IS THERE A CIRCULARITY INVOLVED IN PARFIT'S REDUCTIONIST VIEW OF PERSONAL IDENTITY?

Jerry Goodenough With his reductionist view of personal identity, Parfit hopes to show that persons are fundamentally sets of psychological states/events, that such sets are diachronically related in certain ways and that therefore the identity conditions of persons can be reduced to or replaced by survival conditions analysable in terms of the persistence of these sets of psychological states/events. Consequently, it would be illegitimately circular to include this definition of persons among the premises of those arguments which are used to support it. But precisely this charge has been laid against psychological reductionism, that its methodology involves an inherent and crippling circularity. I Charges of circularity have been made against reductionist accounts of personal identity ever since Locke wrote: For since consciousness always accompanies thinking, and it is that that makes everyone to be what he calls self, and thereby distinguishes himself from all other thinking things: in this alone consists personal identity i.e. the sameness of a rational being. And as far as this consciousness can be extended backwards to any past action or thought, so far reaches the identity of that person; [1] where consciousness was to be cashed out in terms of memory, and Bishop Butler responded that: one should really think it self-evident, that consciousness of personal identity presupposes, and therefore cannot constitute, personal identity, any more than knowledge, in any other case, can constitute truth, which it presupposes.[2]

Here the accusation against Locke was couched in terms of the illegitimacy of the relationship proposed as the sole constituent of personal identity and much subsequent debate has centred around the possibilities of defending the memory theory of personal identity against updated forms of the circularity criticism.[3] In more recent times, the reductionist stratagem has been to preserve the definition of personal identity by using a redefined concept of memory, quasi-memory, whose redefinition is supposed to exclude the possibility of circularity by eliminating the apparent necessity of diachronic personal identity from the mnemonic relationship: if I must remember only my own memories, perhaps I can quasi-remember memories that are not necessarily mine.[4] However, the kind of circularity I have in mind here is of a more serious nature and one not amenable to exclusion by a simple process of redefinition. For the claim is that the very nature of the methodology of hypothetical cases is such as to import, more or less surreptitiously, the definition of persons which the methodology is supposed to establish. By agreeing to engage in the thought experiment method, by agreeing to accept as significant all or any of the 'strong beliefs' which Parfit and other reductionists see as being generated by this method, non-reductionists are in fact surrendering their case at the start because the thought experiment method when applied to personal identity will naturally tend to import covert reductionist assumptions from the outset. II We might start an examination of possible circularity here by considering an argument which Mark Johnston brings against the method of hypothetical cases when applied to questions of personal identity. Johnston's argument rests upon a consideration of Bernard Williams' 'mind-swap' thought experiment. [5] Upon one presentation of

this thought experiment we are supposed to decide that physical continuity is not necessary for personal identity and upon the other presentation that psychological continuity is not necessary for personal identity. In the absence of any further evidence for continuity Johnston concludes that: we get just the intuitive responses that seem to indicate that we are beings of the kind bare locus of mental life, where this characterisation is now understood as including all that is necessary and sufficient for our persistence through time, so that we could undergo any sort of physical or mental metamorphosis.[6] Next Johnston argues that if it were not for the methodology of cases we would be able to stand back from the questions raised by reductionists and, influenced perhaps by Strawson, ask a metaphysically more fundamental question: What are the primary phenomena that a philosophical theory of personal identity should aim to save?....There is the humble and ubiquitous practice of re-identifying each other over time. Philosophical scepticism aside, this practice is a reliable and mostly unproblematic source of knowledge about particular claims of personal identity. So the primary question for a philosophical theory of personal identity is: What sort of thing is such that things of that sort can be reliably and unproblematically re-identified over time in just the way in which we reliably and unproblematically reidentify ourselves and each other over time?[7] But the view that we are essentially mere bare locuses of mental life is conceptually far too skeletal to enable such a process of reidentification to proceed unproblematically, if at all. Therefore the bare locus view of personal identity must be ruled out. But if we accept the method of cases then we cannot avoid accepting the bare locus theory of personal identity. Therefore we must reject the method of cases.

