Maxims do not merely express what kind of a person one is; they constitute that person, in some sense. They constitute the person as character. In other words, to have a certain set of maxims and to have character (or to be a person) is one and the same thing. This is perhaps the most important point of Kant’s anthropological discussion of maxims. Maxims are character-constituting principles. They make us who we are, and without them we are, at least according to Kant, nobody.
Manfred Kuehn, Kant: A Biography, Cambridge, 2001, p. 146
Identity does not emanate from consciousness but from structures of character that antedate and underpin our superficial, momentary thoughts, feelings, and volitions. Sylvia, Peter, Keith, Beverly, Aubrey, and Nicola will still be who they are no matter what they think or intend or attempt to do at any particular moment. When what one is is constituted by an entire body of lived experience, the relative importance of passing states of consciousness pales.
Ray Carney, The Films of Mike Leigh: Embracing the World, Cambridge, 2000, p. 18