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About this topic
Summary One of the primary methods of argument with respect to the metaphysics of personal identity has been to pump intuitions on a wide variety of puzzle cases, many of which involve science fiction.  These include brain and body swaps, teletransportation, fission, fusion, and many more.  The basic idea is to test the limits of our conceptual commitments by prizing apart various features of our identity that are typically conjoined.  For example, what would happen if my body went in one direction and my psychological stream went in another?  Where would I go?  This method is highly controversial, however, with several theorists questioning both the possibility of such cases as well as their utility for determining the identity conditions for non-fictional creatures like us.
Key works John Locke offered the original body swap case between a Prince and a cobbler (see Perry 1975), and others who have appealed to many varieties of puzzle cases to argue for their conclusions about personal identity include Shoemaker 1963, Wiggins 1967, Nagel 1971, Lewis 1976, Parfit 1984, Noonan 1989, Martin 1997, and McMahan 2002.  Those wary or critical of this "method of puzzle cases" include Williams 1970, Wilkes 1988, Johnston 1989, Gendler 2002, and DeGrazia 2005.
Introductions Encyclopedia entry that includes discussion of identity and puzzle cases: Gallois 2008.  No introductory texts on puzzle cases alone, but an excellent (albeit challenging) deployment of the method is Part III of Parfit 1984, and an excellent (albeit challenging) discussion of its limits is Wilkes 1988.
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  1. Immortality.A. Bronson Alcott - 1885 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 19 (2):221 - 222.
  2. What Do Split-Brain Cases Show About the Unity of Consciousness?Torin Alter - manuscript
    The startling empirical data that concern us here are well known. Severing the corpus callosum produces a kind of mental bifurcation (Sperry 1968). In one experiment, a garlic smell is presented to a patient.
  3. Imminent Immortality?Ewa Bartnik - 2000 - Dialogue and Universalism 10:39.
  4. The Immortality of Infusoria.Alfred Binet - 1890 - The Monist 1 (1):21-37.
  5. Further Discussion of Split Brains and Hemispheric Capabilities.Joseph E. Bogen - 1977 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 28 (September):281-6.
  6. Immortality.Johannes Borgstein - 2005 - Ludus Vitalis 13 (24):199-202.
  7. Persons and Immortality.Kenneth A. Bryson (ed.) - 1999 - Rodopi.
    The religious belief in personal immortality depends on the evidence for the existence of God, an immaterial soul or mind, and human nature. We also need to support the view that God will always want to maintain relationships with us in the afterlife. So, immortality is a hard sell. The suffering of innocent victims suggests that the existence of a loving God is not self-evident. Furthermore, the soul's separation from the body at death raises the troublesome problem of personal identity. (...)
  8. Dion, Theon, and the Many-Thinkers Problem.Michael B. Burke - 2004 - Analysis 64 (3):242–250.
    Dion is a full-bodied man. Theon is that part of him which consists of all of him except his left foot. What becomes of Dion and Theon when Dion’s left foot is amputated? In Burke 1994, employing the doctrine of sortal essentialism, I defended a surprising position last defended by Chrysippus: that Dion survives while the seemingly unscathed Theon perishes. This paper defends that position against objections by Stone, Carter, Olson, and others. Most notably, it offers a novel, conservative solution (...)
  9. Is My Head a Person?Michael B. Burke - 2003 - In K. Petrus (ed.), On Human Persons. Heusenstamm Nr Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag. pp. 107-125.
    It is hard to see why the head and other brain-containing parts of a person are not themselves persons, or at least thinking, conscious beings. Some theorists have sought to reconcile us to the existence of thinking person-parts. Others have sought ways to avoid them, but have relied on radical theories at odds with the metaphysic implicit in ordinary ways of thinking. This paper offers a novel, conservative solution, one on which the heads and other brain-containing parts of persons do (...)
  10. Immortality and Meaning: Reflections on the Makropulos Debate.Mikel Burley - 2009 - Philosophy 84 (4):529-547.
    This article reflects upon the debate, initiated by Bernard Williams in 1973, concerning the desirability of immortality, where the latter expression is taken to mean endless bodily life as a human or humanoid being. Williams contends that it cannot be desirable; others have disputed this contention. I discuss a recent response from Timothy Chappell and attempt to pinpoint the central disagreement between Chappell and Williams. I propose that neither side in the debate has firm grounds for its claims, and then (...)
