Tuesday, July 28, 2009

desiderata for a theory of personal identity. pt. 1

First-person pronouns.


Any theory of personal identity, it seems, should account for our prephilosophical intuition that the “I” refers to or is about one’s self.  More specifically, it should explain how it is possible that when I was twelve years old and said “I am twelve years old”, I referred to or predicated of the self-same subject that I refer to when I now say “I am twenty eight years old.”  Why should this be a desideratum for our theory?  Because denying that the “I” refers to the same object in both propositions is tantamount to saying that the person who said, “I am twelve years old” is a different self than the person who now says “I am twenty-eight years old”, which is absurd.

Conveniently, this desideratum rules out three formidable accounts:  Hume’s, Wittgenstein’s, and Parfit’s.  It also rules out other not-so formidable accounts: perhaps Heidegger’s and Sartre’s, and on some accounts, Husserl’s. So, so much for all of these folk. 


Saturday, July 11, 2009

A tangled web I've weaved.

Above is a web of my current research interests.  The web illustrates both the interrelatedness of many of my interests, as well as how certain foci affect others.  I'd say the heart of my research interest is personal identity.  But this subject, as you can see, depends upon more general questions about individuation and identity, which are themselves related to general issues in modality.  This shows, in part, why my interest in personal identity led me to modality and the nature of propositions.

The arrows are indicative of either (a) subcategory or (b) primary interest only within a category, or (c) the intersection of categories.  E.g.,  (a) modality is a subcategory of metaphysics; (b) the subcategory of propositions qua propositions is too broad to be under modality and possible worlds, but my interest in the nature of propositions tend to be concentrated in modal contexts; and (c) modal epist. and moral responsibility are at the intersections of distinct categories. 

Also, this web reveals some of my prejudices.  For instance, I think that Axiology is a subdivision of Metaphysics, but Epistemology is not.  But, as indicated by Epistemology's "lower than Metaphysics" status, I think the mode of knowing (or the way of knowing) follows from what (quid) is known--viz., I think metaphysics is prior to epistemology in a substantive sense. 


Friday, July 10, 2009

Oh, the irony.*

I'm sure occupying a disabled persons' parking spot was absolutely necessary to get coffee at 7-eleven.

*the photograph in this post depicting a Los Angeles Parking Enforcement vehicle parking in a disabled persons' parking spot cannot be copied, replicated, downloaded, saved to a drive, posted, altered, disseminated, sold, or purchased, without the expressed written consent of Derek von Barandy. All applicable copyrights are reserved by Derek von Barandy.

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