Thesis - Chapter 01 (Introduction)
Todman (Theo)
Paper - Abstract

Paper StatisticsLink to Latest Write-Up Note


Write-up2 (as at 26/01/2022 23:22:34): Thesis - Chapter 01 (Introduction)

  1. This Chapter provides a motivating statement for the study of the particular path through the topic of Personal Identity I intend to pursue and a brief historical survey of the subject to situate my particular stance.
  2. Why should we care about the topic of Personal Identity? In one sense, this question of “why” hardly needs answering, as it’s just about the most important question to be posed by a reflective (if maybe self-obsessed) person.
  3. Historically, answers to the question of what Personal Identity consists in have provided – or so Locke hoped – grounds for the possibility of life after death.
  4. Yet, this second question is difficult, and has had many attempted solutions offered. While some philosophers think there is no problem left to solve, there is no consensus as to the solution. In any case, before we can answer this question we need to clarify it and decide what sort of beings we persons are.
  5. My favourite paradigm – in the sense of the one I think most likely to be correct, rather than necessary the one I’d like to be correct – is Animalism3. This is the claim that we are human animals and that consequently death is the end of us. This sensible – if to many disappointing – view is only supported by around 17% of philosophers, according to a 2009 poll4 with about twice as many supporting some form of psychological view5.
  6. In one sense it is just obvious that we are – in some sense of that weasel word “are” – human animals. But then the problem cases kick in – whether actual real-life cases or thought experiments that may never be real-life possibilities.
  7. About 36% of the respondents in the aforementioned survey though we could survive teletransportation – though 31% thought that the result would be death and Transhumanists6 think we can be uploaded7 to computers, which makes no sense if we are animals.
  8. So, how did we get to this lack of consensus?

Research Methodology
  • Follow this Link8 for a generic statement of how I intend to pursue each Chapter.
  • The method is broken down into 16, possibly iterative, stages, some of which have sub-stages.
  • Follow this Link9 for my progress dashboard on these tasks.
  • The methodology for this Chapter differs somewhat from most other Chapters in that there is little real work, other than background reading and checking that the Thesis as a whole hangs together.
  • However, I do need to record while reading the general surveys anything that needs to go into the Historical Survey.
  • Another couple of “clearing up” tasks, which can’t be completed until all Chapters have completed Task 7, specific to this Chapter are:-
    1. To ensure that all the Papers on Identity that I have actually read are referenced somewhere, either be “as utilised” or “as ignored”, in this Thesis.
    2. To ensure that all the Notes on Identity that I have actually produced are referenced somewhere, either “as utilised” or “as ignored”, in this Thesis.
  • This Note10 provides controls on how this process is going. In particular this Table11 lists which Notes are referenced in the Note-lists for which Chapter. I’ve tried to make it so that a particular Note is only listed in one Chapter, though this is not always the case; but it may be referenced in many more (as will be clear from this Table12).

Chapter Introduction
  1. Unless kept in check, this chapter could cover more ground than any number of PhD Theses. It’s purpose is to prepare the ground – and clear the way – for detailed investigation of the dispute between Animalism13 and the Constitution View14, as well as to demonstrate that I do – at least to some degree – understand more of the wider question than that pursued in detail later.
  2. There are many fine introductory books on the topic of Personal Identity, and I don’t intend to compete with them here. What I want to do is situate what I want to say in its historical context. I don’t intend to supply this section with a detailed scholarly apparatus.
  3. Of course, the modern discussion of Personal Identity has been a series of footnotes to Locke15, so it’s important to demonstrate an understanding of just what Locke thought on the subject, what positive insights he had, and how – in my view – he led us all astray on the subject. One positive aspect of his though is to stress that the topic is a Forensic16 one; it has ethical implications and motivations.
  4. As noted, historically – and indeed presently – the majority of philosophers (and probably most people) hold to some form of Psychological View17 of personal identity. So, I need to demonstrate an understanding of what this view – or views – is / are. I have a number of Notes on the topic other than the one just cited. The one on Psychology18 is something of a general repository, but should aim to describe just what it is that is deemed so important to us that it is (allegedly) constitutive of what we are. That on the Psychological Criterion19 is supposed to explain how this criterion of identity is intended to work.
