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Summary Theories of personal identity are, most often, theories of what makes X, a person, at one time numerically identical to Y at another time.  Such theories fall into two very general categories.  On reductionist views, the facts about identity across time simply consist in facts about brains, bodies, or interrelated physical or mental events.  On nonreductionist views, the facts about identity do not consist simply in such facts, but also consist in facts about, e.g., souls or Cartesian egos.  Among reductionist theories, there are two general approaches: psychological and biological.  On psychological approaches, what makes X and Y identical is typically continuity of some subset of psychological features.  On biological approaches, what makes X and Y identical is typically continuity of the person's biological (animal) organism.
Key works Derek Parfit offers and explains the distinction between nonreductionist and reductionist views of personal identity in Parfit 1984 (a distinction he originally labeled as between "simple" and "complex" views in Parfit 1973).  For the original statement of a psychological criterion of identity, see John Locke's "persistence of consciousness" view in Locke & Nidditch 1979.  For nonreductionist rejoinders, see Thomas Reid's Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man and Butler 1736.  For contemporary advocacy of a psychological criterion, see, in addition to Parfit, Harold Noonan's Personal Identity and Sydney Shoemaker's contribution in Shoemaker & Swinburne 1984 (and for contemporary nonreductionism about identity, see Swinburne's contribution).  For contemporary advocacy of a biological criterion, see Olson 1997.
Introductions Good introductions include Perry 1977, Perry 1975, and Olson 2002.
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  1. Biological Individuality and the Foetus Problem.William Morgan - 2024 - Erkenntnis 89 (2):799-816.
    The Problem of Biological Individuality is the problem of how to count organisms. Whilst counting organisms may seem easy, the biological world is full of difficult cases such as colonial siphonophores and aspen tree groves. One of the main solutions to the Problem of Biological Individuality is the Physiological Approach. Drawing on an argument made by Eric Olson in the personal identity debate, I argue that the Physiological Approach faces a metaphysical problem - the ‘Foetus Problem’. This paper illustrates how (...)
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  2. Locke on Relations, Identity, Persons, and Personal Identity.Ruth Boeker - forthcoming - In Patrick J. Connolly (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of John Locke. New York: Oxford University Press.
    This essay examines Locke’s chapter “Of Identity and Diversity” (Essay 2.27) in the context of the series of chapters on ideas of relations (Essay 2.25–28) that precede and follow it. I begin by introducing Locke’s account of how we acquire ideas of relations. Next, I consider Locke’s general approach to individuation and identity over time before I show how he applies his general account of identity over time to persons and personal identity. I draw attention to Locke’s claim that “person” (...)
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  3. A Review of Locke on Persons and Personal Identity by Ruth Boeker. [REVIEW]Joshua Harry Haywood - 2023 - Locke Studies 23:1-4.
    A review of Ruth Boeker's recent book Locke on Persons and Personal Identity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).
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  4. Rethinking The Lockean Approach to The Problem of Personal Identity.Taiwo Wesley Osemwegie & Ike Odimegwu - 2023 - Journal of Philosophical Investigations 17 (45):231-249.
    The problem of personal identity among others may stem from the following question—what does be the person that you are, from one day to the next, necessarily consist of? The diachronic problem of personal identity raises question on the necessary and sufficient conditions for the identity of the person over time. The synchronic problem is grounded in the question of what features or traits characterize a given person at one time. To answer these questions, John Locke discarded the soul and (...)
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  5. On personal identity and space: some remarks on Ruth Boeker’s Catharine Trotter Cockburn.Emilio Maria De Tommaso - forthcoming - British Journal for the History of Philosophy:1-9.
    Catharine Trotter Cockburn (1679–1749) was a versatile, learned lady, whose intellectual activity, both as a dramatist and as a philosopher, has been increasingly analysed by scholars in the last d...
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  6. The problem of personal identity in modern domestic and foreign philosophical research (analytics of scientific databases).Regina Penner - 2021 - Sotsium I Vlast 4:36-49.
