Personal Identity
Williams (Christopher)
Source: Williams (Christopher) - What is Identity? Chapter 9
Paper - Abstract

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Analytical TOC1

  1. The criteria of personal identity: Bernard Williams's exposition of the tension between 'mentalistic' and 'corporeal' criteria.
  2. Are the criteria of personal identity empirical in either of these ways?
  3. If not, what is the non-empirical element in the concept of personal identity? We should seek this in Castaneda's account of the indirect reflexive pronoun, which is to be distinguished from the concept of reflection in general.
  4. The 'Castaneda reflexive pronoun' (CRP) is the oratio obliqua representative of the first person in oratio recta.
  5. Immunity of certain first-person claims to error through misidentification. The subject of such claims is not identified empirically.
  6. A positive account is needed of the concept expressed by 'I'.
  7. To supply this we need to go back to the CRP. Propositions containing the CRP are not of the form δpa.
  8. The difference between 'David thought that he* deserved to die' and 'David thought that David deserved to die', not given by the conditions under which what David believes is true.
  9. The proposition containing 'he*' entails the proposition which substitutes 'David' for 'he*'.
  10. The relation between 'David believes that he* deserves to die' and 'David believes that he (not the CRP) deserves to die'.
  11. Introduction of * which is analogous to Der() or ∃.
  12. '*' can symbolize 'I' as well as the CRP.
  13. If a utters a sentence of the form *φ he makes the corresponding proposition of the form δ*φa true. It is this relation between it and Ref δφa which fixes the sense of *φ.
  14. What David said fixed by the fact that he said it.
  15. Contra the Wittgensteinians, when Sarah says 'I am worried' she does make an assertion.
  16. Just as Der φ's meaning is primarily determined by its being entailed by φa, so the meaning of *φ is primarily determined by its logical relation to Ref δφa.
  17. 'Thinking that he* deserves to die' compared with 'saying that he* deserves to die'.
  18. David says that he* deserves to die only if what he says does not indicate who it is he says deserves to die. Comparison with 'He said it was then time to start the meeting'. δ*φa differentiated from Ref δφa by this negative condition.
  19. A positive account of the use of * to be got from looking at Strawson's P-predicates. "I am in pain' is, from one point of view, a no-place predicable.
  20. The difference between 'I' and 'he*' a matter of scope: * stands for 'I' if it occurs on the extreme left of the sentence containing it.
  21. This doctrine supplies the rationale for immunity to error through misidentification.
  22. *φ & *ψ entails *Ref(φ & ψ) which can be written *Ref Conj φψ. It already involves reflection, and therefore identity.
  23. 'a knows that he* is afraid that he* is going to be tortured' is of the form δ*Ref βφa. The concept of identity (reflection) is here employed by a without recourse to empirical criteria. This is what gives substance to Swinburne's distinction between meaning and criteria.
  24. The connection between the two senses of 'self' is expressible by 'Ref' and '*'.


Photocopy of complete Book filed in "Various - Papers on Identity Boxes: Vol 19 (W)".

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
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