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 Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  personal identity  concept of a person  Derek Parfit  reductionism  impersonal beings  self
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ISBN(s) 0038-4283
DOI southernjphil200543213
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References found in this work BETA

On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
Personal Identity.Derek Parfit - 1971 - Philosophical Review 80 (January):3-27.
Self-Reference and Self-Awareness.Sydney S. Shoemaker - 1968 - Journal of Philosophy 65 (October):555-67.
Persons and Their Pasts.Sydney Shoemaker - 1970 - American Philosophical Quarterly 7 (4):269-85.

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