Hume's Self-Doubts about Personal Identity
Garrett (Brian)
Source: Philosophical Review 90.3, July 1981, 337-358
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

    In this appendix to "a treatise of human nature", hume expresses dissatisfaction with his own account of personal identity, claiming that it is "inconsistent." In spite of much recent discussion of the appendix, there has been little agreement either about the reasons for hume's second thoughts or about the philosophical moral to be drawn from them. The present article argues, first, that none of the explanations for his misgivings which have been offered has succeeded in describing a problem which would or should have led hume to question his own account or to regard it as inconsistent; and second, that there is nonetheless a serious inconsistency in his account of personal identity--an inconsistency which hume apparently noticed, even if his critics did not. This inconsistency is ultimately the result of his attempt to combine reductionistic theories of personal identity and causation1 with a non-reductionistic theory of mind.

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