Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Persons and how we trace them: What Johnston got wrong
by Watson, Kevin F., M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2014, 99; 1569385
Abstract (Summary)

In Surviving Death, Mark Johnston claims we can trace the persistence of others and ourselves in simple and offhand ways that are criterionless--that do not depend on the use of sufficient conditions for cross-time identity. According to Johnston, we offload the question of persistence onto substances. Furthermore, Johnston claims, if we are able to trace others and ourselves by way of offloading, then neo-Lockean accounts of personal identity fail. According to Johnston, personal identity depends on how concern is directed rather than psychological continuity.

In this thesis, I respond to Johnston's arguments against neo-Lockeanism presented in Surviving Death. I argue that Johnston's account of offloading misinterprets research in cognitive science and developmental psychology. While we may trace some objects non-conceptually, it is implausible that we could trace persons in the manner Johnston claims. In addition, I argue that Johnston's concern based account of personal identity is problematic.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lascano, Marcy
Commitee: Wright, Cory, Wright, Wayne
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Philosophy
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 54/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Philosophy, Developmental psychology
Keywords: Johnston, Mark, Locke, Offloading, Personal identity, Persons
Publication Number: 1569385
ISBN: 978-1-321-34828-6
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