  5. There’s a major sub-plot of the psychological view to do with Memory20, which – while admitted not to be the only psychological element of importance – has been beset with problems since Locke’s days, having been refined into quasi-memory21 to avoid problems with the logic of identity. David Lewis’s Methuselah22 thought-experiment also stresses the memory-criterion.
  6. Finally, there’s the question of dreamless Sleep23. Just what happens to the persistence of the person during this period, in the absence of either the Body or the Organism defining identity?
  7. My summary view on all this is that philosophers have confused What Matters24 to us with what What we are25.
  8. All this notwithstanding, it’s difficult to gainsay the psychological view in the face of experiential Forward Psychological Continuity26. We need to analyse Psychological Continuity27 in general, but the backward form falls prey to reduplication objections. But if it seems to me that I continue to exist during some adventure during which I’m continually conscious, it would be difficult to deny that I do; or so it seems to me.
  9. In this section, I should at least briefly discuss the positions of some of the major philosophers who have held neo-Lockean views (or other views not discussed later in this thesis). This would be an endless task, and the ones chosen – Descartes28, Kant29, Leibniz30, David Lewis31, Parfit32 and Wittgenstein33 – are those that happen to have come up in other contexts.

Links to Notes
  1. General Surveys34
  2. Locke35
    1. Forensic Property36
  3. The Psychological View
    1. Psychological View37
    2. Psychology38
    3. Psychological Criterion39
    4. Memory42
    5. Sleep45
  4. Other Philosophers of Note
    1. Descartes46
    2. Kant47
    3. Leibniz48
    4. Lewis49
    5. Parfit50
    6. Wittgenstein51
See also:-
  1. My Current Stance52

Main Text: Brief historical survey of the topic of Personal Identity
  1. General Surveys53
    1. There are many fine introductory books on this topic, and I don’t intend to compete with them here. What I want to do is situate what I want to say in its historical context. I don’t intend to supply this section with a detailed scholarly apparatus.
    2. Naturally, there are numerous General Surveys54 that treat of Personal Identity. The majority of these hail from the last century and reflect the concerns of the time, which was basically the dispute between holders of the majority position – the Psychological View55 and those supportive of the Body Criterion56. The latter view, which will be discussed in a the next Chapter, has largely been replaced by the Biological Criterion57 (Animalism58), though the Brain Criterion59 is still somewhat popular in preserving the advantages of both the PV and the Body Criterion.
  2. Locke60
    1. Locke was responsible for setting the terms of engagement for the modern discussion of Personal Identity.
    2. It was Locke who first – or at least most famously – made the distinction between the Person61 and the ‘Man’.
    3. The ‘Man’ is these days variously cashed out as the Human Being62 or Human Animal63, though for much of the time since Locke the division has been between the Mind64 (thought of as what the person really is) and the Body65.
    4. It is occasionally claimed that philosophers prefer the mind to the body, and are naturally inclined to take the “mental” side in these debates. While that may be true, the consciousness envisaged is not that of philosophical contemplation, but the everyday sort enjoyed by cobblers and the rest of us. It includes appreciation of all things bodily, and is the ground of everything that matters66 to us.
    5. Locke was correct in saying that the term Person67 is a forensic concept68; that is, it has to do with ethical matters. He was also right to connect the topic to the then concern with Resurrection69.
    6. However, while he’s correct to distinguish the person from the “man”, I believe him to be wrong in supposing that the “person” is separable from the “man”.
    7. Rather, we70 are human beings (human animals71) who happen to have the property72 of being persons, a property that cannot be transferred to some other entity.
    8. For Locke, the Person73 is individuated by a locus of consciousness and extends as far at that consciousness74 extends. No doubt for most of the time since Locke, this locus of consciousness was thought of as an immaterial Soul75, which makes the thought experiments76 – from Locke’s Prince and Cobbler onwards – easier to credit, though for some time this has been no longer an option for most philosophers.
