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Personal Identity - Persistence Criteria

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In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.


Note last updated: 08/02/2018 18:24:29


Footnote 2: (Kinds)

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In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 8: I doubt this has much to do with Kinds as such – despite the book’s title – but is more to do with Doepke’s ideas on PID.

Footnote 9: Read the Synopsis first.

Footnote 10: For reference only – superseded by "Lowe (E.J.) - More Kinds of Being: A Further Study of Individuation, Identity and the Logic of Sortal Terms".

Note last updated: 05/04/2016 23:19:41


Footnote 4: (What are We?)

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In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 11:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 12:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Footnote 13: |..||.|There are hosts of papers by Olson that touch on this topic, but this book, and the paper of the same name, are enough in this context.

Note last updated: 09/05/2018 23:47:02


Footnote 5: (Souls)

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In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 4: This is becoming a shelf-load, so “require” is rather strong!

Footnote 5: In general, if a book is noted, its Chapters are not.

Footnote 6: For reviews, see
→ "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Review of 'Bodies and Souls, or Spirited Bodies?' by Nancey Murphy", and
→ "Hershenov (David) - Review of Nancy Murphy's 'Bodies and Souls, or Spirited Bodies?'".

Footnote 7: Footnote 8: Also, Kagan’s follow-on lectures on the existence and immortality of the soul.

Note last updated: 01/08/2017 00:11:31


Footnote 6: (Bodily Continuity)

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  • Historically, philosophers have been divided into those that hold that our persistence criteria are fundamentally psychological, and those that think they are fundamentally physical.
  • The classic paper that wrestles with this dilemma is "Williams (Bernard) - The Self and the Future".
  • Bernard Williams is sometimes thought of as an Animalist, possibly because8 he’s inclined to accept the Bodily Continuity (as against the Psychological Continuity) approach to Personal Identity. But, this is probably a mistake, because:-
    1. The “Bodily Continuity” view of personal identity is not to be confused with Animalism, which requires the Biological View. The Bodily Continuity view is consistent with my persisting as a Cyborg or even an Android. See also14 Siliconisation.
    2. Also, the persistence conditions of bodies differ from those of organisms in general or (human) animals in particular. Consider the arguments about corpses, which gives rise to the “Corpse Problem”, an attempted refutation of animalism.
  • Lynne Rudder Baker consistently contrasts her Constitution View with that of a bodily view, rather than a biological view. She considers that we persons are constituted (maybe temporarily) by our bodies.
  • Eric Olson distinguishes between organisms and bodies, and is doubtful about the existence of the latter27. But he would disagree with Baker even if she claimed that we were constituted by human animals.
  • Note also, the distinction between continuity and connectedness. Continuity is critical to the persistence of bodies, but it is doubtful whether connectedness is. You could probably replace all the parts of a body over time, provided this is done gradually enough, and retain the same body (this is certainly true of organisms). However, it is said by some (eg. Parfit) that a psychology disconnected from, though continuous with, another is not the same person. See his discussion of Methuselah.
  • It seems to me that both the biological view and the bodily continuity view would (theoretically, at least) allow for metamorphosis (provided, in the former case, that the metamorphosis is into another organism). There are, however, sortal objections to metamorphosis.
  • Just what a “body” is, and what the persistence criteria of bodies are, will be discussed in two other Notes:-
    Body, and
    Body Criterion.
    However, I’ve not quite decided how the labour would be best distributed between these three Notes. I have parked the bulk of the reading lists under “Body”.
  • Works on this topic that I’ve actually read38, include39 the following:-
    1. "Beck (Simon) - Back To The Self And The Future", Beck
    2. "Noonan (Harold) - The Self and the Future", Noonan
    3. "Odegard (Douglas) - Personal and Bodily Identity", Odegard
    4. "Williams (Bernard) - Bodily Continuity and Personal Identity", Williams
    5. "Williams (Bernard) - The Self and the Future", Williams
  • A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
    1. "Coburn (Robert) - Bodily Continuity and Personal Identity", Coburn
    2. "Gale (Richard) - A Note on Personal Identity and Bodily Continuity", Gale
    3. "Shorter (J.M.) - More About Bodily Continuity and Personal Identity", Shorter
    4. "Wiggins (David) - Essentialism, Continuity, and Identity", Wiggins
  • This is mostly a place-holder.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 8: According to most interpreters

Footnote 14:
  • Though the Note on Siliconisation focuses on the replacement of neural organic matter by silicon, the general idea could (more easily, as the technology is already partly there) be extended to the replacement of other body parts.
Footnote 27:
  • This is to get round the “Corpse Problem” noted previously.
Footnote 38:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 39:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 24/04/2018 00:12:58


Footnote 7: (Memory)

Plug Note1

  • Obviously, if I were to become tempted by the psychological criterion of personal identity, I would have to give an account of memory and quasi-memory, and it would appear here.
  • Works on this topic that I’ve actually read4, include5 the following:-
  • A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
  • This is mostly a place-holder. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 4:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 5:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 11/03/2018 20:19:41


Footnote 8: (Brain)

Plug Note1






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 9: Where?

