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Personal Identity

Thesis - Chapter 01 (Introduction)

(Work In Progress: output at 05/05/2021 10:36:02)

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


Abstract




Research Methodology


Chapter Introduction
  1. Why should we care about the topic of Personal Identity? The question hardly needs answering, as it’s just about the most important question to be posed by a reflective (if selfish) person. Historically, answers to this question have provided – or so Locke hoped – grounds for the possibility of life after death. Yet, the question is difficult, and has had many attempted solutions offered – and while some philosophers think there is no problem left to solve, there is no consensus as to the answer.
  2. My favourite paradigm – in the sense of the one I think most likely to be correct, rather than necessary the one I’d like to be correct – is Animalism. This is the claim that we are human animals and that consequently death is the end of us. This sensible view is only supported by around 17% of philosophers, according to a 2009 poll4 with about twice as many supporting some form of psychological view5.
  3. In one sense it is just obvious that we are – in some sense of that weasel word “are” – human animals. But then the problem cases kick in – whether actual real-life cases or thought experiments that may never be real-life possibilities.
  4. About 36% of the respondents in the aforementioned survey though we could survive teletransportation – though 31% thought that the result would be death.
  5. Transhumanists6 think we can be uploaded7 to computers, which makes no sense if we are animals.
  6. So, as noted, there’s no consensus.
  7. Further detail to be supplied8.



Links to Notes
  1. General Surveys9
  2. Locke10
    1. Forensic Property11
  3. The Psychological View
    1. Psychological View12
    2. Psychology13
    3. Psychological Criterion14
    4. Memory17
    5. Sleep20
  4. Other Philosophers of Note
    1. Descartes21
    2. Kant22
    3. Leibniz23
    4. Lewis24
    5. Parfit25
    6. Wittgenstein26
See also:-
  1. My Current Stance27
  2. Maybe others28 (to be supplied).



Main Text: Brief historical survey of the topic of Personal Identity
  1. As already noted, there are many fine introductory books on this topic, and I don’t intend to compete with them here. What I want to do is situate what I want to say in its historical context. I don’t intend to supply this section with a detailed scholarly apparatus.
  2. it was Locke who first – or at least most famously – made the distinction between the PERSON and the MAN.
  3. The Person29 is individuated by a locus of consciousness and extends as far at that consciousness30 extends. No doubt for most of the time since Locke, this locus of consciousness was thought of as an immaterial Soul31, which makes the thought experiments – from Locke’s Prince and Cobbler onwards – easier to credit, though for some time this has been no longer an option for most philosophers.
  4. The Man is variously cashed out as the Human Being32 or Human Animal33, though for much of the time since Locke the division has been between the Mind (thought of as what the person really is) and the Body34.
  5. It is occasionally claimed that philosophers prefer the mind to the body, and are naturally inclined to take the “mental” side in these debates. While that may be true, the consciousness envisaged is not that of philosophical contemplation, but the everyday sort enjoyed by cobblers and the rest of us. It includes appreciation of all things bodily, and is the ground of everything that matters35 to us.
  6. In the ensuing arguments between those supporting psychological continuity36 and connectedness37, and those preferring bodily continuity38, the question what we are39 seemed to have been forgotten. Maybe it had been assumed that Person was a substance40-concept?
  7. This is still assumed by those who think that Persons – whether as souls or reified First-Person Perspectives41 – are separable from the infrastructure that – in normal circumstances – “grounds” them.
  8. But, for most people these days it is – or ought to be – obvious that the default position is that “we” are human animals, and that the consequences that stem from this have to be lived with.
  9. But it is difficult not to be – and maybe correct to be –dissatisfied with this. We may end up in what has been called a “disjunctivist42” account: we are animals, but even so, we “go where our psychology goes”. In particular, the brain transplant43 intuition is difficult to escape from.
  10. If this is so, the answers to our questions will rest on just where our “psychology” does – or can (in the widest sense) “go”.
  11. As already noted, Transhumanists44 imagine all sorts of scenarios whereby “we” are uploaded45 to a computer. Even were this practical – we will discuss it in the next chapter – it assumes that “we” are our mental contents rather than the things that enjoy these contents. This strikes me as continuing a mistaken route in the history of philosophy taken by supporters of the psychological view46, and continued by Parfit47 and his supporters.
  12. Further text to be supplied48 in due course.



