_Identity and Discrimination_, originally published in 1990 and the first book by respected philosopher Timothy Williamson, is now reissued and updated with the inclusion of significant new material. Williamson here proposes an original and rigorous theory linking identity, a relation central to metaphysics, and indiscriminability, a relation central to epistemology.__ Updated and reissued edition of Williamson’s first publication, with the inclusion of significant new material Argues for an original cognitive account of the relation between identity and discrimination that (...) has been influential in the philosophy of perception Pioneers the use of epistemic logic to solve puzzles about indiscriminability Develops the application of techniques from mathematical logic to understand issues about identity over time and across possible worlds. (shrink)
Our aim in this entry is to articulate the state of the art in the moral psychology of personal identity. We begin by discussing the major philosophical theories of personal identity, including their shortcomings. We then turn to recent psychological work on personal identity and the self, investigations that often illuminate our person-related normative concerns. We conclude by discussing the implications of this psychological work for some contemporary philosophical theories and suggesting fruitful areas for future work on (...) personal identity. (shrink)
Phineas Gage’s story is typically offered as a paradigm example supporting the view that part of what matters for personal identity is a certain magnitude of similarity between earlier and later individuals. Yet, reconsidering a slight variant of Phineas Gage’s story indicates that it is not just magnitude of similarity, but also the direction of change that affects personal identity judgments; in some cases, changes for the worse are more seen as identity-severing than changes for the better (...) of comparable magnitude. Ironically, thinking carefully about Phineas Gage’s story tells against the thesis it is typically taken to support. (shrink)
The topic of personal identity has prompted some of the liveliest and most interesting debates in recent philosophy. In a fascinating new contribution to the discussion, Peter Unger presents a psychologically aimed, but physically based, account of our identity over time. While supporting the account, he explains why many influential contemporary philosophers have underrated the importance of physical continuity to our survival, casting a new light on the work of Lewis, Nagel, Nozick, Parfit, Perry, Shoemaker, and others. Deriving (...) from his discussion of our identity itself, Unger produces a novel but commonsensical theory of the relations between identity and some of our deepest concerns. In a conservative but flexible spirit, he explores the implications of his theory for questions of value and of the good life. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
This is an expanded edition of Sydney Shoemaker's seminal collection of his work on interrelated issues in the philosophy of mind and metaphysics. It reproduces all of the original papers, many of which are now regarded as classics, and includes four papers published since the first edition appeared in 1984. Themes include the nature of self-knowledge and self-reference, personal identity, persistence over time, properties, mental states, and perceptual experience.A number of the papers, including 'Self-Reference and Self-Awareness', 'Persons and Their (...) Pasts', 'Causality and Properties', and 'The Inverted Spectrum', have remained at the centre of discussion of their topics. Several of the essays in the original collection discuss the ways in which causal considerations enter into the individuation of properties, and three of the added essays - 'Causal and Metaphysical Necessity', 'Realization and Mental Causation', and 'On What There Are' - deal with related themes. The neo-Lockean view of personal identity presented in 'Persons and Their Pasts' is developed with a different emphasis in the added paper 'Self and Substance'.Identity, Cause, and Mind's reappearance will be warmly welcomed by scholars and students alike. (shrink)
Some authors have claimed that ante rem structuralism has problems with structures that have indiscernible places. In response, I argue that there is no requirement that mathematical objects be individuated in a non-trivial way. Metaphysical principles and intuitions to the contrary do not stand up to ordinary mathematical practice, which presupposes an identity relation that, in a sense, cannot be defined. In complex analysis, the two square roots of –1 are indiscernible: anything true of one of them is true (...) of the other. I suggest that i functions like a parameter in natural deduction systems. I gave an early version of this paper at a workshop on structuralism in mathematics and science, held in the Autumn of 2006, at Bristol University. Thanks to the organizers, particularly Hannes Leitgeb, James Ladyman, and Øystein Linnebo, to my commentator Richard Pettigrew, and to the audience there. The paper also benefited considerably from a preliminary session at the Arché Research Centre at the University of St Andrews. I am indebted to my colleagues Craige Roberts, for help with the linguistics literature, and Ben Caplan and Gabriel Uzquiano, for help with the metaphysics. Thanks also to Hannes Leitgeb and Jeffrey Ketland for reading an earlier version of the manuscript and making helpful suggestions. I also benefited from conversations with Richard Heck, John Mayberry, Kevin Scharp, and Jason Stanley. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
When philosophers address personal identity, they usually explore numerical identity: what are the criteria for a person's continuing existence? When non-philosophers address personal identity, they often have in mind narrative identity: Which characteristics of a particular person are salient to her self-conception? This book develops accounts of both senses of identity, arguing that both are normatively important, and is unique in its exploration of a range of issues in bioethics through the lens of identity. (...) Defending a biological view of our numerical identity and a framework for understanding narrative identity, DeGrazia investigates various issues for which considerations of identity prove critical: the definition of death; the authority of advance directives in cases of severe dementia; the use of enhancement technologies; prenatal genetic interventions; and certain types of reproductive choices. He demonstrates the power of personal identity theory to illuminate issues in bioethics as they bring philosophical theory to life. (shrink)
This book gathers together thirteen of Peter van Inwagen's essays on metaphysics, several of which have acquired the status of modern classics in their field. They range widely across such topics as Quine's philosophy of quantification, the ontology of fiction, the part-whole relation, the theory of 'temporal parts', and human knowledge of modal truths. In addition, van Inwagen considers the question as to whether the psychological continuity theory of personal identity is compatible with materialism, and defends the thesis that (...) possible states of affairs are abstract objects, in opposition to David Lewis's 'extreme modal realism'. A specially-written introduction completes the collection, which will be an invaluable resource for anyone interested in metaphysics. (shrink)
Steven French and Decio Krause examine the metaphysical foundations of quantum physics. They draw together historical, logical, and philosophical perspectives on the fundamental nature of quantum particles and offer new insights on a range of important issues. Focusing on the concepts of identity and individuality, the authors explore two alternative metaphysical views; according to one, quantum particles are no different from books, tables, and people in this respect; according to the other, they most certainly are. Each view comes with (...) certain costs attached and after describing their origins in the history of quantum theory, the authors carefully consider whether these costs are worth bearing. Recent contributions to these discussions are analyzed in detail and the authors present their own original perspective on the issues. The final chapter suggests how this perspective can be taken forward in the context of quantum field theory. (shrink)
Suppose that X and Y can’t possibly exist apart in reality; then—by definition—there’s no real distinction between them, only a conceptual distinction. There’s a conceptual distinction between a rectilinear figure’s triangularity and its trilaterality, for example, but no real distinction. In fundamental metaphysics there is no real distinction between an object’s categorical properties and its dispositional properties. So too there is no real distinction between an object and its properties. And in fundamental metaphysics, for X and Y to be such (...) that there is no real distinction between them is for them to be identical. (shrink)
What justifies our holding a person morally responsible for some past action? Why am I justified in having a special prudential concern for some future persons and not others? Why do many of us think that maximizing the good within a single life is perfectly acceptable, but maximizing the good across lives is wrong? In these and other normative questions, it looks like any answer we come up with will have to make an essential reference to personal identity. So, (...) for instance, it seems we are justified in holding X responsible for some past action only if X is identical to the person who performed that action. Further, it seems I am justified in my special concern for some future person only if he will be me. Finally, many of us think that while maximization within a life affects only one person, a metaphysical unity, maximization across lives affects many different, metaphysically distinct, persons, and so the latter is wrong insofar as it ignores this fundamental separateness of persons. (shrink)
Issues of identity and reduction have monopolized much of the philosopher of mind’s time over the past several decades. Interestingly, while investigations of these topics have proceeded at a steady rate, the motivations for doing so have shifted. When the early identity theorists, e.g. U. T. Place ( 1956 ), Herbert Feigl ( 1958 ), and J. J. C. Smart ( 1959 , 1961 ), fi rst gave voice to the idea that mental events might be identical to (...) brain processes, they had as their intended foil the view that minds are immaterial substances. But very few philosophers of mind today take this proposal seriously. Why, then, the continued interest in identity and reduction? Th e concern, as philosophers like Hilary Putnam and Jerry Fodor have expressed it, is that a victory for identity or reduction is a defeat for psychology. For if minds are physical, or if mental events are physical events, then psychologists might as well disassemble their laboratories, making room for the neuroscientists and molecular biologists who are in a better position to explain those phenomena once misdescribed as “psychological.” Th e worry nowadays is not that locating thought in immaterial souls will make psychology intractable, but that locating thoughts in material brains will make it otiose. (shrink)
Since the appearance of a widely influential book, Self-Knowledge and Self-ldentity, Sydney Shoemaker has continued to work on a series of interrelated issues in the philosophy of mind and metaphysics. This volume contains a collection of the most important essays he has published since then. The topics that he deals with here include, among others, the nature of personal and other forms of identity, the relation of time to change, the nature of properties and causality and the relation between (...) the two, dualism and immortality, and the nature of mental states. All the essays show the same care and precision in argument as the earlier book, but they also reveal a substantial shift in Professor Shoemaker's position to a form of materialism. In fact, a number of papers together constitute what is probably the most subtle and rigourous defence yet of a sophisticated functionalism in the account of the mind. (shrink)
Identity and Difference consists of English translations and the original German versions of two little-known lectures given in 1957 by Martin Heidegger, "The Principle of Identity" and "The Onto-theo-logical Constitution of Metaphysics.
Personal Identity and Ethics provides a lively overview of the relationship between the metaphysics of personal identity and ethics. How does personal identity affect our ethical judgments? It is a commonplace to hold that moral responsibility for past actions requires that the responsible agent is in some relevant respect identical to the agent who performed the action. Is this true? On the other hand, can ethics constrain our account of personal identity? Do the practical requirements of (...) moral theory commit us to holding that persons do remain identical over time? Or is it the case that personal identity is not, in fact, relevant to ethics? -/- Shoemaker provides the first comprehensive examination of these issues for the undergraduate audience. Topics include personal identity and prudential rationality; personal identity's significance for moral responsibility and ethical theory; and the practical consequences of accounts of personal identity for issues such as abortion, stem cell research, cloning, advance directives, populations ethics, multiple personality disorder, and the definition of death. (shrink)
1. My primary aim in this paper is to set the stage for a discussion of some of the central themes in the so-called "identity" approach to the mind-body problem. I have particularly in mind Herbert Feigl's elaborate statement and defense of this approach in Volume II of the Minnesota Studies. A secondary, but more constructive, purpose is to bring out some of the reasons which incline me to think that the theory is either very exciting but false, or (...) true but relatively uninteresting. (shrink)
Anthony Everett () argues that those who embrace the reality of fictional entities run into trouble when it comes to specifying criteria of character identity. More specifically, he argues that realists must reject natural principles governing the identity and distinctness of fictional characters due to the existence of fictions which leave it indeterminate whether certain characters are identical and the existence of fictions which say inconsistent things about the identities of their characters. Everett's critique has deservedly drawn much (...) attention and a number of defensive moves have been made by, or on the behalf of, fictional realists. My goal in this paper is to move this debate on a further step. I have three goals: to clarify the importance of Everett's discussion of identity criteria within the context of fictional realism, to reassess Everett's objections to realism in light of the resultant literature, and to develop a novel strategy for responding to Everett's concerns. On the approach to be developed, the problems emerge due to an indeterminacy inherent in the concept of a fictional character itself. (shrink)
In the second edition of the Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke argues that personal identity over time consists in sameness of consciousness rather than the persistence of any substance, material or immaterial. Something about this view is very compelling, but as it stands it is too vague and problematic to provide a viable account of personal identity. Contemporary "psychological continuity theorists" have tried to amend Locke's view to capture his insights and avoid his difficulties. This paper argues (...) that the standard approach fails because it takes Locke to be a memory theorist, and does not focus enough on his claim that we need continuity of consciousness for personal persistence. An alternative reading of Locke is offered, emphasizing the role of self-understanding in producing continuity of consciousness. This alternative overcomes the difficulties with the standard approach, and shows how it is possible to attribute unconscious psychological elements to a person, even when personal persistence is defined in terms of consciousness. (shrink)
are synthetic a priori judgements possible?" In both cases, i~thas usually been t'aken for granted in fife one case by Kant that synthetic a priori judgements were possible, and in the other case in contemporary,'d-". philosophical literature that contingent statements of identity are ppss. ible. I do not intend to deal with the Kantian question except to mention:ssj~".
Slurs are expressions that can be used to demean and dehumanize targets based on their membership in racial, ethnic, religious, gender, or sexual orientation groups. Almost all treatments of slurs posit that they have derogatory content of some sort. Such views—which I call content-based—must explain why in cases of appropriation slurs fail to express their standard derogatory contents. A popular strategy is to take appropriated slurs to be ambiguous; they have both a derogatory content and a positive appropriated content. However, (...) if appropriated slurs are ambiguous, why can only members in the target group use them to express a non-offensive/positive meaning? Here, I develop and motivate an answer that could be adopted by any content-based theorist. I argue that appropriated contents of slurs include a plural fi rst-person pronoun. I show how the semantics of pronouns like ‘we’ can be put to use to explain why only some can use a slur to express its appropriated content. Moreover, I argue that the picture I develop is motivated by the process of appropriation and helps to explain how it achieves its aims of promoting group solidarity and positive group identity. (shrink)
Many philosophers have taken there to be an important relation between personal identity and several of our practical concerns (among them moral responsibility, compensation, and self-concern). I articulate four natural methodological assumptions made by those wanting to construct a theory of the relation between identity and practical concerns, and I point out powerful objections to each assumption, objections constituting serious methodological obstacles to the overall project. I then attempt to offer replies to each general objection in a way (...) that leaves the project intact, albeit significantly changed. Perhaps the most important change stems from the recognition that the practical concerns motivating investigation into personal identity turn out to be not univocal, as is typically thought, such that each of the different practical concerns may actually be related to personal identity in very different ways. (shrink)
Questions of identity such as ‘Who am I?’ are often answered by appeals to one or more affiliations with a specific nation (citizenship), culture, ethnicity, religion, etc. Taking as given the idea that identity over time—including identification and re-identification—for objects of a particular kind requires that there be criteria of identity appropriate to things of that kind, I argue that citizenship, as a ‘collectivist’ concept, does not generate such criteria for individual citizens, but that the concept person—which (...) specifies the kind of entity that I am—does generate such criteria. Confusion on this point has led some writers on citizenship to equivocate between identity for individuals and what is properly called self-determination in terms of their group affiliations and commitments. In the second part of the paper, I articulate and defend a relational view of personhood, and argue that it provides adequate grounding for morality in general, and moral education in particular. While not denying the value of civics or citizenship education, the link between morality and citizenship is derivative, at best. Finally, I examine the implications of a relational conception of personhood for the specific context of schools and classrooms, arguing that this conception is appropriately represented when the classroom functions as a community of inquiry, in which each member is encouraged to see her/himself as one among others. Drawing on the theory and practice of Philosophy for Children, I conclude with a call to reunite citizenship and moral education with their philosophical roots. (shrink)
Personal identity deals with questions about ourselves qua people (or persons). Many of these questions are familiar ones that occur to everyone at some time: What am I? When did I begin? What will happen to me when I die? Discussions of personal identity go right back to the origins of Western philosophy, and most major figures have had something to say about it. (There is also a rich literature on personal identity in Eastern philosophy, which I (...) am not competent to discuss. Collins 1982 is a good source.). (shrink)
A theory of gender ought to be compatible with trans-inclusive definitions of gender identity terms, such as ‘woman’ and ‘man’. Appealing to this principle of trans-inclusion, Katharine Jenkins argues that we ought to endorse a dual social position and identity theory of gender. Here, I argue that Jenkins’s dual theory of gender fails to be trans-inclusive for the following reasons: it cannot generate a definition of ‘woman’ that extends to include all trans women, and it understands transgender gender (...)identity through a cisgender frame. (shrink)
Contrary to Block's assertion, “identity-crowding” does not provide an interesting instance of object-seeing without object-attention. The successful judgments and unusual phenomenology of identity-crowding are better explained by unconscious perception and non-perceptual phenomenology associated with cognitive states. In identity-crowding, as in other cases of crowding, subjects see jumbled textures and cannot individuate the items contributing to those textures in the absence of attention. Block presents an attenuated sense in which identity-crowded items are seen, but this is irrelevant (...) to the debate about phenomenal experience of an object in the absence of object-attention. Finally, even unconscious object perception in identity-crowding likely involves an attention-like selective process. (shrink)
‘Soul’, ‘self’, ‘substance’ and ‘person’ are just four of the terms often used to refer to the human individual. Cutting across metaphysics, ethics, and religion the nature of personal identity is a fundamental and long-standing puzzle in philosophy. Personal Identity and Applied Ethics introduces and examines different conceptions of the self, our nature, and personal identity and considers the implications of these for applied ethics. A key feature of the book is that it considers a range of (...) different approaches to personal identity; philosophical, religious, and cross-cultural, including perspectives from non-Western traditions. Within this comparative framework, Andrea Sauchelli examines the following topics: -Early views of the soul in Plato, Christianity, and Descartes -The Buddhist ‘no-self’ views and the self as a fiction -Confucian ideas of our nature and the importance of self-cultivation as constitutive of the self -Locke’s theory of personal identity as continuity of consciousness and memory and objections to Locke’s argument by Butler and Reid as well as contemporary critics -The theory of ‘animalism’ and arguments concerning embodied concepts of personal identity -Practical and narrative theories of personal identity and moral agency -Personal identity and issues in applied ethics, including abortion, organ transplantation, and the idea of life after death -Implications of life-extending technologies for personal identity. Throughout the book Sauchelli also considers the views of important recent philosophers of personal identity such as Sydney Shoemaker, Bernard Williams, Derek Parfit, Marya Schechtman, and Christine Korsgaard, placing these in helpful historical context. Chapter summaries, a glossary of key terms, and suggestions for further reading make this a refreshing, approachable introduction to personal identity and applied ethics. It is an ideal text for courses on personal identity that consider both Western and non-Western approaches and that apply theories of personal identity to ethical problems. It will also be of interest to those in related subjects such as religious studies and history of ideas. (shrink)
Philosophers concerned with the question of personal identity have typically been asking the so-called re-identification question: what are the conditions under which a person at one point in time is properly re-identified at another point in time? This is a rather technical question. In our everyday interactions, however, we do raise a number of personal identity questions that are quite distinct from it. In order to explore the variety of ways in which the Internet may affect personal (...) class='Hi'>identity, I propose in this study to broaden the typical philosophical horizon to other more mundane senses of the question. In Section 2, I describe a number of possible meanings of personal identity observed in everyday contexts and more philosophical ones. With some caveats, I argue that it is the specific context in which the question arises that disambiguates the meaning of the question. Online contexts are novel and peculiar insofar as they afford prolonged disembodied and anonymous interaction with others. In line with our previous conclusion, then, there is reason to suspect that such contexts generate new and sui generis answers to the personal identity question. In Section 3, I examine this question and, contrary to expectations, largely dispel this suspicion. Finally, in Section 4, I discuss the often-heard claim to the effect that disembodiment and anonymity foster the creation of distinct and incompatible online and offline identities. (shrink)
