Folk concepts of person and identity: A response to Nichols and Bruno

Philosophical Psychology 29 (1):96-122 (2016)
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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 that the folk do not consider psychological continuity to be necessary for an individual to be categorized as a person or for ascribing identity over time and through transformations. In this, we assume, along with Nichols and Bruno, that folk judgments about identity can be read off the use of proper names. Furthermore, we raise some doubts about the ability of current experimental designs to adequately distinguish between qualitative and numerical identity jud..

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Author Profiles

Vilius Dranseika
Jagiellonian University
Renatas Berniūnas
Vilnius University

References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
What do philosophers believe?David Bourget & David J. Chalmers - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (3):465-500.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Naming and Necessity.S. Kripke - 1972 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 45 (4):665-666.

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