This bare summary of Johnston's argument does scant justice to the subtlety of his presentation. For instance, Johnston makes it clear that it is not by accident that the method of cases leads us to the bare locus view but by an understandable psychological effect perhaps similar to the narrative influence of thought experiments I have discussed elsewhere: Our tendency to trace people in terms of psychological continuity in those puzzle cases in which such continuity comes apart from bodily continuity can be accounted for more satisfactorily as an understandable overgeneralization from the ordinary run of things...If such cases are described simply in terms of continuities we will be liable to be misled by the normal psychological concomitants of survival and so trace individuals in terms of psychological continuity....in accord with the wide psychological criterion [of Derek Parfit's reductionism][8] and the reason why we are liable to be misled here is because our intuitive reactions to the puzzle cases should be able to be taken as manifestations of our grasp of those necessary and sufficient conditions [for the application of the predicate 'is the same person'], and not as overgeneralizations from the everyday run of cases or manifestations of a particular conception of people....But then it should be evident that this....requirement generates a difficulty for the ideology behind the method of cases. Given the enormous variety of apparently conceptually coherent conceptions of people which have been entertained, we must assume that our common concept of people, if there is such a thing, is quite unspecific;[9] Johnston's argument is open to challenge at a number of places. For instance, Snowdon argues that:

there is a reason to think that the bare locus view is not likely to be the view suggested by our responses to the envisaged example of Williams' [thought experiment]....although the bare locus theory is consistent with the supposed intuitive reactions to the case, it provides no explanation at all for the different reactions to the different cases. [10] Snowdon also queries whether the bare locus view, if anything coherent can be made out of it, is necessarily incompatible with the more Strawsonian demands for reidentification that Johnston's own view of personal identity makes. Even if Johnston's argument were granted in full, it is still arguable that the reidentification procedure is only a rival to the method of cases, leaving it open to personal identity theorists to decide which approach they might wish to follow. Snowdon is here perhaps over-dismissive of Johnston's arguments in view both of the many weaknesses inherent in the methodology of thought experiments and of the importance of the reidentification constraint to our general construction of the external world as a whole. For we must surely consider whether the conditions we adopt for re-identifying persons are at least consistent with those we use for the reidentification of other entities in the world. III Johnston's argument against the methodology of hypothetical cases does not involve a full-blown accusation of circularity although it contains within it the resources that would enable us to construct such a charge. For at the heart of Johnston's case is the belief that in choosing to employ a methodology of deriving apparent intuitions from hypothetical cases we are already importing a view of the nature of persons at least covertly in the assumptions upon which such a methodology relies. An explicit accusation of inherent circularity in the methodology of thought experiment is, however, to

be found in the work of Richard Wollheim. Wollheim wishes to distinguish between two different but often conflated questions. The first, 'What is a person?', enquires after the identity conditions of an entity of some sort. The second, 'What is a person's life?' is an enquiry about the identity of a process. He believes that: Many philosophers have been so preoccupied that they haven't always noticed whether they were talking about a person and his identity or about a person's life and its identity. They reveal this when they take what they have convinced themselves is a perfectly satisfactory unity-relation for a person's life and re-employ it, without adjustment, as the criterion of identity for a person, and thus finish up with a view of a person as a collection of events spread over time, which cannot be right.[11] The philosophers that Wollheim has in mind here are those of a strongly empiricist bent, and especially those like Parfit who hoped that psychological states/events like memory could be made criterial of personal identity. Wollheim characterises their approach thus: Ultimately, of course, memory would be employed to answer questions of the form 'Are a and b the same person?' But not initially. Initially memory is employed to answer questions of the form 'Are x and y experiences of the same person?' And what underlies this strategy is the conviction that, having asked enough questions of the second kind, we shall then be able, out of the answers we have got to them, to answer questions of the first kind. [12] That such a description is not a gross distortion of the position of such empiricists may be seen from the conclusions about personal identity that Parfit hopes to draw: There are two unities to be explained: the unity of consciousness at any time, and the unity of a whole