Concluding Remarks
  1. To make any progress on this topic, we need to come to a conclusion as to what sort of thing we are. We discuss this in the next Chapter49.
  2. Further details to be supplied50.


Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed51
  1. This section attempts to derive the readings lists automatically from those of the underlying Notes, but removing duplicated references. The list is divided into:-
  2. In this Chapter I will consider the following papers or book chapters (together with some others referenced by these). There are doubtless many more that are relevant and which will be addressed in the course of the thesis, but these are probably sufficient to get us going.
  3. The purpose of this Chapter is to introduce and motivate the Thesis. As such, I need to situate it in the history of the topic. This is done in a number of introductory books, General Surveys, or collections of Papers that are standard fodder in courses on Personal Identity.
  4. Consequently, I will review the various Surveys of Personal Identity that feature in the standard reading lists, both to demonstrate that I’ve read them, and to ensure I’ve missed nothing major.
  5. If a Paper in a Collection or Chapter in an Introduction is specific to a later Chapter in this Thesis, its major consideration may be reserved until a later Chapter, even if the Book itself is not. These will be noted in due course.
  6. As the topic of Personal Identity stems primarily from Locke’s account, I need a brief statement of what this is. Most of the relevant material will appear in due course in the anthologies, but a few items not anthologised are listed below.
  7. I have largely ignored the many works by Lynne Rudder Baker and Eric Olson in this Chapter, as they feature heavily later in the Thesis.
  8. Other works were considered and either cut or reserved for later. The easiest way to see all the works considered is via the reading list at the end of this Note.



Works on this topic that I’ve actually read54, include the following:-
  1. General Surveys55
  2. Locke
    1. Locke64
    2. Forensic Property72
  3. The Psychological View
    1. Psychological View75
    2. Psychology77
    3. Psychological Criterion79
    4. Memory
    5. Sleep94
  4. Other Philosophers of Note
    1. Descartes95
    2. Kant96
    3. Leibniz97
    4. Lewis100
    5. Parfit101
    6. Wittgenstein106


A further reading list might start with:-
  1. General Surveys108
  2. Locke
    1. Locke119
    2. Forensic Property121
  3. The Psychological View
    1. Psychological View122
    2. Psychology123
    3. Psychological Criterion124
    4. Memory
    5. Sleep131
  4. Other Philosophers of Note
    1. Descartes132
    2. Kant133
    3. Leibniz135
    4. Lewis137
    5. Parfit139
    6. Wittgenstein141



In-Page Footnotes:

Footnote 4: Footnote 28: Footnote 51: Footnote 57: Footnote 58: Footnote 59: Footnote 60: Footnote 61: Footnote 62: Footnote 67: Footnote 74: Footnote 85: Footnote 87: Footnote 98: Footnote 102: Footnote 104: Footnote 105: Footnote 109: Footnote 110: Footnotes 111, 114: Footnotes 112, 113: Footnote 115: Footnote 116: Footnote 117: Footnote 118: Footnote 120: Footnote 134: Footnote 136: Footnote 138: Footnote 140: Footnote 143:


Printable Versions:



Table of the Previous 12 Versions of this Note: (of 17)

Date Length Title
29/03/2021 19:23:31 28916 Thesis - Chapter 01 (Introduction)
22/03/2021 00:28:48 15896 Thesis - Chapter 01 (Introduction)
07/02/2021 19:46:34 11920 Thesis - Chapter 01 (Introduction)
14/07/2019 18:05:46 11854 Thesis - Chapter 01 (Introduction)
18/04/2019 18:18:43 8847 Thesis - Chapter 01 (Introduction)
24/04/2018 00:12:58 14139 Thesis - Chapter 01 (Introduction)
05/04/2016 23:19:41 14136 Thesis - Chapter 01 (Introduction)
04/04/2015 00:17:17 13307 Thesis - Chapter 01 (Introduction)
13/01/2015 19:07:41 12400 Thesis - Chapter 01 (Introduction)
06/11/2014 10:13:26 12058 Thesis - Chapter 01 (Introduction)
02/10/2014 17:12:29 11086 Thesis - Chapter 01 (Introduction)
02/08/2014 17:41:17 11725 Thesis - Chapter 01 (Introduction)



Note last updated Reading List for this Topic Parent Topic
05/05/2021 10:37:19 None available Thesis - Introduction

