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OntoPerson Report Summary

Project ID: 650216
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.2.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - OntoPerson (The Ontology of Personal Identity)

Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

"Within this project – The Ontology of Personal Identity – it is intended to develop a new approach to human persons, according to which it would be possible, first, to reconcile some thus far mutually contradictory conceptions of the human person and personal identity, second, to solve some of the interpretational difficulties concerning issues related to personal identity and constitution, third, to give a coherent and uncontroversial philosophical two-fold picture of human beings, enabling rational decision-making in the areas that are of practical importance. The central idea which lies at the very bottom of the proposed approach consists in developing a specific novel ontological position with regard to human beings which will subsequently facilitate moral evaluations in the field of applied ethics, particularly with regard to human death. The consecutive research stages of the project are: (1) an analysis of various forms of the socalled simple view with regard to personal identity; an analysis of the criteria of personhood and of the ontological structure of persons; an examination whether the term "person" is a sortal term (resp. whether persons comprise a natural kind); (2) a reconstruction of differences between many versions of animalism; a reconciliation of a specific form of the simple view with a chosen version of animalism; (3) a verification whether the obtained results have any bearing on the debates in philosophical thanatology; an exploration whether the research outcomes can shed some light on certain important moral questions of practical concern (such as, what are necessary and sufficient conditions for a human person to be dead, whether death can be a harm to the one who dies, when is death bad for a person who dies, what attitude should be adopted towards death, whether and how it is possible to harm someone after his or her death, whether the scenario of survival after death is at all coherent). Major accomplishments expected are the following: (i) a differentiation of various forms of the simple view and animalism; (ii) a reconciliation between chosen versions of the simple view and animalism; (iii) an identification of consequences of the obtained outcomes for some issues in applied ethics."

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

"The first stage of the project (an analysis of various forms of the so-called Simple View of personal identity) has resulted in: a) a precise formulation of the doctrine in question; b) the differentiation of two main forms of it: a metaphysical and a methodological one; c) skepticism with regard to the metaphysical interpretation of criteria of identity as certain ontological factors that determine or ground identity (as being something what identity consists in or as truth conditions of identity statements); d) an interpretation, according to which the term “person”, although a classificatory and general term, is not a substance sortal term providing criteria of identity in the metaphysical sense; e) the two-fold interpretation of persistence (via the notions of being wholly present and genidentity); a re-interpretation of Simons’ invariantism for further research purposes.

Within the second phase: (i) two variants of animalism have thus far been specified - a weak and a strong one; (ii) three ways of reconciliation between the Simple View and animalism have initially been put forward (on the first of it, the term "person" is interpreted as a phase (forensic) sortal term, on the second, it is treated as a substantial term, on the third - as a semantically hybrid general term, codifying both normative and metaphysical meanings).

The outcomes of the third phase of the project include the following: (i) on the basis of the animalistically interpreted Simple View (the third version of the reconciliation mentioned above) a new ethical interpretation of moral questions has been set forth; (ii) the notion of intrinsically ethically relevant properties (in Meixner's sense) and the scholastic concept of potentiality (in terms of anthroponomological modality) have been applied to the proposed interpretation.

The following papers have already been published (or are in print):

1. [in English] On Czesław Lejewski’s Ontology, [in:] Tradition of the Lvov-Warsaw School. Ideas and Continuations, Anna Brożek, Alicja Chybińska, Jacek Jadacki and Jan Woleński (eds.), Poznan: Brill Academic Publishers, 177-195.
2. [in English] Criteria of Personal Identity: Reasons Why There Might Not Be Any, [in:] Myśli o języku, nauce i wartościach. Seria druga, A. Brożek, A. Chybińska, M. Grygianiec, M. Tkaczyk (eds.), Warsaw: Semper, 197-213.
3. [in English] Steps Towards Anti-Physicalism, Problemos 89(2016), 7-20.
4. [in Lithuanian] Apie neredukcinę pažiūrą į asmeninę tapatybę, Logos 86(2016), s. 13-27.
5. [in English] Criteria of Identity and Two Modes of Persistence, Filozofia Nauki 2(2016), 1-13.
6. [in English] How to Get Rid of Closure?, Diametros 48(2016), 1-17.
7. [in Polish] Arguments for the Simple View of Personal Identity, Analiza i Egzystencja 34(2016), 5-28.
8. [in Polish] Uwe Meixner’s Modal Argument for Dualism, Filozofia Nauki 3(2016).
9. [in German] Poppersche Herausforderungen für den Materialismus, Logos i Etos (2016).
10. [in Polish] On Personal Identity. Intellectual Affinities between Chisholm and Leibniz, Przegląd Filozoficzny - Nowa Seria (2016).

