The Human Animal: Personal Identity Without Psychology / Edition 1

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Overview


Most philosophers writing about personal identity in recent years claim that what it takes for us to persist through time is a matter of psychology. In this groundbreaking new book, Eric Olson argues that such approaches face daunting problems, and he defends in their place a radically non-psychological account of personal identity. He defines human beings as biological organisms, and claims that no psychological relation is either sufficient or necessary for an organism to persist.
Olson rejects several famous thought-experiments dealing with personal identity. He argues, instead, that one could survive the destruction of all of one's psychological contents and capabilities as long as the human organism remains alive--as long as its vital functions, such as breathing, circulation, and metabolism, continue.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A significant contribution to the field. It issues several important challenges to proponents of a psychological approach to personal identity."--Carol Rovane, Yale University

Booknews
Challenges the prevailing notions on personal identity, and defends a radically non-psychological account of the subject. Most philosophers writing about personal identity claim that what it takes for us to persist through time is a matter of psychology, and from there either take the view that we persist by continuity of our mental contents, or tie our identity to the preservation of our mental capacities. Olson (philosophy, Cambridge), argues that both approaches face daunting ontological difficulties, claiming we are biological organisms, and no psychological relation is either necessary or sufficient for an organism to persist through time. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195105063
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/9/1997
  • Series: Philosophy of Mind Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Lexile: 1280L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Author: Eric Olson is a Lecturer in philosophy at Cambridge University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1 Psychology and Personal Identity 7
2 Persistence 22
3 Why We Need Not Accept the Psychological Approach 42
4 Was I Ever a Fetus? 73
5 Are People Animals? 94
6 The Biological Approach 124
7 Alternatives 154
Notes 169
References 179
Index 187
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