Habits: Bridging the gap between personhood and personal identity

Nils Frederic Wagner, Georg Franz Josef Northoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In philosophy, the criteria for personhood (PH) at a specific point in time (synchronic), and the necessary and sufficient conditions of personal identity (PI) over time (diachronic) are traditionally separated. Hence, the transition between both timescales of a person's life remains largely unclear. Personal habits reflect a decision-making (DM) process that binds together synchronic and diachronic timescales. Despite the fact that the actualization of habits takes place synchronically, they presuppose, for the possibility of their generation, time in a diachronic sense. The acquisition of habits therefore rests upon PI over time; that is, the temporal extension of personal decisions is the necessary condition for the possible development of habits. Conceptually, habits can thus be seen as a bridge between synchronic and diachronic timescales of a person's life. In order to investigate the empirical mediation of this temporal linkage, we draw upon the neuronal mechanisms underlying DM; in particular on the distinction between internally and externally guided DM. Externally guided DM relies on external criteria at a specific point in time (synchronic); on a neural level, this has been associated with lateral frontal and parietal brain regions. In contrast, internally guided DM is based on the person's own preferences that involve a more longitudinal and thus diachronic timescale, which has been associated with the brain's intrinsic activity. Habits can be considered to reflect a balance between internally and externally guided DM, which implicates a particular temporal balance between diachronic and synchronic elements, thus linking two different timescales. Based on such evidence, we suggest a habit-based neurophilosophical approach of PH and PI by focusing on the empirically-based linkage between the synchronic and diachronic elements of habits. By doing so, we propose to link together what philosophically has been described and analyzed separately as PH and PI. © 2014 Wagner and Northoff.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Volume8
Issue numberMAY
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Personhood
Habits
Decision Making
Parietal Lobe
Brain

Keywords

  • Decision-making
  • Default-mode network
  • FMRI
  • Habits
  • Personal identity
  • Personhood
  • Resting state
  • article
  • behavior
  • cognition
  • conditioning
  • decision making
  • frontal lobe
  • habit
  • habituation
  • human
  • identity
  • morality
  • parietal lobe
  • personhood
  • philosophy
  • verbal communication

Cite this

Habits: Bridging the gap between personhood and personal identity. / Wagner, Nils Frederic; Northoff, Georg Franz Josef.

In: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Vol. 8, No. MAY, 2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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title = "Habits: Bridging the gap between personhood and personal identity",
abstract = "In philosophy, the criteria for personhood (PH) at a specific point in time (synchronic), and the necessary and sufficient conditions of personal identity (PI) over time (diachronic) are traditionally separated. Hence, the transition between both timescales of a person's life remains largely unclear. Personal habits reflect a decision-making (DM) process that binds together synchronic and diachronic timescales. Despite the fact that the actualization of habits takes place synchronically, they presuppose, for the possibility of their generation, time in a diachronic sense. The acquisition of habits therefore rests upon PI over time; that is, the temporal extension of personal decisions is the necessary condition for the possible development of habits. Conceptually, habits can thus be seen as a bridge between synchronic and diachronic timescales of a person's life. In order to investigate the empirical mediation of this temporal linkage, we draw upon the neuronal mechanisms underlying DM; in particular on the distinction between internally and externally guided DM. Externally guided DM relies on external criteria at a specific point in time (synchronic); on a neural level, this has been associated with lateral frontal and parietal brain regions. In contrast, internally guided DM is based on the person's own preferences that involve a more longitudinal and thus diachronic timescale, which has been associated with the brain's intrinsic activity. Habits can be considered to reflect a balance between internally and externally guided DM, which implicates a particular temporal balance between diachronic and synchronic elements, thus linking two different timescales. Based on such evidence, we suggest a habit-based neurophilosophical approach of PH and PI by focusing on the empirically-based linkage between the synchronic and diachronic elements of habits. By doing so, we propose to link together what philosophically has been described and analyzed separately as PH and PI. {\circledC} 2014 Wagner and Northoff.",
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note = "Cited By :1 Export Date: 11 May 2016 Correspondence Address: Wagner, N.-F.; Royal Ottawa Health Care Group,Mind Brain Imaging and Neuroethics, Institute of Mental Health Research, University of Ottawa, 1145 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, ON K1Z7K4, Canada; email: nils-frederic.wagner@web.de References: Armitage, C.J., Conner, M., Efficacy of the theory of planned behaviour: A meta-analytical review (2001) Br. J. Soc. Psychol, 40, pp. 471-499. , doi: 10.1348/014466601164939; Bratman, M., Reflection, planning, and temporally extended agency (2000) Philos. Rev, 109, pp. 35-61. , doi: 10.1215/00318108-109-1-35; Dennett, D., Conditions of Personhood (1976) TheIdentities of Persons, pp. 175-196. , ed A. Rorty, (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press; Dennett, D., (1996) TheIntentional Stance, , Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; Frankfurt, H., Freedom of the will and the concept of a Person (1971) J. Philos, 68, pp. 5-20. , doi: 10.2307/2024717; Frankfurt, H., (1988) The Importance of What We Care About, , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511818172; Frankfurt, H., The importance of what we care about (1982) Synthese, 53, pp. 257-272. , doi: 10.1007/BF00484902; Kant, I., (1785) Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Kant, I., (1798) Lectures On Anthropology, , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, doi: 10.1017/CB09781139028639; Korsgaard, C., (2009) Self-constitution: Agency, Identity, and Integrity, , New York, NY: 0xford University Press, doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199552795.001.0001; Korsgaard, C., (1996) The Sources of Normativity, , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, doi: 10.1017/CB09780511554476; Lewis, D., Survival and identity (1976) The Identities of Persons, pp. 17-41. , ed A. Rorty (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press; Locke, J., Of Identity and Diversity (1694) An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, pp. 311-333. , Chapter XXVII, ed P. Nidditch (Oxford: Clarendon Press; Nagel, T., Brain bisection and the unity of consciousness (1971) Synthese, 22, pp. 396-413. , doi: 10.1007/BF00413435; Nagel, T., (1986) The ViewFrom Nowhere, , Oxford: Oxford University Press; Nakao, T., Ohira, H., Northoff, G., Distinction between externally vs. internally guided decision-making: Operational differences, meta-analytical comparisons and their theoretical implications (2012) Front. Neurosci, 6, p. 31. , doi: 10.3389/fnins.2012.00031; Noonan, H., (2003) Personal Identity, , 2nd Edn. London: Routledge; Northoff, G., (2001) Personale Identitat Und Operative Eingriffe In Das Gehirn, , Paderborn: Mentis; Northoff, G., Am I my brain? Personal identity and brain identity-a combined philosophical and psychological investigation in brain implants (2004) Philosophia Naturalis, 41, pp. 257-282; Northoff, G., (2014) UnlockingtheBrain, , VolumeI: Coding. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; Northoff, G., (2014) Unlocking TheBrain, , VolumeII: Consciousness. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; Nozick, R., (1981) Philosophical Explanations, , Cambridge: Harvard University Press; Parfit, D., Personal identity (1971) Philos. Rev, 80, pp. 3-27. , doi: 10.2307/2184309; Parfit, D., (1984) Reasons and Persons, , Oxford: Oxford University Press; Parfit, D., Is personal identity what matters? (2007) The Ammonius Foundation, pp. 1-32. , http://www.stafforini.com/txt/parfit_-_is_personal_identity_what_matters.pdf, South Plainfield, NJ), Available online at; Perry, J., Can the self divide? (1972) J. Philos, 69, pp. 463-488. , doi: 10.2307/2025324; Pollard, B., Explaining actions with habits (2006) Am. Philos. Q, 43, pp. 57-68; Schechtman, M., Personhood and the practical (2010) Theor. Med. Bioethics, 31, pp. 271-283. , doi: 10.1007/s11017-010-9149-6; Schechtman, M., (2014) Staying Alive-Personal Identity, Practical Concerns, and The Unity of a Life, , New York, NY: Oxford University Press, doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199684878.001.0001; Shoemaker, S., Persons and their pasts (1970) Am. Philos. Q, 7, pp. 269-285; Shoemaker, S., Personal identity: A materialist's account (1984) Personal Identity, pp. 67-133. , eds S. Shoemaker and R. Swinburne (Oxford: Blackwell; Shoemaker, S., Self and substance (1997) Philos. Perspect, 11, pp. 283-319; Shoemaker, S., Self, body, and coincidence (1999) Proc. Aristotelian Soc, S73, pp. 287-306. , doi: 10.1111/1467-8349.00059; Singer, P., (1979) Practical Ethics, , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Teichert, D., (2000) Personen Und Identitaten, , Berlin; New York, NY: De Gruyter, doi: 10.1515/9783110802320; Wagner, N.-F., (2013) Personenidentitat In Der Welt Der Begegnungen, , Berlin; New York, NY: De Gruyter. doi: 10.1515/9783110336276; Wiggins, D., (1967) Identity and Spatio-Temporal Continuity, , Oxford: Blackwell; Williams, B., The self and the future (1973) Problems of the Self, pp. 46-64. , ed B. Williams, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511621253.006; Wittgenstein, L., (1921) Tractatus Logico Philosophicus, , New York, NY: The Humanities Press; Wood, W., Quinn, J., Kashy, D., Habits in everyday life: Thought, emotion, and action (2002) J. Pers. Soc. Psychol, 83, pp. 1281-1297. , doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.83.6.1281",
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T1 - Habits: Bridging the gap between personhood and personal identity

