Reductionism in Personal Identity and the Phenomenological Sense of Being a Temporally Extended Self

American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (4):339-356 (2013)
The special and unique attitudes that we take towards events in our futures/pasts—e.g., attitudes like the dread of an impeding pain—create a challenge for “Reductionist” accounts that reduce persons to aggregates of interconnected person stages: if the person stage currently dreading tomorrow’s pain is numerically distinct from the person stage that will actually suffer the pain, what reason could the current person stage have for thinking of that future pain as being his? One reason everyday subjects believe they have a substantially extended temporal existence stems from introspection—they introspectively experience their selves as being temporally extended. In this paper, I examine whether a Reductionist about personal identity can co-opt this explanation. Using Galen Strawson’s recent work on self-experience as a resource, I reach both a negative and a positive conclusion about the prospects of such a position. First, the relevant kind of self-experience—i.e., the introspective experience of one’s self as being a substantially temporally extended entity—will not automatically arise within a person stage simply in virtue of that stage being psychologically connected to/continuous with other person stages. Second, the relevant kind of self-experience will arise, however, in virtue of person stages weaving together their respective experiences, actions, etc. via a narrative. This positive conclusion points towards a new Reductionist position that focuses upon a narrative, and not mere psychological continuity, in attempting to justify the special attitudes we take towards events in our futures/pasts.
Keywords Personal Identity  Reductionism in personal identity  Narrative theories of identity  Self experience
Categories (categorize this paper)
 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
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Locke, Kierkegaard and the Phenomenology of Personal Identity.Patrick Stokes - 2008 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 16 (5):645 – 672.
Reductionism About Persons; and What Matters.Timothy Chappell - 1998 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 98 (1):41-58.
Empathic Access: The Missing Ingredient in Personal Identity.Marya Schechtman - 2001 - Philosophical Explorations 4 (2):95 – 111.
Crossing the Bridge: The First-Person and Time.Patrick Stokes - 2014 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 13 (2):295-312.
Impersonal Identity and Corrupting Concepts.Kathy Behrendt - 2005 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 43 (2):159-188.
Personal Identity and Reductionism.Brian J. Garrett - 1991 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 51 (June):361-373.
Parfit on Personal Identity.Deborah C. Smith - 2001 - Idealistic Studies 31 (2/3):169-181.
Personal Identity.R. G. Swinburne - 1973 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 74:231 - 247.
Advance Directives and Personal Identity: What Is the Problem?E. Furberg - 2012 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 37 (1):60-73.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

427 ( #4,688 of 2,143,470 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

25 ( #12,650 of 2,143,470 )

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