life. These two unities cannot be explained by claiming that different experiences are had by the same person. These unities must be explained by describing the relations between these many experiences, and their relations to this person's brain. And we can refer to these experiences, and fully describe the relations between them, without claiming that these experiences are had by a person. (Emphasis added)[13] Or, in other words, Parfit is claiming that we can construct a view of a person's life as a sequences of events related in some particular way, and that this view is preferable to identity, for Parfit holds it as fundamental that: Personal identity is not what matters. What fundamentally matters is Relation R [psychological connectedness and/or psychological continuity], with any cause.[14] If identity is not to be defined in terms of this psychological relationship between events then it is to be replaced, for all important purposes for which we might be interested in identity, by such a relationship. Wollheim characterises such a theory about persons as a constructionist theory, one that: holds that everything that needs to be said about the events that make up the life of a person about, that is, such events taken singly - can be said without introducing a person who has them. On a constructionist theory a person arrives on the scene only when there is a set of suitably interrelated events, and then the person is or is not identical with that set. The person appears deus ex machina, and the machina is the unity relation. On such a theory to say of a single event that it is an event in some person's life is just to say that it is a member of an appropriately interrelated set of events of the kind that make up a life.[15] It is, however, not necessary for a constructionist

theory to be psychological in nature for Wollheim admits the possibility of a constructionist theory of persons in terms of corporeal or physical relations. But it is psychological constructionist theories which have dominated recent discussions, and such theories raise two separate questions. The first is whether or not such a theory of persons could ever be sufficient or adequate or even coherent. The second is whether such a theory must be assumed by the thought-experimental methodology, whether there is an inherent and vicious circularity at work here. IV A major ontological problem is raised by psychological constructionism as it stands, for it seems to allow the possibility that there could exist a psychological event of the kind that normally makes up a person's life which has no relation or only an inadequate relation of the designated kind to other such events. In other words, it might be possible for such an event to exist without being part of someone's life. On the strongest view, this claim amounts to believing in the possible existence of a thought or a memory or a belief which did not belong in some fashion to a thinker or a rememberer or a believer. Such a situation raises all kinds of difficulties. There is the ontological one of trying to decide just what kind of entity a thinker-less thought or feeler-less feeling might be, and the metaphysical embarrassment such a situation would cause is perhaps illustrated by the dying words of Dickens' Mrs. Gradgrind: "I think there's a pain somewhere in the room, but I couldn't positively say that I have got it"![16]There is the logical problem of whether or not it is a defining characteristic of a memory that it be remembered by a rememberer, of whether we are uttering a contradiction in asserting the possibility of a memory unrememberable in principle because inadequately related to a sufficient set of psychological events. There is the causal problem

of just how such unrelated events originate their existence. No doubt there are other problems too. What is certain is that any theory which allows even the possibility of such unowned psychological events must be seriously flawed, to say the least. A further problem for constructionism can be generated if we accept Wollheim's psychoanalytically influenced view of the mind, for he distinguishes between mental events (which are "episodic or transient phenomena") and mental dispositions which are persistent phenomena, which manifest themselves intermittently. They do not occur, nor are they events. They are mutable. Dispositions have histories, which are made up of events, and these histories are varied. Dispositions differ from one another in their beginnings, for some are innate, some arise in the mind, and some are acquired. They persist in different ways, for some remain constant and some change, and they may mature or decline or fluctuate. And dispositions differ in their ends, for some last out the person and some come to an end within his life, and they may do so through decay, or through consummation, or they may be eradicated.[17] Much of this might seem unarguable to anyone interested in human psychology but Wollheim draws a conclusion based upon the interrelationship of the episodic and the persistent, for it is this interrelationship upon which he insists. Although dispositions (or rather, their histories) are made up out of mental events, mental states depend upon and are characterised by mental dispositions in their turn. Without entering too deeply upon the ontological status of mental dispositions, it has to be said that dispositions must be housed in or owned by something. The alternative is a variation on our previous ontological nightmare, the possibility of 'freefloating' mental dispositions. The most plausible

candidate for owner of a mental disposition is a person, or at least a person's mind. Since it is not possible to characterise fully a mental event without taking into account its interrelationship with a mental disposition, and it is not possible to characterise a mental disposition without reference to its owner, it is therefore not possible to agree with Parfit's claim that "we can refer to these experiences, and fully describe the relations between them, without claiming that these experiences are had by a person."[18] Another problem for the psychological constructionist is raised by the very nature of the mental events chosen as criterial to establish the desired relationship of psychological connectedness and/or continuity. Although the relationship has been assumed to hold between mental events in general, it has been the tradition amongst constructionist theorists of personal identity since the time of Locke to take memory as the significant type of mental event. More specifically, since modern epistemological writing has started to concentrate on an analysis of the phenomenon of memory into different types,[19] psychological constructionists have now adopted personal or experiential memory as the significant mental events out of which lives are to be constructed, a classification at least implicit in Locke's view that: as far as this consciousness can be extended backwards to any past action or thought, so far reaches the identity of that person: it is the same self now it was then and it is by the same self with this present one that now reflects on it, that that action was done. [20] The use of experiential memory as the definitional form of mental events out of which persons' lives are to be constructed raises a number of problems. The first is a blatant circularity which we saw above raised by Butler and headed off by Shoemaker's invention of quasi-memory, a redefinition in terms

