Personal Identity in the 21st Century Dana Goswick

Personal Identity in the 21st Century Dana Goswick

Personal Identity in the 21st Century Dana Goswick University of Melbourne Introduction Who I am What I Teach

Dana Goswick One lecture on Personal Identity in year 1 Eight lectures on the Nature of the Self in year 2 What Well Do Today An overview of several contemporary views of personal identity. Some Questions

Personal Who am I? What makes me me? How do I define myself? Person-kind What is it to be a person? What makes something a person (as opposed to a table or a possum)? Nature of Persons What is the (metaphysical) nature of people? Are we material beings? Are we composites of form and matter? Are we immaterial souls? Personal Persistence

How do people exist over time? Why is me-now the same person as baby-me? Is personal persistence important? If so, why? History of Personal Identity Youve read history of philosophy texts by Locke and Hume. How do their views relate to contemporary work on personal persistence (or, more broadly) on the nature of the self? The two historic views in PI come from Locke.

PI = Physical Continuity PI = Psychological Continuity Historic View PI = Physical Continuity PI = physical continuity So long as youve got enough of the same matter or the matter you have now is causally tied to the matter you used to have, you persist. Objection: counter-intuitive

Reflect on Lockes prince & cobbler case. Historic View PI = Psychological Continuity PI = Psychological Continuity So long as youve got enough of the same psychology or the psychology you have now is causally tied to the psychology you used to have, you persist. Objection Duplicating your psychology doesnt duplicate you. Psychology is typically under-defined.

Contemporary Views of Personal Identity The historic views are overly simplistic. Spruced Up Historic Views Parfits (close-enough) closest-continuer Bakers embodied first-person perspective

(psychological continuity) identity (psychological continuity + identity ) just one thing Radical New Views Conventionalism PI = Close Enough Closest Continuer PI = Close Enough Closest Continuer So long as theres someone at t whose psychology is appropriately causally tied to the psychology you had at t1, you persist.

Objection: counter-intuitive Isnt numerical identity, so doesnt feel enough like me. PI = First-Person Perspective PI = First-Person Perspective So long as p at t has the same first-person perspective as p* at t*, p=p*. There is a body + a person. The body constitutes the person. Objection

Requires endorsing coinciding objects theory. PI is Conventional Personal identity is conventional. There is no objective answer to what personal identity is. We make it up. It may vary from person to person (depending on what that person values) or from circumstance to circumstance. Objection: counter-intuitive

This answer philosophers. is too anti-Realist for most Summing Up Personal Identity Physical PI = physical continuity Psychological

PI = psychological continuity PI = close enough closest continuer PI = first-person perspective Other PI is conventional. QUESTIONS

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