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About this topic
Summary The literature on personal identity is vast, and it incorporates a grab-bag of varying approaches, theses, and conceptual understandings.  It is very loosely unified by investigations into the "identities" of "persons," but these are concepts with multiple senses.  This category reflects that diversity.
Key works Alongside discussions of key historical works by John Locke and David Hume (see Perry 1975), investigation into personal identity of many stripes in the contemporary literature has been led by Shoemaker 1963, Williams 1973, Parfit 1984, Noonan 1989, Schechtman 1996, Olson 1997, among others.
Introductions Good introductions in Perry 1975, Rorty 1976, and Olson 2002.
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621 found
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1 — 50 / 621
  1. Why Am I Me and Not Someone Else?Tim Klaassen - manuscript
    In this article I discuss the seeming contingency of the fact that one is the specific person that one is. Here, I propose that this contingency is illusory.
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  2. Relativistic Implications for Physical Copies of Conscious States.Andrew Knight - manuscript
    The possibility of algorithmic consciousness depends on the assumption that conscious states can be copied or repeated by sufficiently duplicating their underlying physical states, leading to a variety of paradoxes, including the problems of duplication, teleportation, simulation, self-location, the Boltzmann brain, and Wigner’s Friend. In an effort to further elucidate the physical nature of consciousness, I challenge these assumptions by analyzing the implications of special relativity on evolutions of identical copies of a mental state, particularly the divergence of these evolutions (...)
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  3. The Existential Passage Hypothesis. [REVIEW]David Robert - manuscript
    [Excerpt from “Section 1: Summary of the conclusions”] In Chapter 9, Stewart defends the thesis that if non-reductive physicalism is true, then, contrary to a widespread belief, death does not bring about eternal oblivion, a permanent cessation of the stream of consciousness at the moment of death. Stewart argues that the stream of consciousness continues after death—devoid of the body’s former memories and personality traits—and it does so as the stream of consciousness of new, freshly conscious bodies (other humans, animals, (...)
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  4. The Self, Self-knowledge, and a Flattened Path to Self-improvement.Robert D. Rupert - manuscript
    This essay explores the connection between theories of the self and theories of self-knowledge, arguing (a) that empirical results strongly support a certain negative thesis about the self, a thesis about what the self isn’t, and (b) that a more promising account of the self makes available unorthodox – but likely apt – ways of characterizing self-knowledge. Regarding (a), I argue that the human self does not appear at a personal level the autonomous (or quasi-autonomous) status of which might provide (...)
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  5. The Metaphysics and Politics of Being a Person.Heidi Savage - manuscript
    This book addresses the topic of the explicit and implicit commitments about persons as a kind in the literature on personal identity and draws out their political implications. I claim that the political implications of a metaphysical account can serve as a test on its veracity in cases in which the object-kind under analysis is itself constitutively normative, as the kind person might be, or in those cases in which counting as a member of the kind in question confers a (...)
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  6. Filmul Solaris, regia Andrei Tarkovsky – Aspecte psihologice și filosofice.Nicolae Sfetcu - manuscript
    În acest eseu evidențiez principalele aspecte psihologice și filosofice desprinse din filmul Solaris regizat de Andrei Tarkovski, precum și tehnicile cinematografice utilizate de regizor pentru a-și transmite mesajele spectatorului. În ”Introducere” prezint pe scurt elementele relevante din biografia lui Tarkovski și o prezentare generală a romanului Solaris a lui Stanislav Lem și filmul Solaris în regia lui Andrei Tarkovsky. În ”Tehnica cinematografică” vorbesc despre ritmul specific al scenelor, mișcarea radicală declanșată de Tarkovsky în cinematografia modernă, rolul elementelor simbolice și iconice, (...)
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  7. From Brain to Cosmos (Preliminary Revised Edition).Mark Sharlow - manuscript
    This is a draft for a revised edition of Mark Sharlow's book "From Brain to Cosmos." It includes most of the material from the first edition, two shorter pieces pertaining to the book, and a detailed new introduction.
