- How is it possible that we stay the same over time even though we continuously change? Looking at the analytic debate on personal identity, we will find, very generally, three types of answers:
- Staying the same while changing is possible, but we are not properly the same then, only more or less. Identity becomes replaced with similarity.
- Staying the same while changing is possible, but we do not properly change after all; deep down we are unchanging.
- Staying the same while changing is not possible. Personal identity – identity of a person through time – is an illusion.
- In my paper, I shall show that all three of these answers are not convincing and have to be rejected. I shall defend the thesis that the difficulties analytic metaphysics has with making sense of personal identity ultimately stem from the idea that a person is some kind of thing, or a conglomerate of things, and that we can leave these difficulties behind if we think of a person as a process instead.
- The idea that persons are processes is not new; it has been suggested some time ago, in particular by philosophers who nowadays have become regarded as ‘continental’. However, the idea has not yet sufficiently been linked to the more recent ‘analytic’ debate on personal identity, not least because of the difference of schools. Against this background, the paper can be seen as an attempt to merge the ‘analytic’ and the ‘continental’ debate on personal identity by using process ontology as a unifying key. More ambitiously, given that the benefit to be gained from process ontology is as little restricted to the problem of personal identity as is the tendency in analytic metaphysics towards what I call ‘thing ontology’, the discussion presented is an exercise in reconciling ‘analytic’ and ‘continental’ philosophy as such, with personal identity serving as a test case.
- Retrieved from Academia.edu, 6 October 2020
- Sadly, this is just the Abstract.
- Sub-Title: "Personal Identity as a Test Case for Reconciling ‘Analytic’ and ‘Continental’ Philosophy Through Process Ontology"
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