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Real People – Personal Identity without Thought Experiments - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Real People: Personal Identity without Thought Experiments

Kathleen V. Wilkes


This book explores the scope and limits of the concept of a person — a vexed question in contemporary philosophy. The author begins by questioning the methodology of thought-experimentation, arguing that it engenders inconclusive and unconvincing results, and that truth is stranger than fiction. She then examines an assortment of real-life conditions, including infancy, insanity and dementia, dissociated states, and split brains. The popular faith in continuity of consciousness and the unity of the person is subjected to sustained criticism. The author concludes with a look at different views ... More

Keywords: person, thought-experimentation, infancy, insanity, dementia, dissociated states, consciousness, cognitive science, personal identity

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 1993 Print ISBN-13: 9780198240808
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198240808.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Kathleen V. Wilkes, author
St Hilda's College, Oxford