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Identity, continuity and consciousness

By Mark R. Whittington


It is my intention in this thesis to demonstrate that there exists a clear and explicit formal relationship between the seemingly exclusive descriptions of spatio-temporal and purely temporal continuity, and further, that this relationship manifests itself within our most fundamental understanding of the physical world itself, namely; within our understanding of the identity, diversity and re-identification of material bodies (Book 1). It may therefore be claimed that behind that cultural understanding which leads us to imagine that the physical world is located in both space and time, whereas our thoughts and feelings are located in time alone, there lies a formal logical framework, or an explicit formal description of how being in space and time relates to being in time alone - leading us to wonder, perhaps, whether these two things are really as distinct as we might at first imagine.\ud That I should then go on (albeit without a formal methodology) to apply to this analysis a philosophical interpretation of Bergson's conception of the relationship between the intuition and the intellect (Book 2) is of lesser importance - indicating as it does little more than my own philosophical inclinations. However, something will be gained, I hope, from this further exercise. Along the way it will allow me to clarify a number of technical points of which the general philosopher may be unaware; for example the unobservable nature of numerical identity and re-identification, the importance of the principle of special relativity to the topic of mind and the technical difficulties of claiming that mental events are 'in time' at all.\ud Notwithstanding these latter points, however, the intentions of this work are predominantly analytical and are adequately described as an attempt to consolidate spatio-temporal and purely temporal description under a unified logical framework

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