Summary of Note Links from this Page

Animalism Atherton - Locke and the Issue Over Innateness Awaiting Attention (Personal Identity) Baillie - What Am I? Baker - Personal Identity Over Time
Baker - What Am I? Blackburn - Has Kant Refuted Parfit? Body Body Criterion Brain Transplants
Brandom - Toward a Normative Pragmatics (Introduction) Causality Connectedness vs Continuity Consciousness Dancy - Memory
DeGrazia - Are We Essentially Persons? Descartes - Real Distinction Fine - A Counter-Example to Locke's Thesis First-Person Perspective Forensic Property
Frankfurt - Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person Garrett - Personal Identity and Reductionism General Surveys Human Animals Human Beings
Hybrid Theories Jen_080204 (Brandom, Chisholm, Baillie) Jen_080317 (Baker) Johnston - Human Beings Kant
Leibniz Lewis Locke Locke on Personal Identity Lowe - Locke on Identity
Memory Methuselah Olson - Immanent Causation and Life After Death Olson - Personal Identity - Oxford Bibliographies Online Parfit
Parfit - What We Believe Ourselves To Be Person PID Note Usage Psychological Continuity Psychological Continuity - Forward
Psychological Criterion Psychological View Psychology Quasi-Memory Sleep
Snowdon - The Self and Personal Identity Souls Status: Thesis Dashboard (2021: May) Sterelny & Griffiths - From Sociobiology to Evolutionary Psychology Substance
Thesis - Chapter 01 (Introduction) Thesis - Chapter 02 (What are We?) Thesis - Chapter 04 (Basic Metaphysical Issues) Thesis - Current Stance Thesis - Method & Form
Transhumanism Uploading What are We? What Matters Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein - Bodily Sensations Woolhouse - Leibniz and Substance Woolhouse - Locke’s Theory of Knowledge Works Read - Explanation  

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




Summary of Note Links to this Page

PID Note Usage, 2 Status: Personal Identity (2021 - March) Status: Priority Task List (2021 - April) Status: Summary (2021 - March) Status: Thesis Dashboard (2021: May), 2
Thesis - Chapter 10 (Thought Experiments) Thesis - Introduction Website Generator Documentation - Functors, 2, 3    

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 - Chapter 10 (Thought Experiments) Paper Medium Quality Abstract   Yes
Todman (Theo) Thesis - Introduction & Chapter Outlines Paper Medium Quality Abstract   Yes



References & Reading List

Author Title Medium Source Read?
Allison (Henry) Locke's Theory of Personal Identity: A Re-Examination Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Tipton - Locke on Human Understanding - Selected Essays No
Alston (William) & Bennett (Jonathan) Locke on People and Substances Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Philosophical Review, Vol. 97, No. 1, Jan., 1988, pp. 25-46 No
Armstrong (David) Identity Through Time Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Van Inwagen - Time and Cause, 1980, pp. 67-78 Yes
Arnold (Keith) The Subject of Radical Change Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Philosophical Studies, Vol. 33, No. 4 (May, 1978), pp. 395-401 Yes
Atherton (Margaret) Locke and the Issue Over Innateness Paper - Cited High Quality Abstract Chappell - Locke - Oxford Readings Yes
Atherton (Margaret) Locke's Theory of Personal Identity Paper - Cited High Quality Abstract Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol VIII) - Contemporary Perspectives on the History of Philosophy No
Ayers (Michael R.) Artificial and Other Problematical Objects Paper - Cited Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Chapter 21, pp. 239-253 Yes
Ayers (Michael R.) Contemporary Reactions to Locke's Theory Paper - Cited Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Chapter 24, pp. 269-277 Yes
Ayers (Michael R.) Forms of Material Unity Paper - Cited Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Chapter 20, pp. 229-238 Yes
Ayers (Michael R.) Identity: Introduction Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Introduction to Part III, pp. 205-206 Yes
Ayers (Michael R.) Locke (Ontology) - Introduction & Conclusion Paper - Cited Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Introduction (pp. 1-14) & Conclusion (pp. 293-295) Yes
Ayers (Michael R.) Locke (Vol 2 - Ontology) Book - Cited (via Paper Cited) Low Quality Abstract Bibliographical details to be supplied 25%
Ayers (Michael R.) Locke on Living Things Paper - Cited Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Chapter 19, pp. 216-228 Yes
Ayers (Michael R.) Locke's Theory of Personal Identity Paper - Cited Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Chapter 23, pp. 260-268 Yes
Ayers (Michael R.) Neo-Lockean and Anti-Lockean Theories of Personal Identity in Analytic Philosophy Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Chapter 25, pp. 278-292 Yes
Ayers (Michael R.) Personal Identity Before the Essay Paper - Cited Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Chapter 22, pp. 254-259 Yes
Baillie (James) Problems in Personal Identity Book - Cited (via Paper Cited) Medium Quality Abstract Bibliographical details to be supplied 68%
Baillie (James) What Am I? Paper - Cited High Quality Abstract Baillie (James) - Problems in Personal Identity, 1993, Chapter 4 Yes
Blatti (Stephan) Animalism (SEP) Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2014 Yes
Blatti (Stephan) Animalism and its Implications Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract OU Website (now deleted) Yes
Blatti (Stephan) Animalism Unburdened Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract OU Website (now deleted) Yes
Blatti (Stephan) & Snowdon (Paul), Eds. Animalism: New Essays on Persons, Animals, and Identity Book - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Blatti (Stephan) & Snowdon (Paul), Eds. - Animalism: New Essays on Persons, Animals, and Identity 22%
Blatti (Stephan), Ed. The Lives of Human Animals Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract The Southern Journal of Philosophy Volume 52, Spindel Supplement, 2014 Yes
Bourgeois (Warren) Modern Philosophers' Views on Persons: More Moderns Paper - Cited Low Quality Abstract Bourgeois - Persons: What Philosophers Say about You, 2003, Chapter 6 Yes
Bourgeois (Warren) Modern Philosophers' Views on Persons: The Renaissance and the Early Moderns Paper - Cited Low Quality Abstract Bourgeois - Persons: What Philosophers Say about You, 2003, Chapter 5 Yes
Bourgeois (Warren) Persons: What Philosophers Say about You Book - Cited (via Paper Cited) Medium Quality Abstract Bibliographical details to be supplied 22%
Bourget (David) & Chalmers (David) The PhilPapers Surveys: What Do Philosophers Believe? Paper - Cited High Quality Abstract Philosophical Studies: Vol. 170, No. 3 (September 2014), pp. 465-500 Yes
Brennan (Andrew) Review of Harold Noonan's 'Personal Identity' Paper - Cited Philosophical Quarterly 42, No. 166, Jan., 1992, pp. 103-106 No
Butler (Joseph) Of Personal Identity Paper - Cited Perry - Personal Identity Yes
Cavalieri (Paola) & Singer (Peter), Eds. The Great Ape Project - Equality Beyond Humanity Book - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Cavalieri (Paola) & Singer (Peter), Eds. - The Great Ape Project - Equality Beyond Humanity Yes
Chappell (Vere), Ed. Locke: Oxford Readings in Philosophy Book - Cited (via Paper Cited) Bibliographical details to be supplied 8%
Chihara (Charles S.) & Fodor (Jerry) Operationalism and Ordinary Language: A Critique of Wittgenstein Paper - Cited High Quality Abstract Fodor - Representations - Philosophical Essays on the Foundations of Cognitive Science No
Clarke (D.S.) A Defence of the No-Ownership Theory Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Mind, 81, No. 321 (Jan., 1972), pp. 97-101 No
Crane (Tim) Substance (4-Lecture BA Course) Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Tim Crane's Home Page, 2005 Yes
Dainton (Barry) From Phenomenal Selves to Hyper-Selves Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract O'Hear (Anthony), Ed. - Mind, Self and Person Yes
Dancy (Jonathan), Ed. Reading Parfit Book - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Dancy (Jonathan), Ed. - Reading Parfit 25%
Dennett (Daniel) Higher-order truths about chmess Paper - Cited Low Quality Abstract Topoi (2006) :39–41 Yes
Duncan (Matt) I Think, Therefore I Persist Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Volume 93, 2015 - Issue 4, Pages 740-756 Yes
Fine (Kit) A Counter-Example To Locke's Thesis Paper - Cited High Quality Abstract Monist, Jul2000, Vol. 83 Issue 3, p357, 5p Yes
Fodor (Jerry) Representations - Philosophical Essays on the Foundations of Cognitive Science Book - Cited (via Paper Cited) Low Quality Abstract Bibliographical details to be supplied No
Fogelin (Robert) Wittgenstein on Identity Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Fogelin - Philosophical Interpretations (Chapter 11) No
French (Peter), Uehling (Theodore) & Wettstein (Howard) Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol VIII) - Contemporary Perspectives on the History of Philosophy Book - Cited (via Paper Cited) Bibliographical details to be supplied No
Gale (Richard) On Some Pernicious Thought-Experiments Paper - Cited High Quality Abstract Thought Experiments in Science and Philosophy, Ed. Tamara Horowitz & Gerald J. Massey, 1991 Yes
Garrett (Brian) Personal Identity Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Routledge Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. London: Routledge. Garrett, Brian (1998, 2004). Personal identity. Retrieved December 22, 2005 Yes
Garrett (Brian) Personal Identity and Self-consciousness Book - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Garrett (Brian) - Personal Identity and Self-consciousness Yes
Garrett (Brian) Review of Noonan's 'Personal Identity' Paper - Cited Nous, Vol. 26, No. 1, Mar., 1992, pp. 128-130 No
Gasser (Georg) & Stefan (Matthias), Eds. Personal Identity: Complex or Simple? Book - Cited Low Quality Abstract Gasser (Georg) & Stefan (Matthias), Eds. - Personal Identity: Complex or Simple? 4%
Horowitz (Tamara) & Massey (Gerald J.) Thought Experiments in Science and Philosophy Book - Cited (via Paper Cited) Low Quality Abstract Bibliographical details to be supplied 4%
Hossack (Keith) Five Lectures on the Logic and Metaphysics of Identity Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Hossack - Lecture Handouts Yes
Lerner (Berel Dov) Review of 'Personal Identity and Ethics: A Brief Introduction' by David Shoemaker Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Metapsychology On-Line, Jun 16th 2009 (Volume 13, Issue 25) Yes
Lowe (E.J.) Review of Noonan's 'Personal Identity' Paper - Cited Mind 99.395, July 1990, pp. 477-479 No
Martin (Raymond) Self-Concern: An Experiential Approach to what Matters in Survival Book - Cited High Quality Abstract Martin (Raymond) - Self-Concern: An Experiential Approach to what Matters in Survival Yes
Munitz (Milton) Identity and Individuation: Introduction Paper - Cited Munitz - Identity and Individuation, 1971, pp.iii-viii No
O'Hear (Anthony), Ed. Mind, Self and Person Book - Cited (via Paper Cited) Low Quality Abstract Bibliographical details to be supplied 35%
Olson (Eric) Papers on Identity Boxes: Vol 13 (Olson) Book - Cited (via Paper Cited) Low Quality Abstract Bibliographical details to be supplied 24%
Olson (Eric) Personal Identity - Oxford Bibliographies Online Paper - Cited Oxford Bibliographies Online / Sheffield University website Yes
Papineau (David) Research Seminar on Personal Identity Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Papineau - Lecture Handouts Yes
Perry (John) A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality Book - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Perry (John) - A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality Yes
Perry (John), Ed. Personal Identity Book - Cited (via Paper Cited) Medium Quality Abstract Bibliographical details to be supplied Yes
Shoemaker (David) Personal Identity and Ethics: A Brief Introduction Book - Cited Low Quality Abstract Shoemaker (David) - Personal Identity and Ethics: A Brief Introduction Yes
Snowdon (Paul) Personal Identity (Lectures 1 - 4) Paper - Cited Medium Quality Abstract 2005? Lecture handouts Yes
Strathern (Paul) Locke in 90 Minutes Book - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Strathern (Paul) - Locke in 90 Minutes Yes
Thomas (Janice L.) Mind and Person in the Philosophy of Religion Book - Cited Medium Quality Abstract Thomas (Janice L.) - Mind and Person in the Philosophy of Religion Yes
Tipton (I.C.) Locke on Human Understanding - Selected Essays Book - Cited (via Paper Cited) Bibliographical details to be supplied No
Unger (Peter) Precis of 'Identity, Consciousness and Value' Paper - Cited High Quality Abstract Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 52, No. 1, Mar., 1992, pp. 133-137 Yes
Various Miscellaneous Folder II: N - Z Book - Cited Low Quality Abstract Various - Miscellaneous Folder II: N - Z 18%



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