Fission, sameness, and survival: Parfit's branch line argument revisited
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Metaphysica 1 (2):95-134 (2002)
Parfit’s Branch Line argument is intended to show that the relation of survival is possibly a one-many relation and thus different from numerical identity. I offer a detailed reconstruction of Parfit’s notions of survival and personal identity, and show the argument cannot be coherently formulated within Parfit’s own setting. More specifically, I argue that Parfit’s own specifications imply that the “R-relation”, i.e., the relation claimed to capture of “what matters in survival,” turns out to hold not only along but also across the branches representing the development of a reduplicated person. This curious fact of ‘interbranch survival,’ as I call it, has gone unnoticed so far. The fact that the R-relation also holds across branches creates a trilemma for Parfit’s approach. Either the envisaged notion of personal identity is circular, or the R-relation fails as a reconstruction of the common sense notion of survival, or talk about persons ‘branching’ (being reduplicated etc.) remains semantically empty. In the paper’s last section I suggest that my criticism does not detract from the larger systematic significance of Parfit’s argument. The argument is simply terminologically miscalibrated. Even though Parfit’s branch line argument fails to establish the conceptual separability of survival and identity, it can be used to show the separability of sameness and numerical identity, which should have similar implications for meta-ethics as the original argument.
|Keywords||Metaphysics Personal Identity Sameness Survival Parfit, D|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|External links||This entry has no external links. Add one.|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
John E. Pogue (1993). Identity, Survival, and the Reasonableness of Replication. Southern Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):45-70.
Douglas E. Ehring (1999). Fission, Fusion, and the Parfit Revolution. Philosophical Studies 94 (3):329-32.
Tove Finnestad (2001). Trivial Personal Differences. Philosophical Papers 30 (1):41-55.
Jenefer M. Robinson (1988). Personal Identity and Survival. Journal of Philosophy 85 (June):319-28.
Terence W. Penelhum (1959). Personal Identity, Memory, and Survival. Journal of Philosophy 56 (June):319-328.
Anthony L. Brueckner (1993). Parfit on What Matters in Survival. Philosophical Studies 70 (1):1-22.
Jeremy Allen Byrd (2007). The Perfect Murder: A Philosophical Whodunit. Synthese 157 (1):47 - 58.
Scott Campbell (2005). Is Causation Necessary for What Matters in Survival? Philosophical Studies 126 (3):375-396.
Rebecca Roache (2010). Fission, Cohabitation and the Concern for Future Survival. Analysis 70 (2):256-263.
Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.
Added to index2009-01-28
Recent downloads (6 months)0
How can I increase my downloads?