Southern Journal of Philosophy 43 (2):159-188 (2005)

Kathy Behrendt
Wilfrid Laurier University
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 is unaffected, in that it is largely like our own. It is their view of ‘themselves’ that is different (and superior) to ours. My paper critically assesses this ‘impersonal beings’ hypothesis through an examination of Parfit’s construal of the concept of a person. I argue that Parfit’s understanding of the concept of a person undermines his impersonal beings hypothesis.
Keywords personal identity  reductionism  cocept of "  person"  Derek Parfit  impersonal beings  self
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ISBN(s) 0038-4283
DOI 10.1111/j.2041-6962.2005.tb01949.x
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Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Philosophical Papers.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
Sameness and Substance.David Wiggins - 1980 - Harvard University Press.

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