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Personal Identity: Unity of Mind and Sameness Over Time

Michael Brulotte

Copyright Michael Brulotte 2013

Published at Smashwords

Unlike many philosophical debates, the discussion about personal identity is not paralleled outside the domain of philosophy. In everyday life, there would be no disagreement about the sameness of identity over time. Children can understand that they were once babies, would-be criminals weigh the consequences of their actions, young adults put money away for retirement, and students pore over textbooks instead of going out to party. All of these typical behaviours and understandings take for granted a consistency of personal identity: the notion that each person will continue to be the same person over time. In metaphysics, however, such simplicity does not exist; concluding exactly what personal identity means and upon which criteria it is founded has given rise to substantial philosophical disagreement.

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