Conativism about personal identity

In Andrea Sauchelli (ed.), Derek Parfit's Reasons and Persons: An Introduction and Critical Inquiry. Routledge. pp. 159-269 (2020)
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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 consideration of direct private conativism—the version of conativism that we favour—before considering how conativists ought respond to a general worry, according to which any conativist view will lead us to be radically pluralist about persons.

Author Profiles

David Braddon-Mitchell
University of Sydney
Kristie Miller
University of Sydney


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