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MA Thesis Defense: Amy Umaña

June 18 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Amy Umaña (Cal State Long Beach)
‘The psychological approach to personal identity and dissociative identity disorder’
18 Jun 2021  •  10:00am–12:00pm  •  online

Abstract: There is a long-standing debate between the Biological Approach and the Psychological Approach to personal identity. Both camps have many supporters, and the debate between them is constant and fierce. This thesis contributes to the discussion of personal identity by raising additional difficulties for the widely held Psychological Approach. To find these difficulties, I look at Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). I analyze Derek Parfit’s Psychological Approach and demonstrate that it cannot account for psychiatrists’ conclusions regarding DID. I then argue that, consequently, there are two marks against Parfit’s view. First, I show that Parfit must consider alternate personalities of DID patients as separate persons, contrary to psychiatrists’ conclusions. Second, I argue that if we still choose to accept the Psychological Approach, Parfit must account for a serious moral criticism while the psychiatrists do not. Specifically, Parfit must say that strongly encouraging the reunification of a DID patient with his or her alternative personalities is morally wrong, which is, of course, contrary to the goal of DID therapy. Hence, there are additional difficulties for the Psychological Approach to personal identity.

Oral defenses are open to the public. For a draft copy of the thesis in advance, please contact Amy <amy.harms@student.csulb.edu> directly.


June 18
10:00 am - 12:00 pm




Patrick Dieveney