Personal Identity and the Phineas Gage Effect

Analysis, Vol. 75 (2015)

15 Pages Posted: 20 May 2015 Last revised: 22 Feb 2021

See all articles by Kevin Tobia

Kevin Tobia

Georgetown University Law Center; Georgetown University - Department of Philosophy

Date Written: May 15, 2015

Abstract

Phineas Gage’s story is typically offered as a paradigm example supporting the view that part of what matters for personal identity is a certain magnitude of similarity between earlier and later individuals. Yet, reconsidering a slight variant of Phineas Gage’s story indicates that it is not just magnitude of similarity, but also the direction of change that affects personal identity judgments; in some cases, changes for the worse are more seen as identity-severing than changes for the better of comparable magnitude. Ironically, thinking carefully about Phineas Gage’s story tells against the thesis it is typically taken to support.

Keywords: personal identity, Phineas Gage

Suggested Citation

Tobia, Kevin, Personal Identity and the Phineas Gage Effect (May 15, 2015). Analysis, Vol. 75 (2015), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2608009 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2608009

Kevin Tobia (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.georgetown.edu/faculty/kevin-tobia/

Georgetown University - Department of Philosophy

37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington, DC 20007
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
300
Abstract Views
2,164
rank
126,880
PlumX Metrics