    9. All I otherwise have to say on Locke is covered by my final-year BA essay What, if anything, is wrong with Locke’s account of personal identity?77.
  3. Forensic Property78
    1. Locke79’s recognition that there are important Forensic – that is, moral – aspects to the topic of Personal Identity is as true today as in his own day, even though we might not share his primary concern in justifying the importance of identifying the resurrected80 with the pre-mortem individuals.
    2. Animalism81 may say that psychology has nothing to do with the metaphysics of our identity – in that we continue on as the same animal – if we do – irrespective of our psychological states and history. While this may be true, most of what matters82 to us in our Survival83 is psychological, and ethical, and our concerns about praise and blame, and especially punishment, remain.
    3. Also, forensic matters are central to the Concept84 of Person85, even if we are86 not – most fundamentally – persons, and Person is an honorific rather than a Substance87 term.
    4. Forensic matters are central to discussions as to whether – and if so why – all human beings88 are persons for the entirety of their lives.
    5. Finally, Animalism is especially well-motivated in considering – for forensic reasons – whether certain Non-Human Animals89 are suitable for admission to the class of Person, maybe of reduced degree90.
  4. Psychology & The Psychological View
    1. Introduction
      1. In the arguments between those supporting psychological continuity91 and connectedness92, and those preferring bodily continuity93, the question what we are94 often seems to have been forgotten. Maybe it has often been assumed that Person95 is a substance96-concept?
      2. This is still assumed by those who think that Persons – whether as Souls97 or reified First-Person Perspectives98 – are separable from the infrastructure that – in normal circumstances – “grounds” them.
      3. But, for most people these days it is – or ought to be – obvious that the default position is that “we” are human animals, and that the consequences that stem from this have to be lived with.
      4. But it is difficult not to be – and maybe correct to be – dissatisfied with this. We may end up with a “Hybrid99” account: we are animals, but even so, we “go where our psychology goes”. In particular, the brain transplant100 intuition is difficult to escape from.
      5. If this is so, the answers to our questions will rest on just where our “psychology” does – or can (in the widest sense) – “go”.
      6. Transhumanists101 imagine all sorts of scenarios whereby “we” are uploaded102 to a computer. Even were this practical it assumes that “we” are our mental contents rather than the things that enjoy these contents. This strikes me as continuing a mistaken route in the history of philosophy taken by supporters of the psychological view103, and continued by Parfit104 and his supporters.
    2. The Psychological View105
      1. The Psychological View – hereafter the PV – is the view, originating with Locke106, that the matter of primary importance in matters of personal identity is psychological continuity107 (or maybe of psychological connectedness108). Indeed, this view – which was dominant until fairly recently (and maybe still is, given the Bourget & Chalmers survey) – is stronger, in saying that psychological continuity and connectedness are constitutive of Personal Identity.
      2. No-one denies that our psychology109 is important to us110, but making it constitutive of our identity has led to much confusion and paradox.
      3. I think, however, that Elselijn Kingma is incorrect in diagnosing the popularity of the PV as due to philosophers being intellectuals.
      4. In particular it encourages the idea that the same human being111 may not be the same person112 throughout its life113, or that the same person may “hop” from one human being to another as has been considered in many TEs114.
      5. I wish to deny both these possibilities.
    3. Psychology115
      1. If we adopt the Psychological View116 of Personal Identity – which I don’t – then it is psychological factors that are important in determining our persistence criteria117.
      2. However, while these factors do matter118 to the survivor119, they don’t matter in the binary sense of “have I survived or not” unless we take the Psychological View120 and make such factors constitutive of personal identity. As an animalist121, I do not.
      3. Supporters of the PV122 - or even the CV123 - tend to stress the discontinuity between the psychologies of human and non-human animals124. Animalists125 tend to focus on similarities, or continuities, as an evolutionary argument for animalism126.
