The Metaphysics and Metapsychology of Personal Identity: Why Thought Experiments Matter in Deciding Who We Are
Kolak (Daniel)
Source: American Philosophical Quarterly, 30 #1, 1993: 39-50
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Philosophers Index Abstract

    What are the metaphysical and metapsychological boundaries of a person? How do we draw our borders? This much is clear: personal identity without thought experiments1 is impossible. I develop a new way of conceptualizing physiological and psychological borders leading to a re-evaluation of the problem of personal identity within the contemporary literature, especially Parfit, arguing that we must, necessarily, turn to the conceptual analysis of metaphysical and metapsychological borders. I offer an explanation of the persistence of common sense against philosophical analysis, criticize Wilkes's position, and provide a foundation for the proper use of thought experiments2 in analytic metapsychology and metaphysics. 1. Physiological and Psychological Borders; 2. Why Personal Identity Without Metaphysics and Metapsychology is Impossible; 3. Metaphysical Decision-Making: Choosing Our Personal Identity; 4. The Persistence of Common Sense: Philosophical Self-Defense? 5. Thought Experiments3 About Persons

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