Workshop Bodies, Persons and Selves

June 12, 2014 - June 14, 2014
New University of Lisbon


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The organizers, Jorge Gonçalves, Inês Hipólito and Anastasia Kozyreva are pleased to announce the International Workshop"Bodies, Persons and Selves". Resulting from a cooperation between the Institute for Philosophy of Nova and the Institute of Philosophy from St. Petersburg, will be hold at the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of the New University of Lisbon, in building I&DRoom Multiusos 3, on the 12d and 14th June.

The relation between bodies, persons and selves is a fascinating one: we know that in the normal circumstances there is one person and one self for every human body, but we also know that it is not always the case. What do multiple personality disorders (or, as they are currently called, dissociative identity disorders), split brain and amnesic patients tell us about the conditions of personal identity and selfhood? Can a person persist through time, surviving drastic psychological changes? Or some psychological changes are so deep that they create a new person? Can there be more persons then bodies? If yes, can two or more persons share the same body? Can they share one body at the same time, or only at different times, one self after another? Do these questions, if answered in the positive, incline us to view persons and selves as temporal or spatial parts of bodies or do they incline us to view selves as psychological entities, constituted by their bodies (or brains) but not identical to them?

Perhaps there can also be less persons then bodies. Perhaps we should be inclined to say so if we are not prepared to admit that human embryos or people in persistent vegetative states are persons, too. But it might lead us to contradictions, as Eric Olsen notes. Perhaps we should better distinguish persons from selves and say that there are exactly as many persons as there are bodies and that those persons develop selves in the normal course of their physical and psychological development, just as they develop language abilities and motor skills.

These are the traditional questions of the personal identity debates, and they will be reflected upon by the participants of the “Bodies, Persons and Selves” international workshop. The workshop aims at providing a thought-provoking discussion of the conditions of selfhood and the problems of personal identity in a broadly naturalistic, as well as phenomenological framework. The speakers will present their understanding of the ontological status of persons, of possibility, conditions and importance of personal identity and persistence through time, of the conditions of personhood and unified subjective experience in the light of their previous research on the nature of consciousness, its ontological status and its neural realization.    

Entrance is free, but we do strongly recommend registration before the 11st of June via email to or 

10.20-10.30 WELCOME NOTES
10.30-10.50 ““I” and “Me”: the duality of
self-experience in Psychology
and Philosophy,
Vera Pereira (IFILNova)
10.50-11.00 Q&A
11.00-11.20 “How many selves are there?
Some epistemic and
relativistic criteria for the
individuation of selves”
João Fonseca (IFILNova)
11.20-11.30 Q&A
11.30-11.50 Coffee Break
11.50-12.10 “Why Ontology Matters for
Personal Identity Debates”,
Maria Sekatskaya, (SPbSU)
12.10-12.20 Q&A
12.20-12.40 “The Secret Core of What it
Means to be a Person”, Daria
Chirva, (SPbSU)
12.40-12.50 Q&A
12.50-13.00 Final Debate

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June 11, 2014, 2:00pm +01:00

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