|Abstract||Parfit’s well known book, Reasons and Persons, argues, among other things, that ‘what matters’ in regard to ‘survival’ is not personal identity but something he calls ‘relation R.’ On this basis, plus other considerations, he rejects the ‘Self-interest’ theory as to what should be our aim in life. Here I show, or try to show, that his over-all argument is seriously defective. In particular, he fails to prove that personal identity is not what matters for survival.|
|Keywords||personal identity Self-interest Parfit|
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University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
I wrote this paper back shortly after the second edition of Parfit’s book was published – 1985 or thereabouts. No one wanted to my paper. I was told that there were already too many papers on the topic. These days, it would have fewer competitors. In any case, I think it is still worth reading (for those interested in the topic). Shameless vanity, no doubt.