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date: 12 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the relations between the imagination and the self. It explores the nature of the self, paying particular attention to two core properties of personal identity—individuality and continuity. Individuality is the property of the self whereby one is recognized to be the same kind of thing as other people and yet different and unique. Continuity is the awareness of the temporal extension of the self or the existence of the self across the past, present, and future. The chapter reviews how these two properties of the self develop and the role played in development by the imagination. The individual self is acquired at the end of infancy and is most clearly manifest in phenomena such as self-recognition. In contrast, the continuous self develops over the preschool period and is manifest in a variety of phenomena, including episodic and autobiographical thinking, as well as future-oriented decision making.

Keywords: episodic thinking, future thinking, personal identity, self, self-recognition, temporally extended self

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