Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

I argue that the account I gave of Derek Parfit’s dividing self-case in “Can the Self Divide?” does not depend on a dubious four-dimensionalist metaphysics as claimed by Eric Olson (2006). I explain my metaphysics of time, and then re-describe my solution in “Can the Self Divide?” comparing it to treatments of the dividing selves by Parfit and Lewis.

Derek Parfit was a wonderful philosopher and an exemplary human being. The only opportunity I had to interact with him personally for any length of time was at a symposium at the University of North Carolina in the early 1970’s. Parfit, David Lewis, and I gave talks on personal identity, focused on the problems Parfit had raised in his watershed 1971 paper, “Personal Identity”. It was a thrill to meet and talk with Parfit, and I regret that our paths did not cross more often. David Lewis was already a good friend by then. I can’t remember a symposium I enjoyed more, or from which I learned so much.


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