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AU - Northoff, Georg Franz Josef

N1 - Cited By :1 Export Date: 11 May 2016 Correspondence Address: Wagner, N.-F.; Royal Ottawa Health Care Group,Mind Brain Imaging and Neuroethics, Institute of Mental Health Research, University of Ottawa, 1145 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, ON K1Z7K4, Canada; email: nils-frederic.wagner@web.de References: Armitage, C.J., Conner, M., Efficacy of the theory of planned behaviour: A meta-analytical review (2001) Br. J. Soc. Psychol, 40, pp. 471-499. , doi: 10.1348/014466601164939; Bratman, M., Reflection, planning, and temporally extended agency (2000) Philos. Rev, 109, pp. 35-61. , doi: 10.1215/00318108-109-1-35; Dennett, D., Conditions of Personhood (1976) TheIdentities of Persons, pp. 175-196. , ed A. Rorty, (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press; Dennett, D., (1996) TheIntentional Stance, , Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; Frankfurt, H., Freedom of the will and the concept of a Person (1971) J. Philos, 68, pp. 5-20. , doi: 10.2307/2024717; Frankfurt, H., (1988) The Importance of What We Care About, , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511818172; Frankfurt, H., The importance of what we care about (1982) Synthese, 53, pp. 257-272. , doi: 10.1007/BF00484902; Kant, I., (1785) Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Kant, I., (1798) Lectures On Anthropology, , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, doi: 10.1017/CB09781139028639; Korsgaard, C., (2009) Self-constitution: Agency, Identity, and Integrity, , New York, NY: 0xford University Press, doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199552795.001.0001; Korsgaard, C., (1996) The Sources of Normativity, , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, doi: 10.1017/CB09780511554476; Lewis, D., Survival and identity (1976) The Identities of Persons, pp. 17-41. , ed A. Rorty (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press; Locke, J., Of Identity and Diversity (1694) An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, pp. 311-333. , Chapter XXVII, ed P. Nidditch (Oxford: Clarendon Press; Nagel, T., Brain bisection and the unity of consciousness (1971) Synthese, 22, pp. 396-413. , doi: 10.1007/BF00413435; Nagel, T., (1986) The ViewFrom Nowhere, , Oxford: Oxford University Press; Nakao, T., Ohira, H., Northoff, G., Distinction between externally vs. internally guided decision-making: Operational differences, meta-analytical comparisons and their theoretical implications (2012) Front. Neurosci, 6, p. 31. , doi: 10.3389/fnins.2012.00031; Noonan, H., (2003) Personal Identity, , 2nd Edn. London: Routledge; Northoff, G., (2001) Personale Identitat Und Operative Eingriffe In Das Gehirn, , Paderborn: Mentis; Northoff, G., Am I my brain? Personal identity and brain identity-a combined philosophical and psychological investigation in brain implants (2004) Philosophia Naturalis, 41, pp. 257-282; Northoff, G., (2014) UnlockingtheBrain, , VolumeI: Coding. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; Northoff, G., (2014) Unlocking TheBrain, , VolumeII: Consciousness. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; Nozick, R., (1981) Philosophical Explanations, , Cambridge: Harvard University Press; Parfit, D., Personal identity (1971) Philos. Rev, 80, pp. 3-27. , doi: 10.2307/2184309; Parfit, D., (1984) Reasons and Persons, , Oxford: Oxford University Press; Parfit, D., Is personal identity what matters? (2007) The Ammonius Foundation, pp. 1-32. , http://www.stafforini.com/txt/parfit_-_is_personal_identity_what_matters.pdf, South Plainfield, NJ), Available online at; Perry, J., Can the self divide? (1972) J. Philos, 69, pp. 463-488. , doi: 10.2307/2025324; Pollard, B., Explaining actions with habits (2006) Am. Philos. Q, 43, pp. 57-68; Schechtman, M., Personhood and the practical (2010) Theor. Med. Bioethics, 31, pp. 271-283. , doi: 10.1007/s11017-010-9149-6; Schechtman, M., (2014) Staying Alive-Personal Identity, Practical Concerns, and The Unity of a Life, , New York, NY: Oxford University Press, doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199684878.001.0001; Shoemaker, S., Persons and their pasts (1970) Am. Philos. Q, 7, pp. 269-285; Shoemaker, S., Personal identity: A materialist's account (1984) Personal Identity, pp. 67-133. , eds S. Shoemaker and R. Swinburne (Oxford: Blackwell; Shoemaker, S., Self and substance (1997) Philos. Perspect, 11, pp. 283-319; Shoemaker, S., Self, body, and coincidence (1999) Proc. Aristotelian Soc, S73, pp. 287-306. , doi: 10.1111/1467-8349.00059; Singer, P., (1979) Practical Ethics, , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Teichert, D., (2000) Personen Und Identitaten, , Berlin; New York, NY: De Gruyter, doi: 10.1515/9783110802320; Wagner, N.-F., (2013) Personenidentitat In Der Welt Der Begegnungen, , Berlin; New York, NY: De Gruyter. doi: 10.1515/9783110336276; Wiggins, D., (1967) Identity and Spatio-Temporal Continuity, , Oxford: Blackwell; Williams, B., The self and the future (1973) Problems of the Self, pp. 46-64. , ed B. Williams, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511621253.006; Wittgenstein, L., (1921) Tractatus Logico Philosophicus, , New York, NY: The Humanities Press; Wood, W., Quinn, J., Kashy, D., Habits in everyday life: Thought, emotion, and action (2002) J. Pers. Soc. Psychol, 83, pp. 1281-1297. , doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.83.6.1281

