On What we are

Sydney Shoemaker

in The Oxford Handbook of the Self

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199548019
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

On What we are

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  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of Mind



This article evaluates whether personal identity should be sought only in the biological or embodied existence of the person or exclusively in psychological existence. It suggests that whatever the answer turns out to be, it would involve causality. It argues against the animalist view of personal identity and defends the classical neo-Lockean view by arguing that the thick properties of person are psychological or mental ones. The author's answer to the question of what we are is in part that we are creatures having certain kinds of mental properties as the thick properties whose causal profiles determine their persistence conditions.

Keywords: personal identity; embodied existence; psychological existence; causality; animalist view; neo-Lockean view; mental properties

Article.  9812 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Philosophy of Mind

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