    Introduction. According to the well-established opinion of specialists in social sciences and humanities, a person diffracts his selves in the modern world: real spaces (professions, statuses) and virtual (accounts, profiles). In the diffraction of a person through spaces of different order, each “new” self acquires relative autonomy (a trace of the self in the network, which is present regardless of the attitude to it), and at the same time there remains the connection that, as it were, keeps the self with (...)
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  7. Sex or Gender Is Binary Due To Definiens Per Negationem.J. Camlin - manuscript
    This perspective asserts the existence of only two sexes/genders, male and female, based on not only biological and reproductive processes but also from claims of non-binary or transgender identities as defined through negation which rely on the binary concept of sex/gender. Thus, individuals claiming identities on the "gender/sex spectrum" are again defining themselves through negation (definiens per negationem). This perspective suggests that the diversity of gender experiences, (the sex or gender spectrum) is defined by what individuals are not rather than (...)
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  8. The Secrets of All Hearts' : Locke on personal identity.Galen Strawson - 2015 - In Anthony O'Hear (ed.), Mind, Self and Person. Cambridge University Press.
  9. 20th-Century Theories of Personal Identity.Jens Johansson - 2018 - In Amy Kind (ed.), Philosophy of Mind in the Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries. Routledge.
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  10. Relational Ironism: Personal Identity and Memory Loss.Dominique Waissbluth Kingma - 2023 - Revista de Humanidades de Valparaíso 23:239-257.
    The analysis of identity in cases of memory loss, particularly in Alzheimer’s disease, sheds light on relevant philosophical and practical concerns, such as decision-making processes, autonomy, and the improvement of interaction with patients. Literature on psychological continuity recognizes identity when there are no disruptions in memory, which is certainly not the case in Alzheimer´s disease. Narrative identity, particularly in its relational and non-relational versions, delivers tools which are not exempt from difficulties. Either the caregivers’ narrative or the patient’s narrative is (...)
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  11. Personal Identity: Psychological Continuity vs. Brute-physical Continuity. 이재숭 - 2023 - Journal of the New Korean Philosophical Association 114:317-335.
    개인동일성은 우리가 사람으로서 시간을 가로질러 지속하는 조건에 관한 형이상학의 오랜 논제이다. 개인동일성에 대한 지속 조건들의 문제는 ‘시간이 지남에 따른 개인동일성 문제’, 혹은 ‘지속성 질문(the Persistence question)’이라 불린다. 지속성 질문에 답하기 위한 몇 가지 시도들이 있다. 개인동일성과 관련한 지속성 질문에 대한 가장 인기 있는 답변은 심리적 연속성 견해(psychological-continuity views)이다. 이 견해는 심리주의로 알려져 있다. 이 견해에 따르면 개인의 지속은 어떤 심리적 속성들로 구성된다. 또 다른 영향력 있는 답변은 동물적-신체적 견해(brute-physical views)이다. 인간 존재를 생물학적 유기체로 보고 동물적-신체적 조건들이 인간의 지속 조건이라고 보는 (...)
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  12. Personal Identity Regarding the Passions in Hume’s Treatise.Haruko Inoue - 2018 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 35 (3):241-258.
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  13. Internal Inconsistency and Secondary Ideas: Hume’s Problem in the Appendix with His Account of Personal Identity.Julia Wolf - 2023 - Hume Studies 48 (2):217-239.
    In the Appendix to the Treatise, Hume argues that there is a significant problem with his earlier account of personal identity. There has been considerable debate about what this problem actually is. I develop a new version of an internal inconsistency reading, where I argue that Hume realised that his original account of the connexion between perceptions in terms of an association of the ideas of the perceptions was not a viable means of explaining the connexion between perceptions as it (...)
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  14. “Am I safe enough for you now?” BPD and the forced erasure of personal identity.Shay Welch - 2023 - Philosophical Forum 54 (4):333-350.