of its not being necessary for the apparent rememberer of an experience to be the person who had that experience. The second arises from this tactic, for memory is fundamental to our epistemological abilities, to our very ability to operate as cognitive beings with a temporal dimension. But there are serious doubts as to whether quasi-memory could fulfil this function. Shoemaker himself had recognised that there were epistemological problems with q-memory [21] and Wiggins has explored the difficulty of accommodating q-memory with our general epistemological practices.[22] I have drawn out some of these epistemological consequences elsewhere[23] and can summarise them here by claiming that experiential memory is foundational to our epistemological practice because of the guaranteed relationship of identity that holds between the rememberer and the experiencer of that being remembered. Quasi-memory, where we allow it to have any extension greater than that of memory, does not guarantee this relationship and so inevitably undermines the foundational role of memory and ultimately our ability to know anything diachronically. There is a third problem which tends to be concealed by our concentration upon memory as an epistemological tool. This concentration has been fostered by empiricist views of the mental, which have tended to view experiential memory solely in cognitive terms, as a method of acquiring knowledge and beliefs about the past, and about our own past in particular. Wollheim asks us to recognise that there is to memory what he terms an affective aspect. It is difficult to make specific what this claim entails but it certainly includes a claim that individual memories have a character, which is given to them by our dispositions at the time when we had the original experience. When we remember an experiential memory, it is not the case that we just become aware of truths about our own past. Rather, we partake of the dispositional character of

our remembered past. There is thus an emotional or affective dimension to our memory and it is this which at least partly serves to relate our memories qua individual mental events with our dispositions as persisting constituent features of our mental life.[24] Such an affective dimension provides yet another stumbling-block for the viability of quasimemory. More importantly, it makes it even more difficult to envisage individual memories as characterisable without reference to their owners. If the cognitive content of a memory may be sufficiently abstracted from the particularity of a rememberer, it seems much more unlikely that the same could be possible for the affective content. For Wollheim these criticisms are sufficient to render untenable any constructionist view of the events of a person's life and he insists that the facts of the matter can only be adequately described by a non-constructionist theory, a theory that maintains that no event in a person's life, even taken singly, can be adequately described without introducing the person who has it. There is always some person who integrally enters into any event that is of the kind that makes up the life of a person.[25] Such a view would seem to entail that a person's life is an organic whole. Not only would a person's mental life be an organic whole, making it impossible to isolate and fully describe any single mental event without reference to that mental life as a whole, but it might be impossible to isolate the mental from the person's life as a whole, their existence as a living acting physical organism. This position is directly contrary to the neo-Humeanism implicit in the reductionism of writers like Parfit, a reductionism which seeks to reduce mental life to an aggregate or 'bundle' of separate and separately describable mental events. Reductionism here depends upon confusing the nature of a person with the nature of a person's life. That the latter

may be seen for some purposes as a sequence of temporal events, each one an aggregate of mental or other events, provides no grounds for the assumption that the person themselves can be identified with this sequence. V Though Wollheim may be right in his criticisms of constructionist views of personal identity, this does not of itself entail that there is a strict circularity involved in these views or the associated methodology used to support them. We might draw his criticisms out like this. Parfit believes that if we start from a neutral standpoint, one involving no prejudgments, and contemplate a series of thought experiments then these will elicit from within ourselves certain intuitions that we have concerning our own nature. Although initially these intuitions will be coloured by our holding certain of what Unger refers to as metaphysical doctrines concerning the self (its necessary unity, privacy, etc.),[26] a sufficiently wide-ranging series of thought experiments will tend to undermine the influence of these doctrines and we will come to recognise the importance of survival through psychological continuity, even or especially in hypothetical situations where identity fails or cannot be decided. This should lead us to a recognition that in situations where we might ordinarily be satisfied that personal identity holds by virtue of some other criteria, what is or ought to be of significance to us is the relationship of psychological continuity. But Wollheim's criticism leads to the charge that Parfit's thought experiments in themselves presuppose a relational or Humean view of personal identity. The thought experiments are set up so that the only data allowed are the facts concerning experiences and the causal relationships holding between them. Given that these hypothetical situations are steeped in a Humean ontology, it is