  11. The Awareness of Immortality: The Other in Us?Juraj Cap - 2011 - Filozofia 66 (4):315-324.
  12. Split-Brain Cases.Mary K. Colvin & Michael S. Gazzaniga - 2007 - In Max Velmans & Susan Schneider (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Blackwell.
  13. Living Values and Immortality.Ernest Dewey - 1964 - World Futures 3 (1):57-69.
  14. Is Immortality Desirable?G. Lowes Dickinson - 1910 - Philosophical Review 19 (1):92-93.
  15. I Think, Therefore I Persist.Matt Duncan - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (4):740-756.
    Suppose that you're lying in bed. You just woke up. But you're alert. Your mind is clear and you have no distractions. As you lie there, you think to yourself, ‘2 + 2 = 4.’ The thought just pops into your head. But, wanting to be sure of your mathematical insight, you once again think ‘2 + 2 = 4’, this time really meditating on your thought. Now suppose that you're sitting in an empty movie theatre. The lighting is normal (...)
  16. Speaking of Persons.George Englebretsen - 1975 - Published for the Canadian Association for Publishing in Philosophy by Dalhousie University Press.
  17. Why Immortality is Not so Bad.John Martin Fischer - 1994 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 2 (2):257 – 270.
  18. Immortality.Anthony Flew - 1967 - In Paul Edwards (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. New York: Macmillan. pp. 3--139.
  19. The Self and Immortality.Antony Flew - 1974 - Philosophical Books 15 (2):12-14.
  20. Toward an Etiology of Dissociative Identity Disorder: A Neurodevelopmental Approach.K. A. Forrest - 2001 - Consciousness and Cognition 10 (3):259-293.
    This article elaborates on Putnam's ''discrete behavioral states'' model of dissociative identity disorder (Putnam, 1997) by proposing the involvement of the orbitalfrontal cortex in the development of DID and suggesting a potential neurodevelopmental mechanism responsible for the development of multiple representations of self. The proposed ''orbitalfrontal'' model integrates and elaborates on theory and research from four domains: the neurobiology of the orbitalfrontal cortex and its protective inhibitory role in the temporal organization of behavior, the development of emotion regulation, the development (...)
  21. Roland Puccetti 1924-1995.Judith Fox - 1996 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 69 (5):135 - 136.
  22. Psychological Continuity, Fission, and the Non-Branching Constraint.By Robert Francescotti - 2008 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (1):21–31.
    Those who endorse the Psychological Continuity Approach (PCA) to analyzing personal identity need to impose a non-branching constraint to get the intuitively correct result that in the case of fission, one person becomes two. With the help of Brueckner's (2005) discussion, it is shown here that the sort of non-branching clause that allows proponents of PCA to provide sufficient conditions for being the same person actually runs contrary to the very spirit of their theory. The problem is first presented in (...)
  23. Understanding Metaphors with the Two Hemispheres of the Brain.Nlkolaj Frandsen - 1996 - Danish Yearbook of Philosophy 31:49.
  24. The Case for Immortality.Hilary Freeman - 1964 - World Futures 3 (2):4-46.
  25. Intimidations of Immortality.H. R. Friedman - 1976 - The Monist 59 (2):234-248.
  26. The Fission of Being, Essences, and Absolute Visibility (Abstract).Paolo Gambazzi - 1999 - Chiasmi International 1:273-273.
  27. 'He Only Comes Out When I Drink My Gin’: DID, Personal Identity, and Moral Responsibility.Rocco J. Gennaro - 2016 - In Rocco J. Gennaro & Casey Harison (eds.), The Who and Philosophy. Rowman & Littlefield: Lexington Press. pp. 121-134.
    This essay explores the topic of Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly called “Multiple Personality Disorder”) with special attention to such Quadrophenia masterpieces as “Dr. Jimmy” and “The Real Me.” A number of major philosophical questions arise: Can two or more “persons” really inhabit the same body? How can we hold Dr. Jimmy morally responsible for the reprehensible actions of Mr. Jim? Wouldn’t it be wrong to do so if they are really different people? What is it to be the “same” person (...)
