McMahan (Jeff)
Source: Jeff McMahan - The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life, 2002, Chapter 1
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. Argues against three widely held views of our identity:
    • The view that we are souls or incorporeal substances,
    • The view that we are human organisms, and
    • The view that the criterion of our identity over time is entirely psychological.
  2. It argues that we are instead embodied minds and that the criterion of our identity over time is the continued existence and functioning, in non-branching form, of enough of those regions of the brain in which consciousness occurs in order for the brain to retain the capacity, with relevant support systems, to support consciousness or mental activity.
  3. It also follows Derek Parfit1 in claiming that identity is not the basis of egoistic concern about the future.

  1. Preliminaries
  2. The Soul
  3. Are We Human Organisms?
  4. The Psychological Account
  5. The Embodied Mind Account

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