Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Mark Wunderlich




dignity, freedom of will, goals, personal identity, character


This thesis will discuss several personal identity theories and how they may or may not allow for autonomy. As humans we believe we have some special dignity; this concept comes from the idea that we can have choices, goals and beliefs. Our special dignity is dependent largely on the concept that we are free in making our choices. If we were not free to make choices then we cannot hold people responsible for their actions. Our world has been constructed on many aspects of desert: we believe that people deserve praise when they have done something praiseworthy and we believe that we should blame those that are guilty. Desert would mean nothing if our choices were not ours to make. One of the biggest issues with personal identity is its existence through out time. How can we blame someone for an action committed in the past? We seem to think it is because they are the same person. I will be addressing several personal identity theories that attempt to give us a reason why who you are today is the same person you were yesterday.