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. 

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2 Comments:

Blogger Louis said...

what about Dennett?

10:55 AM  
Blogger brianna. said...

More, please!

6:52 PM  

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