Delayed Fission and the Standard Psychological View of Personal Identity


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Abstract
Consider a specific type of fission where psychological continuity takes a branching form, and one of the offshoots comes into being later than the other offshoot. Let us say that the earlier offshoot comes into being in the left branch at t, and the later offshoot comes into being in the right branch at t+1. With regard to the question how many persons are involved in this case, three answers are worth considering: (i) The original subject persists up to t; a distinct person comes into being immediately after t and continues to exist in the left branch; and the third person comes into being in the right branch at t+1. (ii) The original subject persists up to the moment immediately before t+1; a distinct person comes into being at t+1 and continues to exist in the left branch; and the third person comes into being in the right branch at t+1. (iii) The original subject continues to exist in the left branch; a distinct person comes into being in the right branch at t+1. For those who hold that personal identity consists in psychological continuity of some sort, the aforementioned three options exhaust the sensible ways of understanding how one persists in delayed fission. However, I argue that complications arise for each answer. Hence, delayed fission poses a challenge for the psychological approach to personal identity.
Keywords delayed fission  fission  persistence condition  personal identity  psychological approach to personal identity
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