- This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'What Matters1' during my Thesis research, as from 2011.
- For the actual time recorded, click on "Paper Summary" above.
Write-up2 (as at 12/05/2018 14:16:48): What Matters
- This section will cover part of the discussion of Parfit4’s claims that we can have what matters to us in survival5 without the need for identity. That is, if the individual who follows on from us experiences good things or fulfils our projects, then provided that individual is sufficiently close to us, or those projects are sufficiently close to ours, we will have what matters to us even if that individual is not – strictly-speaking – us.
- The situation envisaged is where the logic of identity6 – maybe as a result of fission – means that it is logically impossible that we should survive some vicissitude. In those circumstances it’s not mere quibbles over identity that matter to us, but those benefits that are usually concomitant with identity.
- It seems obvious that our survival matters to us, or at least some of the benefits of surviving matter to us. If we don’t survive, we can have none of those benefits of survival. Such questions come up in trying to explain why death7 is bad for the one who dies.
- However, the question has been raised that some people (eg. those contemplating suicide) don’t want to persist8, so persistence doesn’t matter to them. I think it does – persistence matters, though maybe persisting doesn’t. What I mean is that whether they persist or not matters to persons, who can anticipate – in a good or bad light, accurately or not – the future. If things get too bad (or are perceived to be that way), it may be important to them that they don’t persist. In the normal case, it’s important that they do. Either way, persistence matters to them.
- Where I differ from (an interpretation of) Parfit is that it’s not just my projects that matter to me. If I had a worthwhile project and I died before completing it – but someone else completed it for me (like Mozart’s Requiem or "Wittgenstein (Ludwig) - Philosophical Investigations") – then – provided it was done competently – that would be a good thing. If this happened to all my outstanding projects, even those I’d not started, that would be better. But it would not be as good as – or even the same thing as – my completing them myself. Sometimes the journey is as good as the arrival, and even where it isn’t it is often an extra good. I would miss out.
- Doubtless the source of the current debates on this topic, if they are still raging, is (relevant sections of) "Parfit (Derek) - Reasons and Persons".
- Parfit’s last major work sounds as though it ought to be relevant, and I’ve purchased the four volumes, including the volume of interactions, but it has more to do with ethics rather than personal identity, and I suspect life will be too short for me to engage with it:-
→ "Parfit (Derek) - On What Matters: Volume One",
→ "Parfit (Derek) - On What Matters: Volume Two",
→ "Singer (Peter), Ed. - Does Anything Really Matter? Essays on Parfit on Objectivity", and
→ "Parfit (Derek) - On What Matters: Volume Three"
- For a page of Links9 to this Note, Click here.
- Works on this topic that I’ve actually read10, include11 the following:-
- "Cassam (Quassim) - Parfit on Persons", Cassam
- "Lewis (David) - Survival and Identity", Lewis
- "Martin (Raymond) - Self Concern: Preface", Martin
- "Martin (Raymond) - What really matters", Martin
- "Noonan (Harold) - An Initial Survey", Noonan
- "Olson (Eric) - Animalism and the Remnant-Person Problem", Olson
- "Olson (Eric) - The Human Animal: Introduction", Olson
- "Parfit (Derek) - Lewis, Perry, and What Matters", Olson
- "Parfit (Derek) - Nagel's Brain", Parfit
- "Parfit (Derek) - The Closest Continuer Schema", Parfit
- "Parfit (Derek) - Why Our Identity is Not What Matters", Parfit
- "Parfit (Derek) - Why Our Identity is Not What Matters (Excerpts)", Parfit
- "Rey (Georges) - Survival", Rey
- "Shoemaker (David) - Personal Identity and Self-Regarding Ethics - Alternative Approaches", Shoemaker
- "Thomas (Janice L.) - What matters for survival and the logical possibility of resurrection", Thomas
- "Tobia (Kevin Patrick) - Personal Identity and the Phineas Gage Effect", Tobia
- "Unger (Peter) - Fission and the Focus of One's Life", Unger
- "Unger (Peter) - The Psychological Approach To Our Survival", Unger
- "Unger (Peter) - What Matters In Our Survival: Distinctions, Compromises and Limits", Unger
- A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
- "Agar (Nicholas) - Functionalism and Personal Identity", Agar
- "Baillie (James) - Methodology Matters", Baillie
- "Brueckner (Anthony) - Parfit On What Matters In Survival", Brueckner
- "Butkovic (Ana) - Does Identity Really Matter? Parfit vs Lewis", Butkovic
- "Campbell (Scott) - Could Your Life Have Been Different?", Campbell
- "Campbell (Scott) - Is Causation Necessary for What Matters in Survival?", Campbell
- "Campbell (Scott) - Is Connectedness Necessary to What Matters in Survival?", Campbell
- "Campbell (Scott) - Rapid Psychological Change", Campbell
- "Chappell (Tim), Chappell (Sophie Grace) - Reductionism about Persons; And What Matters", Chappell
- "DeGrazia (David) - Identity, Killing, and the Boundaries of Our Existence", DeGrazia
- "Dennett (Daniel) - Our Minds and Other Minds", Dennett
- "Duncan-Jones (Austin) - Man's Mortality", Duncan-Jones
- "Funkhouser (Eric) - Notes on Lewis, “Survival and Identity”", Funkhouser
- "Gendler (Tamar Szabo) - Personal Identity and Thought Experiments", Gendler
- "Gillett (Grant) - Brain Bisection and Personal Identity", Gillett
- "Hershenov (David) & Koch-Hershenov (Rose J.) - Personal identity and Purgatory", Hershenov
- "Johnston (Mark) - Reasons and Reductionism", Johnston
- "Martin (Raymond) - Memory, Connecting and What Matters In Survival", Martin
- "Martin (Raymond) - What really matters", Martin
- "Martin (Raymond), Barresi (John) & Giovannelli (Alessandro) - Fission Examples in 18th and Early 19th century Personal Identity Debate", Martin Etc.
- "McCall (Catherine) - Parfit's Theory of Personal Identity", McCall
- "Measor (Nicholas) - On What Matters in Survival", Measor
- "Olson (Eric) - Self: Personal Identity", Olson
- "Parfit (Derek) - The Unimportance of Identity", Parfit
- "Roberts (Melinda) - Lewis's Theory Of Personal Identity", Roberts
- "Sider (Ted) - All the World's a Stage", Sider
- "Stone (Jim) - Parfit and the Buddha: Why There Are No People", Stone
- "Stone (Jim) - Why there are still no people", Stone
- "Vasiliou (Iakovos) - Reality, What Matters, and The Matrix", Vasiliou
- "Velleman (David) - Identification and Identity", Velleman
- "Wolf (Susan) - Self-Interest and Interest in Selves", Wolf
- This is mostly a place-holder12.
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (12/05/2018 14:16:48).
- Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
- A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
- I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
- As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
- The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
- If only a “non-updating” run has been made, the links are only one-way – ie. from the page of links to the objects that reference this Note by mentioning the appropriate key-word(s). The links are also only indicative, as they haven’t yet been confirmed as relevant.
- Once an updating run has been made, links are both ways, and links from this Notes page (from the “Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note” and “Summary of Note Links to this Page” sections) are to the “point of link” within the page rather than to the page generically. Links from the “links page” remain generic.
- There are two sorts of updating runs – for Notes and other Objects. The reason for this is that Notes are archived, and too many archived versions would be created if this process were repeatedly run.
- Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
- In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
- In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
- My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
- I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
- Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018