Faculty of Arts

PHIL 740

Metaphysics 1


Persons and Persistence

Here’s the seed question from which puzzles about personal identity over time grow: “Suppose at some time t1 there is a person p who around that time performs certain actions and has certain experiences. Suppose that at some other time t2 there exists an entity e. What conditions are required for p to be numerically identical with e?”. This leads to fundamental questions about numerous aspects of philosophy, including ontology, identity, philosophical methodology and values, amongst others. This topic has particularly flourished over the past four decades and the contemporary literature on it is vast.

After an initial survey of the topic we will work our way through a selection of the main debates. Precise selections will be determined with class input. Readings will include notes, journal articles and substantial portions of Harold Noonan, Personal Identity (Blackwell, 2nd edition, 2003). Note that the Library has electronic access to this work as well as having it in hard copy.

Availability 2012

Semester 2


Coordinator(s) Dr Denis Robinson

Recommended Reading

Harold Noonan Personal Identity (see above), Chs. 1 – 3. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (online); Entries on: Identity (Harold Noonan), Personal Identity (Eric Olson), Identity Over Time (André Gallois), and Personal Identity and Ethics (David Shoemaker).


PHIL 740: 15.0 points

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