Personal Identity: A Not-So-Simple Simple View
Baker (Lynne Rudder)
Source: Gasser (Georg) & Stefan (Matthias), Eds. - Personal Identity: Complex or Simple?
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. A number of different issues travel under the banner of "the problem of personal identity." My interests, like those of many other philosophers, are metaphysical.
  2. In the first instance, I am not concerned with what is called "narrative identity1," or with how we re-identify a person, or with psychological aspects of personality, or with ascriptions of the word "person."
  3. "The problem of personal identity over time," as formulated by Harold Noonan, "is the problem of giving an account of the logically necessary and sufficient conditions for a person identified at one time being the same person as a person identified at another" time ("Noonan (Harold) - Personal Identity", 2003).
  4. If, as I believe, you and I are essentially persons, then we are persons at any moment that we exist. (We could not change into non-persons and still exist.) This is not uncontroversial, but I have argued at length for this view of persons elsewhere ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View", 2000, "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The Metaphysics of Everyday Life: An Essay in Practical Realism", 2007).
  5. In any case, a metaphysical account of personal identity should be tied to an account of the nature of persons, and that is how I shall proceed.

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  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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