Selves and Moral Units

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 80 (4):391-419 (1999)
Derek Parfit claims that, at certain times and places, the metaphysical units he labels *'selves" may be thought of as the morally significant units (I.e., the objects of moral concern) for such things as resource distribution, moral responsibility, commitments, etc. But his concept of the self is problematic in important respects, and it remains unclear just why and how this entity should count as a moral unit in the first place. In developing a view I call *'Moderate Reductionism," I attempt to resolve these worries, first by offering a clearer, more consistent account of what the concept of *'self ' should involve, and second by arguing for why selves should indeed be viewed as moral (and prudential) units. I then defend this view in detail from both *'conservative" and *'extreme" objections.
Keywords Ethics  Metaphysics  Self  Unit  Parfit, D
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DOI 10.1111/1468-0114.00091
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