      4. Because Psychology is so important to us, it is important to consider just what is important in it, and how it is grounded in our brains127 and bodies128. The idea of the Embodied Mind129 is very important when we consider phantastical ideas such as Uploading130.
      5. We must consider not just memory131 but other psychological capacities, including character.
    4. Psychological Criterion132
      1. The Psychological Criterion is the use of psychological facts as a criterion of personal identity, as definitive of whether we persist or not. So (on this view) if we want to know whether a person survives or not, it’s matters of psychological continuity or connectedness that we must investigate.
      2. In general, doubts arise about whether an individual has persisted if there are too radical changes in its properties in
        1. a short space of time (failure of continuity) or
        2. over longer stretches of time (failure of connectedness).
      3. These factors can be in tension133, as had been noted since Reid’s “Brave Officer” objection to Locke’s “memory criterion”, and Lewis’s Methuselah134 case. Identity is an equivalence relation, so transitivity is expected. Yet it is not necessarily respected in the case of memory – because continuous so-called memory-identity fails to lead to connectedness over long periods of time.
      4. Another factor I have noted is that there’s a distinction between the evidential force of forward and backward psychological continuity, covered below.
      • Psychological Continuity135
        1. Like any persisting thing, the persistence136 of a psychology requires continuity to an appropriate degree of the entity supposedly persisting: hence ‘psychological continuity’.
        2. I’m not quite sure what ‘a psychology’ is supposed to be, but it is supposedly constitutive of personal identity for those accepting the Psychological View137
        3. Popularly, we say that an individual is ‘not the same person’ as they were before if their character or aims differ too much from that former state. Hence, such characteristics would seem to be constitutive of a psychology.
        4. As noted, it is usual for someone’s character to develop gradually over time, often in a positive sense, though there may be Dorian Grey like declensions. However, there can also be sudden changes, as when someone has a religious or political conversion experience, though – even there – there is continuity of more general psychological factors.
        5. We are comfortable with gradual changes – new memories are added and lost gradually, and tastes stay fairly constant; knowledge is acquired gradually. But, over time, these gradual changes accumulate to the degree that one might not recognise the child in the adult, say. But usually, we allow that such gradual changes are identity-preserving, even though psychological connectedness138 is to some degree lost.
        6. All this is associated with one’s First Person Perspective139, one’s window on the world from which standpoint one anticipates the future, enjoys the present, and remembers the past.
      • Forward Psychological Continuity140
        1. I think there’s a conceptual difference between:-
          1. Forward psychological continuity, and
          2. Backward psychological continuity.
        2. Imagine the case where141, I’m put into a duplicating machine142, but something goes wrong and my body is destroyed by the duplication143 process, though my duplicate wakes up perfectly happily. Then, it seems to me, I144 would never wake up, and would have no experience beyond entry to the duplicating machine. I would have no forward psychological continuity.
        3. However, my duplicate145 does have backward psychological continuity. Any duplicate of me, looking backward, would consider himself to be “me”, having my memories146, abilities, plans and so forth, and a body looking just like mine. But, would I147 ever wake up as the duplicate? My intuition on the endurantist account, as I have said, is that I would not, though I suspect that on the perdurantist148 account, this might be seen as a case of intended fission149 in which I was intended to wake up twice, provided we consider that the right sort of causality150 is in place.
        4. The above considerations raise issues similar to those in closest continuer151 accounts of personal identity, and the Only 'X' and 'Y' Principle152. How can what happens to someone else affect whether (so to speak) I am me? How could the “right sort of causality” have anything to do with how I experience things?
        5. Fission is, in any case, hard to imagine happening to oneself. Just what does it mean to “wake up twice”? I dare say one could get one’s head(s) around it. The two selves would then be distinct individuals, with distinct consciousnesses, but with a shared past. On the perdurantist account, we were always distinct, but co-located with everything in common.
        6. Let’s consider forward psychological continuity in everyday life. What ensures forward continuity of consciousness153 in the normal case of sleep and temporary unconsciousness? I cannot know “from the inside” that when I awake I’m the same human being154 as the one that went to sleep in my bed. The reason I believe this is for external reasons: duplication155 is not physically possible (or at least practical), and in any case I have no reason to believe it happened to me last night. Other people assure me that there was nothing out of the ordinary going on.
