Strong Evaluations and Personal Identity

In Christian Kanzian & et al (eds.), Persons: An Interdisciplinary Approach. ALWS Society. pp. 127-9 (2002)
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This paper examines Charles Taylor’s claim that personal identity is a matter of strong evaluations. Strong evaluations are in this paper analyzed as stable preferences, which are strongly identified with and which are based on qualitative distinctions concerning the non-instrumental value of options. In discussing the role of strong evaluations in personal identity, the focus is on "self-identity", not on the criteria of personhood or on the logical relation of identity. Two senses of self-identity can be distinguished: identity as practical orientation and identity as self-definition in a more encompassing sense. The former consists of one’s strong evaluations only, the latter is a more comprehensive notion, in which strong evaluations have a double role. Strong evaluations are first of all directly a constituent of self-definitions, and secondly, self-definition with respect to other features proceeds in the light of the strong evaluations.

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Arto Laitinen
Tampere University


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