- Derek Parfit's “reductionist” account of personal identity (including the rejection of anything like a soul) is coupled with the rejection of a commonsensical intuition of essential self-unity, as in his defense of the counter-intuitive claim that “identity does not matter.” His argument for this claim is based on reflection on the possibility of personal fission1.
- To the contrary, Simon Blackburn claims that the “unity reaction” to fission has an absolute grip on practical reasoning.
- Now David Lewis denied Parfit2's claim that reductionism contravenes common sense, so I revisit the debate between Parfit3 and Lewis, showing why Parfit4 wins it.
- Is reductionism about persons then inherently at odds with the unity reaction? Not necessarily; David Velleman presents a reductionist theory according to which fission does not conflict with the unity reaction.
- Nonetheless, relying on the distinction between person-level descriptions of first-person states and the first-person perspective5 itself, I argue that Velleman's theory does not eliminate fission-based conflict with the unity reaction.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)