Multiple Personality and Personal Identity
Brown (M.T.)
Source: Philosophical Psychology, Volume 14, Number 4, 1 December 2001, pp. 435-447(13).
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. If personal identity consists in non-branching psychological continuity1, then the sharp breaks in psychological connectedness characteristic of Multiple Personality Disorder2 implicitly commit psychological continuity3 theories to a metaphysically extravagant reification of alters.
  2. Animalist4 theories of personal identity avoid the reification of alternate personalities by interpreting multiple personality as a failure to integrate alternative autobiographical memory schemata.
  3. In the normal case, autobiographical memory cross-classifies a human life, and in so doing provides access to a variety of interpretative frameworks with their associated clusters of general event memory and episodic memory. Multiples exhibit erratic behavior because they cannot access reliably the intersecting autobiographical memory schemata that permit graceful transitions between social roles, behavioral repertoire and emotional dispositions. Selves, in both normal and certain pathological cases, are best understood as semi-fictional narratives created by human animals5 to serve their social, emotional and physical needs.

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  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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