Personal Identity

Personal Identity : Complex or Simple?

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We take it for granted that a person persists over time: when we make plans, we assume that we will carry them out; when we punish someone for a crime, we assume that she is the same person as the one who committed it. Metaphysical questions underlying these assumptions point towards an area of deep existential and philosophical interest. In this volume, leading metaphysicians discuss key questions about personal identity, including 'What are we?', 'How do we persist?', and 'Which conditions guarantee our identity over time?' They discuss whether personal identity is 'complex', whereby it is analyzable in terms of simpler relations such as physical or psychological features, or whether it is 'simple', namely something that cannot be analyzed in terms of more fundamental relations. Their essays offer an innovative discussion of this topic and will be of interest to a wide readership in metaphysics.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 2 b/w illus.
  • 1139028480
  • 9781139028486

Review quote

'Gasser and Stefan's book offers an important and timely discussion of central issues in personal identity. This is an exceptionally fine volume ...' George Lazaroiu, Review of Contemporary Philosophy
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Table of contents

Introduction; Part I. Framing the Question: 1. Chitchat on personal identity David Barnett; 2. In search of the simple view Eric T. Olson; 3. Personal identity, indeterminacy, and obligation Ryan Wasserman; 4. Personal identity and its perplexities Harold W. Noonan; Part II. Arguments for and against Simplicity: 5. How to determine which is the true theory of personal identity Richard Swinburne; 6. Against simplicity Sydney Shoemaker; 7. The probable simplicity of personal identity E. J. Lowe; 8. Reply to E. J. Lowe Sydney Shoemaker; 9. The non-descriptive individual nature of conscious beings Martine Nida-Rumelin; Part III. Reconsidering Simplicity: 10. Personal identity: a not-so-simple simple view Lynne Rudder Baker; 11. Is 'person' a sortal term? Christian Kanzian; 12. Materialism, dualism, and 'simple' theories of personal identity Dean Zimmerman; 13. The morphing block and diachronic personal identity Hud Hudson; References; Index.
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