A survival guide to fission

Philosophical Studies 141 (3):299 - 322 (2008)
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The fission of a person involves what common sense describes as a single person surviving as two distinct people. Thus, say most metaphysicians, this paradox shows us that common sense is inconsistent with the transitivity of identity. Lewis’s theory of overlapping persons, buttressed with tensed identity, gives us one way to reconcile the common sense claims. Lewis’s account, however, implausibly says that reference to a person about to undergo fission is ambiguous. A better way to reconcile the claims of common sense, one that avoids this ambiguity, is to recognize branching persons, persons who have multiple pasts or futures.



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Mark Moyer
University of Vermont

Citations of this work

Ordinary Objects.Daniel Z. Korman - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Ways to Commit Autoinfanticide.John W. Carroll - 2016 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 2 (1):180--191.
Divided We Fall.Jacob Ross - 2014 - Philosophical Perspectives 28 (1):222-262.

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References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Philosophical Papers.David Kellogg Lewis - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
Parts: A Study in Ontology.Peter Simons - 1987 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

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