Lucretian Symmetry and the Content-Based Approach

Philosophia 50 (2):815-831 (2022)
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In addressing the Lucretian symmetry problem, the content-based approach attends to the difference between the contents of the actual life and those of relevant possible lives of a person. According to this approach, the contents of a life with an earlier beginning would substantially differ from, and thus be discontinuous with, the contents of the actual life, whereas the contents of a life with the same beginning but a later death would be continuous with the contents of the actual life. In this paper, I examine two versions of the content-based approach: the identity account and the preference account. The identity account holds that, in the sense of identity which is relevant to the evil of nonexistence, the subject of the actual life, though identical to the person in the life with a later death, is distinct from the subject of the life with an earlier beginning. The preference account maintains that, given one’s attachments to actual particulars, a life with an earlier beginning is not rationally preferable to one’s actual life, whereas a life with a later death is. I argue that each version of the content-based approach is implausible, while discussing some of the complications that face each of them.

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References found in this work

Death.Thomas Nagel - 1970 - Noûs 4 (1):73-80.
Personal Identity.Sydney Shoemaker & Richard Swinburne - 1984 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 18 (3):184-185.
Personal Identity.Sydney Shoemaker & Richard Swinburne - 1986 - Ethics 96 (3):641-643.
Death.John Martin Fischer - 2013 - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.

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