Organon F

Volume 29, May 2022, Issue 2, Pages 275–282

ISSN 2585-7150 (online) ISSN 1335-0668 (print)

Research Article

The Personite Problem and the Stage-Theoretic Reply

Harold Noonan


Personites are shorter-lived, person-like things that extend across part of a person’s life. Their existence follows from the standard perdurance view of persons. Johnston argues that it has bizarre moral consequences. For example, it renders morally problematic spending time learning a difficult language in anticipation of going abroad. The crucial thought is that if persons have moral status so do personites. Johnston argues for this claim. Kaiserman responds, on behalf of stage theory, that this only works on a perdurantist account. This is a conservative response to the problem. It seeks to show that retaining the ontology of perdurantism one can resolve the difficulty by a semantic change. I show that the personite problem can be reworked as an argument against stage theorists. The stage theorist can respond by rejecting an assumption of the reasoning. But if it is acceptable for him to do so the perdurantist can reject this assumption too, which is enough by itself to block Johnston’s argument. Thus, for all it helps with the personite problem, stage theorists might as well be perdurantists.


Personites; perdurance; stage-theory; moral status; Johnston.

Author(s) and affiliation(s)


Harold Noonan


University of Nottingham


University of Nottingham, Department of Philosophy, Room C41 Humanities, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK


About this article


21 July 2021


28 August 2021

Published online

15 October 2021


Institute of Philosophy of the Slovak Academy of Sciences

Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Cite as


Noonan, H. (2022). The Personite Problem and the Stage-Theoretic Reply. Organon F29(2), 275–282.


Noonan, Harold. 2022. "The Personite Problem and the Stage-Theoretic Reply." Organon F 29 (2): 275–282.


Noonan, H. (2022). The Personite Problem and the Stage-Theoretic Reply. Organon F, 29(2), pp. 275–282.

Copyright information

© Harold Noonan

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