Nothing matters in survival

The Journal of Ethics 9 (3-4):311-330 (2005)
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Do I have a special reason to care about my future, as opposed to yours? We reject the common belief that I do. Putting our thesis paradoxically, we say that nothing matters in survival: nothing in our continued existence justifies any special self-concern. Such an "extreme" view is standardly tied to ideas about the metaphysics of persons, but not by us. After rejecting various arguments against our thesis, we conclude that simplicity decides in its favor. Throughout the essay we honor Jim Rachels, whose final days exemplified his own unselfish morality as well as the “neutralist” ideal we espouse. As an appendix, we include the last original work to be published by James Rachels, in which he criticizes Sidgwick’s most famous defense of egoism.



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Author Profiles

Stuart Rachels
University of Alabama
Torin Alter
University of Alabama

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Evolutionary Debunking Arguments.Guy Kahane - 2010 - Noûs 45 (1):103-125.
Egoism.Robert Shaver - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Eliminating Prudential Reasons.Alex Worsnip - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics 8:236-257.
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References found in this work

Psychophysical and theoretical identifications.David K. Lewis - 1972 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 50 (3):249-258.
Psychophysical and theoretical identifications.David Lewis - 2004 - In Tim Crane & Katalin Farkas (eds.), Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press UK.
The unimportance of identity.Derek Parfit - 1995 - In H. Harris (ed.), Identity. Oxford University Press. pp. 13-45.
Rational egoism and the separateness of persons.David O. Brink - 1997 - In J. Dancy (ed.), Reading Parfit. Blackwell. pp. 96--134.
Friends and future selves.Jennifer Whiting - 1986 - Philosophical Review 95 (4):547-80.

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