The metaphysics and metapsychology of personal identity: Why thought experiments matter in deciding who we are

American Philosophical Quarterly 30 (1):39-50 (1993)
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What are the metaphysical and metapsychological boundaries of a person? How do we draw our borders? This much is clear: personal identity without thought experiments is impossible. I develop a new way of conceptualizing physiological and psychological borders leading to a re-evaluation of the problem of personal identity within the contemporary literature, especially Parfit, arguing that we must, necessarily, turn to the conceptual analysis of metaphysical and metapsychological borders. I offer an explanation of the persistence of common sense against philosophical analysis, criticize Wilkes's position, and provide a foundation for the proper use of thought experiments in analytic metapsychology and metaphysics



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Daniel Kolak
William Paterson University of New Jersey

Citations of this work

Thought Experiments.Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James R. Brown - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 25 (1):135-142.
Identity over time.Andre Gallois - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Brain Death: What We Are and When We Die.Lukas J. Meier - 2020 - Dissertation, University of St. Andrews

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