British Political and Moral Philosopher, Metaphysician
The idea of soul, as a pure ego or mental substance, persists tenaciously in philosophy. I have argued that it cannot satisfactorily discharge the various tasks for which it has been recruited. The body, with marginal, speculative and dependent exceptions, is all that is required to individuate experiences and to supply then with an owner. An unobservable mental substance cannot individuate and provides a merely formal, because wholly inscrutable, solution to the problem of ownership. It is equally, and even more obviously, inept as an explanation of the identity of a person through time, which rests, not on the body, but on the complex of a person’s character and memories, related by continuity.