Survival and Identity

David Lewis

in Philosophical Papers Volume I

Published in print August 1983 | ISBN: 9780195032048
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833382 | DOI:
Survival and Identity

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Prompted by Derek Parfit's early work on personal identity, Lewis advances the view that persons are best regarded as suitably related aggregates of person‐stages. Parfit argues that what matters in survival is either identity or mental continuity and connectedness; that the two cannot both be what matters in survival (because the former is a one‐one relation and does not admit of degree, whereas the latter can admit of degree and may be a one‐many or many‐one relation); and that what matters in survival is not identity. Contra Parfit, Lewis contends that the opposition is a false one, since it obscures the fact that mental continuity and connectedness is a relation between two person‐stages (i.e., time‐slices of continuant persons), whereas identity is a relation between temporally extended continuant persons with stages at different times. The postscript includes both Lewis’ rejoinder to Parfit's objections, as well as a further defense of person‐stages.

Keywords: fission; fusion; identity; i‐relation; Derek Parfit; John Perry; personal identity; person‐stages; R‐relation; survival; what matters in survival

Chapter.  11924 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy

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