Chapter

What We Believe Ourselves to Be

Derek Parfit

in Reasons and Persons

Published in print January 1986 | ISBN: 9780198249085
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598173 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019824908X.003.0010
 What We Believe Ourselves to Be

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Discusses numerical identity, or being one and the same, qualitative identity, or being exactly similar, personal identity, or what is involved in our continued existence over time. According to the Physical Criterion, our identity over time consists in the continued existence of enough of our brain. According to the Psychological Criterion, our identity consists in overlapping chains of psychological continuity and connectedness. The chapter discusses how we are inclined to believe that, even in purely imagined cases, our identity must be determinate. When we ask – Would I still exist? Would that future person be me?, it seems that it must always have an answer.

Keywords: body; brain; connectedness; continuity; identity; numerical identity; person; personal identity; physical criterion; psychological criterion; qualitative identity; reductionism

Chapter.  9157 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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