Chapter

PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORIES OF OUR IDENTITY

Ingmar Persson

in The Retreat of Reason

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780199276905
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603198 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199276900.003.0021
 							PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORIES OF OUR IDENTITY

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This chapter is a sustained critique of different versions of the view that personal identity consists in some psychological relations that have in basis in brain states or some other material states. First, it seems these theories cannot preserve the full sense in which we take ourselves to be something apart from our experiences when we view ourselves as subjects of experience. Secondly, it is hard to specify any psychological relations which are necessary for our identity in view of our inclination to say that we could persist even though our minds are successively reduced until we are in a persistent vegetative state. Thirdly, various fission cases cause troubles for the idea that psychological relations are sufficient for identity. Fourthly, a new version of the so-called circularity objection, that it is circular to define personal identity in terms of experiential memory because it involves identity, implies that our identity rather consists in the identity of our bodies. The chapter closes by suggesting that the attraction of these forms of psychologism stems from the fact that we are prone to identify ourselves, in a non-literal, evaluative sense with our minds because we view them as that of ourselves which we see as most important.

Keywords: circularity objection; experiential memory; fission cases; personal identity; psychological relations; subjects of experience

Chapter.  15177 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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