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Profile: Simon Beck (University of the Western Cape)
  1.  33
    Simon Beck (2015). The Extreme Claim, Psychological Continuity and the Person Life View. South African Journal of Philosophy 34 (3).
    Marya Schechtman has raised a series of worries for the Psychological Continuity Theory of personal identity (PCT) stemming out of what Derek Parfit called the ‘Extreme Claim’. This is roughly the claim that theories like it are unable to explain the importance we attach to personal identity. In her recent Staying Alive (2014), she presents further arguments related to this and sets out a new narrative theory, the Person Life View (PLV), which she sees as solving the problems as well (...)
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  2. Simon Beck (2013). The Misunderstandings of the Self-Understanding View. Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 20 (1):33-42.
    There are two currently popular but quite different ways of answering the question of what constitutes personal identity: the one is usually called the psychological continuity theory (or Psychological View) and the other the narrative theory.1 Despite their differences, they do both claim to be providing an account—the correct account—of what makes someone the same person over time. Marya Schechtman has presented an important argument in this journal (Schechtman 2005) for a version of the narrative view (the ‘Self-Understanding View’) over (...)
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  3.  63
    Simon Beck (2014). Transplant Thought-Experiments: Two Costly Mistakes in Discounting Them. South African Journal of Philosophy 33 (2):189-199.
    ‘Transplant’ thought-experiments, in which the cerebrum is moved from one body to another, have featured in a number of recent discussions in the personal identity literature. Once taken as offering confirmation of some form of psychological continuity theory of identity, arguments from Marya Schechtman and Kathleen Wilkes have contended that this is not the case. Any such apparent support is due to a lack of detail in their description or a reliance on predictions that we are in no position to (...)
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  4.  7
    Simon Beck (2016). Technological Fictions and Personal Identity: On Ricoeur, Schechtman and Analytic Thought Experiments. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 47 (2):117-132.
    Paul Ricoeur and Marya Schechtman express grave doubts about the acceptability and informativeness of the thought-experiments employed by analytic philosophers (notably Derek Parfit) in the debate about personal identity, and for what appear to be related reasons. I consider their reasoning and argue that their reasons fail to justify their doubts. I go on to argue that, from this discussion of possible problems concerning select thought-experiments, something positive can be learned about personal identity.
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  5. Patrick Lenta & Simon Beck (2006). A Sporting Dilemma and its Jurisprudence. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 33 (2):125-143.
    Our purpose in this article is to draw attention to a connection that obtains between two dilemmas from two separate spheres: sports and the law. It is our contention that umpires in the game of cricket may face a dilemma that is similar to a dilemma confronted by legal decision makers and that comparing the nature of the dilemmas, and the arguments advanced to solve them, will serve to advance our understanding of both the law and games.
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  6.  10
    Simon Beck (1993). Counterfactuals and the Law. South African Journal of Philosophy 12 (3).
    This article is concerned with the place counterfactual reasoning occupies in South African law, and how philosophy might be able to help the law. I point out some of the more important and unavoidable uses of counterfactual reasoning in our law. Following this I make some suggestions as to how philosophy, and especially informal logic, can be of help to the law. Finally, I make some suggestions as to how the law in turn can help philosophy.
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  7.  22
    Simon Beck & Stephen de Wijze (2015). Interrogating the ‘Ticking Bomb Scenario’: Reassessing the Thought Experiment. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 29 (1):53-70.
    The aim of this paper is to re-evaluate the manner in which the Ticking Bomb Scenario (TBS), a thought experiment in philosophical enquiry, has been used in the discussion of the justifiability or otherwise of forward-looking interrogational torture (FLIT). The paper argues that criticisms commonly raised against the thought experiment are often inappropriate or irrelevant. A great many criticisms misunderstand the way in which thought experiments in general, and the TBS in particular, are supposed to work in philosophical (and for (...)
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  8. Simon Beck (2008). Going Narrative: Schechtman and the Russians. South African Journal of Philosophy 27 (2):69-79.
    Marya Schechtman's The Constitution of Selves presented an impressive attempt to persuade those working on personal identity to give up mainstream positions and take on a narrative view instead. More recently, she has presented new arguments with a closely related aim. She attempts to convince us to give up the view of identity as a matter of psychological continuity, using Derek Parfit's story of the “Nineteenth Century Russian” as a central example in making the case against Parfit's own view, (...)
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  9. Simon Beck (2009). Martha Nussbaum and the Foundations of Ethics: Identity, Morality and Thought-Experiments. South African Journal of Philosophy 28 (3):261-270.
    Martha Nussbaum has argued in support of the view (supposedly that of Aristotle) that we can, through thought-experiments involving personal identity, find an objective foundation for moral thought without having to appeal to any authority independent of morality. I compare the thought-experiment from Plato’s Philebus that she presents as an example to other thought-experiments involving identity in the literature and argue that this reveals a tension between the sources of authority which Nussbaum invokes for her thought-experiment. I also argue that (...)
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  10. Simon Beck (1989). Parfit and the Russians (Personal Identity and Moral Concepts). Analysis 49 (4):205-209.
