Failing to Agree or Failing to Disagree?: Personal Identity Quasi-Relativism

The Monist 87 (4):512-36 (2004)
This paper explores a variety of kinds of apparent disagreement of which it may be held that they involve failure to disagree in that, at least in some broad sense, the disputants use the same words to express different meanings or concepts. It is argued that it is hard to rebut the claim that some apparent disagreements about personal identity fall into a particular sub-category of this broad type. I conclude both that a "constrained" relativism which I call "quasi-relativism" is appropriate in regard to some central personal-identity debates, and also that, in order to avoid the lamentable conclusion that there is no real disagreement at all in these debates, we should embrace the idea that there is a non-cognitive element in personal identity claims, in virtue of the tight conceptual relations between personal identity claims and value claims of various kinds.
Keywords personal identity  quasi-relativism  non-cognitivism  disagreement  failure to disagree
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