Countering the Appeal of the Psychological Approach to Personal Identity
Hershenov (David)
Source: Philosophy - 79, Jul2004, Issue 309, p447-474, 28p;
Paper - Abstract

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Various Abstracts

  1. Defenders of the 'psychological approach to personal identity' (PAPI) insist that the possession of a mind is essential to us. The PAPI receives support from scenarios involving brain transplants1, irreversible noncognitive states, and dicephalic2 conjoined twins3. The advocates of the 'biological approach to personal identity' (BAPI) often admit the initial counterintuitiveness of their position and then defend it because it avoids certain metaphysical problems that plague the PAPI concerning spatial coincidence. However, the BAPI needs not grant that the initial intuitive advantage belongs to the PAPI. The BAPI can provide just as good an explanation of the three scenarios.
  2. Focuses on the stand of the defenders of the Psychological Approach to Personal Identity that the possession of some kind of mind is essential to human. Belief of philosophers that we are each identical to our body; Contention of the judgment that man is essentially psychological beings and not biological entities is elicited by scenarios involving brain transplants4; Identity of one's organic life.
  3. Brain transplants5 and the dicephalus6 (an organism just like us except that it has two cerebrums)7 are thought to support the position that we are essentially thinking creatures, not living organisms. I try to offset the first of these intuitions by responding to thought experiments8 Peter Unger devised to show that identity is what matters9. I then try to motivate an interpretation of the alleged conjoined10 twins11 as really just one person cut off from himself by relying upon what I take will be the reader's disagreement with Locke's conjecture that a dreaming Socrates and an awake Socrates are two distinct people.


For the full text, see Hershenov - Countering the Appeal of the Psychological Approach to Personal Identity.

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