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  8. The evolved self has agency, purpose, and unity.J. H. van Hateren - manuscript
    Recently developed extensions of evolutionary theory are used to explain the human self as an evolved, unitary, and purposeful phenomenon. A basic mechanism that can generate life's agency and goal-directedness is combined with mechanisms that can account for awareness by and of the self, and for the social characteristics of humans. The new theory is largely consistent with major existing theories of the self, in particular theories centred on self-esteem, self-determination theory, and terror management theory. It can therefore be regarded (...)
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  9. Mind uploading.Joe Strout - manuscript
  10. Continuité temporelle de soi et pratique de la botanique chez Rousseau.Pierre Landou - unknown - In Pascal Bouvier (ed.), to be published. Université de Savoie.
    Article où l'on propose une lecture égologique de la botanique rousseauiste. La botanique certifierait la continuité temporelle d'un moi menacé de fragmentation.
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  11. The Self, agency, and responsibility: a rejoinder to Siderits.Jiri Benovsky - forthcoming - Philosophy East and West.
    In the same issue of Philosophy East and West, Mark Siderits has written a reply to my article "Buddhist philosophy and the non-Self view". This is a rejoinder to Siderits' reply.
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  12. Evaluation and Objections to Judith Thomson in "People and their Bodies".Seth Carter - forthcoming - GRIN Publishing.
    In her essay, “People and their Bodies,” Judith Thomson writes an evaluation of several formulations of the psychological criterion for personal identity and attempts a strategy of criticizing each formulation of the psychological theory. This is done in order to conclude that a physical theory must be the only remaining viable sufficient candidate for explaining personal identity that is both necessary and sufficient, despite its theoretical weaknesses. This paper seeks to analyze Thomson's critique and explain why her chosen formulations of (...)
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  13. Being Someone Else.Martin Glazier - forthcoming - In Enoch Lambert & John Schwenkler (eds.), Becoming Someone New: Essays on Transformative Experience, Choice, and Change. Oxford, UK:
    Could I have been someone other than who I am? Philosophers from Williams to Nagel to Lewis have been tempted to answer 'yes', but how can we make sense of such a view? I argue that to say that it is contingent who I am is to say that it is contingent what perspective I have, in a distinctively metaphysical sense of perspective.
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  14. Identity: this time it's personal.Stephen Kearns - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    The view that it is possible for someone to think at a time without existing at that time is not only perfectly coherent but in harmony with an attractive externalist view of the mental. Furthermore, it offers plausible solutions to various puzzles of personal identity.
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  15. Van narratieve tot dialogische identiteit. Identiteit en refiguratie tijdens de Keti Koti Tafel.Machiel Keestra - forthcoming - Filosofie En Praktijk.
    How can personal identity be determined in such a way that developments, experiences and other dynamic and context-dependent aspects of that identity can be taken into account? For several decades now, the narrative, the story, has often been referred to in answering this question as a cognitive instrument that can adequately deal with those aspects. The monologue thus appears to present itself as a medium in which personal or autobiographical identity is formed. However, what happens when we place the identity (...)
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  16. Biometrics and the Metaphysics of Personal Identity.Amy Kind - forthcoming - IET Biometrics.
    The vast advances in biometrics over the past several decades have brought with them a host of pressing concerns. Philosophical scrutiny has already been devoted to many of the relevant ethical and political issues, especially ones arising from matters of privacy, bias, and security in data collection. But philosophers have devoted surprisingly little attention to the relevant metaphysical issues, in particular, ones concerning matters of personal identity. This paper aims to take some initial steps to correct this oversight. After discussing (...)
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  17. Assessor Relative Conativism.Kristie Miller - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association:1-20.
    According to conventionalist or conativist views about personal-identity, utterances of personal-identity sentences express propositions that are, in part, made true by the conative attitudes of relevant persons-stages. In this paper I introduce assessor relative conativism: the view that a personal-identity proposition can be true when evaluated at one person-stage’s context and false when evaluated at another person-stage’s context, because person-stages have different patterns of conative attitudes. I present several reasons to embrace assessor relative conativism over its more familiar realiser relative (...)