        7. Andy Clark156, raises this question about what ensures psychological continuity – more or less than in the case of Teletransportation – in the case of dreamless sleep, or (hypothetically) being frozen and then thawed out. We might ask what it is in the normal waking case. Maybe the whole thing is related to the arrow of time157 or in the distinctions between forward-looking psychological properties – desires and intentions yet to be satisfied or acted upon – and memories of what has already taken place.
        8. This is the sort of question that the Logical Positivists would denounce as meaningless, as no empirical evidence can decide it.
    5. Memory158
      1. Obviously, if I were to become tempted by the Psychological View159 of personal identity, I would have to give an account of memory, and it would appear here.
      2. Though quasi-memory160 is the more relevant concept for those espousing the Psychological Criterion161, it depends on the concept of memory itself.
      3. While neither version of memory is constitutive of personal identity, memories represent much of what matters162 to us in Survival163.
      4. In this regard, I might note in passing that some of the supposed memories that matter most to us may not be true accounts of what actually happened – assuming there is even a single such true account that includes any mattering in the first place.
      5. It is supposed memories that convince the experiencer thereof that he has survived some escapade in a TE164 when in fact he has not.
      • Methuselah165
        1. David Lewis’s Methuselah thought experiment166 seems to be a reductio ad absurdum of the psychological167 connectedness168 approach to personal identity.
        2. I’m unimpressed169 by Lewis170’s solution. Can there really be an uncountable infinity of persons171 residing in a single body172? But why not? Lewis thrives on pressing credibility.
        3. The “no prudential concern for the future” argument also seems to be another reductio of the connectedness approach. If I’m not the same person as the future occupant of my body, why make provisions for him. Yet, he’ll share my first-person perspective173 and I’ll be psychologically continuous174 with him.
        4. Of course, Lewis’s model (of a 137-year cut-off for psychological connectedness) is admittedly too crude. Parfit175 sees temporally extended persons as persons of reduced degree176, according to the degree of connectedness. However, this seems to destroy the natural growth and maturation of the person.
        5. I’m still the same person as was my immature self, even though most of my hopes and desires have changed. If I’m in control of my life, I own these changes, brought them about, and often think them for the good.
        6. What about where I don’t own them, but regret my corruption (moral and physical)? It’s still my corruption that I regret. I’m the same human being177.
        7. It depends what concept178 we want to use the term “person” for. We always have to distinguish personality179 from persons.
        8. Finally, consider Saul Kripke on individuation by origin180. Is this a possible objection to overlapping persons? If a person’s origin is what individuates181 it, how is it possible for persons to have vague182,183 origins as in an un-simplified Methusalah case? There are two issues here that need spelling out.
      • Quasi-Memory184
        1. One problem with Locke’s memory theory of Personal Identity185 is that it is prima facie circular. A memory can properly only be had by the person who had the experience, so cannot be used to analyse “Person186”.
        2. However, “Quasi-” prefixes do not presuppose ownership.
        3. Snowdon puts it this way187:-
          1. There is a causal linkage L linking a person’s memory to that person’s history.
          2. There is – we may suppose – a neural trace laid down at the time, and re-activated during an act of remembering.
          3. This trace might be transferred – again we may suppose – to some other subject by micro-surgery.
          4. This new subject thereby Q-remembers an event that he did not experience.
          5. So, since Q-remembering does not presuppose the identity of the person doing the Q-remembering with the person involved in the event Q-remembered, Q-predicates can without circularity be used to analyse personal identity in terms of psychological continuity and connectedness.
          6. Or so it is said.
    6. Sleep188
      1. In the context of Parfit’s189 Teletransportation190 TE191, the thought192 is that the “pulling yourself together” that the individual does on awaking is very closely analogous to what happens in the “reception pod” in teletransportation. If this is right, then either the awakening sleeper is not identical to the one who went to sleep, or the teletransportee is indeed identical to the individual who set off, and teletransportation is indeed a form of travel.
