On 'The Importance of Self-Identity'
Parfit (Derek)
Source: Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 68, No. 20, Oct. 21, 1971, 683-690
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Philosophers Index Abstract

  1. I discuss Penelhum's paper, in the same issue. We are sometimes indifferent about, or 'do not identify with', ourselves at another time. I suggest that, on one view about our lives, such indifference may be justified.
  2. According to this view, what is most important in the continued existence of a person are various psychological connections, most of which can hold to different degrees. If our ground for not identifying with ourselves at some other time is the weakness of the connections between ourselves now and ourselves then, our attitude may seem defensible.
  3. It can also be expressed by talk about successive selves, which I next discuss.
  4. I end with the claim that a certain form of 'resurrection', though it does not involve continuity of the body, should be thought to be as good as survival.

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