Brain bisection and personal identity

Mind 95 (April):224-9 (1986)
It has been argued that 'brain bisection' data leads us to abandon our traditional conception of personal identity. Nagel has remarked: The ultimate account of the unity of what we call a single mind consists of an enumeration of the types of functional integration that typify it. We know that these can be eroded in different ways and to different degrees. The belief that even in their complete version they can be explained by the presence of a numerically single subject is an i1lusion.l Parfit has adopted a similar position, contending that patients with 'split brains' become two separate 'streams of consciousness' and thus that our normal sense of personal identity, or at least 'what matters' about personal identity is constituted by psychological relations between connected conscious experiences2 It is claimed that in 'split brain' patients certain of the relations are disrupted and that we thus see clearly that the nature of the unity that is normally present does not reside in a single subject with a given identity, but in the connectedness and continuity that normally obtains. Parfit draws on two sources of support for these contentions: the first is the actual events that transpire after a human being is submitted to the operation of sectioning the corpus callosum (or 'brain bisection'), and the second is the imaginative consideration of various scenarios involving graded mental and physical discontinuity, and the 'fission' and 'fusion' of persons. I shall do little more than argue that the actual data will not sustain the interpretation put on them
Keywords Brain  Personal Identity  Science
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/mind/XCV.378.224
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,106
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Personal Identity.Godfrey N. A. Vesey - 1973 - Milton Keynes: Open University Press,.
Brain Death and Personal Identity.Michael B. Green & Daniel Wikler - 2009 - In John P. Lizza (ed.), Philosophy and Public Affairs. Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 105 - 133.
Personal Identity.John Perry (ed.) - 1975 - University of California Press.
Functionalism, the Brain, and Personal Identity.Lawrence H. Davis - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 102 (3):259-79.
Personal Identity and Brain Transplants.Paul F. Snowdon - 1991 - In David Cockburn (ed.), Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 109-126.
Brain Bisection and Personal Identity.Roland Puccetti - 1973 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 24 (April):339-55.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

113 ( #43,797 of 2,171,798 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #326,702 of 2,171,798 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums