Une personne qui fête son 90ième anniversaire se souvient peut-être des jeux qu’elle a jouer avec les enfants du voisinage quand elle avait 5 ans et de la joie qu’elle a ressenti au retour de son frère après une longue absence. Dire qu’elle se souvient de ses moments présuppose que c’est bien elle, cette même personne, qui les a vécus.

Mais en quoi consiste cette identité entre la personne âgée et l’enfant qu’elle était ? Cette question est au centre du débat sur l’identité à travers le temps de personnes (« transtemporal personal identity »).

A similar question can be asked not about identity across time but about identity across possible worlds. Would you, the very same individual conscious subject you are, exist if, for instance, world war II had not taken place? Hard to know, perhaps impossible to find a justified reply.

The philosophically interesting issue, however, does not concern the question of how we should answer. Rather, it is this: what would make it the case that you exist in different circumstances? Is a world containing someone who resembles you in all physical and mental respects a world containing you? Or could such a world be one in which you never started experiencing anything because you would not be there at all?  - This is the question about individuality which we may be put like this: what makes a person or a conscious being in general the one it is?

At least some sessions (perhaps all) will be devoted to the debate around identity and individuality of conscious subjects. But the seminar is open as well for topics proposed by the participants. Please feel free to propose sessions about themes you would like to work on (e.g. in the context of your MA thesis) if they belong, in a broad sense, to the philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, metaphysics or epistemology.