - 1990 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume 16:149.
  14. Toward An Anatomy of Human Nature. [REVIEW]Charles Echelbarger - 1987 - Behavior and Philosophy 15 (2):175.
  15. The Consciousness of the Literates.Saurav Karki - manuscript
    This essay intends to focus on the so-called 'Literates' people of our society.It labels them as a stigma.
  16. First Century Sources for the Life of Muḥammad? A Debate. Schoeler, Motzki & Görke - 2012 - Der Islam: Journal of the History and Culture of the Middle East 89 (1-2):2-59.
    : In a recent issue of Der Islam, Stephen R. Shoemaker has contributed an extensive article in which he challenged the processes and findings of a number of studies conducted by Gregor Schoeler, Harald Motzki, and Andreas Görke. The following article offers a response to his findings. Whereas the three authors argued the case for the possibility that authentic traditions of the first century of the Hijra can be reconstructed, Shoemaker holds the contrary point of view, as already stated in (...)
  17. Survival After Death and the Contemporary Mind-Body. Discussion.Charles W. Kegley - 1963 - Memorias Del XIII Congreso Internacional de Filosofía 3:173-179.
  18. The Person in Psychology.Paul Lafitte - 1957
  19. Responsibility From the Margins, by David Shoemaker. [REVIEW]Daniel Cohen - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (4):840-841.
  20. Persons: A Study in Philosophical Psychology.Annette Baier & Raziel Abelson - 1979 - Philosophical Review 88 (1):112.
  21. The Identities of Persons.Christopher Peacocke & Amelie Rorty - 1978 - Philosophical Review 87 (3):456.
  22. The Concept of a Person and Other Essays.V. C. Chappell & A. J. Ayer - 1968 - Philosophical Review 77 (2):235.
  23. Philosophy of the Person.Terence Penelhum & P. A. Minkus - 1962 - Philosophical Review 71 (3):394.
  24. The New Perspective.Hugh Miller & Rudolf Jordan - 1952 - Philosophical Review 61 (3):407.
  25. Self, No Self? Perspectives From Analytical, Phenomenological, and Indian Traditions. Edited by Mark Siderits, Evan Thompson, and Dan Zahavi.John Spackman - 2016 - Mind 125 (499):923-927.
  26. Conjoined Twins of Malta.Mark S. Latkovic & M. D. Nelson - 2001 - The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 1 (4):585-614.
  27. A Call to Safeguard the Human Person.John Paul - 2013 - The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 13 (4):719-724.
  28. Death and Afterlife: A Theological Introduction by Terence Nichols.Mark Corner - 2012 - New Blackfriars 93 (1047):623-625.
  29. Body and Person.J. M. Cameron - 1978 - New Blackfriars 59 (692):5-21.
  30. Person and Individual.John A. Creaven - 1943 - New Blackfriars 24 (279):213-218.
  31. The Soul of a Child.Cyprian Rice - 1937 - New Blackfriars 18 (206):372-375.
  32. Comments on “Extended Zonal Dislocations Mediating Twinning in Titanium”.Haitham El Kadiri & Christopher D. Barrett - 2013 - Philosophical Magazine 93 (26):3491-3494.
  33. Twinning in Cadmium Dendrites.P. B. Price - 1959 - Philosophical Magazine 4 (47):1229-1241.
  34. XI—Neonates, Persons and the Right to Life.Edgar Page - 1989 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 89 (1):165-178.
  35. I.—Self as Subject and as Person.S. Alexander - 1911 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 11 (1):1-28.
  36. Analyses of Parent-Infant Interaction.Ewart A. Thomas & John A. Martin - 1976 - Psychological Review 83 (2):141-156.
  37. The Control of Another Person by Obscure Signs.G. M. Stratton - 1921 - Psychological Review 28 (4):301-314.
  38. Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death.I. Woodbridge Riley - 1903 - Psychological Review 10 (5):556-565.
