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How to Be a Conventional Person

The Monist 87 (4):457-474 (2004)

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  1. Against Cognitivism About Personhood.Nils-Frederic Wagner - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (3):657-686.
    The present paper unravels ontological and normative conditions of personhood for the purpose of critiquing ‘Cognitivist Views’. Such views have attracted much attention and affirmation by presenting the ontology of personhood in terms of higher-order cognition on the basis of which normative practices are explained and justified. However, these normative conditions are invoked to establish the alleged ontology in the first place. When we want to know what kind of entity has full moral status, it is tempting to establish an (...)
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  • Persistence Narrativism and the Determinacy of Personal Identity.Alfonso Muñoz-Corcuera - 2020 - Philosophia 49 (2):723-739.
    We have a strong intuition that personal identity is a determinate relationship. Parfit famously challenged this intuition. In this paper I explain how narrative identity theories can face that challenge and defend that personal identity is determinate thanks to what I call the social narrativity thesis. This move will raise some concerns regarding the also strong intuition that personal identity is what matters when we care about our future existence. I address this concern to show that narrative identity theories can (...)
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  • “Personal Identity” Minus the Persons.Kristie Miller - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (S1):91-109.
    This paper defends a version of strong conventionalism minus the ontological commitments of that view. It defends the claim that strictly speaking there are no persons, whilst explicating how to make sense of talk that is about (or purportedly about) persons, by appealing to features in common to conventionalist accounts of personal identity. This view has the many benefits of conventionalist accounts in being flexible enough to deal with problem cases, whilst also avoiding the various worries associated with the existence (...)
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  • Persons as Sui Generis Ontological Kinds: Advice to Exceptionists.Kristie Miller - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (3):567-593.
    Many metaphysicians tell us that our world is one in which persisting objects are four-dimensionally extended in time, and persist by being partially present at each moment at which they exist. Many normative theorists tell us that at least some of our core normative practices are justified only if the relation that holds between a person at one time, and that person at another time, is the relation of strict identity. If these metaphysicians are right about the nature of our (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Community-Made Selves.Michael Tze-Sung Longenecker - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (3):459-470.
    Conventionalists hold that the sorts of events that one survives—such as teletransportation, or a brain transplant—is at least partly determined by our attitudes. But if Conventionalism is true, whose attitudes directly determine whether one survives? Do the individual's attitudes do all the work as Private Conventionalists hold, or do the community's attitudes also factor in as Public Conventionalists hold? There has recently been a greater push towards Private Conventionalism, while explicit arguments for Public Conventionalism are difficult to come by. In (...)
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  • Conventionalism About Persons and the Nonidentity Problem.Michael Tze-Sung Longenecker - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-14.
    I motivate “Origin Conventionalism”—the view that which facts about one’s origins are essential to one’s existence in part depend on our person-directed attitudes. One important upshot of the view is that it offers a novel and attractive solution to the Nonidentity Problem. The Nonidentity Problem typically assumes that the sperm-egg pair from which a person originates is essential to that person’s existence; if so, then for many future persons that come into existence under adverse conditions, had those conditions not been (...)
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  • Self-Determination in Plenitude.Irem Kurtsal - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (5):2397-2418.
    On a plenitudinous ontology, in every filled region of spacetime, there is at least one object that’s ‘exactly then and there’; one per each modal profile that the matter in the region satisfies. One of the strongest arguments for plenitude, the “argument from anthropocentrism”, puts pressure on us to accept that members of different communities correctly self-identify under different subject concepts. I explore this consequence and offer an account of selves on which self-determination is both socially and individually variant; we (...)
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  • Self-Made People.David Mark Kovacs - 2016 - Mind 125 (500):1071-1099.
    The Problem of Overlappers is a puzzle about what makes it the case, and how we can know, that we have the parts we intuitively think we have. In this paper, I develop and motivate an overlooked solution to this puzzle. According to what I call the self-making view it is within our power to decide what we refer to with the personal pronoun ‘I’, so the truth of most of our beliefs about our parts is ensured by the very (...)
