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Title: Personal Identity: Assessing the Theoretical Landscape
Authors: Larsen, Kerstin Marie
Advisors: Harman, Gilbert
Contributors: Philosophy Department
Keywords: Personal Identity
Subjects: Metaphysics
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: iii ABSTRACT This work presents the theories of seven philosophers with influential views on personhood and personal identity, arraying them along a spectrum from psychological reductionism on one end to animalism on the other. The psychological reductionists view psychological features as essential for persons, and the animalists view biological features as essential. I consider three additional views in the middle of this spectrum that attempt to capture the compelling aspects of both the psychologically based theories and the biologically based theories. In the first chapter, I consider the success of each of these views in fulfilling a series of desiderata. In the second chapter, I compare the mid-spectrum views to one another. Finally, I present a view that I call accidental animalism which, I believe, satisfies more of my desiderata for a theory of personhood and personal identity while remaining agnostic on the overall metaphysical landscape in which persons are situated. Accidental animalism aims to articulate the paradigm for personhood, which is a cognitively functional human organism with a persistent first-person perspective. While a cognitively functional human organism is the paradigm, being such an organism is sufficient but not necessary for personhood. Persons could persist without being organisms, in the form of disembodied brains, for example, so long as they maintained their first-person perspectives. I argue that, although it is not accommodated in many commonly accepted theories, the first-person perspective is a central element in personhood and personal identity.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Philosophy

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