Does Parfit Establish Non-Reductionists Should Accept the Extreme Claim?

Philosophia 52 (1):57-68 (2024)
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The Non-Reductionist holds that personal identity is a matter in whole or in part of “further facts,” facts over and above those about psychological and physical continuity and connectedness. If Non-Reductionism is true, then it is possible for there to be “nonsymmetrical fission cases” in which there is nonsymmetry with respect to further facts such that the fissioner is identical with one of the fission products but not the other, even though there is symmetry along each branch with respect to non-further facts. If it is also true that the fissioner gets what matters with respect to the fission product to which the fissioner is not identical in those cases, it is possible for identity and what matters to come apart. If the Non-Reductionist is to hold fast to the importance of identity, she must demonstrate that the fissioner does not get what matters in survival with respect to the fission product to which he is not identical in cases of nonsymmetrical fission. One way to get this result would be to demonstrate that Non-Reductionism in and of itself has the implication that the fissioner does not get what matters with respect to the fission product to which he is not identical in the nonsymmetrical fission case. Parfit offers an argument that is meant to show that the Non-Reductionism qua Non-Reductionism has just this result. I outline Parfit’s argument and suggest that it does not work.



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Douglas Ehring
Southern Methodist University

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Why We Should Reject S.Derek Parfit - 1984 - In Reasons and Persons. Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
The Human Animal. Personal identity without psychology.Eric T. Olson - 1997 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 192 (1):112-113.
Notes on Relation R.M. Belzer - 1996 - Analysis 56 (1):56-62.

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