  11. Simon Beck (2001). Let's Exist Again (Like We Did Last Summer). South African Journal of Philosophy 20 (2):159-170.
  12. Simon Beck (2011). Can Parables Work? Philosophy and Theology 23 (1):149-165.
    While theories about interpreting biblical and other parables have long realised the importance of readers’ responses to the topic, recent results in social psychology concerning systematic self-deception raise unforeseen problems. In this paper I first set out some of the problems these results pose for the authority of fictional thought-experiments in moral philosophy. I then consider the suggestion that biblical parables face the same problems and as a result cannot work as devices for moral or religious instruction in the way (...)
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  13. Simon Beck (2011). Causal Copersonality: In Defence of the Psychological Continuity Theory. South African Journal of Philosophy 30 (2):244-255.
    The view that an account of personal identity can be provided in terms of psychological continuity has come under fire from an interesting new angle in recent years. Critics from a variety of rival positions have argued that it cannot adequately explain what makes psychological states co-personal (i.e. the states of a single person). The suggestion is that there will inevitably be examples of states that it wrongly ascribes using only the causal connections available to it. In this paper, I (...)
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  14. Simon Beck (2006). Fiction and Fictions: On Ricoeur on the Route to the Self. South African Journal of Philosophy 25 (4):329-335.
    In reaching his narrative view of the self in Oneself as Another, Paul Ricoeur argues that, while literature offers revealing insights into the nature of the self, the sort of fictions involving brain transplants, fission, and so on, that philosophers often take seriously do not (and cannot). My paper is a response to Ricoeur's charge, contending that the arguments Ricoeur rejects are not flawed in the way he suggests, and that his own arguments are sometimes guilty of the very charges (...)
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  15. Simon Beck (2004). Our Identity, Responsibility and Biology. Philosophical Papers:3-14.
    Eric Olson argues in The Human Animal that thought-experiments involving body-swapping do not in the end offer any support to psychological continuity theories, nor do they pose any threat to his Biological View. I argue that he is mistaken in at least the second claim.
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  16. Simon Beck (2010). Morals, Metaphysics and the Method of Cases. South African Journal of Philosophy 29 (4):332-342.
    In this paper I discuss a set of problems concerning the method of cases as it is used in applied ethics and in the metaphysical debate about personal identity. These problems stem from research in social psychology concerning our access to the data with which the method operates. I argue that the issues facing ethics are more worrying than those facing metaphysics.
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  17. Simon Beck (2006). These Bizarre Fictions: Thought-Experiments, Our Psychology and Our Selves. Philosophical Papers 35 (1):29-54.
    Philosophers have traditionally used thought-experiments in their endeavours to find a satisfactory account of the self and personal <span class='Hi'>identity</span>. Yet there are considerations from empirical psychology as well as related ones from philosophy itself that appear to completely undermine the method of thought-experiment. This paper focuses on both sets of considerations and attempts a defence of the method.
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  18.  85
    Simon Beck (2003). Cognition, Persons, Identity. Alternation 10 (1):195-215.
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  19.  43
    Simon Beck (2013). Understanding Ourselves Better. Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 20 (1):51-55.
    Marya Schechtman and Grant Gillett acknowledge that my case in ‘The misunderstandings of the Self-Understanding View’ (2013) has some merits, but neither is moved to change their position and accept that the Psychological View has more going for it (and the Self-Understanding View less) than Schechtman originally contended. Schechtman thinks her case could be better expressed, and then the deficiencies of the Psychological View will be manifest. That view is committed to Locke’s insight about the importance of phenomenological connections to (...)
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  20.  32
    Simon Beck (2013). Am I My Brother's Keeper? On Personal Identity and Responsibility. South African Journal of Philosophy 32 (1):1-9.
    The psychological continuity theory of personal identity has recently been accused of not meeting what is claimed to be a fundamental requirement on theories of identity - to explain personal moral responsibility. Although they often have much to say about responsibility, the charge is that they cannot say enough. I set out the background to the charge with a short discussion of Locke and the requirement to explain responsibility, then illustrate the accusation facing the theory with details from Marya Schechtman. (...)
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  21.  42
    Simon Beck (1992). Should We Tolerate People Who Split? Southern Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):1-17.
  22.  26
    Simon Beck (2000). Points of Concern. Theoria 47 (96):121-130.
    This is a critical review of Raymond Martin's 'Self-Concern'(1998).
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  23.  36
    Simon Beck (1999). Leibniz, Locke and I. Cogito 13 (3):181-187.
  24.  34
    Simon Beck (1992). The Method of Possible Worlds. Metaphilosophy 23 (1-2):119-131.
  25.  8
    Deane-Peter Baker, Simon Beck & David Spurrett (2006). Editorial: New Developments at the SAJP. South African Journal of Philosophy 25 (2):89-90.
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  26.  29
    Simon Beck (2008). Intuitionism, Constructive Interpretation, and Cricket. Philosophical Papers 37 (2):319-331.
    This paper is a re-reading of Colin Radford's paper 'The Umpire's Dilemma', published in Analysis in 1985. It argues that Radford's dilemma has been unjustly ignored and has interesting (and problematic) implications for both intuitionism and Ronald Dworkin's constructive interpretationist jurisprudence.
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