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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 Lewis and Swinburne Lecture
5
I. Introduction 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 1 and doesnt admit of degree
2.Mental continuity and connectedness is not 1 1 and does admit of degree
3.Either identity or mental continuity/connectedness isnt what matters for survival
Thompsons response this is a sound argument
4. Identity is what matters for survival
5.Mental continuity/connectedness doesnt matter for survival
Parfits Response this is a sound argument
4. Mental continuity/connectedness is what matters for survival
5. Identity does not matter for survival
Lewis’ Response
3.Either identity or mental continuity/connectedness isnt 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 persons 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 arent identical with any single stage of their life, even though they are identical with the sum
-similarly, at a given time, this table isnt 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
‘R
-since R is central to survival, the ‘what matters is mental continuity and connectedness 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 not the same stages, just the same
person; call this sameness relation I
-since I is central to survival, the ‘what matters is mental continuity and connectedness 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 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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