Personal Identity Naturalized: Our Bodies, Our Selves
Wilson (Jack)
Source: Wilson, Jack - Biological Individuality: The identity and Persistence of Living Entities; 1999, Chap. 6, pp. 105-118
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. I think that the important issues of human identity can be resolved without recourse to treating person1 as a substantial kind2.
  2. Now that I have developed a system of individuation3, it seems appropriate to explore its application to human beings and personal identity.
  3. I intend for my account of biological individuality to provide grounds for individuating all living things, so it should apply to human beings.
  4. In the sections below I discuss the different kinds of biological individuality as they apply to human beings. This discussion provides the groundwork for an exploration of the connection between personal identity and the biological identity of a human organism4.

  1. Human Beings as Biological Entities. A human being is a higher animal. As such, a human being is one of the easier living things to individuate and trace through time. In this section I explain the different kinds of biological individuality as they apply to human beings and describe the persistence conditions5 for each.
  2. Is a Person6 a Human Being7? In this section I explain how the different kinds of biological individuality relate to personal identity.
  3. Conclusions. The reality of a kind as a substantial kind depends on whether or not an entity of that kind ceases to exist if it loses the properties characteristic of that kind. The loss of one or more faculties of a human being or nonhuman animal (such as of being a conscious agent, having a unified personality8 or being worthy of moral consideration) is a tragedy that will affect the way we interact with that creature, but it does not cause that creature to cease to exist. This judgment is subject to revision.

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