XI—Intention and the Self


  • Meeting of the Aristotelian Society held at Senate House, University of London, on 9 May 2011 at 4:15 p.m.


Does intention presuppose personal identity, and what relevance does the issue have for the contemporary personal identity debate? I distinguish three ways in which intention might be said to presuppose personal identity, focusing mainly on causal presupposition and content presupposition. I argue that intention often causally presupposes personal identity. I argue that intention does not content-presuppose personal identity. The former result is a potential basis for a Butlerian circularity objection to Lockean theories of personal identity. The latter result undercuts a prominent Lockean reply to ‘the thinking animal’ objection which has recently supplanted traditional Butlerian circularity objections in the personal identity debate.