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Personal Identity


(Text as at 18/12/2010 19:58:05)

(For earlier versions of this Note, see the table at the end)

I’m unimpressed by Lewis1’s solution to the Methuselah thought experiment2, which seems to be a reductio ad absurdum of the psychological3 connectedness4 approach to personal identity. Can there really be an uncountable infinity of persons residing in a single body? But why not? Lewis thrives on pressing credibility. The “no prudential concern for the future” argument also seems to be another reductio of the connectedness approach. If I’m not the same person5 as the future occupant of my body6, why make provisions for him. Yet, he’ll share my first-person perspective7 and I’ll be psychologically continuous with him. Of course, Lewis’s model (of 150-year cut-off for psychological connectedness) is admittedly too crude. Parfit8 sees temporally extended persons as persons of reduced degree, according to the degree of connectedness. However, this seems to destroy the natural growth and maturation of the person. I’m still the same person as was my immature self, even though most of my hopes and desires have changed. If I’m in control of my life, I own these changes, brought them about, and think them for the good. What about where I don’t own them, but regret my corruption (moral and physical)? It’s still my corruption that I regret. I’m the same human being9. It depends what concept10 we want to use the term “person11” for. We always have to distinguish personality12 from persons. Finally, consider Kripke on individuation by origin13. Is this a possible objection to overlapping persons? If a person’s origin is what individuates14 it, how is it possible for persons to have vague15,16 origins as in an un-simplified Methusalah case? There are two issues here that need spelling out.

This is mostly a place-holder17. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list (if any).

Printable Versions:

Table of the Previous 2 Versions of this Note:

Date Length Title
26/11/2007 23:25:26 2033 Methuselah
12/08/2007 10:17:46 1769 Methuselah

Note last updated Reading List for this Topic Parent Topic
18/12/2010 19:58:05 Methuselah Thought Experiments

Summary of Note Links from this Page

Animalism - Objections Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity) Body Concepts Connectedness vs Continuity
First-Person Perspective Human Beings Lewis Logic of Identity Origins
Parfit Person Personality Psychological View Thought Experiments
Vague Identity        

To access information, click on one of the links in the table above.

Summary of Note Links to this Page

Psychological Continuity Psychological Criterion Research - Proposal    

To access information, click on one of the links in the table above.

Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note

Author Title Medium Extra Links Read?
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Methuselah Paper Medium Quality Abstract   Yes
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Psychological Continuity Paper Medium Quality Abstract   Yes
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Psychological Criterion Paper Medium Quality Abstract   Yes

References & Reading List

Author Title Medium Source Read?
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Methuselah Paper - By Subtopic Medium Quality Abstract   Yes

Text Colour Conventions

  1. Black: Printable Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018

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