The Existence of Personites
Eklund (Matti)
Source: Philosophical Studies, 2019
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. Mark Johnston and Eric Olson have both pressed1 what Johnston has dubbed the personite2 problem.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. The problems I discuss illustrate the significance of metaontological considerations for issues in ethics and metaethics, and generalize widely beyond the personite8 problem.


In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: See:- Footnote 7:

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  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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