David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Value Inquiry 33 (2):183-199 (1999)
Ethical theories must include an account of the concept of a person. They also need a criterion of personal identity over time. This requirement is most needed in theories involving distributions of resources or questions of moral responsibility. For instance, in using ethical theories involving compensations of burdens, we must be able to keep track of the identities of persons earlier burdened in order to ensure that they are the same people who now are to receive the compensatory benefits. Similarly, in order to attribute moral responsibility to someone for an act, we must be able to determine that that person is the same person as the person who performed the act. Unfortunately, ethical theories generally include a concept of a person and criteria of personal identity either as notions implied or presupposed by the already worked out theory, with little or no argument given in support of them. But both approaches are unsatisfactory, for each runs the risk of ignoring certain fundamental features of the way persons actually are. What is needed first is a plausible metaphysical account of persons and personal identity to which an ethical theory might then conform and apply. Derek Parfit has attempted to provide such an account in Reasons and Persons, where he argues for what he calls the reductionist view of persons and personal identity and then attempts to show how such a conception provides a metaphysical background that lends important partial support to utilitarianism. 1 But Parfit’s metaphysical view is neutral between two possible conceptions of personhood, and utilitarianism presupposes the truth of the more radical of the two conceptions, which precludes the possibility of there being a class of goods crucial to any plausible ethical theory. Utilitarianism thus presupposes a wildly implausible conception of persons, and so is itself implausible
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Roy W. Perrett & Charles Barton (1999). Personal Identity, Reductionism, and the Necessity of Origins. Erkenntnis 51 (2-3):277-94.
Amy Kind (2004). The Metaphysics of Personal Identity and Our Special Concern for the Future. Metaphilosophy 35 (4):536-553.
Trenton Merricks (1999). Endurance, Psychological Continuity, and the Importance of Personal Identity. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (4):983-997.
Marc Slors (2004). The Closest Continuer View Revisited. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 4 (3):387-402.
Marya Schechtman (2005). Experience, Agency, and Personal Identity. Social Philosophy and Policy 22 (2):1-24.
Kim Atkins (2000). Personal Identity and the Importance of One's Own Body: A Response to Derek Parfit. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 8 (3):329 – 349.
Timothy Chappell (1998). Reductionism About Persons; and What Matters. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 98 (1):41-58.
Tove Finnestad (2001). Trivial Personal Differences. Philosophical Papers 30 (1):41-55.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads43 ( #42,484 of 1,101,947 )
Recent downloads (6 months)9 ( #28,723 of 1,101,947 )
How can I increase my downloads?