Personal Identity and Survival
Robinson (John)
Source: Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 85, No. 6, Jun., 1988, pp. 319-328
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

  1. The author critically examines Derek Parfit1's arguments that full psychological continuity2 and connectedness provide all that matters3 to us in our survival.
  2. Two arguments are furnished which undermine Parfit4's conclusion. The first uses a thought experiment5 which demonstrates that even where there is full psychological continuity6 and connectedness between oneself and a future person, there can be a better candidate7 for one's survivor.
  3. The second argument examines the empirical data which Parfit8 adduces in support of his argument. Experimental results are described which undermine Parfit9's conclusions about actual split-brain10 patients and suggest that the kind of fission that he describes is quite impossible.
  4. The author concludes that there is more to one's survival11 than full psychological continuity12 and connectedness between oneself and a future person.

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