About this topic
Summary For many, the motivation to investigate personal identity is its seemingly tight (and perhaps grounding) connection to many normative concerns.  These include moral responsibility, compensation, prudence, various moral emotions (e.g., guilt, shame, and pride), abortion, definition of death, advance directives, genetic manipulation, and population ethics.  The relation between identity and these practical concerns is controversial, however, with several theorists questioning whether identity has much, or any, bearing on them at all.
Key works John Locke first explicitly explored the relation between personal identity and moral responsibility (see Perry 1975).  The first major contemporary explorer of these issues was Derek Parfit, in Parfit 1971, Parfit 1973, followed by a more wide-ranging discussion in Part III of Parfit 1984.  Other significant works on various aspects of the topic include Williams 1981, Johnston 1987, Korsgaard 1989, Jeske 1993, Schechtman 1996, Brink 1997, Olson 1997, Conee 1999, McMahan 2002, DeGrazia 2005, and Shoemaker 2007.
Introductions Encyclopedia entry: Shoemaker 2008.  Introductory books: DeGrazia 2005 and Shoemaker 2008.
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  1. Malcolm Acock (1981). Justification and Survival. Philosophical Studies 39 (3):247 - 261.
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  2. Gil anidjar (2004). On Cultural Survival. Angelaki 9 (2):5 – 15.
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  3. James Baillie (1997). Personal Identity and Mental Content. Philosophical Psychology 10 (3):323-33.
    In this paper, I attempt to map out the 'logical geography' of the territory in which issues of mental content and of personal identity meet. In particular, I investigate the possibility of combining a psychological criterion of personal identity with an externalist theory of content. I argue that this can be done, but only by accepting an assumption that has been widely accepted but barely argued for, namely that when someone switches linguistic communities, the contents of their thoughts do not (...)
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  4. James Baillie (1993). Recent Work on Personal Identity. Philosophical Books 34 (4):193-206.
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  5. D. P. Baker (1999). Taylor and Parfit on Personal Identity: A Response to Lotter [1]. South African Journal of Philosophy 18 (3).
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  6. Z. Bauman (1992). Survival as a Social Construct. Theory, Culture and Society 9 (1):1-36.
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  7. S. Beck (1987). In Defence of Self-Interest: A Response to Parfit. South African Journal of Philosophy 6 (4):119-124.
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  8. Kathy Behrendt (2005). Impersonal Identity and Corrupting Concepts. Southern Journal of Philosophy 43 (2):159-188.
    How does the concept of a person affect our beliefs about ourselves and the world? In an intriguing recent addition to his established Reductionist view of personal identity, Derek Parfit speculates that there could be beings who do not possess the concept of a person. Where we talk and think about persons, selves, subjects, or agents, they talk and think about sequences of thoughts and experiences related to a particular brain and body. Nevertheless their knowledge and experience of the world (...)
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  9. Kathy Behrendt (2003). The New Neo-Kantian and Reductionist Debate. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 84 (4):331-350.
    Has Derek Parfit modified his views on personal identity in light of Quassim Cassam’s neo-Kantian argument that to experience the world as objective, we must think of ourselves as enduring subjects of experience? Both parties suggest there is no longer a serious dispute between them. I retrace the path that led to this truce, and contend that the debate remains open. Parfit’s recent work reveals a re-formulation of his ostensibly abandoned claim that there could be impersonal descriptions of reality. I (...)
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  10. Kathy Behrendt (2002). Derek Parfit. In Leemon McHenry, P. Dematteis & P. Fosl (eds.), British Philosophers, 1800-2000. Bruccoli Clark Layman. 262--168.
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  11. Simon Blackburn (1997). Has Kant Refuted Parfit? In J. Dancy (ed.), Reading Parfit. Blackwell. 180--201.
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  12. C. P. Blacker (1961). People! Challenge to Survival. The Eugenics Review 53 (2):99.
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  13. Paul Bloomfield (1957). Let's Have a Better World: A Program for Progress and Survival. The Eugenics Review 48 (4):226.
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  14. Rachael Briggs & Daniel Nolan (forthcoming). Utility Monsters for the Fission Age. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
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  15. Mark T. Brown (1990). Why Individual Identity Matters. Southwest Philosophy Review 6 (1):99-104.