  28. Person, Personality, Self, and Identity.G. Glas - unknown
  29. Divided Consciousness, Divided Self.Kamuran Godelek - 1994 - Dissertation, University of Minnesota
    This work addresses issues of self integrity and self identity arising from cases of split brain and multiple personality disorder. It takes on the task of accounting for a unified conscious experience of oneself and, more importantly, a unified and continuous self within a multiple systems, information processing approach to consciousness and the self. Cases of split-brain syndrome are examined in detail, and the view that commissurotomy produces dual selves in one body, advanced by leading researchers in neuropsychology and philosophy, (...)
  30. Immortality.George M. Gould - 1890 - The Monist 1 (3):372-392.
  31. Attention in Split-Brain Patients.Todd C. Handy & Michael S. Gazzaniga - 2005 - In Laurent Itti, Geraint Rees & John K. Tsotsos (eds.), Neurobiology of Attention. Academic Press.
  32. Implications of Immortality.R. J. Hankinson - 1990 - Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium of Ancient Philosophy 6 (1):1-27.
  33. The Immortality of the Past: Critique of a Prevalent Misinterpretation.Charles Hartshorne - 1953 - Review of Metaphysics 7 (1):98 - 112.
  34. Personal Identity and Purgatory.David B. Hershenov & Rose Koch-Hershenov - 2006 - Religious Studies 42 (4):439.
    If Purgatory involves just an immaterial soul undergoing a transformation between our death and resurrection, then, as Aquinas recognized, it won't be us in Purgatory. Drawing upon Parfit's ideas about identity not being what matters to us, we explore whether the soul's experience of Purgatory could still be beneficial to it as well as the deceased human who didn't experience the purging yet would possess the purged soul upon resurrection. We also investigate an alternative non-Thomistic hylomorphic account of Purgatory in (...)
  35. Fission, Freedom, and the Fall.Hud Hudson - 2009 - In Jonathan L. Kvanvig (ed.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion: Volume 2. Oxford University Press.
  36. Survival and Immortality.William Ralph Inge - 1917 - Hibbert Journal 15 (4).
  37. The Other Within: The Marranos, Split Identity, and Emerging Modernity.Henry Kamen - 2013 - Common Knowledge 19 (1):146-147.
  38. Reflections on Immortality.C. W. Kendall - 1913 - The Monist 23 (4):595-596.
  39. Immortality.Count Hermann Keyserling - 1940 - Philosophical Review 49:92.
  40. A Computational Analysis of Mental Image Generation: Evidence From Functional Dissociations in Split-Brain Patients.Stephen M. Kosslyn, Jeffrey D. Holtzman, Martha J. Farah & Michael S. Gazzaniga - 1985 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 114 (3):311-341.
  41. Split‐Brain Research.Maryse Lassonde - 2002 - In Lynn Nadel (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. Macmillan.
  42. Counting the Minds of Split-Brain Patients.Gert-Jan C. Lokhorst - 1996 - Logique Et Analyse 39 (155-6):315-324.
  43. Adverbs, Identity, and Multiple Personalities.J. J. MacIntosh - 1992 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 22 (3):301 - 321.
  44. A Matter of Personal Survival Life After Death.M. MARSH - 1985 - The Theosophical Publishing House.
  45. The Poetics of Fission in Robinson Jeffers.Scott Mcclintock - 2008 - Clio: A Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History 37 (2):171-193.
  46. Immortality and Monadistic Idealism.J. Ellis McTaggart - 1921 - The Monist 31 (2):316-317.
  47. Epistemological Fission.Paul K. Moser - 1998 - The Monist 81 (3):353-370.
  48. The Faces of Immortality.Kai Nielsen - 1994 - In John Donnelly (ed.), Language, Metaphysics, and Death. Fordham University Press. pp. 237--264.
  49. What Are We?: A Study in Personal Ontology.Eric T. Olson - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
    From the time of Locke, discussions of personal identity have often ignored the question of our basic metaphysical nature: whether we human people are biological organisms, spatial or temporal parts of organisms, bundles of perceptions, or what have you. The result of this neglect has been centuries of wild proposals and clashing intuitions. What Are We? is the first general study of this important question. It beings by explaining what the question means and how it differs from others, such as (...)
  50. We Believe in Immortality.Edward A. Pace - 1929 - New Scholasticism 3 (2):216-219.
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