Footnote 11:
  • I need to check this.
  • The idea is that in some lower animals, regulation is distributed throughout the body, with the brain playing a less central role.
  • This is true of the octopus – a highly intelligent animal – with many neurones distributed throughout its tentacles.
  • The same is also true (though to a lesser extent) of human animals – the PNS undertakes various co-ordinating functions, which is why brain-transplant TEs are somewhat simplistic.
  • However, maybe I need to distinguish between different neural functions – regulation, coordination, sensation, etc.
Footnote 29:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 30:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 24/04/2018 00:12:58


Footnote 9: (Psychological View)

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  • This is the view, originating with Locke, that the matter of primary importance in matters of personal identity is the psychological continuity (or maybe of psychological connectedness).
  • No-one denies that our psychology is important to us, but making it constitutive of our identity has led to much confusion and paradox.
  • In particular it encourages the idea that the same human being may not be the same person throughout its life, or that the same person may “hop” from one human being to another.
  • I wish to deny both these possibilities.
  • Works on this topic that I’ve actually read9, include10 the following:-
  • A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
  • This is mostly a place-holder. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 9:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 10:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 11/03/2018 20:19:41


Footnote 10: (Biological View)

Plug Note1






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 8:
  • If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
  • Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
  • There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
Footnote 9:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 10:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Footnote 11:
  • Olson is one of the primary exponents of the Biological View, so almost anything by him might be cited.
  • I’ve restricted the list to those items that – in the text or comments I’ve incorporated on-line – explicitly use the term.
Footnote 14:
  • Very tangentially relevant, but Uploading and the BV are antithetical theories of PID.

Note last updated: 12/06/2018 20:44:10


Footnote 11: (Narrative Identity)

Plug1 Note

  • Narrative identity isn’t really an account of numerical identity, but is dependent on it. It is analogous to the PV, but is closer to what most non-philosophers usually mean by “personal identity”; saying someone is “no longer the same person” implies such a change in personality that their life no longer fits into a single narrative.
  • The most convenient introduction is probably in "Shoemaker (David) - Personal Identity and Ethics", section 2.3 (Link (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/identity-ethics/#NarCri)).
  • To quote:-
    • what makes some feature mine may actually be making reference to a non-numerical type of identity, a type of identity we are thinking of when addressing the familiar question of an identity crisis: “Who am I really?” This is the question of identity as proper attributability, as providing an account of one's true self and the various attributes genuinely belonging to it.
    • the Narrative Criterion of Personal Identity: what makes an action, experience, or psychological characteristic properly attributable to some person (and thus a proper part of his or her true identity) is its correct incorporation into the self-told story of his or her life. … Narrative identity is thus really about a kind of psychological unity, but not just an artless or random unity.
    • for that subject of experiences to be a person, a genuine moral agent, those experiences must be actively unified, must be gathered together into the life of one narrative ego by virtue of a story the subject tells that weaves them together, giving them a kind of coherence and intelligibility they wouldn't otherwise have had. This is how the various experiences and events come to have any real meaning at all — rather than being merely isolated events — by being part of a larger story that relates them to one another within the context of one life
    • What explains my special sort of concern for myself is that I'm in fact an extended narrative ego — not some time-slice concerned about the well-being of some future time-slice — and I'm constantly extending that narrative into the future, so my concern is global, a concern for the whole self I'm creating via this story, the whole self whose various parts are mine.
    • what makes some past action mine (for which I'm eligible for praise or blame) is that it flowed from my central values, beliefs, and experiences, that there's a coherent story I may tell uniting it to the other elements of my life.
  • Shoemaker sees a problem:-
    • What matters to us with respect to all of our practical concerns is that we ourselves continue to exist: it's a necessary presupposition of my rational anticipation, self-concern, possibilities for compensation, and so on that I myself persist, but this is an issue of numerical identity. Another way to put this is that one can't be a person, on the narrative view, unless one gathers up the various experiences one has as a subject of experiences into a coherent narrative, but then the identity of that subject of experiences must be preserved across time for its experiences to be so gathered up.
    • If narrative identity depends on numerical identity, then it is as subject to fission-problems as accounts of numerical identity.
  • See the categorised reading list below. A fairly full reading list might be:-
    1. "Alexander (Ronald) - The Self and Narrative Identity", Alexander
    2. "DeGrazia (David) - Human Persons: Narrative Identity and Self-Creation", DeGrazia
    3. "Schechtman (Marya) - The Narrative Self-Constitution View", Schechtman
    4. "Shoemaker (David) - Personal Identity and Self-Regarding Ethics - Alternative Approaches", Shoemaker_David
    5. "Teichert (Dieter) - Narrative, Identity and the Self", Teichert
    6. "Thomas (Laurence) - Group Autonomy and Narrative Identity: Blacks and Jews", Thomas
  • This is a place-holder.





In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.

Note last updated: 16/08/2015 13:30:43


Footnote 12: (Parfit)

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In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 2: 10 years ago as I write in July 2015.

Footnote 12: I’ve ignored here those many papers on “what matters” that are not specifically related to Parfit.

Note last updated: 04/07/2015 10:10:34


Footnote 13: (Criteria of Identity)

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In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 6:
  • Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
  • In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
  • In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
  • My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
Footnote 7:
  • I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
  • Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.

Note last updated: 08/02/2018 18:24:29


Footnote 14: (Persistence)

Plug Note1






In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:
  • A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
  • I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
  • As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
  • The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 11: And the rest of Part 1 of "Hirsch (Eli) - The Concept of Identity".

Footnote 12: And other Chapters in "Lowe (E.J.) - The Possibility of Metaphysics: Substance, Identity and Time".

Footnote 13:
  • The Bibliography – and the Seminnar – cover much beyond Persistence as such.
  • I need to extract the relevant items to the various sub-topics.

Note last updated: 14/01/2017 20:18:14


Footnote 15: (Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity))

This note is simply a place-holder, the point of which is to use the jump-table facility that appears dynamically at the bottom of this note to keep tabs on the areas of this website (within the above Note-Group) that await the most urgent attention.

If the table “Links to this Page” only contains the “Awaiting Attention” item, this means that there are no items waiting attention (since the “Awaiting Attention” item is the one that only links to pages such as this one).

Note last updated: 10/11/2007 13:17:46



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  1. Black: Printable Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  3. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)


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Timestamp: 19/06/2018 00:32:58. Comments to theo@theotodman.com.