- Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:
Publisher’s note: As persons, we are importantly different from all other creatures in the universe. But in what, exactly, does this difference consist? What kinds of entities are we, and what makes each of us the same person today that we were yesterday? Could we survive having all of our memories erased and replaced with false ones? What about if our bodies were destroyed and our brains were transplanted into android bodies, or if instead our minds were simply uploaded to computers?
In this engaging and accessible introduction to these important philosophical questions, Amy Kind brings together three different areas of research: the nature of personhood, theories of personal identity over time, and the constitution of self-identity. Surveying the key contemporary theories in the philosophical literature, Kind analyzes and assesses their strengths and weaknesses. As she shows, our intuitions on these issues often pull us in different directions, making it difficult to develop an adequate general theory. Throughout her discussion, Kind seamlessly interweaves a vast array of up-to-date examples drawn from both real life and popular fiction, all of which greatly help to elucidate this central topic in metaphysics.
A perfect text for readers coming to these issues for the first time, Persons and Personal Identity engages with some of the deepest and most important questions about human nature and our place in the world, making it a vital resource for students and researchers alike.
Comment: This book provides excellent discussion of the major theories of personal identity. It could be used as the textbook for a course on personal identity at the undergraduate level, or for a unit on personal identity in an introduction to philosophy course.Export citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format
- Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:
Abstract: Current formulations of Four-Dimensionalism may be objected to on grounds that they are too inflexible: the formulations do not seem to allow for enough variety in the views they are paired with. For instance, Kit Fine has noted that formulations of Four-Dimensionalism in terms of instantaneous parts may be too demanding for Four-Dimensionalists who believe nothing is instantaneous. And Trenton Merricks has argued that one can think something persists four-dimensionally without taking it to have proper temporal parts, and claims that our formulation of Four-Dimensionalism should be revised to allow for this. I will add my own worries to those of Fine and Merricks. I will note that current formulations of Four-Dimensionalism are not sufficiently neutral with respect to the structure of time, with respect to how liberally objects decompose into parts, and with respect to whether objects and the regions they fill match in mereological structure. I will show that we can formulate Four-Dimensionalism in a sufficiently neutral way, while still producing a view that can do the work we typically require of Four-Dimensionalism.
Comment: A great further reading for a unit on persistence through time – a little too specialised to be a core reading – unless for a masters course, because it requires that readers have a prior (good) understanding of traditional four-dimensionalism. If one’s students do have this grasp (e.g. in an MA course) then it could be good to set them the task of reading this paper, and outlining how they think four-dimensionalism entails certain commitments – e.g. not being neutral regarding theories of time.Export citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format
- Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:
Abstract: This paper presents the strongest version of a non-perdurantist four-dimensionalism: a theory according to which persisting objects are four-dimensionally extended in space-time, but not in virtue of having maximal temporal parts. The aims of considering such a view are twofold. First, to evaluate whether such an account could provide a plausible middle ground between the two main competitor accounts of persistence: three-dimensionalism and perdurantist four-dimensionalism. Second, to see what light such a theory sheds on the debate between these two competitor theories. I conclude that despite prima facie reasons to suppose that non-perdurantist four-dimensionalism might be a credible alternative to either other account of persistence, ultimately the view is unsuccessful. The reasons for its failure illuminate the sometimes stagnant debate between three-dimensionalists and perdurantists, providing new reasons to prefer a perdurantist metaphysics.
Comment: This would be useful in particular as either i) a set reading for an advanced UG or MA metaphysics course, where students have been taught (e.g. in the lecture) about endurantism or perdurantism, or ii) as a secondary reading for such a course, because of how it examines further beyond the ‘four-dimensionalists are perdurantists; three-dimensionalists are endurantists’ categories.Export citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format