David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (3):594-623 (2012)
What happens to a person in a case of ﬁssion? Does it survive? Does it go out of existence? Or is the outcome indeterminate? Since each description of ﬁssion based on the persistence conditions associated with our ordinary concept of a person seems to clash with one or more platitudes of common sense about the spatiotemporal proﬁle of macroscopic objects, ﬁssion threatens the common-sense conception of persons with inconsistency. Standard responses to this paradox agree that the common-sense conception of persons is unstable, differing over which part of the conception requires revision. I will show that this entrenched view of ﬁssion is not compulsory. I will develop a solution to the paradox that maintains the consistency of the common-sense conception of persons on the basis of an ontology of persons and other ordinary objects as double-layered compounds. Each of various descriptions of the outcome of personal ﬁssion is compatible with principles about the spatiotemporal proﬁle of persons, because the descriptions and the principles manifest diﬀerent perspectives on persons and are made true or false by diﬀerent ontological components of the latter. What holds for the ﬁssion of persons, holds for the ﬁssion of other kinds of objects
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