  39. Discussion and Reports. Social Consciousness in Children.W. S. Monroe - 1898 - Psychological Review 5 (1):68-70.
  40. Do Infant Rats Cry?Mark S. Blumberg & Greta Sokoloff - 2001 - Psychological Review 108 (1):83-95.
  41. Third-Person Self-Knowledge, Self-Interpretation, and Narrative.Julie Kirsch Patrizia Pedrini (ed.) - forthcoming - Springer.
  42. Socialization, Reflection, and Personhood.Hanne Jacobs - 2016 - In Harald A. Wiltsche & Sonja Rinofner-Kreidl (eds.), Analytic and Continental Philosophy: Methods and Perspectives. Proceedings of the 37th International Wittgenstein Symposium. De Gruyter. pp. 323-336.
    According to a predominant view, reflection is constitutive of personhood. In this paper I first indicate how it might seem that such an account cannot do justice to the socially embedded nature ofpersonhood. I then present a phenomenologically-inspired account of reflection as critical stance taking and show how it accommodates the social embeddedness of persons. In concluding, I outline how this phenomenological account is also not vulnerable to a number of additional challenges that have been raised against accounts that consider (...)
  43. Neo-Confucians and Zhu Xi on Family and Woman: Challenges and Potentials,”.Ann A. Pang-White - 2016 - In The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Chinese Philosophy and Gender. pp. 69-88.
    In Chinese philosophy’s encounter with modernity and feminist discourse, Neo-Confucianism often suffered the most brutal attacks and criticisms. In “Neo-Confucians and Zhu Xi on Family and Woman: Challenges and Potentials,” Ann A. Pang-White investigates Song Neo-Confucians’ views (in particular, that of Zhu Xi) on women by examining the Classifi ed Conversations of Zhu Xi (Zhuzi Yulei), the Reflections on Things at Hand (Jinsi Lu), Further Reflections on Things at Hand (Xu Jinsi Lu), and other texts. Pang-White also takes a close (...)
  44. Physical Persons. An Essay on Reconciliatory Physicalism.Jan Hartman - unknown
    Physical Persons explores the nature of mind and self, and their relation to the body. It argues that folk-psychological expressions about persons are indeed irreducible and true, however, this can be reconciled with the view that persons are physical beings. Not only is it argued that what we call 'mental properties' are in fact physical properties, but also that what we refer to as 'the self' is the physical brain. The solution to both these problems is based on the idea (...)
  45. Split Brains and the Godhead.Trenton Merricks - 2006 - In Thomas Crisp, David Vander Laan & Matthew Davidson (eds.), Knowledge and Reality: Essays in Honor of Alvin Plantinga. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 299-326.
  46. The Identity of a Word in Advance.Roger Teichmann - forthcoming - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly.
  47. Samuel Scheffler’s Death and the Afterlife.Frits Gåvertsson - unknown
  48. The Human Person and Immortality in IBO Metaphysics.Richard C. Onwuanibe - 1980 - Philosophy Research Archives 6:170-183.
    The theme of the human person and immortality has currently and forcefully become an issue in the face of modern materialism and dehumanization. The purpose of this paper is to investigate some philosophical issues involved in this theme with reference to Ibo mataphysics as a contribution in this area. The approach is partly interpretive and partly analytical of some cultural ideas of the Ibos. The Ibos are not total materialists in their fundamental views of reality, especially with regard to the (...)
  49. Baker on Human Personhood.Eugene Mills - 2015 - Journal of Philosophical Research 40:473-481.
    Lynne Rudder Baker offers an account of what it is to be a human person, involving what she calls a “first person perspective,” that is separable from her constitution-view of human persons and adaptable to a variety of rival views of personal ontology. I argue that this account fails, no matter what view of personal ontology it is coupled with, on account of giving biological humanity an absurd role in determining the personhood of both possible human and non-human person-candidates. The (...)
  50. Technologies of Immortality: The Brain on Ice.Bronwyn Parry - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 35 (2):391-413.
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