Personal Identity and False Memories

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionResearchpeer-review


In current philosophy of mind, there are two main approaches to the question of personal identity. The first one claims that personal identity is based on our memory and, for several decades, has been known as a psychological approach to the problem. The second one has been called an animalistic approach and considers personal identity as a biological property of human beings or as a specific feature of our bodily continuity. The experiment on creating false memories in mice brains, recently conducted at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), seems to shed new light on the question of personal identity, taking into account the fact that the mouse brain is morphologically quite similar to our brain. The purpose of my paper is to consider whether the above-mentioned experiment supports one of the approaches: the psychological or the animalistic. Using the conceptual instrumentarium of contemporary analytic philosophy and cognitive phenomenology, I differentiate between strong and weak false memories and I argue that we cannot consider the conducted experiment to have created false memories in the strong sense. I develop a thought experiment showing what it would be like to experience an implanted (weak) false memory in the human brain. I conclude that there is not and cannot be an experience of the (strong) false memory.
Translated title of the contributionТождество личности и ложные воспоминания
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSoftware Engineering and Formal Methods. SEFM 2020 Collocated Workshops
EditorsLoek Cleophas, Mieke Massink
Place of PublicationSpringer
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-67220-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-67219-5
StatePublished - 2021
EventSoftware Engineering and Formal Methods. SEFM 2020 Collocated Workshops - ASYDE, CIFMA, and CoSim-CPS - Амстердам, Netherlands
Duration: 14 Sep 202015 Sep 2020

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume12524 LNCS


WorkshopSoftware Engineering and Formal Methods. SEFM 2020 Collocated Workshops - ASYDE, CIFMA, and CoSim-CPS

Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


  • Animalism
  • False memory
  • Personal identity

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Personal Identity and False Memories'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this