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What does functionalism tell us about personal identity?

Olson, E.T. (2002) What does functionalism tell us about personal identity? Nous, 36 (4). pp. 682-698. ISSN 0029-4624


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Sydney Shoemaker argues that the functionalist theory of mind entails a psychological-continuity view of personal identity, as well as providing a defense of that view against a crucial objection. I show that his view has surprising consequences, e.g. that no organism could have mental properties and that a thing's mental properties fail to supervene even weakly on its microstructure and surroundings. I then argue that the view founders on "fission" cases and rules out our being material things. Functionalism tells us little if anything about personal identity.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: Copyright © 2002 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. This is an author produced version of a paper published in Nous. The definitive version is available from http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/links/doi/10.1111/1468-0068.00407
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Department of Philosophy (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 24 May 2006
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2014 06:01
Published Version: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/links/doi/10.1111...
Status: Published
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1111/1468-0068.00407
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1220

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