Papers in preparation or under review:

1. [in English] Prostpects of An Animalistically Oriented Simple View, [in:] M. Szatkowski (ed.), Contemporary Polish Ontology, de Gruyter, Berlin/Boston, 2016.
2. [in Polish] The Simple View of Personal Identity, Diametros (2016).
3. [in Polish] On the Banality of Animalism, Przegląd Filozoficzny - Nowa Seria (2016).
4. [in Lithuanian] Apie animalizmo banalumą.

Participation in conferences:

1) the IIIrd God-Oriented Conference "God, Time, Infinity" (International Center For Formal Ontology, Warsaw)
2) Gemeinsames Augsburger Oberseminar (presentation: "The Ontology of Personal Identity"), Institute of Philosophy, University of Augsburg
3) the VIth International Ontological Workshop 2016, the International Center for Formal Ontology (ICFO)
4) Conference: "Two hundred years of philosophy at the University of Warsaw", Institute of Philosophy, University of Warsaw
5) Conference: "Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, 1646–1716, Jenseits von Zeit und Raum", Institute of Philosophy, University of Warsaw


1) Dr. Bartłomiej Skowron (Warsaw University of Technology, IFCO): "The Topology of Persons and the Problem of Personal Identity" (the 27th of April, 2016, Institute of Philosophy, University of Augsburg)
2) Prof. Dr. Christian Kanzian (Universität Innsbruck): "Personale Vermögen - Personen - Personale Identität" (the 29th of June, 2016, Institute of Philosophy, University of Augsburg)

Seminar (spring semester, 2015/2016):
[together with Prof. U. Meixner] Seminar on personal identity for students of the Institute of Philosophy, University of Augsburg (Hauptseminar: "Person und personale Identität").


1) a visit in the Department of the History of Lithuanian Philosophy, Lithuanian Culture Research Institute in Vilnius.
2) meeting with the members of the Lithuanian Philosophical Society (July, 2016).
3) a paper on my research project, Faculty of Philosophy, Vilnius University."

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

"An additional occupation:

a) reviewing two articles for the volume "The Significance of the Lvov-Warsaw School in European Culture," A. Brożek (ed.), Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities, Amsterdam: Rodopi;
b) reviewing the Post-PhD Thesis of dr M. Piwowarczyk: Podmiot i własności. Analiza podstawowej struktury przedmiotu (Subject and Properties. An Analysis of the Fundamental Structure of Objects), Lublin: Wydawnictwo KUL for the habilitation procedure at the Catholic University of Lublin;
c) reviewing the Post-PhD Thesis of dr J. Hauska (a set of papers: In Defense of Causal Bases, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86(2008), 23-43; (ii) Dispositions and Normal Conditions, Philosophical Studies 39(2008), 219-232; (iii) Dispositions Unmasked, Theoria 75(2009), 304-335; (iv) How to Welcome Spontaneous Manifestations, Mind 124(2015), 147-176.) for the habilitation procedure at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań;
d) cooperation with the Department of the History of Lithuanian Philosophy, Lithuanian Culture Research Institute in Vilnius.
e) reviewing twenty four articles for the volume "Myśli o języku, nauce i wartościach. Seria druga," A. Brożek, A. Chybińska, M. Grygianiec, M. Tkaczyk (eds.), Warsaw: Semper [forthcoming in 2016].
f) participation in Lithuanian Language Four-Week Summer Course (the Lithuanian State Scholarship), 4-29 July 2016, The Department of Lithuanian Studies, Vilnius University (a scholarship from the Lithuanian Ministry of Education and Science) [ ];
g) application for membership in Lithuanian Philosophical Association (18th of July, 2016);
h) membership in Lithuanian Philosophical Association (since the 24th of August, 2016).

Planned seminars in the academic year 2016/2017 (Institute of Philosophy, University of Warsaw):

1) "Introduction to Ontology" (lecture and tutorial, winter and spring semester);
2) "The Ontology of Mind and Physicalism" (winter semester);
3) "The Ontology of Human Being. Selected Issues" (spring semester).

Planned participation in conferences:

1) the VIIIth Seminar of Historians of Polish Philosophy: "Contemporary Polish Philosophy: Contexts, Discussions, and Polemics", Institute of Philosophy, University of Silesia, 21-22 September, 2016;
2) the VIIth International Ontological Workshop: "Substance. A Critical Re-evaluation", the International Center for Formal Ontology (ICFO), 18-19 May, 2017;
3) the Vth International Conference: "Quo vadis, Metaphysics?", the International Center for Formal Ontology (ICFO), 26-28 September, 2017."

Related information

Record Number: 194829 / Last updated on: 2017-02-15
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