Researcher ORCID Identifier
Campus Only Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
© 2023 Anna Theil
This thesis seeks only to interrogate the simple question: “Who am I?” There are numerous philosophical theories that seek to explain why it is that we seem, intuitively, to believe in a persisting personal identity: a sense in which the me that exists now, sitting in a coffee shop writing this abstract, is identical with the me two months ago, who is identical with the me five years ago, and so on. To what extent am I really the ‘same’, and is there actually such a thing as a personal identity? Are we anything beyond our psychological states? Over the course of this exploration, I discuss, broadly, three theories of personal identity: the Lockean memory account; the Parfitian psychological continuity account; and lastly, the narrative approach. I contend that although none are perfect—none provide a sufficiently complete explanation of our intuitions or are exempt from valid critique—the most appealing theory is a narrative one, which makes the claim that to a certain extent, our identities are self-constitutive.
Theil, Anna, "The Anatomy of Personhood: Exploring Personal Identity" (2023). Scripps Senior Theses. 2111.
This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.