Philosophers Index Abstract
- Examines three psychological approaches on the philosophical question of identity in the context of multiple personality disorder1 (MPD).
- Relationship of the personality with personal identity problems; Psychological realism; Psychological anti-realism; Neutral realism.
- The received view of multiple personality disorder2 (MPD) presupposes a form of realism, according to which the 'secondary personality' is an independent conscious entity joined to the psyche of the host. The received view of MPD3 is endorsed by the majority of psychologists, as are the major diagnostic criteria for MPD.
- Realism of this type, gives rise to a certain problem concerning the personal identity of the secondary personality, namely, who this individual is.
- It is argued that three broad answers to the Question of Who in the context of MPD4 have been proposed in the history of psychology and psychiatry: psychological realism (Janet and the Dissociationist School); psychological anti-realism (Freud and the Psychoanalytic School), and neural realism (Wigan, Roger W. Sperry and Michael S. Gazzaniga).
- These views are examined. In addition, the relationship of the Question of Who to the traditional problem of personal identity is examined. It is argued that philosophers such as Locke, Reid and Parfit5 have either overlooked or presupposed the Question of Who.
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