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Lecture

# February 8 Lecture

Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHL240H1
Professor
Stephen Biggs

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PHL240 February 8, 2011 Perdurantism ā Lewis and Swinburne Lecture
5
I. Introduction ā Competing Intuitions
1.What matters is something in the neighbourhood of identity
2.What matters is mental continuity and connectedness
-direct relations of similarity and causal dependence with each successor (connectedness)
-step by step from here to there with extremely strong local connections (continuity)
Seeming Tension
1. Identity is 1 ā 1 and doesnāt admit of degree
2.Mental continuity and connectedness is not 1 ā 1 and does admit of degree
3.Either identity or mental continuity/connectedness isnāt what matters for survival
Thompsonās response ā this is a sound argument
4. Identity is what matters for survival
5.Mental continuity/connectedness doesnāt matter for survival
Parfitās Response ā this is a sound argument
4. Mental continuity/connectedness is what matters for survival
5. Identity does not matter for survival
Lewisā Response
3.Either identity or mental continuity/connectedness isnāt what matters for survival
-where Thompson and Parfit reject one or another of the intuitive claims, Lewis tries to ease the tension
between them
II. Perdurantism
-the whole of a person is the sum of all the personās parts in their existence
-think of time just like space; you are present wherever one of your temporal stages is present
-sum of all the temporal parts that exist at the times at which the person exists
-the parts of the whole are not identical with the life stage present at certain moments in time
-each stage of life differs from one another
Person at t1 = person at t2 = person at t3
-people arenāt identical with any single stage of their life, even though they are identical with the sum
-similarly, at a given time, this table isnāt identical with any one of its parts (e.g. its leg), even though its
identical with the sum of its parts
-the stages are mentally continuous/connected in the right way; call this relation of continuity/connection
āRā
-since R is central to survival, the āwhat matters is mental continuity and connectednessā intuition is right
-person at stage 1 survives as person at stage 2 and these stages are stages of the same person, which is
to say that the person at t1 and the person at t2 are the same person ā not the same stages, just the same
person; call this sameness relation āIā
-since I is central to survival, the āwhat matters is mental continuity and connectednessā intuition is right
-Lewis claims that R and I are the same relation in the following sense: a person at t1 bears the I relation
to a person at t2 iff the appropriate person-stage at t1 bears the R relation to the appropriate person-
stage at t2
Objection and Reply
Case: a person at time t1 and a fission case at t2 (brown splitting into green and purple)
1.R = I, as per Lewis (assume)
2.Both stages we see at t2 bear R to the stage we see at t1 (premise)
3.Both stages we see at t2 bear I to the stage we see at t1 (1 ā 2)
4.Green-person is the same person as brown-person and purple person is the same person as brown-
person (3)
5.Green-person is the same person as purple-person (4)
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