Affective temperament and personal identity

  • Stanghellini G
  • Rosfort R
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Abstract

The complex relationship between temperament and personal identity, and between these and mental disorders, is of critical interest to both philosophy and psychopathology. More than other living creatures, human beings are constituted and characterized by the interplay of their genotype and phenotype. There appears to be an explanatory gap between the almost perfect genetic identity and the individual differences among humans. One reason for this gap is that a human being is a person besides a physiological organism. We propose an outline of a theoretical model that might somewhat mitigate the explanatory discrepancies between physiological mechanisms and individual human emotional experience and behaviour. Arguing for the pervasive nature of human affectivity, i.e., for the assumption that human consciousness and behaviour is characterised by being permeated by affectivity; to envisage the dynamics of emotional experience, we make use of a three-levelled model of human personal identity that differentiates between factors that are simultaneously at work in the constitution of the individual human person: 1) core emotions, 2) affective temperament types/affective character traits, and 3) personhood. These levels are investigated separately in order to respect the methodological diversity among them (neuroscience, psychopathology, and philosophy), but they are eventually brought together in a hermeneutical account of human personhood. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Affectivity
  • Personal identity
  • Philosophy
  • Psychopathology
  • Temperament

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Authors

  • Giovanni Stanghellini

  • René Rosfort

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