Stathis writes

> I am not so sure that the standard model of personal identity with which we 
> are familiar would be a universal standard. Imagine
intelligent beings evolved from hive insects which go through several radically 
different life stages, frequently share genetic
information with each other like bacteria, identify self and others via 
pheromones which can change or be transferred to other
individuals... the possibilities are endless. These beings would have an 
utterly alien psychology, ethics, aesthetics, and probably
also an utterly alien sense of what it means to be a person, including what it 
means to be the same person from one life stage to

Yes, I think that that is right.

> However, if they were intelligent, they would come up with the same 
> scientific truths as us, even if they thought about them very
differently, because such truths are in a fundamental sense 


> Perhaps we have reached a consensus of sorts (Brent and Lee, let me know if 
> you disagree): evolution has given us brains hardwired
with a sense of continuity of personal identity over time for very good 
reasons, but it could have been otherwise,

Otherwise in the sense that if we were like insects (instead of mammals, or 
maybe just
large primate-like creatures), yes, we might not have this lingering notion 
that we
are the same people from day to day. And the sense that (I claim) young people 
that they will not be the same people when they are old.

> and it would not have been inconsistent with any logical or empirical fact 
> about the
> world had it been otherwise.

Yes, that seems so too: though no tribe of humans (or even lions, for that 
would ever develop the notion of "day-persons" (see Mike Perry's book, Forever 
All for his independent discussion of day-persons), that is indeed a contingent
fact of evolution.

> On the other hand, evolution has also given us brains which tend to believe 
> that the Earth is flat and that there is an absolute
up and down in the universe, also for fairly good reasons. However, in the 
latter case, the received belief *is* inconsistent with
empirical facts about the world.

Only inconsistent, of course, when data became available that was not available
in the EEA (Environment of Early Adapteness).

> This is a basic, and I think not immediately obvious, difference between 
> beliefs about personal identity and logical or empirical

I would agree.


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