CLOSEST CONTINUER THEORY NOZICK
o William & Thompson: body is the most central to survival
o Locke & Parfit: mind is the most central to survival
o Nozick doesn’t offer a view that competes with these claims, yet suggest certain aspects
of the debate should be thought about differently
Ship of Theseus
Planks of original ship, A, are removed and replaced one by one over time.
▯ship A is still the ship of Theseus.
What if….the planks removed are made into a new ship, B.
which of the two ships is the ship of Theseus?
Parfit says: why should the presence of a second ship throw us into confusion?
If original ship A had the requirements to be the Ship of Theseus when alone, then it should
still have the requirements when second ship B comes alone.
Nozick says: it does make a difference. We’ve to find a theory that makes sense of the fact
that it does make a difference to us—the confidence that ship A is the original to the
▯CCT, which holds that to be something is to be its closest continuer.
Until the 2 ship B came along, ship A was the closest continuer of the original ship. But
now it’s not so clear. So, the Ship of Theseus is whichever returning ship that’s the closest
continuer of the ship originally left the port.
If spatial continuity > material continuity for closeness, then ship A
If material continuity > spatial, then ship B.
Nozick’s point: whatever factors make one the closest continuer are the ones that matter,
which explains one’s shifting thinking about ship A.
For ex, if we think that bswitching is possible, then to us, psychological connectedness
matters. If we think otherwise, then it doesn’t
Parfit’s Case 4
Replace P’s brain with ½ of B’s brain. Replace G’s brain with other ½ of B’s brain. Where is
By CCT, Brown is whichever of G & P is his closest continuer. But they’re equally close. ▯
In Nozick’s #4, Brown doesn’t survive, even though he did before G came up
Contradicts to Parfit’s prescription about what we should say given our responses to his
earlier cases. ▯But, Nozick actually captures what we want to say. 2
The Source of Confusion
If Nozick is right & the CCT is intuitive, why so much confusion?
Nozick thinks that the confusion in discussions of personal identity stems from acceptance of 2
Whether a person at t1 is identical with a person at t2 (x = y t1dept2ds only on facts
about the ppl at these times & how they are related. Nothing else is relevant to whether
these ppl are identical.
If a person at t1 is identical with a person at t2 (x =t1 ) t2 virtue of relation R holding
between them, then nothing distinct from the person at t2 can possibly bear R to the
person at t1. (only y ct2 stand in R to x t1)
Nozick’s Arugment to Uniqueness Principle
Suppose R suffices for identity.
Suppose Z bears R to X.
Then X =Y & X = Z.
If that’s right, then Y = Z which is false b/c Y
& Z are distinct
(1) R suffices for identity and Y & Z bear R to X [assume]
(2) X = Y & X=Z 
(3) Y = Z 
(4) Y ≠ Z [premise] this is a contradiction to (1), so (1) is false
(5) Either R doesn’t suffice for identity or it’s false that both Y & Z bear R to X 
So, for any relation R, if possibly contemporaneous, distinct entities y & z both stand in R to x,
then neither y nor z are identical with earlier entity x in virtue of bear R to x. 3
CLOSEST CONTINUER THEORY NOZICK
The Case Against Relevance Principle
9 people in Vienna Circle preWWII Vienna, they disband at the start of the war.
3 reform in Turkey at t2
6 reformed in US a few years later at t3.
At t2, Turkey Guys would say they are the VC, which at t1 was located in Vienna.
VC t1= Turkey Guys t2
At t3, Turkey Guys would say they aren’t the VC. For that the circle is now in US.
▯Turkey Guys at t3 aren’t the same VC that was around at t1, since VC is now in US.
Vienna Circle t1≠ Turkey Guys t3
So TG = Vt2 & TG ≠t1C t3 t1
obviously, VC at t1 hasn’t changed between t2 & t3.
Turkey Guys haven’t changed between t2 & t3.
▯Modulo identity: every relation that held btw TG t2 VC holt1 between TG &VC t3 t1
(since nothing intrinsic or the relation of TG to VC about TG has changed from t2 to t3)
(1) Whether x = y t1epent2 only on facts about x,y, and how they’re related
[assume the Relevance Principle]
(2) All facts about TG and Tt2 nd how tht3 relate to VC are the same [stiput1 ion]
(3) If TG = t2 then t1 = VC [1t3 t1
(4) TG = t2 [premt1e]
(5) TG = t3 t1
(6) TG ≠ t3 [premit1