Person-Stages and Unity of Consciousness
McInerney (Peter K.)
Source: American Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 22, No. 3 (Jul., 1985), pp. 197-209
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. Like the arrow whose movement from place to place over time requires its being in motion at any moment, a person's unity over time requires his being unitary at any moment. If a person is a unified entity both at a time and through time, it is reasonable to expect some tight connection between these modes of unity.
  2. Contemporary discussions of personal identity have focused upon the nature of the relationships between person stages at different times which constitute them all as stages of one person. The defining conditions of one person-stage have been relatively ignored, and moreover, that question has been assumed to be isolable from the question concerning the nature of the relationships between person-stages.
  3. I will argue in this paper that the unity of one person stage, what makes diverse psychological factors into one person-stage rather than many or none, is dependent upon the relations between person-stages that make them all into the stages of one person.
  4. After pointing out some deficiencies of the standard discussions of person-stages in Part I, I will defend in Part II several conditions for unity of consciousness and argue that these conditions depend upon forward relations between consciousness-stages1.
  5. In Part III I will examine the special type of unity of a person beyond that of a mere unitary consciousness and argue that this also depends upon relations between person-stages.
  6. In Part IV I will apply my conditions for unity of consciousness2 and unity of a person3 to certain real world problem cases.

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