Goddard_whole_thesis_2015.pdf (2.82 MB)
The Bionic self : neural implants and threats to identity : implications for selfhood and social relations
thesisposted on 2023-05-27, 14:48 authored by Goddard, Eliza
The key problem this thesis addresses is: What is the impact of neural implants, such as Deep Brain Stimulation or a Cochlear ear implant, on a person's personal identity? Put explicitly: What role do neural implants play in changes in self-understanding, agency and autonomy and what is the significance of these changes for philosophical and practical conceptions of personal identity? I explore the problem of the impacts of neural implants on personal identity through reference to first-personal accounts wherein patients or their family and significant others, express the claim that following the implantation they are no longer themselves or no longer the same person. I apply contemporary approaches to identity, agency and autonomy in moral psychology to argue that the sense of identity at issue in these claims is practical identity, and not metaphysical identity, and that the first-personal accounts reveal aspects of selfhood, raising concerns related to narrative agency and autonomy.
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