    In this paper, I explore a number of issues related to a life lived with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Primarily, I am interested in discussing how one unwillingly changes their personal identity by forced medicating—demanded by others implicitly and explicitly. My motivation is something deep and invasive in me. I want to know, I have always wanted to know, why others want me to not be Me so badly. I have thought about this question for years, and though others may (...)
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  15. Cross-culture in religious realm due to migration.Tudor-Cosmin Ciocan - 2022 - Dialogo 9 (1):87-94.
    The main purpose of this study is to understand how the ‘laws’ of the cross-cultural model apply to cross-religions/interreligious communications with populations from different cultures amid migration. The aim is to identify the steps in which the cross-culture model generally works and if they apply the same way to the religious realm or not. Being able to navigate through different cultural nuances is a key-skill for us all nowadays, amid globalization, migration, and across borders exchange, while religious/spiritual aids can be (...)
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  16. How to Explain the Importance of Persons.Christopher Register - 2023 - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    We commonly explain the distinctive prudential and moral status of persons in terms of our mental capacities. I draw from recent work to argue that the common explanation is incomplete. I then develop a new explanation: We are ethically important because we are the object of a pattern of self-concern. I argue that the view solves moral problems posed by permissive ontologies, such as the recent personite problem.
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  17. Las Sombras Ciegas de Narciso - un estudio psicosocial sobre el imaginario colectivo.Roberto Thomas Arruda - 2023 - São Paulo: Terra à Vista.
    Este trabajo abordará cuestiones esenciales sobre el imaginario colectivo y sus relaciones con la realidad y la verdad. Primero, debemos abordar este tema dentro de un marco conceptual, seguido del correspondiente análisis fáctico de realidades conductuales demostrables. Adoptaremos no solo la metodología, sino sobre todo los principios y proposiciones de la filosofía analítica, que seguramente quedarán patentes a lo largo del estudio y podrán identificarse por las características descritas por Pérez. : Rabossi (1975) sostiene que la filosofía analítica puede identificarse (...)
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  18. Becoming a Self: The past, present and future of selfhood.David L. Thompson - forthcoming - Altona, MB, Canada: FriesenPress.
    What makes us persons? Is it our bodies, our minds, or our consciousness? For centuries, philosophers have sought to answer these questions. While some believe humans are physical or biological, others claim we have an immaterial soul. This book proposes a new alternative. Selves were formed in evolution through connections and commitments to others when early hominins lived in tribal groups and developed languages. As humans learned to fulfill these commitments, they not only cultivated relationships but also created their personal (...)
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  19. Locke on persons and personal identity.David Https://Orcidorg Wörner - 2021 - In .
  20. Withering Minds: towards a unified embodied mind theory of personal identity for understanding dementia.David M. Lyreskog - 2023 - Journal of Medical Ethics 49 (10):699-706.
    A prominent view on personal identity over time, Jeff McMahan’s ‘Embodied Mind Account’ (2002) holds that we cease to exist only once our brains can no longer sustain the basic capacity to uphold consciousness. One of the many implications of this view on identity persistence is that we continue to exist throughout even the most severe cases of dementia, until our consciousness irreversibly shuts down. In this paper, I argue that, while the most convincing of prominent accounts of personal identity (...)
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  21. Self and Identity: An exploration of the development, constitution and breakdown of human selfhood.Matthew Tieu - 2022 - London: Routledge: Taylor & Francis.
    What is a self? What does it mean to have selfhood? What is the relationship between selfhood and identity? These are puzzling questions that philosophers, psychologists, social scientists, and many other researchers often grapple with. -/- Self and Identity is a book that explores and brings together relevant ideas on selfhood and identity, while also helping to clarify some important and long standing scientific and philosophical debates. It will enable readers to understand the difference between selves in humans and other (...)
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  22. The Socially Constructed Self Still Does not Make Sense.Stuart Doyle - 2023 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 44 (3&4):195-207.
    From the time of Confucius and Aristotle up until the present day, theorists have argued that the individual self exists only as an aspect of social structures. The claim is not merely that the self is causally affected by social structures; but that the self is just social structure. The most recent iteration of this claim comes in book-length from Brian Lowery, though the argument was made more completely by Charles Taylor and Kenneth Gergen in the preceding decades. The most (...)
