This volume brings together the vital contributions of distinguished past and contemporary philosophers to the important topic of personal identity. The first part sets forth the attempts by John Locke, Anthony Quinton, and H. P. Grice to analyze personal identity in terms of memory. The eleven other selections are largely critical of this approach and provide alternativeThis volume brings together the vital contributions of distinguished past and contemporary philosophers to the important topic of personal identity. The first part sets forth the attempts by John Locke, Anthony Quinton, and H. P. Grice to analyze personal identity in terms of memory. The eleven other selections are largely critical of this approach and provide alternative perspectives.Part II contains classic contributions by Joseph Butler, Thomas Reid, and Sydney S. Shoemaker, and a new paper by John Perry—"Personal Identity, Memory, and the Problem of Circularity"—in which he defends some of the central features of the Locke-Grice-Quinton approach.Part III contains three sections from David Hume's Treatise of Human Nature: "Our idea of Identity," "Of Personal Identity," and an appendix which the editor has entitled "Second Thoughts."In the fourth part of the volume, Bernard Williams discusses "The Self and the Future," and Derek Parfit contributes his view of "Personal Identity."A recurring theme throughout the work is the possibility of "body transfer"—of a single person having, at different times, different bodies. In the final section of the volume ("Brian Bisection and the Unity of Consciousness"), Thomas Nagel examines the philosophical implications of recent scientific research on split-brain patients' he discusses the possibility, entertained by some researchers, that such cases involve two persons simultaneously inhabiting a single body.In his long introduction to this unique anthology on a topic of prime interest to the philosophical community, Mr. Perry scrutinizes the differing approaches and vocabularies of the various authors. The editor also includes "Suggestions for Further Reading."...
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Personal Identity Reviews
despite my enthusiasm for the topic, i found this book almost unbearably dry and difficult. this is, in part, just a matter of its being metaphysics, which is always difficult and often dry. but i can't help but feel that it must be possible, given how compelling the topic is, to accurately survey the literature and still turn out a more compelling book. even if it just is the case that the seminal papers on personal identity are abstruse, the introduction might have made up for it by motivating the problems in an more engaging way, or in more accessible language. as it is, the most credible collection on this vital and fascinating topic feels neither vital nor fascinating.
This is a great book for if you are just starting to take a structured approach to asking yourself fundamental questions about your existential beliefs. In sum, the central question seemed to me to be this: "As I change through life and death what exactly is the 'me' that persists - is it possible that this 'me' could persist without this body?". This book equips you with the necessary language to pursue this area of thought in greater depth, and suggests questions you may want to explore, guiding you through lines of reasoning many of the possible answers to these questions may naturally entail.
This book is a really good into to Personal Identity. It includes helpful selections from modern philosophers like John Locke and Thomas Reid, as well as contemporary writers, like Sydney Shoemaker and John Perry.
Very interesting theories on personal identity.