      2. I don’t believe any of this. However, it needs to be considered carefully as it’s central to the Psychological View193, which says – roughly speaking – that we are194 most fundamentally mental substances, and there has – since Descartes – been an issue about whether the thinking thing has to be continually thinking, and the dreamless sleep was the classic case of when it appeared not to be.
      3. Another context in which the word “sleep” is used is in the New Testament (Pauline) account of (believers’) death195 – and the state of the dead between death and resurrection196, which is described as “sleep”. This is also referenced in Hamlet’s soliloquy (“perchance to dream197”).
      4. There’s a mildly heretical Christian view – called “soul sleep” by detractors (though those that hold the view tend not to believe in immaterial souls) – that the individual experiences nothing between death and resurrection198.
      5. Of course, we refer to the euthanasia of animals as “putting to sleep”, but this isn’t understood to mean anything significant about the post-mortem state of the animal199.
  5. Other Philosophers of Note
    1. Introduction
      1. Apart from Locke, discussed above, almost every major philosopher – both historical and contemporary – has had something to say about personal identity, whether or not it has been a major area of concern. How could it be otherwise?
      2. I have chosen half a dozen that have featured in my researches. Some of these – together with other philosophers – will appear again in later Chapters.
    2. Descartes200
      1. Descartes is important as the initiator within modern philosophy of the psychological view201 that we are202 thinking things (res cogitans).
      2. He also initiated the use of Thought Experiments203 in the topic of personal identity. In my view he introduced (or confirmed) the muddle within philosophy that what is (clearly and distrinctly) conceivable is possible204. This will be considered in Chapter 10205.
      3. He will be considered further in the Chapter 2206, under the head of Cartesian Egos207.
    3. Kant208
      1. Text to be supplied.
    4. Leibniz209
      1. There are two “Laws” attributed to Leibniz210:-
        1. The Law of the Indiscernibility of Identicals: this just appears to be a law of logic, and is (almost) universally accepted. It states that if “two” objects are identical (that is, “they” are the same object picked out by two descriptions) then “they” have exactly the same properties – both intrinsic and relational.
        2. The Law of the Identity of Indiscernibles: this is a more contentious – and metaphysical – suggestion, and is that if “two” objects share all the same intrinsic and relational properties, they are identical (ie there is only one object, but picked out by different descriptions).
      2. The (apparent) problems with the first211 law are (at least) twofold:-
        1. The same object can have different properties at different times. This is the problem of temporary intrinsics212, and the logic of identity213 is tied up with resolving this issue.
        2. Intensional properties are excluded from consideration – as revealed by the masked man fallacy: the fact that I don’t know that the masked man is my father – though I do know that my father is my father – doesn’t mean that the masked man isn’t my father.
      3. The second Law seems reasonable enough for ordinary macroscopic objects, but
        1. It is allegedly false for quantum objects, and could also be false in a universe consisting of two exactly similar spheres. It is neither a logical nor a necessary truth, if it is true at all.
        2. However, if it is false, it seems to demand haecceities214, where things are distinct just because they are distinct (something empiricists dislike).
      4. Leibniz’s critique of Locke’s account of personal identity215 may be worth following up.
    5. Lewis216
      1. David Lewis’s views on personal identity are characterised by his espousal of perdurantism217.
      2. As is discussed under that Note, perdurantist metaphysics avoids the reduplication218 problems for identity-preservation following fission219. See also my Note on Counting Persons220.
      3. Lewis is also important for espousing realism with respect to possible worlds. The modal221 counterpart relation is used as an analogy in exdurantism222. I will not discuss any of this here.
      4. Lynne Rudder Baker charges Lewis with trying to reduce the First Person Perspective223.
      5. Lewis discusses the Thought Experiment224 of Methuselah225, important for the Psychological View226 of personal identity. Lewis espouses the PV227 and thinks that several Persons228 can exist successively in a single human animal229.