therefore no surprise if only Humean conclusions can be drawn from them. For Wollheim there are no neutral standpoints available, and we enter each hypothetical situation laden down with pre-existing theory. Thus the assumption that all that is significant or desirable or essential in a human being, all that makes one a person, can be captured entirely in terms of psychological states and characteristics, is one that needs to be examined most carefully. Wollheim would wish to know, for a start, if 'psychological states and characteristics' include dispositions. More importantly, we would have to make clear at least to ourselves exactly what sort of ontological implications the claim entails. Are we asserting a total ontological independence, believing that a person continues to exist as long as their psychological states and characteristics continue to exist, even if these features are no longer embodied in a human being? Or a more limited ontological independence, with the person continuing to exist as long as the psychological features continue to exist in some form of embodiment even if not in the same human body? Or can we still make an assertion of psychological predominance from within an ontology in which all such psychological features are necessarily embodied and may necessarily have to be embodied within the same human being across time? It seems fairly clear that Parfit does not wish to endorse the kind of dualism that would almost certainly be entailed by the first position here. Just as certainly, he does not wish to adopt any position like the latter which would subordinate psychological criteria to physical or organic criteria. [27] Exactly what conditions of embodiment he would require remains unclear. Throughout his thought experiments the essential psychological characteristics which compose a person necessitate the existence of a brain, or at least part of a brain, or at least a duplicate brain or part thereof. Whether Parfit would regard as acceptable Unger's

thought experiment in which persons can survive through taping, which amounts to Parfit's teletransportation but with a substantial temporal gap between the dissolution of the original person and the creation of the duplicate during which the person exists (or perhaps only 'exists') as a set of coded information stored on tape, is not certain. [28]What does seem clear is that Parfit is committed to an atomistic view of human psychology, a view that human mental features can be discriminated and fully described without the need for any reference to an owner of each particular mental feature. Perhaps we should remind ourselves of what Parfit does hold. He states in Reasons and Persons that: I am not a series of experiences, but the person who has these experiences. A Reductionist can admit that, in this sense, a person is what has experiences, or the subject of experiences. This is true because of the way in which we talk. What a Reductionist denies is that the subject of experiences is a separately existing entity, distinct from a brain and body, and a series of physical and mental events.[29] What Parfit is denying here is not only Cartesian dualism but also the existence of the kind of separate thinking substance in which Locke appears to believe.[30] We have no quarrel with this. But Parfit appears to be denying a great deal more. Taking his thought experiments as a whole, no particular brain or body appears to be necessary for sustaining the existence of a person. What is necessary for Parfit is the continuing series of mental events. Provided this series continues, we may contemplate any amount of alteration or interruption of the physical events which in some sense or other sustain it, even down to the massive spatial interruption of so-called teletransportation. If this is so, then it is hard to see that Parfit can attribute much importance to the distinction

between a series of experiences and the person who has the experiences, for the total effect of his collection of hypothetical cases is to deny or minimise the ontological importance of every type of fact except the series of experiences, of mental events. We cannot therefore be blamed for reading Parfit as though the series were the person, for he leaves us with no other ground on which to stand. Parfit states that he will argue for the conclusion that: Different experiences are had by the same person....And we can refer to these experiences, and fully describe the relations between them, without claiming that these experiences are had by a person.[31] but he seems to rest this conclusion primarily upon the logical acceptability of notions like quasimemory and its sibling, quasi-intention, and upon arguments like Lichtenberg's against the Cartesian belief in Pure Ego or thinking substance, concluding Because we ascribe thoughts to thinkers, we can truly claim that thinkers exist. But we cannot deduce, from the content of our experiences, that a thinker is a separately existing entity. And, as Lichtenberg suggests, because we are not separately existing entities, we could fully describe our thoughts without claiming that they have thinkers. We could fully describe our experiences, and the connections between them, without claiming that they are had by a subject of experiences. We could give what I call an impersonal description. [32] There is a substantial ambiguity involved here. Is Parfit claiming that we could fully describe the totality of our thoughts without claiming that they have thinkers? If so then this raises the problem of individuation, of what makes any mental particular a member of this set of thoughts rather than of some other set. Some of this set of mental events,

