The Unimportance of Identity

Derek Parfit

in The Oxford Handbook of the Self

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199548019
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

The Unimportance of Identity

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This article examines issues surrounding the importance or unimportance of personal identity. It distinguishes numerical identity from qualitative identity. It argues in defence of constitutional reductionism which holds that a person is reducible to but not identical to bodily and psychological events. It describes the results of some thought experiments (science fiction cases) to show that in many instances we are unable to decide about the identity of the person.

Keywords: personal identity; numerical identity; qualitative identity; constitutional reductionism; psychological events; thought experiments

Article.  11824 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Moral Philosophy ; Metaphysics

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