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  • 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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  • Moral Responsibility Without Personal Identity?Sebastian Köhler - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (1):39-58.
    Moral responsibility seems to presuppose personal identity. However, there are problems with this view, raised by Derek Parfit’s arguments for the view that personal identity isn’t what matters for our practical concerns. While Parfit discusses moral responsibility only in passing, the problems that arise for the connection between moral responsibility and personal identity have recently been sharpened by David Shoemaker. This paper defends the claim that moral responsibility presupposes personal identity against these problems. It argues, first, that only reductionist views (...)
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  • Disagreeing About Who We Are.Sebastian Köhler - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (2):185-208.
    ABSTRACTOne argument that has been suggested for conventionalism about personal identity is that it captures that certain disagreements about personal identity seem irresolvable, without being committed to the view that these disagreements are merely verbal. In this paper, I will take the considerations about disagreement used to motivate conventionalism seriously. However, I will use them to motivate a very different, novel, and as yet unexplored view about personal identity. This is the view that personal identity is a non-representational concept, the (...)
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  • Personal Identity and the Self in the Online and Offline World.Soraj Hongladarom - 2011 - Minds and Machines 21 (4):533-548.
    The emergence of social networking sites has created a problem of how the self is to be understood in the online world. As these sites are social, they relate someone with others in a network. Thus there seems to emerge a new kind of self which exists in the online world. Accounting for the online self here also has implications on how the self in the outside world should be understood. It is argued that, as the use of online social (...)
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  • Consciousness as a Guide to Personal Persistence.Barry Dainton & Tim Bayne - 2005 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (4):549-571.
    Mentalistic (or Lockean) accounts of personal identity are normally formulated in terms of causal relations between psychological states such as beliefs, memories, and intentions. In this paper we develop an alternative (but still Lockean) account of personal identity, based on phenomenal relations between experiences. We begin by examining a notorious puzzle case due to Bernard Williams, and extract two lessons from it: first, that Williams's puzzle can be defused by distinguishing between the psychological and phenomenal approaches, second, that so far (...)
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  • Utility Monsters for the Fission Age.Rachael Briggs & Daniel Nolan - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (3):392-407.
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  • Utility Monsters for the Fission Age.Ray 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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  • 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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  • Temporal Fictionalism for a Timeless World.Sam Baron, Kristie Miller & Jonathan Tallant - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (2):281-301.
    Current debate in the metaphysics of time ordinarily assumes that we should be realists about time. Recently, however, a number of physicists and philosophers of physics have proposed that time will play no role in a completed theory of quantum gravity. This paper defends fictionalism about temporal thought, on the supposition that our world is timeless. We argue that, in the face of timeless physical theories, realism about temporal thought is unsustainable: some kind of anti-realism must be adopted. We go (...)
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  • 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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  • Vague Objects and Vague Identity: New Essays on Ontic Vagueness.K. Akiba (ed.) - 2014 - Dordrecht, Netherland: Springer.
    This unique anthology of new, contributed essays offers a range of perspectives on various aspects of ontic vagueness. It seeks to answer core questions pertaining to onticism, the view that vagueness exists in the world itself. The questions to be addressed include whether vague objects must have vague identity, and whether ontic vagueness has a distinctive logic, one that is not shared by semantic or epistemic vagueness. The essays in this volume explain the motivations behind onticism, such as the plausibility (...)
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  • Castles Built on Clouds: Vague Identity and Vague Objects.Benjamin L. Curtis & Harold W. Noonan - 2014 - In Ken Akiba & Ali Abasnezhad (eds.), Vague Objects and Vague Identity: New Essays on Ontic Vagueness. Springer. pp. 305-326.
    Can identity itself be vague? Can there be vague objects? Does a positive answer to either question entail a positive answer to the other? In this paper we answer these questions as follows: No, No, and Yes. First, we discuss Evans’s famous 1978 argument and argue that the main lesson that it imparts is that identity itself cannot be vague. We defend the argument from objections and endorse this conclusion. We acknowledge, however, that the argument does not by itself establish (...)
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