for instance the perceptions and perceptual memories, are going to be broadly consistent with a single spatio-temporal locus of experience moving through the physical world, and so are going to be broadly consistent with each other. But any sufficiently large set of mental particulars is going to be less than maximally consistent, due to the presence of false and delusive memories, imaginings, misrememberings and so on. So internal consistency is always going to be suggestive rather than decisive, and so is always going to be a less than sufficient condition for membership of the set. If we insist that a full description of our mental particulars provide at least some basis for an explanation of how any particular mental individual is a member of one set rather than another, then it is hard to see how such a demand could be fulfilled without reference to the set's owner, to the thinker of these thoughts. It is, of course, open to Parfit to claim that individuating sets of mental particulars and providing membership conditions for mental individuals ought not to be part of a full description of mental particulars. But such a position must inevitably weaken the attractiveness of Parfit's analysis in comparison with those philosophical psychologies which claim to be able to provide such conditions. Or is Parfit claiming that we can give a full description of each individual thought without assuming that it has a thinker? We have already noticed the ontological implausibilities of thinkerless thoughts. Perhaps, therefore, we should read this as the claim that we can give a full description of each individual thought without assuming that it belongs to any particular thinker. It is precisely this claim that Wollheim denies, insisting that a full characterisation of individual mental events cannot be given without reference to mental dispositions, mental entities which must themselves have an owner to account for their origin and temporal persistence. Parfit's empiricist assumptions are nowhere more evident than in his attempt in

Reasons and Persons to make the phenomenon of quasi-memory appear credible.[33] He tells the hypothetical tale of Jane who is the beneficiary of a surgical transplant of some of Paul's memorytraces. Paul has been to Venice and Jane hasn't, but now it sometimes seems to her that she can recall the sight of the piazzas, the sound of the seagulls swooping over the canals, and so forth. On the basis of her knowledge that she has never been to Venice, Jane concludes that these are quasimemories whose origin lies in Paul's perceptual experiences. Throughout the thought experiment Parfit seems to share Ayer's overall view of memory..[as]..something that is through and through cognitive. Memory is for him essentially the capacity to have beliefs of a certain kind - so that the crucial concession to wring from epistemology is an account of those conditions under which such beliefs rise to the condition of knowledge.[34] But experiential memory has an affective character as well and Parfit nowhere considers just how the particular affective character which Paul would give to an experience of his as he experiences it would cohere with Jane's character when she subsequently q-remembers it. I have elsewhere raised the knottier problem of mnemonic geography, of the position of each particular memory within our mnemonic faculty as a whole, of its relation to our other memories, and of the difficulty of seeing just how this mnemonic geography could be duplicated in many cases of quasi-memory where the mnemonic relation is to run across persons' lives.[35] Whether Jane knows what Paul knew may be of less importance than whether Jane can feel what Paul felt (and whether the two questions can genuinely be kept separate is one that Proust, for one, might wish to deny). Suppose that at the time of his visit to Venice Paul was feeling a delight in Italian architecture, a distaste for seagulls, a dread of large expanses of

open water, a constant nagging feeling that he would have enjoyed the trip more if his feet had not been constantly aching, and so on. Suppose, in other words, that Paul's immediate perceptual experiences are mediated by more abstract and long-term psychological states and dispositions. How much of Paul's affective response may we expect Jane to undergo when she contemplates her Pauline quasi-memories? Since it seems implausible to claim that Jane's set of psychological states and dispositions would exactly match Paul's right down to his distaste for seagulls, the stage would appear to be set for a considerable amount of affective dissonance here unless we grant quasi-memory a purely cognitive and informational role. Such a move would, of course, reduce quasi-memory to the status of a poor relation of real memory and one which could no longer fulfil all of Parfit's requirements. These considerations tend to weaken Parfit's case that any individual mental event can be fully characterised without reference to its owner or originator. Given that Parfit continues to hold this contentious position throughout his examination of a variety of thought experiments, it is therefore hardly surprising that in each case under consideration questions of ownership of mental events are ruled out from the beginning. And it is no less surprising that the conclusions he draws seem to support an essential neo-Humeanism. The method of examination of continuity conditions for personal identity via hypothetical cases and thought experiments inevitably produces an emphasis upon psychological continuity conditions which in the circumstances of bizarre hypotheses lacking the allround support of our existing conceptual framework can mislead us into the ill-founded assumption that psychological continuity conditions are sufficient or can stand alone. When such a situation is combined with Parfit's neo-Humean insistence that psychological events are individually fully characterisable without reference to their owners

