- This volume contains a short preface and eleven essays about the ontology of persons and the question of personal identity. They are written in the analytic tradition, that is, in the framework, marked on the one end by the work of John Locke and on the other by Derek Parfit2.
- Locke notoriously based what makes up a person on body-independent criteria such as self-consciousness3 or memory. Parfit4 influentially claimed in Reasons and Persons that what matters5 to us is not personal identity but psychological continuity6.
- The problem of personal identity over time is taken up by Kevin J. Corcoran. Most of the papers, however, are concerned with the metaphysics or ontology of persons, that is, the question of what it is that makes us the persons we are.
- In these papers the main bogeyman seems to be Animalism7, which is only defended by Eric T. Olson’s contribution. Lynne Rudder Baker, Kevin J. Corcoran, Brian Garrett, Paul Snowdon8, Michael B. Burke, Klaus Petrus and Käthe Trettin more or less explicitly argue against Animalism9 and for a combination of a psychological and a bodily/physical conception of persons.
- Daniel Cohnitz looks at the flourishing debate within analytic philosophy, started by Parfit10 and his critics, about the usefulness of thought-experiments11 for clarifying our intuitions about personhood and personal identity.
- Daniel von Wachter discusses the link between being a person and acting freely, while Thomas critically develops Charles Taylor’s conception of personal identity as essentially linked to moral orientation.
Footnote 1: Edited text. I’ve included the full text of the whole review as the Abstract of the book under review.
Footnote 8: Snowdon is an Animalist, so – in "Snowdon (Paul) - Some Objections to Animalism" – he is defending Animalism against the serious arguments of its critics.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)