Distributing Identity by Phillip Baron (Lewis & Clark College)
Phillip Barron (Lewis & Clark College)

November 18, 2022, 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Department of Philosophy, Lewis & Clark College

J.R. Howard Hall 202
615 S Palatine Hill Rd
Portland 97219
United States


Lewis & Clark College

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Contemporary work in the metaphysics of personal identity comprises a three-way stand-off between the body continuity theories, psychological continuity theories, and narrative continuity theories. Not only does each category of theories result in either an internal contradiction or a conclusion that is at odds with vernacular uses of the term “identity,” I propose that all three categories of metaphysics approaches to identity face a unified objection: they presume a level of objectivity that belies the negotiation of our identities. In this talk, I will outline the advantages of using phenomenology as an alternative to theorizing about personal identity. In the end, I offer an account of personal identity that suggests that identity is a distributed phenomenon. If one’s identity is intelligible only in the context of the world, then one’s circumstances are part of their identity.

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