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Time and Identity$
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Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke, and Harry S. Silverstein

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780262014090

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262014090.001.0001

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Persons, Animals, and Human Beings

Persons, Animals, and Human Beings

(p.185) 9 Persons, Animals, and Human Beings
Time and Identity

Harold Noonan

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses the suggestion that a psychological approach must be mistaken, because, in fact, the correct account of personal identity is given by the biological approach, according to which we are human beings whose identity over time requires no kind of psychological continuity or connectedness whatsoever. A number of authors support this suggestion, including Paul Snowdon (1991), Peter van Inwagen (1990), and Eric Olson (1997, 2002). This also presumes that humans, i.e. members of the species Homo sapiens, are animals of a certain kind. It does not rule out the possibility of persons that are not human beings or animals, but it insists that we are all human animals, possessing the persistence conditions of human animals. This biological approach is often rejected with the notion that it conflicts with human intuition, as can be seen in the transplant case.

Keywords:   psychological approach, personal identity, biological approach, psychological continuity, Paul Snowdon, Peter van Inwagen, Eric Olson, persistence conditions, human intuition

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