Although philosophical approaches to the self are diverse, several of them are relevant to cognitive science. First, the notion of a 'minimal self', a self devoid of temporal extension, is clarified by distinguishing between a sense of agency and a sense of ownership for action. To the extent that these senses are subject to failure in pathologies like schizophrenia, a neuropsychological model of schizophrenia may help to clarify the nature of the minimal self and its neurological underpinnings. Second, there (...) is good evidence to suggest that although certain aspects of the minimal self are primitive and embodied, other aspects may be accessed only in reflective consciousness. Employing a modified concept of the minimal self, it may be possible to construct a robotic form of non-conscious self-reference that depends on an interaction between the robotic body and its environment. In contrast to the minimal self, the narrative self involves continuity over time and is directly relevant to discussions of memory and personal identity. There is growing consensus among philosophers and cognitive scientists about the importance of narrative and its relation to episodic memory and left-hemisphere functions. There are, however, at least two different views of how the narrative self is structured. On one model it is nothing more than an abstract point. On a more extended view, proposed here, the self is a rich amalgam of narratives that allows for the equivocations, contradictions, and self-deceptions of personal life. Even in this case, however, neurocognitive models contribute to our understanding of how narrative identity is structured. (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)
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)
Nichols and Bruno claim that the folk judge that psychological continuity is necessary for personal identity. In this article, we evaluate this claim. First, we argue that it is likely that in thinking about hypothetical cases of transformations, the folk do not use a unitary concept of personal identity, but instead rely on different concepts of ‘person’, ‘identity’, and ‘individual’. Identity can be ascribed even when post-transformation individuals are no longer categorized as persons. Second, we (...) provide new empirical evidence suggesting that the folk do not consider psychological continuity to be necessary for an individual to be categorized as a person or for ascribing identity over time and through transformations. In this, we assume, along with Nichols and Bruno, that folk judgments about identity can be read off the use of proper names. Furthermore, we raise some doubts about the ability of current experimental designs to adequately distinguish between qualitative and numerical identity jud.. (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)
When philosophers have turned their attention to Europe they have typically done so in order to interrupt geographical and geo-political determinations of its identity, and to stress instead that its cultural - or spiritual - identity is caught up with the Greek idea of philosophy. Europe, on this classical philosophical construal, is not simply the place where philosophy was first elaborated and developed. On the contrary, Europe first arises as a place only in and through the elaboration (...) and development of philosophy. Europe is thus itself a philosophical phenomenon - its identity inseparable from the idea of a project that concerns ‘rational animality’ as such, and hence humanity as a whole. In his book on philosophical approaches to Europe from Husserl to Derrida, Rodophe Gasché introduces and defends the classical idea of Europe's Greek origin. Finding a somewhat different stress in Derrida's own study of Europe as a philosophicalconcept, this review attempts to open up a conception of Europe as a ‘philosopheme’ which resists conceptual clarification in the terms Gasché recommends, enjoining one instead to a task that is always beyond theoretical lucidity: to ‘stick one's neck out’ in the name of Europe. (shrink)
According to one argument for Animalism about personal identity, animal , but not person , is a Wigginsian substance concept—a concept that tells us what we are essentially. Person supposedly fails to be a substance concept because it is a functional concept that answers the question “what do we do?” without telling us what we are. Since person is not a substance concept, it cannot provide the criteria for our coming into or going out (...) of existence; animal , on the other hand, can provide such criteria. This argument has been defended by Eric Olson, among others. I argue that this line of reasoning fails to show Animalism to be superior to the Psychological Approach, for the following two reasons: (1) human animal , animal , and organism are all functional concepts, and (2) the distinction between what something is and what it does is illegitimate on the reading that the argument needs. (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.
The concept of indiscernibility in a structure is analysed with the aim of emphasizing that in asserting that two objects are indiscernible, it is useful to consider these objects as members of (the domain of) a structure. A case for this usefulness is presented by examining the consequences of this view to the philosophical discussion on identity and indiscernibility in quantum theory.
