Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||Contra Derek Parfit’s psychological continuity theory, I argue for an externalist conception of what matters in the survival of persons over time. Specifically, I claim that what matters in the survival of persons is the continuation of what I call their “life trajectories.” This condition on the quasi-continuation of the diachronic identity of persons comes from considering the implications of what certain kinds of cases of “complete virtual immersion”-- the immersion of a psychological subject in a completely virtual world, a world in which experiences are de-correlated with events in the objective world. This hypothesis results in some fairly strong conditions on the synchronic identity of persons, conditions that demonstrate that psychological continuity over time is insufficient for having what matters in survival. Of course, the idea that externalist constraints are important in a complete account of what is metaphysically necessary for maintaining persons and what matters in their survival is not new, but I propose my own specific theory about how to understand these constraints. What’s more, I explain in detail why incorporating externalist constraints in an account of what matters in survival proves to rule out fission as a case in which we have what matters equally as much as we do in single case, and unlike the traditional way of rejecting these cases, I do so without requiring a commitment to an identity theory of what matters. The view I offer can also explain our reactions to different virtual immersion scenarios. Therefore, simply on explanatory grounds alone, my view is to be preferred over pure psychological continuity theories.|
|Keywords||Personal identity Psychological continuity theory What matters in survival|
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