Agata Filipowicz - 'The Theory of Many Persons, or the Plural Self'. Delivered at the 2015 HPP/DLC Persons and Community colloquium.
The Theory of Many Persons, or the Plural Self In this paper I intend to present the Theory of Many Persons (ToMP). This is the view that many persons occupying one body at the same time. This claim is highly controversial. In order to present the view I shall consider various neuropathologies of mind which I believe are significant for our understanding of the mind and the perception of the self. Examining some of the findings of Experimental Psychology, I believe, makes ToMP less controversial than it might seem prima facie. Similar theories to the ToMP have been presented in the past (i.e. David Lewis’s according to which there are many persons in one body at different times, though there always exists only one person in a body in a given time-slice). However I will take ToMP even further: my claim is that we are dealing not only with the phenomenon of a plurality of persons in one body over different periods of time (as Lewis saw it), but that many persons are present in one body at the same time (within the same time-slice). I shall present several arguments that support ToMP (anchored in both pathological and, so called, normal cases). I will then examine some potential replies. Although these counterarguments cannot be completely dismissed, I believe that they do not undermine the ToMP.