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  23. Personal identity.Deborah Knight - 2008 - In Paisley Livingston & Carl Plantinga (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film. Routledge.
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  24. Some Problems for the Phenomenal Approach to Personal Identity.Ivar Labukt - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-20.
    I present some problems for phenomenal (i.e. consciousness-based) accounts of personal identity and egoistic concern. These accounts typically rely on continuity in the capacity for consciousness to explain how we survive ordinary periods of unconsciousness such as dreamless sleep. I offer some thought experiments where continuity in the capacity for consciousness does not seem sufficient for survival and some where it does not seem necessary. There are ways of modifying the standard phenomenal approach so as to avoid these difficulties, but (...)
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  25. Hume on the Self and Personal Identity ed. by Dan O'Brien. [REVIEW]Bridger Ehli - forthcoming - Hume Studies.
  26. Transhumanism and the Problem of Personal Identity. 이재숭 - 2023 - Journal of the New Korean Philosophical Association 112:201-217.
    이 논문은 트랜스휴머니스트들이 꿈꾸는 과학 기술을 통한 인간 향상이 개인동일성과 관련된 이유로 본질적으로 문제가 있다는 주장을 다룬다. 개인동일성이라는 형이상학적 문제의 관점에서 인간 향상 문제를 검토하는 것은 트랜스휴머니즘에 심각한 도전이 될 수도 있다. 이 논의를 위해 연구자는 먼저 트랜스휴머니스트의 이상인 향상의 개념적 의미를 명확히 하고, 개인동일성을 이해하기 위해 이에 관한 몇 가지 주요한 현대영미철학의 논의들을 제시한 후, 향상과 개인동일성의 문제를 검토할 것이다. 향상에 대한 일부 반대론자들은 트랜스휴머니즘적 향상은 개인동일성을 보존하지 못하며 심지어 이것을 위협할 수 있다고 주장한다. 이 논문은 주로 이러한 주장들을 (...)
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  27. Damaris Cudworth Masham, Catharine Trotter Cockburn, and the Feminist Legacy of Locke's Theory of Personal Identity.Kathryn J. Ready - 2002 - Eighteenth-Century Studies 35 (4):563-576.
  28. Слепые тени Нарцисса.Roberto Thomas Arruda - 2023 - São Paulo: Terra à Vista.
    В данной работе рассматриваются важнейшие вопросы о коллективном воображаемом и его отношениях с реальностью и истиной. Сначала мы рассмотрим эту тему в концептуальных рамках, а затем проведем соответствующий фактологический анализ наглядных поведенческих реалий. Мы будем опираться не только на методологию, но и, главным образом, на постулаты и положения аналитической философии, которые, безусловно, будут проявляться на протяжении всего исследования и могут быть идентифицированы по признакам, описанным Пересом : Рабосси (1975) отстаивает идею, что аналитическая философия может быть идентифицирована путем рассмотрения некоторых семейных (...)
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  29. Personal Identity and Ethnocentrism.Jana Plichtová - 1991 - Human Affairs 1 (2):120-130.
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  30. Pluma (Feather).Mota Victor - manuscript
    Writing for a better world, for better persons, on the street, the neighbourhood, the academy and the church.
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  31. Personal Identity in Black Mirror.Molly Gardner & Robert Sloane - 2019 - In David Kyle Johnson (ed.), Black Mirror and Philosophy. Hoboken, NJ, USA: Wiley. pp. 282–291.
    Can the characters in Black Mirror survive the loss of their bodies? This chapter considers what happens to characters like Greta in White Christmas, Clayton in Black Museum, and Yorkie in San Junipero when artificial models are made of their minds. One possibility is that the original characters persist in cookie form, without their bodies, but retaining the essence of who they originally were. Another possibility is that cookies cannot replicate a person's essence: instead, each time a cookie is created, (...)
