Are 'persons' physical things, members of the species homo sapiens which exist solely in materialist form, continuous in structure with other living things? Or is the issue a more complex one: are there more dimensions to being a person than mere physical, biological existence? These are matters of interest and discussion in many fields of study in this age of individuality. In this wide-ranging essay, the author addresses various aspects of the issue, including the history of self and identity. The ancient tradition of dualism is rejected in favour of a straightforward holistic and naturalistic account of selfhood; it is argued that the mind arises in an emergent sense from the body and personal identity is best expressed in terms of a self-reflective and meaningful narrative. The approach is principally from an analytic philosophy point of view but also takes on-board psychological and sociological aspects of self and identity.
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Gerard P. Montague is a philosophical counsellor and consultant and teaches at a number of institutions in Germany and elsewhere, including a recent sojourns as guest lecturer in South Korea.
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