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - In philosophy, the criteria for personhood (PH) at a specific point in time (synchronic), and the necessary and sufficient conditions of personal identity (PI) over time (diachronic) are traditionally separated. Hence, the transition between both timescales of a person's life remains largely unclear. Personal habits reflect a decision-making (DM) process that binds together synchronic and diachronic timescales. Despite the fact that the actualization of habits takes place synchronically, they presuppose, for the possibility of their generation, time in a diachronic sense. The acquisition of habits therefore rests upon PI over time; that is, the temporal extension of personal decisions is the necessary condition for the possible development of habits. Conceptually, habits can thus be seen as a bridge between synchronic and diachronic timescales of a person's life. In order to investigate the empirical mediation of this temporal linkage, we draw upon the neuronal mechanisms underlying DM; in particular on the distinction between internally and externally guided DM. Externally guided DM relies on external criteria at a specific point in time (synchronic); on a neural level, this has been associated with lateral frontal and parietal brain regions. In contrast, internally guided DM is based on the person's own preferences that involve a more longitudinal and thus diachronic timescale, which has been associated with the brain's intrinsic activity. Habits can be considered to reflect a balance between internally and externally guided DM, which implicates a particular temporal balance between diachronic and synchronic elements, thus linking two different timescales. Based on such evidence, we suggest a habit-based neurophilosophical approach of PH and PI by focusing on the empirically-based linkage between the synchronic and diachronic elements of habits. By doing so, we propose to link together what philosophically has been described and analyzed separately as PH and PI. © 2014 Wagner and Northoff.

AB - In philosophy, the criteria for personhood (PH) at a specific point in time (synchronic), and the necessary and sufficient conditions of personal identity (PI) over time (diachronic) are traditionally separated. Hence, the transition between both timescales of a person's life remains largely unclear. Personal habits reflect a decision-making (DM) process that binds together synchronic and diachronic timescales. Despite the fact that the actualization of habits takes place synchronically, they presuppose, for the possibility of their generation, time in a diachronic sense. The acquisition of habits therefore rests upon PI over time; that is, the temporal extension of personal decisions is the necessary condition for the possible development of habits. Conceptually, habits can thus be seen as a bridge between synchronic and diachronic timescales of a person's life. In order to investigate the empirical mediation of this temporal linkage, we draw upon the neuronal mechanisms underlying DM; in particular on the distinction between internally and externally guided DM. Externally guided DM relies on external criteria at a specific point in time (synchronic); on a neural level, this has been associated with lateral frontal and parietal brain regions. In contrast, internally guided DM is based on the person's own preferences that involve a more longitudinal and thus diachronic timescale, which has been associated with the brain's intrinsic activity. Habits can be considered to reflect a balance between internally and externally guided DM, which implicates a particular temporal balance between diachronic and synchronic elements, thus linking two different timescales. Based on such evidence, we suggest a habit-based neurophilosophical approach of PH and PI by focusing on the empirically-based linkage between the synchronic and diachronic elements of habits. By doing so, we propose to link together what philosophically has been described and analyzed separately as PH and PI. © 2014 Wagner and Northoff.

KW - Decision-making

KW - Default-mode network

KW - FMRI

KW - Habits

KW - Personal identity

KW - Personhood

KW - Resting state

KW - article

KW - behavior

KW - cognition

KW - conditioning

KW - decision making

KW - frontal lobe

KW - habit

KW - habituation

KW - human

KW - identity

KW - morality

KW - parietal lobe

KW - personhood

KW - philosophy

KW - verbal communication

U2 - 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00330

DO - 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00330

M3 - Article

VL - 8

JO - Frontiers in Neuroscience

JF - Frontiers in Neuroscience

SN - 1662-4548

IS - MAY

ER -