Personal Identity

Nils Holtug

in Persons, Interests, and Justice

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199580170
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722707 | DOI:
Personal Identity

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According to the Identity View, in order for an individual to have a self‐interest in a future benefit, she must be identical to the beneficiary. Therefore, the exact implications of the Identity View depend on the particular theory of personal identity assumed. However, it is argued that identity is only seen as a plausible condition for self‐interests if we assume that identity is what matters in survival, that is, if we assume that identity is what gives each of us the basis for special concern for our (own) future. If we do not make this assumption, the Identity View will not have the prudential significance it usually is thought to have and which generates our concern with self‐interests in the first place. Parfit's argument for why identity is in fact not what matters in survival is then presented and defended against a number of objections, further implying that the Identity View should be rejected.

Keywords: personal identity; self‐interest; what matters; Parfit; indeterminacy

Chapter.  11623 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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