The author attacks the view that identity, Like largeness, Is a relative relation. The primary advocate of the view that identity is relative is p.T. Geach. It is argued that geach has not shown that the failure of the identity of indiscernibles principle, As a truth of logic, Forces us to stop taking indiscernibility within particular formal theories or languages as a sufficient condition for identity. The author also argues that the whole notion of relative (...) class='Hi'>identity, As explicated by geach, Is very probably incoherent. (shrink)
EMPIRICIST THEORIES OF PERSONAL IDENTITY STATE THAT THE IDENTITY OF A PERSON OVER TIME IS A MATTER OF BODILY CONTINUITY AND/OR SIMILARITY OF MEMORY AND CHARACTER. IN CONTRAST, THIS PAPER ARGUES THAT WHILE BODILY CONTINUITY AND SIMILARITY OF MEMORY AND CHARACTER ARE EVIDENCE OF PERSONAL IDENTITY, THEY DO NOT CONSTITUTE IT. IT IS SOMETHING UNDEFINABLE. THE DIFFICULTY OF KNOWING WHAT TO SAY IN PUZZLE CASES DOES NOT SHOW THAT PERSONAL IDENTITY EXISTS IN DIFFERENT DEGREES OR THAT (...) WE HAVE TO MAKE ARBITRARY JUDGMENTS ABOUT IT. IT SHOWS ONLY THAT SOMETIMES WE CANNOT KNOW WHO IS WHO. (shrink)
Putative counterexamples to the Principle of Identity of Indiscernibles (PII) are notoriously inconclusive. I establish ground rules for debate in this area, offer a new response to such counterexamples for friends of the PII, but then argue that no response is entirely satisfactory. Finally, I undermine some positive arguments for PII.
Terence Parsons presents a lively and controversial study of philosophical questions about identity. Because many puzzles about identity remain unsolved, some people believe that they are questions that have no answers and that there is a problem with the language used to formulate them. Parsons explores a different possibility: that such puzzles lack answers because of the way the world is (or because of the way the world is not). He claims that there is genuine indeterminacy of (...) class='Hi'>identity in the world. He articulates such a view in detail and defends it from a host of criticisms. (shrink)
Recent legal rulings concerning the status of advance statements have raised interest in the topic but failed to provide any definitive general guidelines for their enforcement. I examine arguments used to justify the moral authority of such statements. The fundamental ethical issue I am concerned with is how accounts of personal identity underpin our account of moral authority through the connection between personal identity and autonomy. I focus on how recent Animalist accounts of personal identity initially appear (...) to provide a sound basis for extending the moral autonomy of an individual - and hence their autonomous wishes expressed through an advance directive - past the point of severe psychological decline. I argue that neither the traditional psychological account nor the more recent Animalist account of personal identity manage to provide a sufficient basis for extending our moral autonomy past the point of incapacity or incompetence. I briefly explore how analogies to similar areas in law designed to facilitate autonomous decision, such as wills and trusts, provide at best only very limited scope for an alternative justification for granting advance statements any legal or moral authority. I conclude that whilst advance statements play a useful role in formulating what treatment is in a patient’s best interests, such statements do not ultimately have sufficient moral force to take precedence over paternalistic best interest judgements concerning an individual’s care or treatment. (shrink)
Identities formed with proper names may be contingent. this claim is made first through an example. the paper then develops a theory of the semantics of concrete things, with contingent identity as a consequence. this general theory lets concrete things be made up canonically from fundamental physical entities. it includes theories of proper names, variables, cross-world identity with respect to a sortal, and modal and dispositional properties. the theory, it is argued, is coherent and superior to its rivals, (...) in that it stems naturally from a systematic picture of the physical world. (shrink)
The mereological predicate ‘is part of’ can be used to define the predicate ‘is identical with’. I argue that this entails that mereological theories can be ideologically simpler than nihilistic theories that do not use the notion of parthood—contrary to what has been argued by Ted Sider. Moreover, if one accepts an extensional mereology, there are good philosophical reasons apart from ideological simplicity to give a mereological definition of identity.
