Parfit's Fission Dilemma: Why Relation R Doesn't Matter

Theoria 84 (4):284-294 (2018)

Authors
Abstract
In his work on personal identity, Derek Parfit makes two revolutionary claims: firstly, that personal identity is not what matters in survival; and secondly, that what does matter is relation R. In this article I demonstrate his position here to be inconsistent, with the former claim being defensible only in case the latter is false. Parfit intends his famous fission argument to establish the unimportance of identity – a conclusion disputed by, among others, Mark Johnston. My approach is to critically assess their debate, focusing on Johnston's reductio of Parfit's position. I contend that although Parfit's own response fails, there are other ways to save the fission argument. The unimportance of identity then comes at a cost, however, because the reductio can only be avoided by accepting either that nothing matters in survival, or else that facts about particles and forces do. Either way, relation R cannot be what matters.
Keywords Johnston  Parfit  argument from above  argument from below  fission  personal identity  relation R  what matters
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/theo.12152
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 39,545
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
The Unimportance of Identity.Derek Parfit - 1995 - In H. Harris (ed.), Identity. Oxford University Press. pp. 13-45.
Why There Still Are No People.Jim Stone - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (1):174-191.
Reasons and Reductionism.Mark Johnston - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (3):589.
Parfit on What Matters in Survival.Anthony Brueckner - 1993 - Philosophical Studies 70 (1):1-22.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Parfit on Fission.Jens Johansson - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 150 (1):21 - 35.
Does Indeterminacy Matter?Christopher T. Buford - 2013 - Theoria 79 (2):155-166.
Johnston on Fission.Brian J. Garrett - 2004 - Sorites 15 (December):87-93.
Why Parfit Did Not Go Far Enough.Douglas Ehring - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (1):133-149.
Parfitians as Exdurantists.Fabio Patrone - 2017 - Axiomathes (6):1-9.
Parfit on Personal Identity.Deborah C. Smith - 2001 - Idealistic Studies 31 (2/3):169-181.
What Matters in Survival.James Baillie - 1993 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 31 (3):255-61.
Personal Identity and Personal Survival.Andrew A. Brennan - 1982 - Analysis 42 (January):44-50.
What Matters in Survival?James Baillie - 1993 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 31 (3):255-261.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2018-06-22

Total views
16 ( #463,418 of 2,325,462 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #140,153 of 2,325,462 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature