An analysis of four major theories for understanding personal identity

See Noonan, Olson ; for a different approach based on epistemic principles see Brueckner and Buford What Parfit suggests is that, if the objection depends on a hard-and-fast metaphysical distinction between persons i. Likewise, even the most selfish person has a reason to care about the welfare of the beings who would result from her undergoing fission, even if, as the non-branching view implies, neither would be her.

Clarendon, Parfit, Derek A. Blackwell Macdonald, Graham F. After all, if what unifies my life is a particular persisting ego-substance, and that substance is wholly present at every stage of my life, then every temporal slice of my life is just as much a part of me as every other, so if prudential concern is grounded in identity, for example, I ought to be equally concerned for every part of my life.

Personal Identity: Who are you? What am I?

The evidence question dominated the literature on personal identity from the s to the s good examples include Shoemakerand Penelhum Against Cartesian Theory John Locke 29 August October was one of the philosophers who were against the Cartesian theory that soul accounts for personal identity.

Why does it matter? X at t1 is identical to Y at t2 iff X at t1 is identical to Y at t2, Identity Mysticism plays only an indirect role in contemporary personal identity theory. So while memory can reveal my identity with some past experiencer, it does not make that experiencer me.

It looks, then, as if the only way to bolster support for utilitarianism with a version of this argument, anyway is to adopt the extreme view, that the ethically significant metaphysical units are momentarily-existing person-atoms.

Personal Identity and Ethics

But being a person is most often defined as having special mental properties. But if these are the units targeted by ethics, how do we mark their boundaries such that the moral concepts and principles coherently apply McMahan62?

Personal identity

After arguing for the irreducibilty and ineliminability of the first-person perspective, Baker develops a theory of this perspective. We would wish to say that since X and Y share all psychological features, it is reasonable or intuitive to judge that X and Y are identical, and precisely not that since we describe the case as one in which there is a continuity between X's and Y's psychologies, X and Y are necessarily identical.

Indeed, the slogan is about the responsibility of persons, but four-dimensionalism offers only a solution regarding the responsibility of person-stages Ibid.

Rather, it seems, the human animal Y receives a new organ, namely a brain. But even if we allow for hypothetical narratives to do this work, it remains unclear just what role a narrative actually plays in our practical concerns.

Psychological-Continuity Views Most people—most Western philosophy teachers and students, anyway—feel immediately drawn to psychological-continuity views Nichols and Bruno give experimental evidence for this.

These are clearly questions about what it takes for us to persist. And there may also be worries about how to apply moral concepts admitting of no scalar dimensions — like promises — to moral units — like selves — that do Williams— Finally, there is the obvious worry that identity seems to persist through the loss of memory: Notice that telling this unifying story both requires a robust set of psychological capacities and incorporates just those actions and experiences I have had or will have while in possession of that robust set of psychological capacities, i.

But if continuity also holds interpersonally, then the rational egoist must, if truly rational, promote the good of all those with whom he is continuous, which, given the thought that each of us bears only six degrees of separation from every other person, generates an important kind of impartial, universalist consequentialism: For instance, what seems to matter for self-concern and rational anticipation is that my psychological life continue.

This gives a distinctive sense to the claim that a criterion of personal identity is to be constitutive, not merely evidential: And the same goes for strong psychological connectedness, which would unify selves in a way rendering them metaphysically distinct from sets of lives.

These accounts face the problem that identity is a transitive relation see 1. This is the core of what we may call the Anthropological View, recently advanced and defended by Marya Schechtman Schechtman Regardless of its shortfalls this is one way to cash out the notion of personal identity.

Personal identity

Two apparently physiological theories of personal identity are at bottom psychological, namely i the Brain Criterion, which holds that the spatiotemporal continuity of a single functioning brain constitutes personal identity; and ii the Physical Criterion, which holds that, necessarily, the spatiotemporal continuity of that which sustains the continuous psychological life of a human being over time, which is, contingently, a sufficient part of the brain that must remain in order to be the brain of a living person, constitutes personal identity cf.

Take memory as an example: These are the foundational claims of Parfit's constitutive reductionism. Appeal to overlapping layers or chains of psychological connections avoids the problem by permitting indirect relations: A being is psychologically connected, at some future time, with you as you are now just if she is in the psychological states she is in then in large part because of the psychological states you are in now.

Those who say that you would be the one who gets your brain usually say so because they believe that some relation involving psychology suffices for you to persist. I have a q-memory of some past experience just in case that experience occurred to someone and my memory of the experience was caused in the right sort of way by the experience I now remember.Social identity is the portion of an individual's self-concept derived from perceived membership in a relevant social group.

As originally formulated by social psychologists Henri Tajfel and John Turner in the s and the s, social identity theory introduced the concept of a social identity as a way in which to explain intergroup behaviour.

Social identity theory. The psychological continuity theory of personal identity has recently been accused of not meeting what is claimed to be a fundamental requirement on theories of identity - to explain personal moral responsibility. Personal Identity. What does being the person that you are, from one day to the next, necessarily consist in?

This is the question of personal identity, and it is literally a question of life and death, as the correct answer to it determines which types of changes a person can undergo without ceasing to exist. Refining and extending Erik Erikson’s work, James Marcia came up with four Identity Statuses of psychological identity development.

The main idea is that one’s sense of identity is determined largely by the choices and commitments made regarding certain personal and social traits. In philosophy, the matter of personal identity deals with such questions as, "What makes it true that a person at one time is the same thing as a person at another time?" or "What kinds of things are we persons?" Generally, personal identity is the unique numerical identity of a person in the course of time.

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An analysis of four major theories for understanding personal identity
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