Three Forms of Psychological Discontinuity

Abstract

Contemporary philosophers writing on the issue of personal identity agree that, whatever is disputable about fission cases, there is little doubt that, if there could be fission, there would be psychological continuity between the original person and her offshoot (if the branching is one-one), or between the original personand her offshoots (if the branching is one-many). The belief is one with a long history dating back to John Locke; it has, over time, acquired the status of self-evident truth. This paper is not an attempt to refute this deeply rooted belief, though I think the near universal acceptance of it is rather unfortunate. My main goal in what follows is to make an initial case for three forms of psychological discontinuity that I believe would exist between the fission ancestor and the offshoots. If I am right about the existence of the three forms of psychological discontinuity, contemporary Lockeans on the issue of personal identity will need to rethink their position, or so I will argue in the last section of the paper

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