Personal Identity. Complex or Simple?

Georg Gasser, Matthias Stefan (Eds.)

BuchcoverWe take it for granted that a person persists over time: when we make plans, we assume that we will carry them out; when we punish someone for a crime, we assume that she is the same person as the one who committed it. Metaphysical questions underlying these assumptions point towards an area of deep existential and philosophical interest. In this volume, leading metaphysicians discuss key questions about personal identity, including 'What are we?', 'How do we persist?', and 'Which conditions guarantee our identity over time?' They discuss whether personal identity is 'complex', whereby it is analyzable in terms of simpler relations such as physical or psychological features, or whether it is 'simple', namely something that cannot be analyzed in terms of more fundamental relations. Their essays offer an innovative discussion of this topic and will be of interest to a wide readership in metaphysics.

  • Assesses the arguments offered in favor of and against the analyzability of personal identity
  • Innovative discussion of 'complex' and 'simple' theories about the nature of personal identity
  • Contains several articles providing a detailed and critical evaluation of the 'simple view'

Reviews & endorsements

"...This valuable collection brings together twelve original contributions and one reply by some of the most prominent theorists working on the issue of personal identity.... show the richness and complexity of present-day metaphysical debates about personal identity."
--Annalisa Coliva, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia/COGITO, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"...Gasser and Stefan’s book offers an important and timely discussion of central issues in personal identity. This is an exceptionally fine volume, all things considered."
---George Lăzăroiu, PhD, Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies in, Humanities and Social Sciences, New York, Review of Contemporary Philosophy

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013
ISBN: 9781107014442