Careers and quareers: A reply to Burge

Philosophical Review 118 (1):87-102 (2009)
Tyler Burge argues on the basis of an account of memory that the notion of quasimemory cannot be used to answer the circularity objection to psychological accounts of personal identity. His account implies the impossibility of the "Parfit people," creatures psychologically like us who undergo amoeba-like fission at the age of twenty-one, with only one offshoot allowed to survive, and who have "quareers," made up of the career of the original person and the career of the sole survivor, that exhibit the same sort of psychological continuity that characterizes normal human careers, and are such that epistemic warrant is preserved across the episodes of fission and often involves quasimemories that are not memories. But what he says about memory does not support the denial that such creatures are possible. Where he thinks de se attitudes are necessary, de se * attitudes, indexed to quareers instead of to careers, would serve equally well. It is further argued that the circularity objection to psychological accounts can be answered without appeal to the notion of quasi-memory. Because of the internal relations between the causal profiles of mental states and the persistence conditions of their possessors, in principle there can be a "package deal" definition that simultaneously defines both.
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DOI 10.1215/00318108-2008-030
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