In this Chapter we draw on psychological sciences to put forward a view of the constitution of ourselves as Lockean persons (i.e. as morally responsible agents) as the establishment of a process of self-description that is a unifying, integrative, synthesizing selfing process. In this sense we propose an exercise of Quinean metaphysics. The focus is on the psychobiological synthetic function that originate the subject’s narrative identity, and we take it as the key ingredient in a developmental account of the identity of person as a continuity across time and space that is interpreted reflectively by the agent. Note that this synthesis cannot be a Kantian one. In Kant’s a priori philosophical psychology, the person is always given in its unity, as if the empirical subject was “fixed” to the transcendental subject, i.e., as if the psychological level of analysis was always and in any case guaranteed by the logical/transcendental level of analysis. This, however, does not hold for our synthesizing selfing process: in this case, we will argue, the empirical subject is primarily non-unitary and gains a sense of unity in the act of mobilizing resources against the threat of disgregation.
Di Francesco, M., Marraffa, M., Paternoster, A. (2017). Making the self real. In V. Buonomo (a cura di), The Persistence of Persons. Studies in the metaphysics of personal identity over time (pp. 155-181). Neunkirchen-Seelscheid : Editiones Scholasticae.