Olson's Embryo Problem
Hershenov (David)
Source: Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 80, Number 4, December 01, 2002, pp. 502-511(10)
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

  1. Eric Olson argues that psychological accounts of personal identity have a "fetus1 problem." If psychological continuity2 is essential to our identity across time then we would possess persistence conditions3 that rule out our each ever having existed as a mindless fetus4.
  2. But Olson has his own fetus-like5 problem for he insists that we cease to exist when our brainstem fails. However, he gives an account of our origins that have us existing prior to the development of a functioning brainstem.
  3. This asymmetry is a problem not just for Olson, but shared by virtually all defenders of a brain death6 criterion.


For the full text, see Hershenov - Olson's Embryo Problem.

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