    6. Parfit230
      1. Parfit is famous for the dictum “identity is not what matters in survival”.
        1. I have a note – What Matters231 on this, which I cover along with other general metaphysical matters in Chapter 4232.
        2. My view remains that there must be some confusion in this dictum, in that survival233 is the same as persistence234, and without identity there is no persistence, so identity is a necessary condition for survival and must, therefore, “matter”.
        3. There may well be situations wherein other things matter – either to others or to myself – more than my survival, but this is not the same thing.
        4. Also, Parfit espouses a psychological view235 of personal identity, and has many interesting things to say on whether – given the psychological difference between myself now and my future self – I should make provision for someone to whom I am only weakly psychologically connected236, and whether others should honour advance directives made by my former self237.
        5. My view on that remains that I’m stuck with my FPP238, which persists (though it may degrade) through all the changes in my psychology, and that prudence demands that I take this into account. It matters.
      2. In addition, Parfit has invented or refined a number of interesting TEs239 to do with Fission240, Fusion241 or Teletransportation242, which will receive attention in their due place in Chapter 10243.
    7. Wittgenstein244
      1. Text to be supplied.
  6. Further text to be supplied245 in due course.

Concluding Remarks
  1. To make any progress on this topic, we need to come to a conclusion as to what sort of thing we are. We discuss this in the next Chapter246.

Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed247
  1. This section attempts to derive the readings lists automatically from those of the underlying Notes, but removing duplicated references. The list is divided into:-
  2. In this Chapter I will consider the following papers or book chapters (together with some others referenced by these). There are doubtless many more that are relevant and which will be addressed in the course of the thesis, but these are probably sufficient to get us going.
  3. The purpose of this Chapter is to introduce and motivate the Thesis. As such, I need to situate it in the history of the topic. This is done in a number of introductory books, General Surveys, or collections of Papers that are standard fodder in courses on Personal Identity.
  4. Consequently, I will review the various Surveys of Personal Identity that feature in the standard reading lists, both to demonstrate that I’ve read them, and to ensure I’ve missed nothing major.
  5. If a Paper in a Collection or Chapter in an Introduction is specific to a later Chapter in this Thesis, its major consideration may be reserved until a later Chapter, even if the Book itself is not. These will be noted in due course.
  6. As the topic of Personal Identity stems primarily from Locke’s account, I need a brief statement of what this is. Most of the relevant material will appear in due course in the anthologies, but a few items not anthologised are listed below.
  7. I have largely ignored the many works by Lynne Rudder Baker and Eric Olson in this Chapter, as they feature heavily later in the Thesis.
  8. Other works were considered and either cut or reserved for later. The easiest way to see all the works considered is via the reading list at the end of this Note.

Works on this topic that I’ve actually read250, include the following:-
  1. General Surveys251
  2. Locke
    1. Locke260
    2. Forensic Property268
  3. The Psychological View
    1. Psychological View271
    2. Psychology273
    3. Psychological Criterion275
    4. Memory
    5. Sleep290
  4. Other Philosophers of Note
    1. Descartes291
    2. Kant292
    3. Leibniz293
    4. Lewis296
    5. Parfit297
    6. Wittgenstein302

A further reading list might start with:-
  1. General Surveys304
  2. Locke
    1. Locke315
    2. Forensic Property317
  3. The Psychological View
    1. Psychological View318
    2. Psychology319
    3. Psychological Criterion320
    4. Memory
    5. Sleep327
  4. Other Philosophers of Note
    1. Descartes328
    2. Kant329
    3. Leibniz331
    4. Lewis333
    5. Parfit335
    6. Wittgenstein338

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 2:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (26/01/2022 23:22:34).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 4: Footnote 141:
  1. On an endurantist account of persistence – see elsewhere for the distinction and it’s relevance to this case – between endurantism and perdurantism.
Footnote 142:
  1. I don’t think this is a tendentious term.
  2. The intended use of the machine is to produce an exact copy without destroying the original.
  3. So, this isn’t the same as Dennett’s “Telecloning” machine in "Dennett (Daniel) - The Mind's I - Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul: Introduction", where the destruction of the original is intended, yet (despite the label) the machine is used as a means of transport.
