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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2021-22

PHIL 50.09 Personal Identity and the Self

What sorts of beings are we? Embodied psychologies? Thinking animals? Moral agents? Narrative constructs? The metaphysical questions are abiding ones because of their intrinsic interest, and also because of their rich connections to developing theories of human biology, psychology, value, freedom, and agency. We will investigate which features, if any, are essential to the sorts of beings we are. We will ask after the grounds for existence and persistence of such beings across time (e.g. biological capacities, self-reflective capacities, rational agency). We will consider models of self-constitution, self-knowledge and self-deception. If time permits, the course will conclude with an exploration of the impact of psychological fragmentation on personhood, self-constitution and agency.


Two Philosophy courses, or permission of the instructor.

Distributive and/or World Culture


The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.