What Matters in Survival?

Southern Journal of Philosophy 31 (3):255-261 (1993)
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Abstract

I examine Derek Parfit’s claim that it doesn’t matter whether he survives in the future, if someone survives who is psychologically connected to him by “Relation R.” Thus, were his body to perish and be replaced by an exact duplicate, both physically and psychologically identical to him, this would be just as good as “ordinary” survival. Parfit takes the corollary view that replacement of loved ones by exact duplicates is no loss. In contrast, Peter Unger argues that we place nontransferable value in the lives of individualpersons. I argue that the question of the preferability of Relation R over identity is unanswerable at present, as such hypothetical situations are too far removed from our experience to allow any reliable responses. I contrast cases involving artifacts, where we can make informed judgments concerning whether a given object’s value would be transferred to a duplicate.

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James Baillie
University of Portland

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