Philosophical Quarterly 70 (278):178-198 (2020)

Authors
Bastian Steuwer
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Abstract
Derek Parfit famously argued that personal identity is not what matters for prudential concern about the future. Instead, he argues what matters is Relation R, a combination of psychological connectedness and continuity with any cause. This revisionary conclusion, Parfit argued, has profound implications for moral theory. It should lead us, among other things, to deny the importance of the separateness of persons as an important fact of morality. Instead, we should adopt impersonal consequentialism. In this paper, I argue that Parfit is mistaken about this last step. His revisionary arguments about personal identity and rationality have no implications for moral theory. We need not decide whether Relation R or personal identity contain what matters if we want to retain the importance of the separateness of persons.
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DOI 10.1093/pq/pqz064
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