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  18. Prudence and Perdurance.Kristie Miller & Caroline West - forthcoming - In Karen Bennett & Dean Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies In Metaphysics. OUP.
    Many philosophers are sympathetic to a perdurantist view of persistence. One challenge facing this view lies in its ability to ground prudential rationality. If, as many have thought, numerical identity over time is required to ground there being sui generis (i.e. non-instrumental) prudential reasons, then perdurantists can appeal only to instrumental reasons. The problem is that it is hard to see how, by appealing only to instrumental reasons, the perdurantist can vindicate the axiom of prudence: the axiom that any person-stage (...)
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  19. Sometimes I Am Fictional: Narrative and Identification.Alfonso Muñoz-Corcuera - forthcoming - Philosophical Papers:1-23.
    Most analytical philosophers consider that we cannot identify with fictional characters in a literal sense. Specifically, Carroll and Gaut argue that doing so would imply a high degree of irrationality. In this paper I stand for the claim that we can identify with fictional characters thanks to a suspension of disbelief. First, I rely on narrative theories of personal identity to propose a model of how the process of identification might happen in real life. Then, I explain how this model (...)
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  20. Remembering moral and immoral actions in constructing the self.Matthew L. Stanley, Paul Henne & Felipe De Brigard - forthcoming - Memory and Cognition.
    Having positive moral traits is central to one’s sense of self, and people generally are motivated to maintain a positive view of the self in the present. But it remains unclear how people foster a positive, morally good view of the self in the present. We suggest that recollecting and reflecting on moral and immoral actions from the personal past jointly help to construct a morally good view of the current self in complementary ways. More specifically, across four studies we (...)
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  21. The true self: A psychological concept distinct from the self.Nina Strohminger, Joshua Knobe & George Newman - forthcoming - Perspectives on Psychological Science.
    A long tradition of psychological research has explored the distinction between characteristics that are part of the self and those that lie outside of it. Recently, a surge of research has begun examining a further distinction. Even among characteristics that are internal to the self, people pick out a subset as belonging to the true self. These factors are judged as making people who they really are, deep down. In this paper, we introduce the concept of the true self and (...)
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  22. Can Human Rights Law Protect Against Humiliation?Deepa Kansra - 2023 - Psychology Today Blog.
    Humiliation, as dealt with under different legal jurisdictions, poses a question about how these systems perceive and respond to humiliation. Are the laws' definitions, approach, and punishment appropriately determined? And if there are challenges to implementation, what are they?
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  23. Understanding a Thing's Nature: Comparing Afro-Relational and Western-Individualist Ontologies (Repr.).Thaddeus Metz - 2023 - In Peter Aloysius Ikhane & Isaac E. Ukpokolo (eds.), African Epistemology: Essays on Being and Knowledge. Routledge. pp. ch. 4.
    Slightly modified reprint of an article first appearing in the journal _Synthesis Philosophica_ (2018).
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  24. Does Cognitive Psychology Imply Pluralism About the Self?Christopher Register - 2023 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-18.
    Psychologists and philosophers have recently argued that our concepts of ‘person’ or ‘self’ are plural. Some have argued that we should also adopt a corresponding pluralism about the metaphysics of the self. The aim of this paper is twofold. First, I sketch and motivate an approach to personal identity that supports the inference from facts about how we think about the self to facts about the nature of the self. On the proposed view, the self-concept partly determines the nature of (...)
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  25. Persons, Eliminativism, and Context. [REVIEW]Nilanjan Das - 2022 - Philosophy East and West 72 (2):548-561.
    Mark Siderits’ Personal Identity and Buddhist Philosophy is a rich and wide-ranging volume. It is an exercise in what Siderits calls “fusion philosophy,” where the theoretical resources invented by one philosophical tradition are used to solve problems for another. The aim of this book, therefore, is to show how innovations in Buddhist philosophy in Sanskrit can help us make progress in contemporary debates about the nature of persons and personal identity. Here, I think, the book is a success. Not only (...)
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  26. Persistence Without Personhood: A New Model.Joseph Gottlieb - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (2):346-364.
    I am a person. But am I fundamentally and essentially a person? The animalist says no. So must the phenomenal continuity theorist, or so I will argue. Even if, contra animalism, we cannot survive zombification, being a subject of experience is not sufficient for being a person, and phenomenal continuity is not sufficient for our survival as the same person over time. These observations point the way to a positive account of personhood, and provide further insight into the conditions under (...)
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  27. "What is Holding Us Together? David Hume, Edgar Allan Poe and the Problem of Association".Maya Kronfeld - 2022 - Review of English Studies.
    Poe’s experimental fiction revitalizes Hume’s ambivalent empiricism, the complexities of which were sometimes obscured in the philosopher’s nineteenth-century American reception. Poe’s ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue’ broaches formally the question of how one thought leads to another, while ‘The Man that Was Used Up’ stages the question of what grounds the unity of one’s thoughts. Reading both tales together exposes the scope and limits of an associationist paradigm often traced back to Hume. But reading Hume through Poe’s verbal art reveals (...)
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  28. Science, Religion, and Human Identity: Contributions From the Science and Religion Forum.Finley Lawson - 2022 - Zygon 57 (3):595-598.
    The Science and Religion Forum promotes discussion on issues at the interface of science and religion. The forum membership is diverse including professionals, academics, clergy, and interested lay people and each year it holds a conference to encourage discussion and exploration of issues that arise at the interface of science and religion. This article provides an overview of the online conference that took place in May 2021 and introduces this thematic section that includes six articles from the conference.
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  29. On Becoming a Rooster: Zhuangzian Conventionalism and the Survival of Death.Michael Tze-Sung Longenecker - 2022 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 21 (1):61-79.
    The Zhuangzi 莊子 depicts persons as surviving their deaths through the natural transformations of the world into very different forms—such as roosters, cart-wheels, rat livers, and so on. It is common to interpret these passages metaphorically. In this essay, however, I suggest employing a “Conventionalist” view of persons that says whether a person survives some event is not merely determined by the world, but is partly determined by our own attitudes. On this reading, Zhuangzi’s many teachings urging us to embrace (...)
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  30. Choosing for Changing Selves. [REVIEW]L. A. Paul - 2022 - Philosophical Review 131 (2):230-235.
    Review of Richard Pettigrew, Choosing for Changing Selves.
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  31. Death and Persistence.Rebekah L. H. Rice - 2022 - Cambridge:: Cambridge University Press.
    The idea that physical death may not mark the end of an individual's existence has long been a source of fascination. It is perhaps unsurprising that we are apt to wonder what it is that happens to us when we die. Is death the end of me and all the experiences that count as mine? Or might I exist, and indeed have experiences, beyond the time of my death? And yet, deep metaphysical puzzles arise at the very suggestion that persons (...)
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  32. Tony “Two-Toes”: the pragmatics of nicknames in films.Kristina Šekrst - 2022 - Quarterly Review of Film and Video.
    Films frequently employ nicknames not only for villains but also for non-criminal characters. In this paper, I present a classification of nicknames used in films, along with various examples, mostly from crime-related films. I argue that the use of nicknames in films is important not for the sake of reference, but for the sake of an additional narrative told by the nickname as a shorthand description of a character's background (cf. Tony “Two-Toes”, “Dirty” Harry, “Doc” Erwin or “Hatchet” Harry Lonsdale). (...)
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  33. Self-presentation in Instagram: promotion of a personal brand in social networks.Anna Shutaleva, Anastasia N. Novgorodtseva & Oksana S. Ryapalova - 2022 - ECONOMIC CONSULTANT 37 (1):27-40.
    Introduction. The development of online marketing in social networks creates unique opportunities for personal selling. Especially these opportunities are manifested in online education when they buy a brand of an expert with experience in a particular field. That is why a competitive space is being formed in the Instagram social network, where a personal brand acts as a product or service. -/- Materials and methods. Studying the effectiveness of promoting a personal brand in social networks based on the Instagram platform (...)
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  34. Parfit's Ethics.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2021 - Cambridge University Press.
    Derek Parfit was one of the most important and influential moral philosophers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. This Element offers a critical introduction to his wide-ranging ethical thought, focusing especially on his two most significant works, Reasons and Persons and On What Matters, and their contribution to the consequentialist moral tradition. Topics covered include: rationality and objectivity, distributive justice, self-defeating moral theories, Parfit's Triple Theory, personal identity, and population ethics.
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  35. Uploads, Faxes, and You: Can Personal Identity Be Transmitted?Jonah Goldwater - 2021 - American Philosophical Quarterly 58 (3):233–250.
    Abstract. Could a person or mind be uploaded—transmitted to a computer or network—and thereby survive bodily death? I argue ‘mind uploading’ is possible only if a mind is an abstract object rather than a concrete particular. Two implications are notable. One, if someone can be uploaded someone can be multiply-instantiated, such that there could be as many instances of a person as copies of a book. Second, mind uploading’s possibility is incompatible with the leading theories of personal identity, insofar as (...)
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  36. Empty or Emergent Persons? A Critique of Buddhist Personalism.Javier Hidalgo - 2021 - Comparative Philosophy 12 (1):76-97.
    In contrast to Buddhist Reductionists who deny the ultimate existence of the persons, Buddhist Personalists claim that persons are ultimately real in some important sense. Recently, some philosophers have offered philosophical reconstructions of Buddhist Personalism. In this paper, I critically evaluate one philosophical reconstruction of Buddhist Personalism according to which persons are irreducible to the parts that constitute them. Instead, persons are emergent entities and have novel properties that are distinct from the properties of their constituents. While this emergentist interpretation (...)
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  37. Descartes on Subjects and Selves.Vili Lähteenmäki - 2021 - In The Self: A History. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 99-117.
    Descartes makes a double commitment about selves. While he argues that the ‘I’ is nothing but a thinking thing he also identifies it with the union of the mind and body. This chapter explores this tension by analyzing Descartes’ account of our experience of ourselves and argues that in the background of Descartes’ usage of ‘I’ in reference to both the mind and the union is an idea of a subject of experience taking herself in one or the other way. (...)
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  38. Vita buona e interazione con l’ambiente.Armando Manchisi - 2021 - In Etica e natura. Napoli-Salerno: pp. 137-150.
    The starting point for this essay is the idea that a good life is a life in which a person realizes herself, i.e. pursues those ends that she has reason to value. On this basis, I aim, first, to clarify the structure of human self-realization, that is, to understand how it “works”, and, second, to shed light on the role played by the natural environment in that structure. My main goal is thus to provide a theoretical framework in which nature (...)
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  39. Recognition, Good Life, and Good World.Armando Manchisi - 2021 - Itinerari 60:219-236.
    The aim of this paper is to provide a philosophical analysis of the relationship between self-realization and social recognition on the basis of a view that I characterize as “pragmatist.” According to this view, an individual realizes herself to the extent that she acts for the sake of establishing rational and dynamic interactions with her natural and social environment. Focusing on the social sphere, I show that we can interpret such interactions as relations of mutual recognition between an individual, who (...)
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  40. Retrospective Attitudes and Non-Identity.Nicholas Sars - 2021 - Southwest Philosophy Review 37 (2):187-202.
    Many philosophers think the non-identity problem undermines the ability for future generations to have been wronged by past ones. This problem has prompted a number of responses, some of which purport to vindicate the relevant claims of wrongdoing. However, I argue that a closely related issue remains even for those convinced by these responses. It is commonly thought that wrongdoing makes certain retrospective attitudes, such as resentment, fitting toward the wrongdoer. In this paper, I shift a familiar problem of future (...)
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  41. Two Sides of the Same Coin? Neutral Monism as an Attempt to Reconcile Subjectivity and Objectivity in Personal Identity.Iva Apostolova & Nils-Frederic Wagner - 2020 - Metaphysica 21 (1):129-149.
    Standard views of personal identity over time often hover uneasily between the subjective, first-person dimension, and the objective, third-person dimension of a person’s life. Since both dimensions capture something integral to personal identity, we show that neither can successfully be discarded in favor of the other. The apparent need to reconcile subjectivity and objectivity, however, presents standard views with problems both in seeking an ontological footing of, as well as epistemic evidence for, personal identity. We contend that a fresh look (...)
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  42. Teaching & Learning Guide for: Shaftesbury on Persons, Personal Identity and Character Development.Ruth Boeker - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (8).
  43. Conativism about personal identity.David Braddon-Mitchell & Kristie Miller - 2020 - In Andrea Sauchelli (ed.), Derek Parfit's Reasons and Persons: An Introduction and Critical Inquiry. Routledge. pp. 159-269.
    This paper aims to provide an overview of the conceptual terrain of what we call conative accounts of personal identity. These are views according to which the same-person relation in some sense depends on a range of broadly conative phenomena, especially desires, behaviours and conventions. We distinguish views along three dimensions: what role the conations play, what kinds of conations play that role, and whether the conations that play that role are public or private. We then offer a more detailed (...)
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  44. Surviving, to some degree.David Braddon-Mitchell & Kristie Miller - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3805-3831.
    In this paper we argue that reflection on the patterns of practical concern that agents like us exhibit strongly suggests that the same person relation comes in continuous degrees rather than being an all or nothing matter. We call this the SP-degree thesis. Though the SP-degree thesis is consistent with a range of views about personal-identity, we argue that combining desire-first approaches to personal-identity with the SP-degree thesis better explains our patterns of practical concern, and hence gives us reason to (...)
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  45. You & Yours.Simon Cushing - 2020 - Phables.
    An extended example illustrating various theories of personal identity and imagining how duplicates would confront the argument that neither of them is identical with the original.
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  46. Diachronic Self-Making.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (2):349-362.
    This paper develops the Diachronic Self-Making View, the view that we are the non-accidentally best candidate referents of our ‘I’-beliefs. A formulation and defence of DSV is followed by an overview of its treatment of familiar puzzle cases about personal identity. The rest of the paper focuses on a challenge to DSV, the Puzzle of Inconstant ‘I’-beliefs: the view appears to force on us inconsistent verdicts about personal identity in cases that we would naturally describe as changes in one’s de (...)
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  47. Is consequentialist perdurantism in moral trouble?Michael Tze-Sung Longenecker - 2020 - Synthese 198 (11):10979-10990.
    There has been a growing worry that perdurantism—and similarly ontologically abundant views—is morally untenable. For perdurantism posits that, coinciding with persons, are person-like objects, and giving them their moral due seems to require giving up prudentially driven self-sacrifice. One way to avoid this charge is to adopt consequentialism. But Mark Johnston has argued that the marriage of consequentialism and perdurantism is in moral trouble. For, depending on the nature of time, consequentialist perdurantists either are unable to do more than one (...)
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  48. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Memory Erasure, and the Problem of Personal Identity.Giorgina Samira Paiella - 2020 - Journal of Science Fiction and Philosophy 3:1-16.
    Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman’s 2004 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which celebrated its fifteenth anniversary in 2019, is an extended thought experiment on the nature of memory, minds, and persons. The memory erasure thought experiment presented in the film—and its implications for personal identity—raises poignant questions for the ethicist, epistemologist, neuroscientist, metaphysician, and cognitive scientist. In this paper, I explore the rich insights the film has to offer interdisciplinary studies of memory, providing a case study in how narrative (...)
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  49. Who Are We Without Trauma?Kaitlin Puccio - 2020 - Voices in Bioethics 6.
    In using brain stimulation technology to suppress an individual’s fear response to a traumatic memory, we are effectively altering that individual’s identity. In this article, I argue that until we learn more, such technology should be available only to patients with objectively debilitating fear responses who give their informed consent. First, I provide an overview of how the technology works. Second, I analyze the artificial, natural, and clinical changes in memory, and explores the ethical concerns associated with altering an individual’s (...)
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  50. Introduction to Part Three: Personal Identity.Andrea Sauchelli - 2020 - In Derek Parfit's Reasons and Persons: An Introduction and Critical Inquiry. London, UK: pp. 48-67.
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