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