Personal Identity


Listen to philosopher Christopher Shields (University of Oxford) on Philosophy Bites talking about personal identity — what makes an individual the same person despite change over time.

This became a topic of particular interest to me when I was doing research for a paper that I presented in July 2007, “Labyrinths of the Self: Different Characters, Identical Bodies in Battlestar Galactica”. I used John Locke’s ideas then and, because I am turning this short conference paper into an essay for publication, I later came across Derek Parfit’s work. Shields discuses Locke, but it is refreshing that he also considers examples from classical philosophy. The philosopher argues for a definition of personal identity as involving the “individual life directionality” of a subject.