Constructing Persons: On the Personal–Subpersonal Distinction

Philosophical Psychology:1-29 (forthcoming)
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What’s the difference between those psychological posits that are ‘me’ and those that are not? Distinguishing between these psychological kinds is important in many domains, but an account of what the distinction consists in is challenging. I argue for Psychological Constructionism: those psychological posits that correspond to the kinds within folk psychology are personal, and those that don’t, aren’t. I suggest that only constructionism can answer a fundamental challenge in characterizing the personal level—the plurality problem. The things that plausibly qualify as personal are motley. Other attempts at accounting for the personal level either cannot accommodate this plurality, or cannot explain what unifies the personal. Given arguments others have given for a pluralistic conception of folk psychology, constructionism explains and predicts this plurality in a systematic and unified way, thereby solving the plurality problem.

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Mason Westfall
Washington University in St. Louis

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