RETENTION OF INDEXICAL BELIEF AND THE NOTION OF PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTINUITY

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Abstract

A widely accepted view in the discussion of personal identity is that the notion of psychological continuity expresses a one–many or many–one relation. This belief is unfounded. A notion of psychological continuity expresses a one–many or many–one relation only if it includes, as a constituent, psychological properties whose relation with their bearers is one–many or many–one; but the relation between an indexical psychological state and its bearer when first tokened is not a one–many or many–one relation. It follows that not all types of psychological continuity may take a one–many or many–one form. This conclusion casts doubt on the Lockean approach to the issue, by showing that the notion of psychological continuity Lockeans rely on may not be available.

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