The Malleability of Identity
Schechtman (Marya)
Source: Luper - The Cambridge Companion to Life and Death, 2014, Chapter 4
Paper - Abstract

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Editor’s Introduction1

  1. Chapter 4 discusses whether identity is malleable in some sense - that is, whether it is possible to control what our persistence conditions2 are, to some extent.
  2. If we can manipulate the conditions under which we survive, many intriguing issues arise. For example, perhaps death does not occur when people usually think; maybe we can survive events that are normally considered fatal. Also, many theorists say that what is in our interests depends on our identities; if that is true, and identity is malleable, our interests may also be.
  3. Schechtman distinguishes between literal and figurative ways of understanding a person's identity. Typically, we think that only the latter sort of identity is malleable, but she offers an account of numerical identity3 within which it, too, is literally malleable, at least to a degree. Her idea is that whether one survives a change depends, at least in part, on whether one identifies with that changed individual - whether one recognizes her as oneself. It also depends on whether others believe one has survived.
  4. Since, on her approach, whether we survive over time depends, in part, on the attitude we and others take about whether we survive, and that attitude is malleable, so is identity.


Book Chapter, but pdf downloaded from Cambridge Core. Filed in zip with full book.

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Taken from "Luper (Steven) - The Cambridge Companion to Life and Death: Introduction".

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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