Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


Parfit’s Metaphysics and What Matters in Survival

Issue: Issue 09 • Author/s: Eric Olson
Topics: Metaphysics

Derek Parfit takes the central principle of his discussions of personal identity to be “reductionism”: that our existence and persistence are not basic facts, but consist in something else. A number of striking claims, including the famous unimportance of identity, are supposed to follow from it. But they don’t follow. The main principle in Parfit’s arguments is something far more contentious that is never mentioned: a capacious ontology of material things. But the capacious ontology makes trouble for Parfit: it weakens his claim about the unimportance of identity and undermines…

Why Should One Care About One’s Own Future?

Issue: Issue 09 • Author/s: Julien Bugnon, Martine Nida-Rümelin
Topics: Metaphysics

Our natural attitude is to care about the fate of a future person in a special manner once we know that this person is none other than ourselves. In the present paper, we defend the rationality of that attitude against Parfit’s famous contrary claim that ‘identity does not matter’. We argue that it is intrinsically bad for a conscious subject to have negative experiences, and that one therefore has reasons of a special kind (de se subject-relative reasons) to avoid having such experiences in the future. Our argument makes crucial…

Choosing Who Lives our Life

Issue: Issue 09 • Author/s: Luca Stroppa
Topics: Ethics, Metaphysics

The relationship between Parfit’s theory of Personal Identity and his research on Population Ethics is underexplored. In this paper I both examine this relationship and support the principle stating that it is moral to cause the greatest total wellbeing. Once introduced the basic concepts of Population Ethics and Parfit’s theory of Personal Identity, I report Parfit’s distinction between Different Number Choices, that affect both the number and the identity of future people, and Same Number Choices, that affect only future people’s identity. Parfit underlines how, in Different Number Choices, it…