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Our Survival

Ward, A. (2006) Our Survival. Res Cogitans, 3 (1). pp. 1-28. ISSN 1603-8509

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Published Version: http://www.sdu.dk/rescogitans


[First paragraphs] Reductionists about personal identity contend that there is nothing more to our survival than a series of causally related experiences and/or bodily continuities. Our belief in a separately existing self or subject of experiences is held to be unjustified, and we are recommended to reduce the conception of our own identity over time by jettisoning this belief. The particular form of reductionism that places the true view of our identity in a series of causally related experiences is usually known as psychological reductionism or the psychological continuity approach. The version that gives prominence to the continuity of the body or human being, at least as it has been developed in recent years, is known as animalism or the biological approach.

I shall concentrate on psychological reductionism because, of these two views, it seems to me the more intuitively appealing. But I shall also consider the animalist alternative, arguing that my main line of attack against psychological reductionism can be adapted against it. Both positions are mistaken in supposing that we have insufficient reason for believing in a separately existing subject of experiences. This conclusion is defended in the first section. In the second, I maintain that certain additional grounds that have been offered for accepting a reductionist position fail to do so. And, in the third, I examine a general objection to the conception of a subject of experiences that has been defended in the first two sections.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Philosophy (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2009 12:11
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2009 12:11
Published Version: http://www.sdu.dk/rescogitans
Status: Published
Publisher: Institute of Philosophy, Education and the Study of Religions, University of Southern Denmark
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7449

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