|Source: F. Vollmer, Agent Causality, Springer Science+Business Media, Dordrecht, 1999, Chapter 4|
|Paper - Abstract|
- A concrete person is made up of a large number of physical and mental characteristics. Which of these characteristics can we change and still have the same person? And which of them must stay the same if one and the same person is to survive? Are bodily characteristics, or a certain class of them (like brain processes), essential? Or are mental properties like experiences, beliefs, intentions and other personality traits more important? Or - is the nature of personhood really undefinable in terms of any bodily or psychological properties or combinations thereof?
- These are the questions posed by philosophical theories of personal identity, and the answers are evidently of direct relevance to our central concern of elucidating the nature of agency. However, instead of attempting to review all the different positions on the nature of personhood, and all the ingenious (though sometimes unrealistic) thought experiments1 designed to provide arguments for and against these positions, I shall concentrate on a phenomenon that reductionists and anti-reductionists alike think is important in connection with defining what a person (or self) is. And that phenomenon is consciousness.
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