Nothing Matters in Survival

Journal of Ethics 9 (3/4):311 - 330 (2005)
Abstract
Do I have a special reason to care about my future, as opposed to yours? We reject the common belief that I do. Putting our thesis paradoxically, we say that nothing matters in survival: nothing in our continued existence justifies any special self-concern. Such an "extreme" view is standardly tied to ideas about the metaphysics of persons, but not by us. After rejecting various arguments against our thesis, we conclude that simplicity decides in its favor. Throughout the essay we honor Jim Rachels, whose final days exemplified his own unselfish morality as well as the "neutralist" ideal we espouse. As an appendix, we include the last original work to be published by James Rachels, in which he criticizes Sidgwick's most famous defense of egoism.
Keywords Derek Parfit  egoism  Harold Langsam  James Rachels  Jennifer Whiting  my division  personal identity  rationality  self-concern  the extreme claim  what matters in survival
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