A new argument for the phenomenal approach to personal persistence

  • Matt DuncanEmail author


When it comes to personal identity, two approaches have long ruled the roost. The first is the psychological approach, which has it that our persistence through time consists in the continuance of certain of our psychological traits, such as our memories, beliefs, desires, or personality. The second is the biological approach, according to which personal persistence consists in continuity in our physical or biological makeup. Amid the bipartite reign of these approaches, a third contender has emerged: the phenomenal approach. On this approach, personal persistence consists in continuity in phenomenal consciousness or the capacity for phenomenal consciousness. In this paper I will introduce and defend a new argument for the phenomenal approach. In the process, I will argue against the psychological and biological approaches. I will also address some lingering questions and outline further ways to develop the phenomenal approach.


Personal identity Personal persistence Persons Identity Experience Phenomenal consciousness 



Thanks to Ross Cameron, Nina Emery, Mark Fiocco, Brie Gertler, Harold Langsam, Trenton Merricks, Paul Nedelisky, Adam Pautz, Nick Rimmel, Tomoji Shogenji, Jack Spencer, and an anonymous referee for helpful comments and/or conversations on various versions of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rhode Island CollegeProvidenceUSA

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