Personal Identity and Personal Survival
Brennan (Andrew)
Source: Analysis, vol. 42, 1982, pp. 44-50
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

  1. Parfit1 argues that survival, not identity, is the important thing in cases of personal resurrection, fission, etc.
  2. I argue that Parfit2's and Dennett's well known cases – and fantasies about cloning and telecloning – suggest a distinction between type and token persons, memories, intentions, etc.
  3. Parfit3 is wrong, I suggest, to think survival more determinate than identity; with Quine I hold that there is no objective matter to be right or wrong about.

Author’s Abstract
  1. ‘How to get a Jumbo from London to New York in 2 minutes’, reads the heading over an advertisement. It turns out that only the plan of the aircraft and details about the seating arrangements are transmitted electronically in the two minutes. Disappointing, for these days we are not far from realizing the Star Trek fantasy of matter transportation.
  2. In this paper I look at the problem of whether we can survive, not journeys by a matter transporting beam, but 'journeys' involving no movement of our bodily matter at all.
  3. I start by looking at Parfit4's view of survival, which seems to suggest that I could survive such a journey, and go on to argue that the notion of survival is no better off than the notion of personal identity, and to suggest a diagnosis for why Parfit5 thinks questions of survival may be more determinate than those of identity.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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