Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments


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Person, philosophy: A thinking and sentient being that distinguishes itself from others. In the course of the history of philosophy, further determinations have been agreed on or disregarded, e.g. rationality, autonomy, not-being-able-to-be-possessed. While the human and his body age, the person has no temporal stages. See also individual, law, continuants, identity.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
Nozick II 29f
Self/Person/Self-identity/Identity/B. Williams: e.g. two stories together that put us to a mystery:
1st case: one person enters a new body, actually two people exchange their bodies - A-body-person: (now connected with the A-body): has all the memories, knowledge, values, behaviors, etc. of the (earlier, complete) person B - if A could choose which pain should be inflicted after the change, he would choose the A-body for it - because he assumes that he lives in B.
2nd case: someone tells them to endure pain. after that, you will learn that you will undergo a change in your psychological condition - so that you will possess the character of someone else - which frightens you, you don't want to lose your identity and then endure pain. Question: Why did the A-person not have the same fears in the first case? Why is case 1: Transfer of a person to another body - and case 2: something that happens to a permanent person? Why does memory play a role in case 1?
II 31
Difference 1/2: in 2, B does not acquire the memories of A.
Nozick II 29f
Identity/Person/Self/B. Williams: e.g. Symmetric case: Outside view: two people swap bodies, A is now in the B-body and decides that B (now in his old A-body) pain should be inflicted instead of him in the new body - inside view (symmetric): You are supposed to get pain inflicted which frightens you, before you should get another character which frightens you even more - you choose the pain for yourself to ward off the loss of the person - other decision, symmetric case - problem: nothing outside influences A's task and acquisition of a new psyche - question: how can then two tasks and acquisitions lead to an exchange of bodies? Williams: Thesis: physical identity is a necessary condition for personal identity.
II 31
Problem: what happens elsewhere can have no effect on whether A continues to live in the A-body. Williams: Thesis: Physical identity is a necessary condition of personal identity.
Nozick II 32
Identity/Person/Self/B. Williams: Principle 1: Identity of something cannot depend on whether there is another thing of any kind.
Principle 2: if it is possible that there is another thing that prevents identity, then there is no identity, even if this other thing did not exist.
NozickVsWilliams: both principles are wrong - e. g. Wiener Kreis dissolves - several successor groups emerge - then the identity depends on something that happens elsewhere ((s) whether there are several groups). > "closest continuer.
Nozick II 33
Identity/time/next successor/NozikVsWilliams: but dependence on the existence of other things: whether a group can call itself a Viennese circle depends on whether there are other groups in exile - if two things are equally close to the original, there is no next successor nN. Identity in time: necessary condition: to be next successor.
II 35
If God provided causally for identity in time, he would also have to decide how the factors should be weighted (ship of Theseus).
II 40
It may be that the next successor is not close enough.
II 41
Randomly created copy is not a next successor (because of missing causality) - we could have the second one without the first one.
II 45
Identity in time/problem: overlapping.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

WilliamsB I
Bernard Williams
Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy London 2011

WilliamsM I
Michael Williams
Problems of Knowledge: A Critical Introduction to Epistemology Oxford 2001

WilliamsM II
Michael Williams
"Do We (Epistemologists) Need A Theory of Truth?", Philosophical Topics, 14 (1986) pp. 223-42
Theories of Truth, Paul Horwich, Aldershot 1994

No I
R. Nozick
Philosophical Explanations Oxford 1981

R., Nozick
The Nature of Rationality 1994

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2020-01-23
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