Minds and Machines

, 21:497 | Cite as

Personal Identity, Agency and the Multiplicity Thesis



I consider whether there is a plausible conception of personal identity that can accommodate the ‘Multiplicity Thesis’ (MT), the thesis that some ways of creating and deploying multiple distinct online personae can bring about the existence of multiple persons where before there was only one. I argue that an influential Kantian line of thought, according to which a person is a unified locus of rational agency, is well placed to accommodate the thesis. I set out such a line of thought as developed by Carol Rovane, and consider the conditions that would have to be in place for the possibility identified by MT to be realised. Finally I briefly consider the prospects for MT according to neo-Lockean and animalist views of personhood.


Agency Animalism Dissociative identity disorder Internet addiction MMOGs Neo-Lockeanism Personal identity 



My thanks to two anonymous referees for extremely helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper. This publication was made possible by a research grant awarded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for the project ‘The Construction of Personal Identities Online’, ID No. AH/G011230/1.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of HumanitiesUniversity of HertfordshireHatfield, HertfordshireUK

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