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Personal Identity

Methuselah

(Text as at 26/11/2007 23:25:26)

(For other versions of this Note, see the tables 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.



Live Version of this Archived Note

Date Length Title
17/08/2018 17:35:31 4623 Methuselah


Earlier Version of this Note

Date Length Title
12/08/2007 10:17:46 1769 Methuselah


Table of the 3 Later Versions of this Note

Date Length Title
10/05/2018 10:07:41 4623 Methuselah
11/03/2018 20:19:41 3682 Methuselah
18/12/2010 19:58:05 1885 Methuselah



This version updated Reading List for this Topic Parent Topic
26/11/2007 23:25:26 Methuselah Thought Experiments



Summary of Notes Links from this Page

Animalism - Objections Body Concepts Connectedness vs Continuity First-Person Perspective
Human Beings Lewis Logic of Identity Origins Parfit
Person (2) Personality Psychological View Thought Experiments Vague Identity

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Summary of Note Links to this Page

Psychological Continuity        

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Text Colour Conventions

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019




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