Personal Persistence and Personal Ontology

June 7, 2024 - June 8, 2024
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Shatin (Hong Kong)
Hong Kong

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

View the Call For Papers


Yale-NUS College
Hong Kong Baptist University
Rhode Island College
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University College London
Nottingham University
University of Sheffield
Chinese University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong Baptist University
University of Texas at Austin


Chinese University of Hong Kong

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The personal persistence question asks, “In virtue of what do we persist?”. Is it through psychological continuity with ourselves over time? Is it instead through biological continuity, or physical continuity of some other sort? Is it through a combination of these things? Or through something else? The personal ontology question asks, “What are we?” Are we animals, or proper parts of animals, or instead souls, or something else? Friday-Saturday 7-8 June 2024, the Department of Philosophy at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), in cooperation with the Faculty of Arts at CUHK, will hold a conference aimed at exploring these questions and how they relate to each other and to other questions. Specific issues to be discussed may include (but will not necessarily be limited to):

  • Could I survive a brain or a cerebrum transplant, or teletransportation, or anything like that? Could an animal survive these things?
  • If I am an animal, does that mean I couldn’t have been anything besides an animal, or couldn’t become a non-animal?
  • I have special concern for what happens to me in the future. Is this rational? If it is, what makes it rational?
  • Do I persist, and for more than a brief moment? If not, is it still rational for me to have first-personal, future-directed concern in some sense?
  • Can questions about who I am and how I persist be answered by conceptual analysis?
  • How do various Eastern and Western philosophical traditions provide insight into the above questions?
  • The personal persistence and/or the personal ontology question in general

Speakers at the conference will include:

  • Harold Noonan, University of Nottingham (keynote)
  • Eric Olson, University of Sheffield (keynote)
  • Galen Strawson, University of Texas at Austin (keynote)
  • Andrew M. Bailey, Yale-NUS College
  • Andrew Brenner, Hong Kong Baptist University
  • Matt Duncan, Rhode Island College
  • Jenny Hung, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
  • Rory Madden, University College London
  • Nicholas Rimell, Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • James Dominic Rooney, Hong Kong Baptist University

While most speakers at this conference will be invited, a few will be selected through extended-abstract submission. Extended abstracts should 600-900 words long (not inclusive of a bibliography, if one is provided), prepared for blind review, and emailed to [email protected] with the subject “2024 CUHK Conference Submission” by 5 pm February 26 (Hong Kong time). See the CFA (follow the above "View the Call for Papers" link) for additional information on abstract submission.

The conference will take place in person on the campus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shatin, Hong Kong) – but will also be simultaneously cast over Zoom – and will be conducted in English. CUHK will provide lodging (for the nights of 6, 7, and 8 June) for non-local participants.

Conference attendance (in person or over Zoom) is free, but registration is required. Information on how to register (and on how to attend online) will be provided closer to the date of the conference.

This conference is sponsored by the Department of Philosophy at CUHK and the Faculty of Arts at CUHK.

A summary of the details of the conference follows:

  • Date: 7-8 June 2024, plus a 6 June welcome dinner for conference participants
  • Venue: The Chinese University of Hong Kong campus (Shatin, Hong Kong)
  • For questions on the conference, please email Nicholas Rimell at [email protected].
  • Extended abstract submission deadline: February 26, 5 pm (Hong Kong time). See the CFA (follow the above "View the Call for Papers" link) for additional information.

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June 3, 2024, 9:00am HKT

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