then his conclusions appear inevitable. And so we see the outlines emerging of what is a conceptual circularity. NOTES 1 John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Book II, Ch. XXVII, Section 9. 2 Bishop Butler, Appendix to The Analogy of Religion (1736), reprinted in John Perry (ed.), Personal Identity, (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1975), p.100. 3 See, for instance, the papers 'Personal Identity' by H.P. Grice and 'The Soul' by Anthony Quinton, both reprinted in the Perry collection cited above. 4 For the first clear formulation of the idea of quasimemory, together with a discussion of some of the problems arising, see Sydney Shoemaker, SelfKnowledge and Self-Identity, (Cornell, University Press, 1963). 5 This pair of thought experiments is to be found in Williams' paper 'The Self and the Future', Philosophical Review, Vol. 79 (1970), re-printed in his Problems of the Self, (Cambridge, University Press, 1973). 6 Mark Johnston, 'Human Beings', Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 84 (1987), p.71. 7 Mark Johnston, op. cit., p.63. 8 Mark Johnston, op. cit., pp.80-81. 9 Mark Johnston, op. cit., p.60. 10 Paul Snowdon, 'Personal Identity and Brain Transplants', in David Cockburn (ed.), Human Beings, (Cambridge, University Press, 1991), p.125. 11 Richard Wollheim, The Thread of Life, (Cambridge, University Press, 1984), p.11. [Cited below as Wollheim (1)]

12 Richard Wollheim, 'Memory, Experiential Memory and Personal Identity' in MacDonald (ed.) Perception and Identity, (Cornell, University Press, 1979), p.190. [Cited below as Wollheim (2)] 13 Derek Parfit, Reasons and Persons, (Oxford, University Press, 1984), p.217. 14 Derek Parfit, op. cit., p.217. 15 Richard Wollheim (1), op. cit., p.16. 16 Charles Dickens, Hard Times (1854), p.224 in Penguin edition. 17 Richard Wollheim (1), op. cit., p.34. 18 Derek Parfit, op. cit., p.217. 19 See, for instance, Norman Malcolm's 'Three Lectures on Memory' (reprinted in his Knowledge and Certainty, Englewood N.J., Prentice Hall, 1963.) or C. B. Martin and Max Deutscher's 'Remembering' (Philosophical Review, 1966, pp.161-196) for two differing but highly influential analyses of memory and its contribution to epistemology. 20 John Locke, op. cit., Book II, Ch. XXVII, Section 9. 21 These were recognized by Shoemaker in his Self Knowledge and Self-Identity (cited above) and were explored more fully in his later paper 'Persons and Their Pasts', American Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 7. (1970), pp.269-285. 22 David Wiggins has referred to these problems in a number of places. Perhaps the clearest formulation of his belief in the impossibility of founding a coherent epistemology upon quasimemory is to be found in his unpublished paper 'Remembering Directly'. 23 In an unpublished paper entitled 'Quasi-Memory: Its Epistemological Nature and Consequences' (University of London M.A. Dissertation, 1991). 24 It is perhaps surprising that this view of memory

is not emphasised more in philosophy since it is both an orthodox and influential view in psychology. It is, of course, this view of memory which Proust explores in A La Recherche du Temps Perdu. 25 Richard Wollheim (1), op. cit., p.16. 26 See Peter Unger, Identity, Consciousness and Value, (Oxford, University Press, 1990), p.36. for Unger's discussion of these doctrines. 27 See Derek Parfit, op. cit., pp.209ff. 28 See Peter Unger, op.cit., pp.4ff. 29 Derek Parfit, op. cit., p.223. 30 See John Locke, op. cit., Book II, Ch. XXVII, especially Sections 8 to 11. 31 Derek Parfit, op. cit., p.217. 32 Derek Parfit, op. cit., p.225. 33 Derek Parfit, op. cit., p.220. 34 Richard Wollheim (2), op. cit., p.210. 35 In the paper cited in Note 23 above.

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