Does Rationality Enforce Identity?

Carol Rovane

in The Self and Self-Knowledge

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199590650
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741043 | DOI:
Does Rationality Enforce Identity?

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This paper accepts that the psychological relations that constitute the continuity of consciousness can take a branching form, but argues that the psychological relations that constitute the rational processes of deliberation cannot—thus, although quasi-memory is possible, quasi-reasoning is not. The argument against quasi-reasoning supports a novel interpretation of Locke’s distinction between personal and animal identity, because the sort of rational unity that characterizes an individual’s deliberations can be realized in parts of human beings and in groups of human beings, so as to constitute multiple persons and group persons. One corollary of the argument is that there are three ways to conceive the first person point of view—as a phenomenological point of view, a bodily point of view, a rational point of view. Another corollary is that personal identity is not a metaphysical given, but a product of effort and will.

Keywords: psychological relations; quasi-memory; quasi first-personal relations; normativity; will; Locke; Descartes; Hume; Parfit

Chapter.  12245 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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