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  16. Daniel Callahan (1985). The Tyranny of Survival and Other Pathologies of Civilized Life. University Press of America.
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  17. W. R. Carter (1983). Artifacts of Theseus: Fact and Fission. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (3):248 – 265.
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  18. Helen Morris Cartwright (1993). On Two Arguments for the Indeterminacy of Personal Identity. Synthese 95 (2):241-273.
    Both arguments are based on the breakdown of normal criteria of identity in certain science-fictional circumstances. In one case, normal criteria would support the identity of person A with each of two other persons, B and C; and it is argued that, in the imagined circumstances, A=B and A=C have no truth value. In the other, a series or spectrum of cases is tailored to a sorites argument. At one end of the spectrum, persons A and B are such that (...)
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  19. Quassim Cassam (1989). Kant and Reductionism. Review of Metaphysics 43 (September):72-106.
  20. Furio Cerutti (2015). Humankind's First Fundamental Right: Survival. Constellations 22 (1):59-67.
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  21. J. Coatman & E. E. Harris (1951). The Survival of Political Man. Philosophical Quarterly 1 (3):287.
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  22. Wesley Cooper (2008). Nozick, Parfit, and Platonic Glasses. Sorites 20:98-116.
    The Closest-Continuer schema of identity is distinguished here from the Closest-Continuer theory of personal identity, the latter applying the former to personal identity by reference to the self's self-defining activity. Nozick's «Platonic glasses» mode of conceptualizing personal identity is defended against Parfit's objections and extended beyond hypothetical branching to the actual branching hypothesized by the «no-collapse» theories of quantum mechanics. The reader may wish to consult Lev Vaidman's Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy essay, «Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics», for an accessible (...)
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  23. Kevin J. Corcoran (2001). Physical Persons and Postmortem Survival Without Temporal Gaps. In , Soul, Body, and Survival. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
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  24. Rita D. Costello (forthcoming). Survival Training. Feminist Studies.
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  25. Jonathan Dancy (1997). Parfit and Indirectly Self-Defeating Theories. In J. Dancy (ed.), Reading Parfit. Blackwell. 1--23.
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  26. Rem B. Edwards (1983). Matters of Faith and Matters of Principle. Review of Metaphysics 36 (4):956-958.
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  27. Douglas Ehring (2013). Why Parfit Did Not Go Far Enough. Philosophical Studies 165 (1):133-149.
    Parfit has argued for the revolutionary thesis that personal identity does not matter in ordinary survival, only the R-relation does. “Reconciliationists,” such as Lewis, have tried to stop this revolution, arguing that both personal identity and the R-relation matter. The disagreement has been between those who hold that only the R-relation matters and those who hold that, in addition, personal identity matters. But there is a third option. I argue that Parfit is right that personal identity does not matter but (...)
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  28. Christopher Evers (1995). Parfit's Polymerous Persons. Cogito 9 (2):126-130.
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  29. D. Favrholdt (1990). Some Reflections on Parfit's Discussion of Personal Identity. Danish Yearbook of Philosophy 25:7-21.
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  30. Andrew Feenberg (1979). Beyond the Politics of Survival. Theory and Society 7 (3):319-361.
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  31. R. Austin Freeman (1940). Culture and Survival. The Eugenics Review 32 (2):59.
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  32. Sharon Friedman (1968). Man's Survival in a Changing World. BioScience 18 (10):981-982.
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  33. Gilbert Fulmer (1989). Science and Survival. Southwest Philosophical Studies 11.
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  34. Charles J. Gallagher (1941). Survival Till Seventeen. Thought 16 (3):549-550.
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  35. Brian J. Garrett (1990). Personal Identity and Extrinsicness. Philosophical Studies 59 (2):177-194.
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  36. Amihud Gilead (2014). We Are Not Replicable. International Philosophical Quarterly 54 (4):453-460.
