Defending Hume’s Theory of Personal Identity and Discarding the Appendix

Ostium 12 (2) (2016)
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Since his contribution to the field of personal identity in 1738 Hume’s theory has been debated thoroughly. Throughout the years there have been multiple critiques of Hume’s theory, but despite the fact that all of these generally appear unsatisfactory, Hume’s theory of personal identity is far from being a popular one in the field. I believe the blame partly falls on Hume himself. Hume’s appendix to Treaties is most often read as expressing a deep concern regarding his own theory, and this concern, I believe, is to blame for his theory never gaining the respect it deserves. After all, why should we listen to Hume if he himself found his theory lacking? It is, however, a mistake to judge Hume’s theory of personal identity, based on the appendix to Treaties. The appendix is far too ambiguity for any real conclusion and it offers nothing that cannot be found in the original chapter on personal identity from Treaties.



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Lasse B. N. B.N. Nielsen
Palacky University

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