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The Personite Problem and the Stage-Theoretic Reply

Noonan, Harold

The Personite Problem and the Stage-Theoretic Reply Thumbnail


Professor of Mind and Cognition


Personites are shorter-lived, person-like things that extend across part of a person’s life. Their existence follows from the standard perdurance view of persons. Johnston argues that it has bizarre moral consequences. For example, it renders morally problematic spending time learning a difficult language in anticipation of going abroad. The crucial thought is that if persons have moral status so do personites. Johnston argues for this claim. Kaiserman responds, on behalf of stage theory, that this only works on a perdurantist account. This is a conservative response to the problem. It seeks to show that retaining the ontology of perdurantism one can resolve the difficulty by a semantic change. I show that the personite problem can be reworked as an argument against stage theorists. The stage theorist can respond by rejecting an assumption of the reasoning. But if it is acceptable for him to do so the perdurantist can reject this assumption too, which is enough by itself to block Johnston’s argument. Thus, for all it helps with the personite problem, stage theorists might as well be perdurantists.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 15, 2021
Online Publication Date May 29, 2022
Publication Date 2022-05
Deposit Date Oct 18, 2021
Publicly Available Date May 29, 2022
Journal Organon F
Print ISSN 1335-0668
Electronic ISSN 2585-7150
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 2
Pages 275-282
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