- Mark Johnston and Eric Olson have both pressed1 what Johnston has dubbed the personite2 problem.
- Personites3, if they exist, are person-like entities whose lives extend over a continuous proper part of a person’s life. They are so person-like that they seem to have moral status if persons do. But this threatens to wreak havoc with ordinary moral thinking.
- For example, simple decisions to suffer some short-term hardship for long-term beneﬁts become problematic. And ordinary punishment is always also punishment of the innocent, since it punishes personites4 that didn’t exist when the crime was committed.
- An initially attractive way around the personite5 problem may be to simply deny that personites6 exist. But as I discuss in this talk, relating to contemporary discussions in metaontology (the doctrine of quantiﬁer variance, and Ted Sider’s ontological realism7), this response for principled reasons doesn’t work.
- The problems I discuss illustrate the signiﬁcance of metaontological considerations for issues in ethics and metaethics, and generalize widely beyond the personite8 problem.
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Footnote 1: See:- Footnote 7:
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