Modern Western thought tends strongly to assume that human beings are “atomic” individuals – that is, that the human being as an individual is the most basic element or component of society, one that begins and can remain in complete solitude from others. (This atomism is traceable to the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes and the French philosopher René Descartes, but that story is too long to develop here.) Henry Rosemont has characterized this as the “peach-pit” view of human beings. That is, a peach presents us with a surface – one that grows, changes, and finally dies over time. But, underneath these surface changes, is the peach-pit – a stony, hard core that remains (relatively) unchanged over time. The peach-pit is thus closely analogous to traditional Christian and Islamic conceptions of the soul and modern conceptions of the atomistic self. That is, underlying a surface body that grows, changes, and ultimately dies with time there is thought to be the “real” self, the identity that remains the same through time, “underneath” the outward and surface appearances of the mortal body. To be sure, this conception of the self resolves some important philosophical and ethical problems concerning identity – for example, if there is no substantive, real self underneath the constant changes of a body, then who or what is responsible for that body’s actions? That is, if the body associated with “you” committed a terrible crime five years ago, is it reasonable to say something like “that wasn’t really me – I [meaning, my body] have changed and can no longer be held responsible for what I [my body] did five years ago?” Generally, in the modern West, we do think that individuals remain responsible for their acts through time; thinking this way makes sense on the assumption of a “peach-pit” or atomistic self/identity that remains more or less the same over the life-course.