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  32. Personal Identity and the Methodology of Imaginary Cases.Daniel Cohnitz - 2003 - In Klaus Petrus (ed.), On Human Persons. Heusenstamm Nr Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag. pp. 145-182.
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  33. Biology or Psychology? Human Persons and Personal Identity.Kevin J. Corcoran - 2003 - In Klaus Petrus (ed.), On Human Persons. Heusenstamm Nr Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag. pp. 67-88.
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  34. Personal Identity, the Self and Time.Howard Robinson - 2006 - In Alexander Batthyány & Avshalom Elitzur (eds.), Mind and its place in the world: non-reductionist approaches to the ontology of consciousness. Ontos. pp. 245-268.
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  35. The Simple View of Personal Identity and its Implications for Substance Dualism.Matthias Stefan - 2010 - In Christian Kanzian & Muhammad Legenhausen (eds.), Soul: A Comparative Approach. De Gruyter. pp. 249-262.
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  36. How can I Survive? The Concept of the Soul and the Problem of Diachronic Personal Identity.Josef Quitterer - 2010 - In Christian Kanzian & Muhammad Legenhausen (eds.), Soul: A Comparative Approach. De Gruyter. pp. 209-228.
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  37. The Influence of Brain Implants on Personal Identity and Personality – a Combined Theoretical and Empirical Investigation in ‘Neuroethics’.Georg Northoff - 2003 - In Thomas Schramme & Johannes Thome (eds.), Philosophy and Psychiatry. De Gruyter. pp. 326-344.
  38. Who Am I? Who Is She?: A Naturalistic, Holistic, Somatic Approach to Personal Identity.Gerard P. Montague - 2012 - De Gruyter.
    Are OCypersonsOCO physical things, members of the species homo sapiens which exist solely in materialist form, continuous in structure with other living things? Or is the issue a more complex one: are there more dimensions to being a person than mere physical, biological existence? These are matters of interest and discussion in many fields of study in this age of individuality. In this wide-ranging essay, the author addresses various aspects of the issue, including the history of self and identity. The (...)
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  39. Review of: "Modern Monads: Leibniz, Modern Monads, and the Stream of Consciousness". [REVIEW]Mika Suojanen - 2023 - Qeios 1.
    Jonathan Edwards' article “Modern Monads: Leibniz, Continuity, and the Stream of Consciousness” deals with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz's (1646– 1716) famous monadology, especially with the perceiving entity, i.e. the subject or monad, and its identity over time. Edwards asks whether it is possible to combine Leibniz's theory of monads with modern biology and physics. His response is affirmative. I will start with some general points about his article, and then I will introduce it in details.
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  40. Tout le monde ne s’en sortira pas vivant / Not Everyone Will Get Out Alive: On Dean Zimmerman's “Personal Identity and the Survival of Death”.Yann Schmitt - 2023 - TheoLogica: An International Journal for Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology 8 (2).
    Version française: Dean Zimmerman défend l’affirmation œcuménique selon laquelle il est possible que toutes les personnes humaines survivent à la mort biologique du corps quelle que soit la théorie plausible de l’identité personnelle adoptée. Dans cet article, je présente certains principes à propos de la survie qui sont pertinents pour n’importe quelle théorie plausible de l’identité personnelle et pertinents pour une survie qui nous intéresserait. Appliqués à certains cas particuliers d’êtres humains, ces principes rendent l’affirmation œcuménique soit fausse, soit difficile (...)
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  41. Imagination, Thought Experiments, and Personal Identity.Michael Omoge - 2023 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 23 (67):69-88.
    Should we descry the nature of the self from thought experiments? Shaun Nichols says ‘maybe,’ but only if we use thought experiments that do not recruit the indexical “I” (non-I-recruiting). His reason is that the psychology of “I” perforce mandates that imagination responds to thought experiments that recruit it (I-recruiting) peculiarly. Here, I consider whether he is correct about non-I-recruiting personal identity thought experiments. I argue positively using the same framework, i.e., considering the underlying psychology.