In this book, Eli Hirsch focuses on identity through time, first with respect to ordinary bodies, then underlying matter, and eventually persons. These are linked at various points with other aspects of identity, such as the spatial unity of things, the unity of kinds, and the unity of groups. He investigates how our identityconcept ordinarily operates in these respects. He also asks why this concept is so cental to our thinking and whether we can (...) justify seeing the world in terms of such a concept. This is the revised and updated edition of a hardback published in 1982. (shrink)
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 (...)identity in the world. He articulates such a view in detail and defends it from a host of criticisms. (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)
Occasions of Identity is an exploration of timeless philosophical issues about persistence, change, time, and sameness. Andre Gallois offers a critical survey of various rival views about the nature of identity and change, and puts forward his own original theory. He supports the idea of occasional identities, arguing that it is coherent and helpful to suppose that things can be identical at one time but distinct at another. Gallois defends this view, demonstrating how it can solve puzzles (...) about persistence dating back to the Ancient Greeks, and investigates the metaphysical consequences of rejecting the necessity and eternity of identities. (shrink)
Among the most interesting features of Homotopy Type Theory is the way it treats identity, which has various unusual characteristics. We examine the formal features of “identity types” in HoTT, and how they relate to its other features including intensionality, constructive logic, the interpretation of types as concepts, and the Univalence Axiom. The unusual behaviour of identity types might suggest that they be reinterpreted as representing indiscernibility. We explore this by defining indiscernibility in HoTT and examine its (...) relationship with identity. We argue that identity types are a primitive component of HoTT and cannot be reduced to indiscernibility. (shrink)
The essays collected in this volume address a range of issues that arise when the focus of philosophical reflection on identity is shifted from metaphysical to practical and evaluative concerns. They also explore the usefulness of the notion of narrative for articulating and responding to these issues. The chapters, written by an outstanding roster of international scholars, address a range of complex philosophical issues concerning the relationship between practical and metaphysical identity, the embodied dimensions of the (...) first-personal perspective, the kind of reflexive agency involved in the self-constitution of one’s practical identity, the relationship between practical identity and normativity, and the temporal dimensions of identity and selfhood. In addressing these issues, contributors engage with debates in the literatures on personal identity, phenomenology, moral psychology, action theory, normative ethical theory, and feminist philosophy. (shrink)
The eleven new papers in this volume address fundamental and interrelated philosophical issues concerning modality and identity, issues that were pivotal to the development of analytic philosophy in the twentieth century, and remain a key focus of debate in the twenty-first. Identity and Modality brings together leading researchers in metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of science, and the philosophy of mathematics.
_Personal Identity and Self-Consciousness_ is about persons and personal identity. What are we? And why does personal identity matter? Brian Garrett, using jargon-free language, addresses questions in the metaphysics of personal identity, questions in value theory, and discusses questions about the first person singular. Brian Garrett makes an important contribution to the philosophy of personal identity and mind, and to epistemology.
In the last two decades, interest in narrative conceptions of identity has grown exponentially, though there is little agreement about what a "life-narrative" might be. In connecting Kierkegaard with virtue ethics, several scholars have recently argued that narrative models of selves and MacIntyre's concept of the unity of a life help make sense of Kierkegaard's existential stages and, in particular, explain the transition from "aesthetic" to "ethical" modes of life. But others have recently raised difficult questions both for (...) these readings of Kierkegaard and for narrative accounts of identity that draw on the work of MacIntyre in general. While some of these objections concern a strong kind of unity or "wholeheartedness" among an agent's long-term goals or cares, the fundamental objection raised by critics is that personal identity cannot _be_ a narrative, since stories are artifacts made by persons. In this book, Davenport defends the narrative approach to practical identity and autonomy in general, and to Kierkegaard's stages in particular. (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)
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)
Taking into account significant developments in the metaphysical thinking of E. J. Lowe over the past 20 years, _More Kinds of Being:A Further Study of Individuation, Identity, and the Logic of Sortal Terms_ presents a thorough reworking and expansion of the 1989 edition of _Kinds of Being_ Brings many of the original ideas and arguments put forth in _Kinds of Being_ thoroughly up to date in light of new developments Features a thorough reworking and expansion of the earlier work, (...) rather than just a new edition Reflects the author's conversion to what he calls 'the four-category ontology,' a metaphysical system that takes its inspiration from Aristotle Provides a unified discussion of individuation and identity that should prove to be essential reading for philosophers working in metaphysics. (shrink)
Based on the ongoing work of the agenda-setting Future of Minority Studies national research project, Identity Politics Reconsidered reconceptualizes the scholarly and political significance of social identity. It focuses on the deployment of “identity” within ethnic-, women’s-, disability-, and gay and lesbian studies in order to stimulate discussion about issues that are simultaneously theoretical and practical, ranging from ethics and epistemology to political theory and pedagogical practice. This collection of powerful essays by both well-known and emerging scholars (...) offers original answers to questions concerning the analytical legitimacy of “identity” and “experience,” and the relationships among cultural autonomy, moral universalism, and progressive politics. (shrink)
The Early Modern Subject explores the understanding of self-consciousness and personal identity--two fundamental features of human subjectivity--as it developed in early modern philosophy. Udo Thiel presents a critical evaluation of these features as they were conceived in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He explains the arguments of thinkers such as Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Wolff, and Hume, as well as their early critics, followers, and other philosophical contemporaries, and situates them within their historical contexts. Interest in the issues of (...) self-consciousness and personal identity is in many ways characteristic and even central to early modern thought, but Thiel argues here that this is an interest that continues to this day, in a form still strongly influenced by the conceptual frameworks of early modern thought. In this book he attempts to broaden the scope of the treatment of these issues considerably, covering more than a hundred years of philosophical debate in France, Britain, and Germany while remaining attentive to the details of the arguments under scrutiny and discussing alternative interpretations in many cases. (shrink)
Philosophers have met with many problems in discussing the interconnected concepts being, identity, and truth, and have advanced many theories to deal with them. Williams argues that most of these problems and theories result from an inadequate appreciation of the ways in which the words "be," "same," and "true" work. By means of linguistic analysis he shows that being and truth are not properties, and identity is not a relation. He is thus able to demystify a number of (...) metaphysical issues concerning the meaning of the word "I," the relation between the mental and the physical, objects of thought, times and places, and the nature of reality. Williams presents his views clearly, with a minimum of technicality, and with rich and apt examples, so that they will be accessible to readers not versed in symbolic logic. (shrink)
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)
The concept of identity has been seen to lead to paradox: we cannot truly and usefully say that a thing is the same either as itself or as something else. This book is a full examination of this paradox in philosophical logic, and of its implications for the philosophy of mathematics, the philosphy of mind, and relativism about identity. The author's account involves detailed discussion of the views of Wittgenstein, Russell, Frege, and Hintikka.
