Some Problems for the Phenomenal Approach to Personal Identity

Erkenntnis:1-20 (forthcoming)
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I present some problems for phenomenal (i.e. consciousness-based) accounts of personal identity and egoistic concern. These accounts typically rely on continuity in the capacity for consciousness to explain how we survive ordinary periods of unconsciousness such as dreamless sleep. I offer some thought experiments where continuity in the capacity for consciousness does not seem sufficient for survival and some where it does not seem necessary. There are ways of modifying the standard phenomenal approach so as to avoid these difficulties, but I argue that they all lead to other problems that are no less serious.



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Ivar Labukt
University of Tromsø

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I Think Therefore I Persist.Matt Duncan - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (4):740-756.
Consciousness as a guide to personal persistence.Barry Dainton & Tim Bayne - 2005 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (4):549-571.
Persistence Without Personhood: A New Model.Joseph Gottlieb - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (2):346-364.

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