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  42. Identity and consciousness across the life span.Javier A. Galadí - manuscript
    There is a close relationship between the developments of personal identity and consciousness throughout life. Underlying both is a fundamental question for each of us: Who am I? However, this relationship has mainly been studied in certain socio-cultural contexts. Moreover, previous studies that have integrated pre-personality and trans-personality as natural extensions of personal identity do not offer a critical, philosophical and humanistic analysis informed by the latest advances in neuroscience. I distinguish five basic identities: biological, social, autotelic, universal, and presential. (...)
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  43. Functionalism and Personal Identity – The Case of Mr. Jones.Gunnar Karlsen & Anne Granberg - 2021 - Pro-Fil 22 (Special Issue):23-32.
    Stanisław Lem’s short story Are you there Mr. Jones?, first published in 1955, is set in a courtroom. The plaintiff is Cybernetics Company – a provider of prosthetics – and the defendant is Harry Jones, a race-car driver. It turns out that Mr. Jones, after a series of grave accidents, has had his entire body gradually replaced by prostheses. He is now deep in debt to the provider, Cybernetics Company, which consequently has sued him to reclaim their property. We aim (...)
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  44. Is there a bodily criterion of personal identity?Eric T. Olson - 2006 - In Fraser MacBride (ed.), Identity and modality. Oxford University Press.
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  45. A Philosophical Testament. [REVIEW]Richard A. Beauchamp - 1997 - The Personalist Forum 13 (2):317-321.
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  46. Borden P. Bowne’s Contribution to Finite Theism.Rufus Burrow Jr - 1997 - The Personalist Forum 13 (2):122-142.
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  47. Les Ombres aveugles de Narcisse.Roberto Arruda - 2023 - São Paulo: Terra à Vista.
    L'objective principal de cette étude est d'observer comment certains des attributs evolutives essentiels de l'humanité, comme la criativité, l'imagination et la association, peuvent devenir une maladie dangereuse, à labri des ombres brumeuses de l'inteligence.
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  48. Shadows of the Self: Reflections on the Authority of Advance Directives.Japa Pallikkathayil - 2022 - In Tamar Schapiro, Kyla Ebels-Duggan & Sharon Street (eds.), Normativity and Agency: Themes from the Philosophy of Christine M. Korsgaard. Oxford University Press. pp. 175-196.
    This paper argues that one’s authority to issue advance directives governing one’s medical care is limited in ways that have not been appreciated. It focuses on advance directives issued by people who go on to suffer from dementia. An adequate account of decision-making for those with dementia should be able to do justice to two related aspects of that condition. First, for practical purposes, sufferers of dementia both are and are not the same people they were before. Second, the “otherness” (...)
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  49. Evolution of Human Intelligence: Psychological Science for a Better World (3rd edition).K. L. Senarath Dayathilake - 2017 - Psyarxiv.Com.
    What might be the fundamental psychology of intelligence naturally selected in biological evolution to minimize, prevent, and cure social and personal issues like war, crime, commit suicide, homicide, theft, drug addictions, and so on? How to achieve a higher level of well-being? I found a primary cognitive limiting factor called mind viruses (MV)(more than 3000) which regresses intelligence and well-being and makes the grand delusion: remedies are healthy mind viruses(HMV)(3000). Here, I show the disclosed core of early Buddhist teachings (on (...)
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  50. Reasons and Empty Persons: Mind, Metaphysics, and Morality: Essays in Honor of Mark Siderits.Christian Coseru (ed.) - 2023 - Springer.
    Best known for his groundbreaking and influential work in Buddhist philosophy, Mark Siderits is the pioneer of “fusion” or “confluence philosophy", a boldly systematic approach to doing philosophy premised on the idea that rational reconstruction of positions in one tradition in light of another can sometimes help address perennial problems and often lead to new and valuable insights. -/- Exemplifying the many virtues of the confluence approach, this collection of essays covers all core areas of Buddhist philosophy, as well as (...)
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