Dominant views of personal identity in philosophy take some kind of psychological continuity or connectedness over time to be criterial for the identity of a person over time. Such views assign psychological states, particularly those necessary for narrative memory of some kind, special importance in thinking about the nature of persons. The extended mind thesis, which has generated much recent discussion in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, holds that a person’s psychological states can physically extend beyond (...) that person’s body. Since “person” is a term of both metaphysical and moral significance, and discussions of both extended minds and personal identity have often focused on memory, this article explores the relevance of extended cognition for the identity of persons with special attention to neuroethics and memory. (shrink)
My topic is personal identity, or rather, our identity. There is general, but not, of course, unanimous, agreement that it is wrong to give an account of what is involved in, and essential to, our persistence over time which requires the existence of immaterial entities, but, it seems to me, there is no consensus about how, within, what might be called this naturalistic framework, we should best procede. This lack of consensus, no doubt, reflects the difficulty, which must (...) strike anyone who has considered the issue, of achieving, just in one's own thinking, a reflective equilibrium. The theory of personal identity, I feel, provides a curious contrast. On the one side, it seems highly important to know what sort of thing we are, but, on the other, it is hard to find any answer which has a ‘solid’ feel. (shrink)
This volume collects a number of Perry's classic works on personal identity as well as four new pieces, The Two Faces of Identity,Persons and Information,Self-Notions and The Self, and The Sense of Identity. Perry’s Introduction puts his own work and that of others on the issues of identity and personal identity in the context of philosophical studies of mind and language over the past thirty years.
This is about a proposed solution to the exclusion problem, one I've defended elsewhere. Details aside, it's just the identity theory : mental properties face no threat of exclusion from, or preemption by, physical properties, because every mental property is a physical property. Here I elaborate on this solution and defend it from some objections. One of my goals is to place it in the context of a more general ontology of properties, in particular, a trope ontology.
In the third of his Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, Reid devotes the fourth chapter to the concept of‘identity’, and the sixth chapter to Locke’s theory of ‘personal identity’. This latter chapter is widely regarded as a definitive refutation of the thesis that personal identity is no more than memories of a certain sort. It is interesting that the terms ‘identity’ and ‘personal identity’ do not appear as chapter or section titles elsewhere in (...) any of Reid’s works; and Hume is neither mentioned nor his theory of personal identity discussed in the two chapters specifically addressed to the matter. Moreover, while Locke, Reid, and Hume are often anthologized in works on personal identity, Reid is always presented as replying only to Locke. (shrink)
What is the self? And how does it relate to the body? In the second edition of Personal Identity, Harold Noonan presents the major historical theories of personal identity, particularly those of Locke, Leibniz, Butler, Reid and Hume. Noonan goes on to give a careful analysis of what the problem of personal identity is, and its place in the context of more general puzzles about identity. He then moves on to consider the main issues and arguments (...) which are the subject of current debate, including the work of Bernard Williams and Derek Parfit, and makes new and challenging interpretations of them. This new edition contains additional material assessing the biological approach which has become increasingly popular in recent years, and extends the treatment of indeterminate identity to take account of the epistemic view of vagueness. This book covers the problem of personal identity from its origin in Locke's work to the most recent debates in the philosophical literature, and will be invaluablereading for any student of the topic. (shrink)