March 13, 4:15 pm, Room 5307
Sponsored by the Committee for Interdisciplinary Science Studies
“Two Senses of Self”
University of Arizona
Philosophers have uncovered apparently conflicting patterns of intuitions about personal identity (e.g., Williams and Sider). In some cases, it seems that personal identity depends on the continuity of psychological properties; in other cases, it seems that personal identity is preserved despite a radical discontinuity in psychological properties. Survey studies have shown a similar split in how ordinary people think about the self (Nichols & Bruno). This talk will report a series of new studies that manipulated how people think about the stability of their traits (a la Bartels & Urminsky). This manipulation affects economic decisions and allotment of punishment, but not other future concerns. These results will be interpreted as following from two different senses of self. The proposal that there are two senses of self is bolstered by research on amnesia patients (Klein; Klein & Nichols).