Materialism, Dualism, and “Simple” Theories of Personal Identity
Zimmerman (Dean)
Source: Gasser (Georg) & Stefan (Matthias), Eds. - Personal Identity: Complex or Simple?
Paper - Abstract

Paper StatisticsBooks / Papers Citing this PaperNotes Citing this PaperColour-ConventionsDisclaimer

Author’s Introduction

  1. Derek Parfit1 introduced “the Complex View” and “the Simple View”2 as names for contrasting theories about the nature of personal identity.
  2. He detects a “reductionist tradition”, typified by Hume and Locke, and continuing in such twentieth‐century philosophers as Grice, Ayer, Quinton, Mackie, John Perry, David Lewis, and Parfit3 himself. According to the Reductionists, “the fact of personal identity over time just consists in the holding of certain other facts. It consists in various kinds of psychological continuity4, of memory, character, intention, and the like, which in turn rest upon bodily continuity5.”
  3. The Complex View comprises “[t]he central claims of the reductionist tradition” (Parfit6 1982, p. 227). The Complex View about the nature of personal identity is a forerunner to what he later calls “Reductionism”.
  4. The Complex View favoured by Reductionists is contrasted with the Simple View7 of an opposing “non‐reductionist tradition”. According to Non‐Reductionists, ‘personal identity does not just consist in these [psychological and physical] continuities, but is a quite separate “further fact” (Parfit8 1982, p. 227; see also Parfit9 1984, p. 210).

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

© Theo Todman, June 2007 - May 2020. 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