Back To The Self And The Future
Beck (Simon)
Source: South African Journal of Philosophy, Aug98, Vol. 17 Issue 3, p211, 15p;
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

    The thought-experiment1 presented by Bernard Williams in 'The self and the future' continues to draw the attention of writers in the debate about personal identity. While few of them agree on what implications it has for the debate, almost all agree that those implications are significant ones. Some have even claimed that it has consequences not only for personal identity, but also concerning the viability of thought-experiment2 as a method. This paper surveys what these consequences might be at both levels--as a substantive contributions to the debate on identity, and as to what it shows about the usefulness of thought-experiments3. It argues ultimately that thought-experiments4 like Williams's do provide a useful philosophical tool as long as we temper our expectations of them, and that it offers some support to a view of personal identity but one which is at odds with Williams's own view.
EBSCOHost Abstract
    Presents information on a thought-experiment5 conducted by Bernard Williams in ‘The self and the future,' investigating the role of thought-experiments6 in the debate on personal identity. Description of scenarios of Williams' thought-experiment7; Reference to arguments regarding flaws in the thought-experiment8; Reference to the rejection of thought-experiments9.
Section Headings
  1. Introduction
  2. Williams's thought-experiment10
  3. Noonan's argument that both thought-experiments11 are flawed
  4. Does the conundrum support the unanalysability of identity?
  5. Does the conundrum show thought-experiment12 to be a misguided method?
  6. What Williams's experiments do show
  7. Williams's own response and why it is unconvincing
  8. Conclusion

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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