    Challenging the idea of personal identity, Derek Parfit has argued that persons are replicable and that personal identity does not really matter. In a recent paper Parfit again defends the idea of personal replicability. Challenging this idea in turn, I explain why persons are absolutely not replicable. To prove this I rely on two arguments—the Author Argument and the Love Argument. The irreplicability of persons relies upon the singularity of each person and thus entails that personal identity is irreducible and (...)
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  37. Walter Glannon (1998). Moral Responsibility and Personal Identity. American Philosophical Quarterly 35 (3):231 - 249.
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  38. Rita M. Gross (2003). Some Reflections About Community and Survival. Buddhist-Christian Studies 23 (1):3-19.
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  39. Jennifer Hawkins (2006). Review of David DeGrazia, Human Identity and Bioethics. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2006 (7).
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  40. Ferdinand A. Hermens (1946). Values for Survival. Thought 21 (4):683-685.
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  41. David Hershenov, Organisms, Persons and Bioethics.
    My contention is that considering a person to be co-located with an organism, or one of its\nspatial or temporal parts, gives rise to a host of problems as a result of there then being too many\nthinkers. These problems, which Olson has emphasized, can be mitigated (somewhat) by a\nNoonan-style pronoun revisionism. But doing so will have very unwelcome consequences for\nbioethics as autonomy, informed consent, advance directives and substituted judgment will be\nimpossible for the human animal. I count it as a point in (...)
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  42. Brad Hooker (1992). Parfit's Arguments for the Present-Aim Theory. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 70 (1):61 – 75.
    This paper has been about the question of what there is most reason to doin situations in which either there are no moral considerations to be takeninto account or the moral considerations to be taken into account are equally balanced. I have assessed all Parfit's arguments for concluding that the Present-aim Theory is right and the Self-interest Theory wrong aboutthis question. In § III, I showed how Parfit's argument from personal identity leads not to the abandonment of the Self-interest Theory, (...)
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  43. Nathan Houser (2013). Signs and Survival. American Journal of Semiotics 29 (1/4):1 - 16.
    The themes of SSA 2006, “The Future of Semiotics”, and of SSA 2007, “Semiotics and Survival”, are linked by an initial consideration of the prospects for the survival of semiotics as a discipline. Since its separation from philosophy in the United States in the mid-twentieth century and its founding as a separate multi-disciplinary study, semiotics has faced an uphill battle for acceptance in the academy. The pervasive dogma of physicalism, which rejects outright the idea of semiosis as non-reducible to physical (...)
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  44. E. M. Huby (1976). Some Aspects of the Problem of Survival. In Shivesh Chandra Thakur (ed.), Philosophy and Psychical Research. Humanities Press. 122--141.
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  45. Hud Hudson (2009). Fission, Freedom, and the Fall. In Jonathan L. Kvanvig (ed.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion: Volume 2. Oup Oxford.
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  46. Paul Hurley & Rivka Weinberg (2014). Whose Problem is Non-Identity? Journal of Moral Philosophy 11 (4).
    Teleological theories of reason and value, upon which all reasons are fundamentally reasons to realize states of affairs that are in some respect best, cannot account for the intuition that victims in non-identity cases have been wronged. Many philosophers, however, reject such theories in favor of alternatives that recognize fundamentally non-teleological reasons, second-personal reasons that reflect a moral significance each person has that is not grounded in the teleologist’s appeal to outcomes. Such deontological accounts appear to be better positioned to (...)
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  47. M. W. J. (1961). Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death. [REVIEW] Review of Metaphysics 15 (2):345-345.
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  48. L. P. Jacks (1917). The Theory of Survival in the Light of Its Context. Hibbert Journal 15 (2).
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  49. Heather Johnson (1996). The Survival of the Author. Literature & Aesthetics 6:79-90.
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  50. Marko Jurjako (2011). Parfit's Chellenges. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 11 (2):237-248.
    In his long-awaited book On What Matters Parfit develops a normative theory that covers a whole range of normative concepts, from reasons and rationality to questions of moral progress and meaning of life. This paper focuses on Parfit*s view on reasons and rationality, and especially concentrates on three theses that are implicitly or explicitly endorsed by Parfit. The theses are: 1) the concept of a normative reason cannot be explicated in a non-circular way, 2) rationality of non-normative beliefs never influences (...)
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