A "two cultures" phrasebook

Debra J.H. Mathews, Alan Regenberg, Patrick Duggan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript


This volume is the product of a symposium convened by the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics Program in Ethics and Brain Sciences. The project brought together prominent philosophers and neuroscientists to address the following question: When an individual's personality changes radically, as a consequence of either disease or intervention, should this changed individual still be treated as the same person? Over the course of the symposium, it became clear that different understandings of terms such as person, personhood, and self had a significant influence on the discussion. The varying usage across disciplines caused initial misunderstandings among symposium speakers and participants, frustrating productive conversation. For example, in philosophy, many of these terms are technical, though they are common colloquially. To move beyond these lexical diffrences and thus allow us to address the conceptually driven similarities and differences between the neuroscientists' and philosophers' responses to the issues of personal identity raised by the four case studies, we first spend some time discussing these terms. We describe how the various speakers used the words that proved to be most open to interpretation or differing technical and colloquial uses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPersonal Identity and Fractured Selves
Subtitle of host publicationPerspectives from Philosophy, Ethics, and Neuroscience
PublisherThe Johns Hopkins University Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9780801893384
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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