Personal identity and ethics: a brief introduction

Buffalo, NY: Broadview Press (2008)
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Abstract

Personal Identity and Ethics provides a lively overview of the relationship between the metaphysics of personal identity and ethics. How does personal identity affect our ethical judgments? It is a commonplace to hold that moral responsibility for past actions requires that the responsible agent is in some relevant respect identical to the agent who performed the action. Is this true? On the other hand, can ethics constrain our account of personal identity? Do the practical requirements of moral theory commit us to holding that persons do remain identical over time? Or is it the case that personal identity is not, in fact, relevant to ethics? Shoemaker provides the first comprehensive examination of these issues for the undergraduate audience. Topics include personal identity and prudential rationality; personal identity's significance for moral responsibility and ethical theory; and the practical consequences of accounts of personal identity for issues such as abortion, stem cell research, cloning, advance directives, populations ethics, multiple personality disorder, and the definition of death.

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David Shoemaker
Cornell University

Citations of this work

Responsibility Without Identity.David Shoemaker - 2012 - The Harvard Review of Philosophy 18 (1):109-132.
Is it wrong to impose the Harms of human life? A reply to Benatar.David DeGrazia - 2010 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 31 (4):317-331.
A dilemma for the soul theory of personal identity.Jacob Berger - 2018 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 83 (1):41-55.
Narrative and Characterization.Karsten Witt - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (1):45-63.

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