Philosophy & Technology

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 345–361 | Cite as

Horizons, PIOs, and Bad Faith

Special Issue

Abstract

I begin by comparing the question of what constitutes continuity of Personal Identity Online (PIO), to the traditional question of whether personal identity is constituted by psychological or physical continuity, bringing out the compelling but, I aim to show, ultimately misleading reasons for thinking only psychological continuity has application to PIO. After introducing and defending J.J. Valberg’s horizonal conception of consciousness, I show how it deepens our understanding of psychological and physical continuity accounts of personal identity, while revealing their shortcomings. I then argue that PIO must also be understood against the backdrop of the horizonal conception, that this undermines sharp dichotomies between online and offline identity, and that although online psychological continuity might become necessary for the preservation of our personal identities, we cannot become our PIOs. Finally, I argue that if PIO is understood solely in terms of psychological continuity, any increasing identification with our PIOs assumes the form of a paradigmatic project of bad faith: a technological reduction of our self-consciousness, rather than the enhancement it should be.

Keywords

Personal Identity Online (PIO) Personal identity Consciousness Valberg Horizons Bad faith 

References

  1. Bell, D., Loader, B., Pleace, N., & Shuler, D. (Eds.). (2004). Cyberculture: The key concepts. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Block, N. (1978). ‘Troubles with Functionalism’, in C. Wade Savage (ed.) Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 9: 261–325.Google Scholar
  3. Burge, T. (1979). ‘Individualism and the mental’. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 4, 73–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Clark, A., & Chalmers, D. (1998). ‘The extended mind’. Analysis, 58, 7–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Crawford, S. (2006). ‘Who’s in charge of who I am? Identity and law online’, in J. Balkin and B. Noveck (eds.) The state of play: Laws, games, and virtual worlds. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Dennett, D. (1992). ‘The self as a center of narrative gravity’. In F. Kessel, P. Cole, & D. Johnson (Eds.), Self and consciousness: Multiple perspectives. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  7. Dreyfus, H. (2001). On the Internet. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Ess, C. (2011). ‘Self, community, and ethics in digital mediatized worlds’. In C. Ess & M. Thorseth (Eds.), Trust and virtual worlds: Contemporary perspectives. New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  9. Ess, C., & Thorseth, M. (2011). ‘Introduction’ in their (eds.) Trust and virtual worlds: Contemporary perspectives, New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  10. Kant, I. (1787/1933). Critique of pure reason, trans. N. Kemp Smith, London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  11. Laurence, S. & Margolis, E. (1999). ‘Concepts and cognitive science’, in their (eds.) Concepts: Core readings, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  12. Locke, J. (1700/1979). An essay concerning human understanding, P. Nidditch (ed.), Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  13. Lui, J. (2006). An introduction to Chinese philosophy: From ancient philosophy to Chinese Buddhism. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  14. Olson, E. (1999). The human animal: Personal identity without psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Papineau, D. (2000). ‘The rise of physicalism’. In M. Stone & J. Wolff (Eds.), The proper ambition of science. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Parfit, D. (1984). Reasons and persons. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  17. Place, U. T. (1956). ‘Is consciousness a brain process?’ British Journal of Psychology, 47, 44–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Putnam, H. (1967). ‘The nature of mental states’, in W. Capitan & D. Merrill (eds.) Art, mind, and religion, Pittsburgh University Press. Reprinted in H. Putnam (1975) Mind, language, and reality: Philosophical papers volume 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Putnam, H. (1970). ‘Is semantics possible?’. Metaphilosophy, 1, 187–201. Reprinted in H. Putnam (1975) Mind, language, and reality: Philosophical papers volume 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Sartre, J-P (1943/1969). Being and nothingness, trans. H. Barnes, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Schechtman, M. (1996). The constitution of selves. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Schopenhauer, A. (1844/1969). The world as will and representation, vol. 1, trans. E.F.J. Payne, Toronto: Dover Publications.Google Scholar
  23. Shoemaker, S. (1984). ‘A materialist’s account’. In S. Shoemaker & R. Swinburne (Eds.), Personal identity. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  24. Søraker, J. (2011). ‘Virtual entities, environments, worlds and reality: Suggested definitions and taxonomy’. In C. Ess & M. Thorseth (Eds.), Trust and virtual worlds: Contemporary perspectives. New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  25. Spaight, T. (2006). ‘Who killed Miss Norway?’, in J. Balkin and B. Noveck (eds.) The state of play: Laws, games, and virtual worlds. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Valberg, J. J. (1992). The puzzle of experience. Oxford: Clarendon.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Valberg, J. J. (2007). Dream, death, and the self. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Williams, B. (1970). ‘The self and the future’. Philosophical Review, 79, 161–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Wittgenstein, L. (1958). The blue and brown books. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy Programme, SPIREKeele UniversityStaffordshireUK

Personalised recommendations