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Notes Lecture 3

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Dustin Stokes

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PHL 240 H1 F
Second half of the lecture
1. Introduction and situation
2. Duplication case
3. Identity, survival and psychological continuity
4. test cases and our intuitions
Locke was right about psychological cont. but he thinks we can answer these questions in
other ways.
Starting observation and Parfit’s foils
These cases present a problem if you hold either of the beliefs which (at that time )
people did believe.
He’s going to try and give reasons for denying these beliefs. Its not clear what we should
say about identity and that will be a problem depending on what we believe about
Two foils
Determinate answers: there are determinate answers for all questions regarding identity.
Identity is what matters : If we cannot ans questions of identity, we can’t ans imp.
Questions about responsibility, memory and survival.
(ND) : there are some questions about personal identity for which there are no
(NI): identity is not what matters to us
Where Parfit follows and where he departs
Parfit maintains his target is the same as for e.g.; law.
My thoughts, my feelings with respect to previous self matters to me in a way different
than it matters to you.
He just disagrees on how we get there. In actual cases, identity will be the vehicle for
accommodating what matters most to us.
An important working distinction:
3rd person intuitions regarding concept application

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1st person intuition regarding cares and desires
What is central is that we achieve the relevant psychological identity that we ..
Identity is not what matters in survival: Personal identity is not signifying. To us
theoretically from the 1st person perception
Some other possible slogans:
Psychological cont. matters to us.
The right psych. Connections suffice for survival.
Survival does not require identity. (p-continuity)
Theoretical importance
We can still say imp things about ourselves and personal responsibility even when we’ve
removed what’s imp to us.
The role of the thought experiment is central for Parfit’s analysis.
Thought experiments:
The (largely hypothetical) examples in Parfit’s analysis challenge any analysis of
personal identity.
2 possible responses:
1. we just haven’t gotten our conceptual analysis right yet; we must adjust our
analysis to accommodate these new cases.
2. our concept isn’t determinate with regard to all cases; we thus have matter(s) of
decision not discovery.
He asks us to consider what would happen to us if we were to be considered as one of the
persons being duplicated. Then it becomes a circumstance of rationality.
Begin with a ‘basic transplant case
You have a new person with the same brain. Standard brain transplant case.
B at time 2 is the same person as A at time 1 (i.e. person A now occupies a new body)
The duplication (fission) case (Wiggins 1967)
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