Neuroethics 9 (1):37-43 (2016)

Authors
Kevin Tobia
Georgetown University
Abstract
The personal identity relation is of great interest to philosophers, who often consider fictional scenarios to test what features seem to make persons persist through time. But often real examples of neuroscientific interest also provide important tests of personal identity. One such example is the case of Phineas Gage – or at least the story often told about Phineas Gage. Many cite Gage’s story as example of severed personal identity; Phineas underwent such a tremendous change that Gage “survived as a different man.” I discuss a recent empirical finding about judgments about this hypothetical. It is not just the magnitude of the change that affects identity judgment; it is also the negative direction of the change. I present an experiment suggesting that direction of change also affects neuroethical judgments. I conclude we should consider carefully the way in which improvements and deteriorations affect attributions of personal identity. This is particularly important since a number of the most crucial neuroethical decisions involve varieties of cognitive enhancements or deteriorations.
Keywords Advance directive  Deterioration  Enhancement  Improvement  Personal identity  Neuroethics  Neurodegeneration  Phineas gage  Self
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DOI 10.1007/s12152-016-9248-9
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
After Virtue.A. MacIntyre - 1981 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 46 (1):169-171.
The Constitution of Selves.Marya Schechtman (ed.) - 1996 - Cornell University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Personal Identity and Ethics.David Shoemaker - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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