Introduction -- Cultural theories of people -- Identities in standard English -- Language and social institutions -- The cultural self -- The self's identities -- Theories of identities and selves -- Theories of norms and institutions -- Social reality and human subjectivity.
This book is part of the growing field of practical approaches to philosophical questions relating to identity, agency and ethics, working across continental and analytical traditions. Kim Atkins explains and justifies the basis of the practical approach through an explication of the structures of human embodiment and an account of how those structures necessitate a narrative model of selfhood, understanding and ethics. She highlights how recent work on agency and autonomy implicitly draws upon conceptions of embodiment and intersubjectivity (...) that underpin the narrative view. (shrink)
Rigid designators for concrete objects and for properties -- On the coherence of the distinction -- On whether the distinction assigns to rigidity the right role -- A uniform treatment of property designators as singular terms -- Rigid appliers -- Rigidity - associated arguments in support of theoretical identity statements: on their significance and the cost of its philosophical resources -- The skeptical argument impugning psychophysical identity statements: on its significance and the cost of its philosophical (...) resources -- The skeptical argument further examined: on resources, allegedly overlooked, for confirming psychological identities. (shrink)
The history of a European identity is the history of a concept and a discourse. A European identity is an abstraction and a fiction without essential proportions. Identity as a fiction does not undermine but rather helps to explain the power that the concept exercises. The concept since its introduction on the political agenda in 1973 has been highly ideologically loaded and in that capacity has been contested. There has been a high degree of (...) agreement on the concept as such, but deep disagreement on its more precise content and meaning. The concept of a European identity is an idea expressing contrived notions of unity rather than an identity in the proper sense of the word and even takes on the proportion of an ideology. In this sense the concept is inscribed in a long history of philosophical and political reflection on the concept of Europe. On these grounds the analytical use of `identity' in social sciences can be questioned. (shrink)
The concept of developmental constraint was at the heart of developmental approaches to evolution of the 1980s. While this idea was widely used to criticize neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory, critique does not yield an alternative framework that offers evolutionary explanations. In current Evo-devo the concept of constraint is of minor importance, whereas notions as evolvability are at the center of attention. The latter clearly defines an explanatory agenda for evolutionary research, so that one could view the historical shift from (...) ‘developmental constraint’ towards ‘evolvability’ as the move from a concept that is a mere tool of criticism to a concept that establishes a positive explanatory project. However, by taking a look at how the concept of constraint was employed in the 1980s, I argue that developmental constraint was not just seen as restricting possibilities (‘constraining’), but also as facilitating morphological change in several ways. Accounting for macroevolutionary transformation and the origin of novel form was an aim of these developmental approaches to evolution. Thus, the concept of developmental constraint was part of a positive explanatory agenda long before the advent of Evo-devo as a genuine scientific discipline. In the 1980s, despite the lack of a clear disciplinary identity, this concept coordinated research among paleontologists, morphologists, and developmentally inclined evolutionary biologists. I discuss the different functions that scientific concepts can have, highlighting that instead of classifying or explaining natural phenomena, concepts such as ‘developmental constraint’ and ‘evolvability’ are more important in setting explanatory agendas so as to provide intellectual coherence to scientific approaches. The essay concludes with a puzzle about how to conceptually distinguish evolvability and selection. (shrink)
The self/non-self model, first proposed by F.M. Burnet, has dominated immunology for 60 years now. According to this model, any foreign element will trigger an immune reaction in an organism, whereas endogenous elements will not, in normal circumstances, induce an immune reaction. In this paper we show that the self/non-self model is no longer an appropriate explanation of experimental data in immunology, and that this inadequacy may be rooted in an excessively strong metaphysical conception of biological identity. We suggest (...) that another hypothesis, one based on the notion of continuity, gives a better account of immune phenomena. Finally, we underscore the mapping between this metaphysical deflation from self to continuity in immunology and the philosophical debate between substantialism and empiricism about identity. (shrink)