Patrick Stokes
Deakin University
Personal Identity theorists as diverse as Derek Parfit, Marya Schechtman and Galen Strawson have noted that the experiencing subject (the locus of present psychological experience) and the person (a human being with a career/narrative extended across time) are not necessarily coextensive. Accordingly, we can become psychologically alienated from, and fail to experience a sense of identity with, the person we once were or will be. This presents serious problems for Locke's original account of “sameness of consciousness” constituting personal identity, given the distinctly normative (and indeed eschatological) focus of his discussion. To succeed, the Lockean project needs to identify some phenomenal property of experience that can constitute a sense of identity with the self figured in all moments to which consciousness can be extended. I draw upon key themes in Kierkegaard's phenomenology of moral imagination to show that Kierkegaard describes a phenomenal quality of experience that unites the experiencing subject with its past and future, regardless of facts about psychological change across time. Yet Kierkegaard's account is fully normative, recasting affective identification with past/future selves as a moral task rather than something merely psychologically desirable (Schechtman) or utterly contingent (Parfit, Strawson).
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DOI 10.1080/09672550802493793
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1890 - London, England: Dover Publications.
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.John Locke - 1689 - London, England: Oxford University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.

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Citations of this work BETA

Ghosts in the Machine: Do the Dead Live on in Facebook?Patrick Stokes - 2012 - Philosophy and Technology 25 (3):363-379.
Is Narrative Identity Four-Dimensionalist?Patrick Stokes - 2012 - European Journal of Philosophy 20 (S1):e86-e106.
Will It Be Me? Identity, Concern and Perspective.Patrick Stokes - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (2):206-226.
Naked Subjectivity: Minimal Vs. Narrative Selves in Kierkegaard.Patrick Stokes - 2010 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 53 (4):356-382.
Uniting the Perspectival Subject: Two Approaches.Patrick Stokes - 2011 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 10 (1):23-44.

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