Footnote 156: In "Clark (Andy) & Kuhn (Robert Lawrence) - Aeon: Video - Andy Clark - Virtual immortality".

Footnote 169:
  1. This text is all a bit of a jumble.
  2. I need to revise it after re-reading, and commenting on, "Lewis (David) - Survival and Identity", in which the TE appears.
Footnote 176:
  1. I need to re-read Parfit to see what he means (assuming he said this!).
  2. I have a Note on Degrees of Personhood, but it is talking about something else, I think.
Footnote 187:
  1. In "Snowdon (Paul) - The Self and Personal Identity".
Footnote 192:
  1. In Paul Broks’s contribution to "Smith (Barry C.), Broks (Paul), Kennedy (A.L.) & Evans (Jules) - Audio: What Does It Mean to Be Me?".
Footnote 197:
  1. To die, to sleep – to sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub, for in this sleep of death what dreams may come…
    → Hamlet, Act-III, Scene-I, Lines 66-68
Footnote 210:
  1. This text could also, and probably should, appear under the Note on the Logic of identity.
Footnote 211:
  1. No doubt there’s a convention as to which is the “first” and which is the “second” of Leibniz’s Laws, but they are often confusingly combined into one law with two parts.
Footnote 215:
  1. In "Leibniz (Gottfried) - What Identity Or Diversity Is".
Footnote 247:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
Footnote 253: Footnote 254: Footnote 255: Footnote 256:
  • This is the series of lectures that first engaged me with the topic of Personal Identity.
Footnote 257:
  • This is a set of papers for discussion in a research seminar. Most are probably covered elsewhere, but in case not …
Footnote 258:
  • I attended some Graduate Seminars on Personal Identity by Paul Snowdon (not the lectures above), but I can’t find any handouts.
Footnote 263: Footnote 270:
  • This Chapter has rather more to do with distributive ethics than personal identity or the FPP.
Footnote 281: Footnote 283: Footnote 294:
  • The papers reviewed by Bayliss (and the review itself) are all rather old, so I’ve not selected for further study all the papers reviewed in this brief article.
Footnote 298: Footnote 300: Footnote 301:
  • Restrict a close reading to Part 3 (Personal Identity).
Footnote 305:
  • As this is a PhD Thesis in my general subject-area, I ought at least to have read it!
Footnote 306:
  • Somewhat elementary, but worth (re-)reading quickly
Footnotes 307, 310:
  • The works by Reuscher and Trupp are too eccentric to be given any priority.
Footnotes 308, 309:
  • The works by Slors may be worth reading as a fairly contemporary defence of the psychological view; but as low priority.
Footnote 311:
  • The work by Vesey is too out of date to be a priority item.
Footnote 312:
  • This is a course of lectures on Metaphysics, at the advanced undergraduate / beginning graduate level.
  • All the issues raised – in the discussion of standard papers – many of them covered elsewhere in my Thesis – are useful background.
  • In particular, see the Note on Causation, which reviews some papers in this list.
  • This set of lectures will be covered in Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues), and so is referenced in my Note on Metaphysics.
Footnote 313:
  • Harris is an interesting case, in that it includes three important papers and three that are off-topic, but important in illustrating the divergent usages of the term “identity”.
Footnote 314:
  • This is more recent than the other standard collections.
Footnote 316:
  • “Hume’s claim that identity is a fiction”.
Footnote 330: Footnote 332:
  • Barnes alleges that the Law is due to Aristotle rather than to Leibniz.
Footnote 334: Footnote 336: Footnote 337: Footnote 340:
  • See sections I:1-3.
  • See Draft Note, Review Comments.
  • This excerpt from Brandom raises some questions about the community we call “we”.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2022
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

© Theo Todman, June 2007 - Jan 2022. Please address any comments on this page to File output:
Website Maintenance Dashboard
Return to Top of this Page Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page Return to Theo Todman's Home Page