Nils-Frederic Wagner
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Thought experiments that concoct bizarre possible world modalities are standard fare in debates on personal identity. Appealing to intuitions raised by such evocations is often taken to settle differences between conflicting theoretical views that, albeit, have practical implications for ethical controversies of personal identity in health care. Employing thought experiments that way is inadequate, I argue, since personhood is intrinsically linked to constraining facts about the actual world. I defend a moderate modal skepticism according to which intuiting across conceptually incongruent worlds constitutes ‘invalid intuitioninferences’—i.e., carrying over intuitions gathered from facts about possible worlds that are at odds with facts about the actual world, for the purpose of making claims about real-life persons and their identity, leads to conceptual incongruences. Such a methodological fallout precludes accurate, informative judgments about personal identity in the actual world, calling into question the adequacy of thought experimental considerations for potential real world applications in medical ethics.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
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

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man.Thomas Reid - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
Conditions of Personhood.Daniel C. Dennett - 1976 - In Amelie Oksenberg Rorty (ed.), The Identities of Persons. University of California Press.

View all 49 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Personal Identity and Patient-Centered Medical Decision Making.Lucie White - 2017 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 8 (3):194-195.
Personal Identity and Brain Identity.Nils-Frederic Wagner & Georg Northoff - 2017 - In L. Syd M. Johnson & Karen Rommelfanger (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Neuroethics. Routledge. pp. 335-351.
Personal Identity.Eric T. Olson - 2002 - In Stephen P. Stich & Ted A. Warfield (eds.), Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell.
Substance and the Concept of Personal Identity.Jens Kipper - 2016 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 3.
Centred Worlds, Personal Identity and Imagination.Andrea Sauchelli - forthcoming - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 1.
Narrative and Characterization.Karsten Witt - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (1):45-63.
The Crucial Relation in Personal Identity.Patricia Kitcher - 1978 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 8 (1):131 - 145.
Identity as Convention: Biometric Passports and the Promise of Security.Maren Behrensen - 2014 - Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society 12 (1):44-59.


Added to PP index

Total views
37 ( #309,292 of 2,519,697 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
37 ( #23,434 of 2,519,697 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes