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  1. Can We Reinvent Ourselves?Bronwyn Finnigan - 2018 - IAI News.
    This brief article presents a Buddhist answer to the question of whether self-transformation possible and, if so, how it can be achieved.
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  2. Letting Go of One's Life Story.Nils-Frederic Wagner - 2018 - Think 17 (50):91-100.
    Persons are widely believed to be rational, planning agents that are both author and main character of their life stories. A major goal is to keep these narratives coherent as they unfold, and part of a fulfilled life allegedly stems from this coherence. My aim is to challenge these convictions by considering two related claims about persons and their lives. Contrary to the widespread theoretical conviction in philosophy of mind and action, persons are fundamentally emotional and affective rather than rational (...)
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  3. La conformación de la persona como relación asimétrica en Emanuel Lévinas.Alejandro Ordieres - 2015 - EN-CLAVES Del Pensamiento 9 (18):13-40.
    This article covers the different stages of the constitution of the person that goes beyond selfishness and self-affirmation and is formed as the inseparable unity of the metaphysical subject that is expressed in the "Other-in-the same" and "Being-for-the-other". This leads one to say that the person is intrinsically relation and exteriority that is realized in the language that transcends the inner self. This relationship, considered internally as a footprint, and in the exterior as visage, invokes a third party that establishes (...)
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  4. Personal Identity.David Shoemaker & Kevin P. Tobia - forthcoming - In Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology. Oxford:
    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.
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  5. Stephan Blatti and Paul Snowdon . Animalism: New Essays on Persons, Animals and Identity, Reviewed By.Alex Moran - 2017 - Philosophy in Review 37 (3):94-96.
    This is a review of the excellent collection by Stephan Blatti and Paul Snowdon which collates essays pertaining to Animalism: the theory that we human persons are identical with the human animals we share our lives with, and thus have the property of being human animals; perhaps essentially and most fundamentally.
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  6. 3D Cohabitation.Simon Langford - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (6):1195-1210.
    The cohabitation theory is a popular solution to the problem of personal fission. It affirms that all the people who result from fission were there cohabiting the pre-fission body all along. Adopting this solution is an uncontroversial move for four-dimensionalists, but is it open to three-dimensionalists too? Some have thought so, but Katherine Hawley, Mark Johnston, and Eric Olson have argued to the contrary. They claim three-dimensionalists simply cannot be cohabitation theorists. In this paper, I explain how they can.
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  7. Review: On What Matters. [REVIEW]Fritz J. McDonald - 2012 - Metapsychology Online Reviews 16.
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  8. Einstein's Quandary, Socrates' Irony, and Jesus' Laughter: A 'Post-Modern' Meditation on Faith, Reason, Love, and the Paradox of the One and the Many.Richard Oxenberg - manuscript
    The paradox of 'the One and the Many' might, more generally, be understood as the paradox of relationship. In order for there to be relationship there must be at least two parties in relation. The relation must, at once, hold the parties apart (otherwise they would collapse into unity) while holding them together (otherwise relationship itself would cease). It must do so, further, without itself becoming a third party which would then, itself, need to be related. This paper considers this (...)
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  9. Maria Chiara Pievatolo, La giustizia degli invisibili. L'identificazione del soggetto morale, a ripartire da Kant (Roma: Carocci Editore, 1999). [REVIEW]Lorenzo Greco - 1999 - SWIF Recensioni Filosofiche 1 (3).
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  10. Utility Monsters for the Fission Age.Rachael Briggs & Daniel Nolan - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (2):392-407.
    One of the standard approaches to the metaphysics of personal identity has some counter-intuitive ethical consequences when combined with maximising consequentialism and a plausible doctrine about aggregation of consequences. This metaphysical doctrine is the so-called ‘multiple occupancy’ approach to puzzles about fission and fusion. It gives rise to a new version of the ‘utility monster’ problem, particularly difficult problems about infinite utility, and a new version of a Parfit-style ‘repugnant conclusion’. While the article focuses on maximising consequentialism for simplicity, the (...)
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  11. Nonclassical Minds and Indeterminate Survival.J. Robert G. Williams - 2014 - Philosophical Review 123 (4):379-428.
    Revisionary theories of logic or truth require revisionary theories of mind. This essay outlines nonclassically based theories of rational belief, desire, and decision making, singling out the supervaluational family for special attention. To see these nonclassical theories of mind in action, this essay examines a debate between David Lewis and Derek Parfit over what matters in survival. Lewis argued that indeterminacy in personal identity allows caring about psychological connectedness and caring about personal identity to amount to the same thing. The (...)
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  12. Galatea of the Microbes.Thomas Pradeu - 2014 - The Philosophers' Magazine 67:89-95.
    This paper shows that the identity of living things is a composite reality. It also suggests that the immune system constitutes a unifying process for the organism.
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  13. Whose Problem is Non-Identity?Paul Hurley & Rivka Weinberg - 2014 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 11 (4):699-730.
    Teleological theories of reason and value, upon which all reasons are fundamentally reasons to realize states of affairs that are in some respect best, cannot account for the intuition that victims in non-identity cases have been wronged. Many philosophers, however, reject such theories in favor of alternatives that recognize fundamentally non-teleological reasons, second-personal reasons that reflect a moral significance each person has that is not grounded in the teleologist’s appeal to outcomes. Such deontological accounts appear to be better positioned to (...)
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  14. In Defence of Self-Interest: A Response to Parfit.S. Beck - 1987 - South African Journal of Philosophy 6 (4):119-124.
    Derek Parfit argues in Reasons and Persons that acting according to your present desires is more rational, or at least as rational, as acting in your long-term self-interest. To do this, he puts forward a case supporting a 'critical present-aim theory' of rationality opposed to the self-interest theory, and then argues against a number of possible replies. This article is a response to these arguments, concluding that Parfit's favouring of the present-aim theory is unfounded, and that self-interest is the better (...)
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Personal Identity and Normative Ethics
  1. Morality Grounds Personal Identity.Bradley Monton - 2014 - Philosophical Analysis 31:1-26.
    There is a connection between moral facts and personal identity facts: morality grounds personal identity. If, for example, old Sally enters a teletransporter, and new Sally emerges, the fundamental question to ask is: is new Sally morally responsible for actions (and omissions) of old Sally? If the moral facts are such that she is morally responsible, then Sally persisted through the teletransporter event, and if not, Sally ceased to exist.
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  2. The Worseness of Nonexistence.Theron Pummer - forthcoming - In Saving People from the Harm of Death. Oxford University Press.
    Most believe that it is worse for a person to die than to continue to exist with a good life. At the same time, many believe that it is not worse for a merely possible person never to exist than to exist with a good life. I argue that if the underlying properties that make us the sort of thing we essentially are can come in small degrees, then to maintain this commonly-held pair of beliefs we will have to embrace (...)
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  3. Examining the Bodhisattva's Brain.Bronwyn Finnigan - 2014 - Zygon 49 (1):231-241.
    Owen Flanagan's The Bodhisattva's Brain aims to introduce secular-minded thinkers to Buddhist thought and motivate its acceptance by analytic philosophers. I argue that Flanagan provides a compelling caution against the hasty generalizations of recent “science of happiness” literature, which correlates happiness with Buddhism on the basis of certain neurological studies. I contend, however, that his positive account of Buddhist ethics is less persuasive. I question the level of engagement with Buddhist philosophical literature and challenge Flanagan's central claim, that a Buddhist (...)
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  4. Does Division Multiply Desert?Theron Pummer - 2014 - Philosophical Review 123 (1):43-77.
    It seems plausible that (i) how much punishment a person deserves cannot be affected by the mere existence or nonexistence of another person. We might have also thought that (ii) how much punishment is deserved cannot increase merely in virtue of personal division. I argue that (i) and (ii) are inconsistent with the popular belief that, other things being equal, when people culpably do very wrong or bad acts, they ought to be punished for this—even if they have repented, are (...)
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  5. Reductionism in Personal Identity and the Phenomenological Sense of Being a Temporally Extended Self.Robert Schroer - 2013 - American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (4):339-356.
    The special and unique attitudes that we take towards events in our futures/pasts—e.g., attitudes like the dread of an impeding pain—create a challenge for “Reductionist” accounts that reduce persons to aggregates of interconnected person stages: if the person stage currently dreading tomorrow’s pain is numerically distinct from the person stage that will actually suffer the pain, what reason could the current person stage have for thinking of that future pain as being his? One reason everyday subjects believe they have a (...)
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  6. Assessing Ontologies: The Question of Human Origins and Its Ethical Significance.Daniel Cohnitz & Barry Smith - 2003 - In E. Runggaldier & C. Kanzian (eds.), Persons: An Interdisciplinary Approach. öbv&hpt. pp. 243--259.
    In their paper “Sixteen Days” Barry Smith and Berit Brogaard try to answer the question: when does a human being begin to exist? In this paper we will address some methodological issues connected with this exercise in ontology. We shall begin by sketching the argument of “Sixteen Days”. We shall then attempt to characterize what is special about the ontological realism of “Sixteen Days” as contrasted to the linguistic constructivism which represents the more dominant current in contemporary analytic philosophy. This (...)
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  7. The Formation of the Self. Nietzsche and Complexity.Paul Cilliers, Tanya de Villiers & Vasti Roodt - 2002 - South African Journal of Philosophy 21 (1):1-17.
    The purpose of this article is to examine the relationship between the formation of the self and the worldly horizon within which this self achieves its meaning. Our inquiry takes place from two perspectives: the first derived from the Nietzschean analysis of how one becomes what one is; the other from current developments in complexity theory. This two-angled approach opens up different, yet related dimensions of a non-essentialist understanding of the self that is none the less neither arbitrary nor deterministic. (...)
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  8. Prospects for Temporal Neutrality.David O. Brink - 2011 - In Craig Callender (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time. Oxford University Press.
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Personal Identity and Applied Ethics
  1. Authority Without Identity: Defending Advance Directives Via Posthumous Rights Over One’s Body.Govind Persad - forthcoming - Journal of Medical Ethics:medethics-2018-104971.
    This paper takes a novel approach to the active bioethical debate over whether advance medical directives have moral authority in dementia cases. Many have assumed that advance directives would lack moral authority if dementia truly produced a complete discontinuity in personal identity, such that the predementia individual is a separate individual from the postdementia individual. I argue that even if dementia were to undermine personal identity, the continuity of the body and the predementia individual’s rights over that body can support (...)
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  2. Moral Enhancement Can Kill.Parker Crutchfield - 2018 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 43 (5):568-584.
    There is recent empirical evidence that personal identity is constituted by one’s moral traits. If true, this poses a problem for those who advocate for moral enhancement, or the manipulation of a person’s moral traits through pharmaceutical or other biological means. Specifically, if moral enhancement manipulates a person’s moral traits, and those moral traits constitute personal identity, then it is possible that moral enhancement could alter a person’s identity. I go a step further and argue that under the right conditions, (...)
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  3. Moral Identity Predicts the Development of Presence of Meaning During Emerging Adulthood.Hyemin Han, Indrawati Liauw & Ashley Floyd Kuntz - forthcoming - Emerging Adulthood.
    We examined change over time in the relationship between moral identity and presence of meaning during early adulthood. Moral identity refers to a sense of morality and moral values that are central to one’s identity. Presence of meaning refers to the belief that one’s existence has meaning, purpose, and value. Participants responded to questions on moral identity and presence of meaning in their senior year of high school and two years after. Mixed effects model analyses were used to examine how (...)
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  4. Animals, Advance Directives, and Prudence: Should We Let the Cheerfully Demented Die?D. G. Limbaugh - 2016 - Ethics, Medicine and Public Health 2 (4):481-489.
    A high level of confidence in the identity of individuals is required to let them die as ordered by an advance directive. Thus, if we are animalists, then we should lack the confidence required to apply lethal advance directives to the cheerfully demented, or so I argue. In short, there is consensus among animalists that the best way to avoid serious objections to their account is to adopt an ontology that denies the existence of brains, hands, tables, chairs, iced-tea, and (...)
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  5. Distributed Selves: Personal Identity and Extended Memory Systems.Richard Heersmink - 2017 - Synthese 194 (8):3135–3151.
    This paper explores the implications of extended and distributed cognition theory for our notions of personal identity. On an extended and distributed approach to cognition, external information is under certain conditions constitutive of memory. On a narrative approach to personal identity, autobiographical memory is constitutive of our diachronic self. In this paper, I bring these two approaches together and argue that external information can be constitutive of one’s autobiographical memory and thus also of one’s diachronic self. To develop this claim, (...)
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  6. Der Traum Vom Neuen Ich. Konzepte Dynamischer Identität Nach Charles Taylor.Wolfgang Sohst - 2007 - E-Journal Philosophie der Psychologie 8.
    In seinem Buch ‚Die Quellen des Selbst’ (1989 / 1996) unternahm Charles Taylor den Versuch, die Geschichte der personalen Identität oder des Selbst in der abendländischen Kultur als das Wechselspiel von Individuum und Gesellschaft auf der Grundlage des jeweils allgemein vorgegebenen moralischen Verhältnisses eines Individuums zum Ganzen darzustellen. Das sog. Selbst ist nach Taylor also im Kern ein moralisch verfasstes Selbst im Sinne eines Menschen, der von sich selbst aufrichtig in seiner jeweiligen Epoche sagen kann: Ich bin ein guter Mensch. (...)
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  7. Born That Way? The Metaphysics of Queer Liberation.Maren Behrensen - 2013 - APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues 12 (2):2-7.
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  8. Real (M)Othering: The Metaphysics of Maternity in Children's Literature.Shelley M. Park - 2005 - In Sally Haslanger & Charlotte Witt (eds.), Real (M)othering: The Metaphysics of Maternity in Children's Literature. In Sally Haslanger and Charlotte Witt, eds. Adoption Matters: Philosophical and Feminist Essays. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. 171-194. Cornell University Press. pp. 171-194.
    This paper examines the complexity and fluidity of maternal identity through an examination of narratives about "real motherhood" found in children's literature. Focusing on the multiplicity of mothers in adoption, I question standard views of maternity in which gestational, genetic and social mothering all coincide in a single person. The shortcomings of traditional notions of motherhood are overcome by developing a fluid and inclusive conception of maternal reality as authored by a child's own perceptions.
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  9. The Impact of Personal Identity on Advance Directives.Nada Gligorov & Christine Vitrano - 2011 - Journal of Value Inquiry 45 (2):147-158.
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  10. Morals, Metaphysics and the Method of Cases.Simon Beck - 2010 - South African Journal of Philosophy 29 (4):332-342.
    In this paper I discuss a set of problems concerning the method of cases as it is used in applied ethics and in the metaphysical debate about personal identity. These problems stem from research in social psychology concerning our access to the data with which the method operates. I argue that the issues facing ethics are more worrying than those facing metaphysics.
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  11. Facial Allograft Transplantation, Personal Identity, and Subjectivity.J. S. Swindell Blumenthal-Barby - 2007 - Journal of Medical Ethics 33 (8):449-453.
    An analysis of the identity issues involved in facial allograft transplantation is provided in this paper. The identity issues involved in organ transplantation in general, under both theoretical accounts of personal identity and subjective accounts provided by organ recipients, are examined. It is argued that the identity issues involved in facial allograft transplantation are similar to those involved in organ transplantation in general, but much stronger because the face is so closely linked with personal identity. Recipients of facial allograft transplantation (...)
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What Matters in Survival
  1. Is Blameworthiness Forever?Andrew C. Khoury & Benjamin Matheson - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (2):204-224.
    Many of those working on moral responsibility assume that "once blameworthy, always blameworthy." They believe that blameworthiness is like diamonds: it is forever. We argue that blameworthiness is not forever; rather, it can diminish through time. We begin by showing that the view that blameworthiness is forever is best understood as the claim that personal identity is sufficient for diachronic blameworthiness. We argue that this view should be rejected because it entails that blameworthiness for past action is completely divorced from (...)
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  2. Baker's First-Person Perspectives: They Are Not What They Seem.Marc Andree Weber - 2015 - Phenomenology and Mind 7:158-168.
    Lynne Baker's concept of a first-person perspective is not as clear and straightforward as it might seem at first glance. There is a discrepancy between her argumentation that we have first-person perspectives and some characteristics she takes first-person perspectives to have, namely, that the instances of this capacity necessarily persist through time and are indivisible and unduplicable. Moreover, these characteristics cause serious problems concerning personal identity.
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  3. The Unimportance of Being Any Future Person.Johan Gustafsson - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (3):745-750.
    Derek Parfit’s argument against the platitude that identity is what matters in survival does not work given his intended reading of the platitude, namely, that what matters in survival to some future time is being identical with someone who is alive at that time. I develop Parfit’s argument so that it works against the platitude on this intended reading.
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  4. Prudence and Person-Stages.Kristie Miller - 2015 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (5):460-476.
    Persons care about their future selves. They reason about their future selves’ interests; they plan for their future selves’ happiness and they worry about their future selves’ suffering. This paper is interested in the interplay between diachronic prudential reason and certain accounts of the metaphysics of personal identity that fall under the broad umbrella ‘conventionalist’. Some conventionalists conclude that under certain conditions there are intractable decisions for there is no fact of the matter regarding whether a person-stage ought (prudentially) to (...)
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  5. Parfit and the Russians.Simon Beck - 1989 - Analysis 49 (4):205.
    The paper takes a close look at Derek Parfit’s example of the Nineteenth Century Russian in 'Reasons and Persons'. Parfit presents it as an example which illustrates the moral consequences of adopting his reductionist view of personal identity in a positive light. I argue that things turn out to be more complex than he envisages, and that it might be far more difficult to live in his world than he allows.
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  6. Bootstrapping the Afterlife.Roman Altshuler - 2017 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 14 (2).
    Samuel Scheffler defends “The Afterlife Conjecture”: the view that the continued existence of humanity after our deaths—“the afterlife”—lies in the background of our valuing; were we to lose confidence in it, many of the projects we engage in would lose their meaning. The Afterlife Conjecture, in his view, also brings out the limits of our egoism, showing that we care more about yet unborn strangers than about personal survival. But why does the afterlife itself matter to us? Examination of Scheffler’s (...)
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  7. Practical Identity.Benjamin Matheson - 2017 - In Benjamin Matheson & Yujin Nagasawa (eds.), Palgrave Handbook of the Afterlife. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 391-411.
    In this paper, I present a dilemma for those who believe in the afterlife: either we won’t survive death (or an eternal life) in the sense that most matters to us or we will become bored if we do. First, I argue that even if we – in a strict sense – survive death, there is practical sense in which we don’t survive death. This applies, I contend, to all accounts of the afterlife that: eventually, we lose our practical identity. (...)
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  8. Animal Interrupted, or Why Accepting Pascal's Wager Might Be the Last Thing You Ever Do.Sam Baron & Christina Dyke - 2014 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (S1):109-133.
    According to conventionalist accounts of personal identity, persons are constituted in part by practices and attitudes of certain sorts of care. In this paper, we concentrate on the most well-developed and defended version of conventionalism currently on offer (namely, that proposed by David Braddon-Mitchell, Caroline West, and Kristie Miller) and discuss how the conventionalist appears forced either (1) to accept arbitrariness concerning from which perspective to judge one's survival or (2) to maintain egalitarianism at the cost of making “transfiguring” decisions (...)
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  9. I See Dead People: Disembodied Souls and Aquinas’s ‘Two-Person’ Problem.Christina Van Dyke - 2014 - In Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy. pp. 25-45.
    Aquinas’s account of the human soul is the key to his theory of human nature. The soul’s nature as the substantial form of the human body appears at times to be in tension with its nature as immaterial intellect, however, and nowhere is this tension more evident than in Aquinas’s discussion of the ‘separated’ soul. In this paper I use the Biblical story of the rich man and Lazarus (which Aquinas took to involve actual separated souls) to highlight what I (...)
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  10. Against Psychological Sequentialism.Huiyuhl Yi - 2014 - Axiomathes 24 (2):247-262.
    Psychological Sequentialism holds that no causal constraint is necessary for the preservation of what matters in survival; rather, it is sufficient for preservation if two groups of mental states are similar enough and temporally close enough. Suppose that one’s body is instantaneously dematerialized and subsequently, by an amazing coincidence, a collection of molecules is configured to form a qualitatively identical human body. According to Psychological Sequentialism, these events preserve what matters in survival. In this article, I examine some of the (...)
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  11. Part‐Intrinsicality.J. Robert G. Williams - 2013 - Noûs 47 (3):431-452.
    In some sense, survival seems to be an intrinsic matter. Whether or not you survive some event seems to depend on what goes on with you yourself —what happens in the environment shouldn’t make a difference. Likewise, being a person at a time seems intrinsic. The principle that survival seems intrinsic is one factor which makes personal fission puzzles so awkward. Fission scenarios present cases where if survival is an intrinsic matter, it appears that an individual could survive twice over. (...)
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  12. Personal Identity and Resurrection: How Do We Survive Our Death? Edited by Georg Gasser . Pp. Xvi, 277, Farnham, Ashgate, 2010, £55.00/$99.95. [REVIEW]Derek Michaud - 2013 - Heythrop Journal 54 (2):330-331.
    Book review of Georg Gasser, ed. “Personal Identity: How do we Survive Our Death?” (Ashgate, 2010).
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  13. Our Identity, Responsibility and Biology.Simon Beck - 2004 - Philosophical Papers:3-14.
    Eric Olson argues in The Human Animal that thought-experiments involving body-swapping do not in the end offer any support to psychological continuity theories, nor do they pose any threat to his Biological View. I argue that he is mistaken in at least the second claim.
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  14. Psychological Continuity, Fission, and the Non-Branching Constraint.Robert Francescotti - 2008 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (1):21-31.
    Abstract: Those who endorse the Psychological Continuity Approach (PCA) to analyzing personal identity need to impose a non-branching constraint to get the intuitively correct result that in the case of fission, one person becomes two. With the help of Brueckner's (2005) discussion, it is shown here that the sort of non-branching clause that allows proponents of PCA to provide sufficient conditions for being the same person actually runs contrary to the very spirit of their theory. The problem is first presented (...)
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  15. Human Beings, Human Animals, and Mentalistic Survival.Denis Robinson - 2007 - In Dean W. Zimmerman (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics: Volume 3. Oxford University Press. pp. 3-32.
    I critically discuss both the particular doctrinal and general meta-philosophical or methodological tenets of Mark Johnston's paper "Human Beings", attending to several weaknesses in his argument. One of the most important amongst them is an apparent reliance on a substitution of identicals within an intensional context as he argues that continuity of functioning brain is essential to the persistence of "Human Beings" as allegedly singled out by his methodology; another equally important is a simple lacuna in place of an argument (...)
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  16. How to Be a Conventional Person.Kristie Miller - 2004 - The Monist 87 (4):457-474.
    Recent work in personal identity has emphasized the importance of various conventions, or ‘person-directed practices’ in the determination of personal identity. An interesting question arises as to whether we should think that there are any entities that have, in some interesting sense, conventional identity conditions. We think that the best way to understand such work about practices and conventions is the strongest and most radical. If these considerations are correct, persons are, on our view, conventional constructs: they are in part (...)
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  17. What Matters in Survival: The Fission Problem, Life Trajectories, and the Possibility of Virtual Immersion.Heidi Savage - manuscript
    This paper has two goals. The first is to motivate and illustrate the possibility that we can accept Parfitian arguments about the importance of personal identity, while rejecting fission as an instance of preserving what matters in survival. The second goal is to develop a particular externalist view of what matters in survival that can accommodate and explain this possibility. The motivation for this conception of what matters comes from considering certain cases of virtual immersion – the immersion of a (...)
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