On the Battlefield of Metaphysics
Meincke (Anne Sophie)
Source: On the Battlefield of Metaphysics. Critical Studies on the Transtemporal Identity of Persons: Münster: Mentis
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. In this monograph, I systematically analyse the debate in recent analytic metaphysics, with a special focus on recent biologically inspired (so-called animalist) theories of personal identity.
  2. I argue that the debate is stuck in a dilemma which is neither harmless nor new: the modern antagonism between the reductionist elimination of personal identity on the one hand and its non-reductionist mystification on the other rather repeats the antagonism between rationalist dogmatism and empirical scepticism in the 18th century’s debates on the soul.
  3. This latter antagonism has been extensively examined by Kant who also sought for ways to overcome the dilemma. The systematic analysis of the modern ‘analytic’ debate is therefore followed by a presentation and critical discussion of the constructive approaches taken by Kant and post-Kantian ‘continental’ philosophers.
  4. From a Kantian perspective, what we are confronted with is a fundamental dialectic, originating in the very structure of human reason and threatening to turn metaphysics altogether into an arena of fruitless battles. The possibility of a satisfactory metaphysical account of transtemporal personal identity reveals itself to be contingent on the possibility of a ‘good’ metaphysics able to overcome that dialectic.


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