Dr. Andrew Brenner: The Mystery of Personal Identity
There are two main questions philosophers address when they discuss the metaphysics of personal identity: 1. Under what conditions is a person at some time identical with someone at some other time? 2. What are we? (Are we, e.g., immaterial souls, physical bodies, brains, something else?) These questions have drawn the attention of philosophers for thousands of years. However, Dr. Brenner plans to argue that there are major obstacles to finding the correct answers to these questions. For there are three exhaustive possibilities, each of which is problematic: 1. We are simple (i.e., things without parts); 2. We are composite (i.e., things with parts); 3. “We” aren’t anything, because we do not exist. Our inability to choose among these three possibilities results in agnosticism with respect tto personal ontology, and the metaphysics of personal identity more generally. The goal of the project is to produce a monograph on this subject, as well as at least one paper on related subjects.