What is an Identity Crisis?

Journal of Consciousness Studies 30 (3-4):34-58 (2023)
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The use of brain technology that contributes to psychological changes has spurred a debate about personal identity. Some argue that neurotechnology does not undermine personal continuity (Levy, 2011) while others argue that it does (Kreitmair, 2019; Schechtman, 2010). To make these assessments, commentators fail to identify psychological changes that cause personal discontinuity. In this paper, I present a view that identifies personal continuity with the maintenance of a self-concept. I argue that a concept of self requires the ability to self-ascribe physical and psychological features and that the diachronic self emerges with self-ascriptions of features that require endurance over time. I maintain that an adequate concept of self does not depend on the maintenance of any particular combination of self-ascriptions and that it can be maintained despite even significant changes in psychological or physical traits. Finally, I apply the self-concept view to identify changes that can result in discontinuity of self.

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Nada Gligorov
Albany Medical College

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Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
On a confusion about a function of consciousness.Ned Block - 1995 - Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.
The Constitution of Selves.Marya Schechtman (ed.) - 1996 - Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

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