Ideas of Derek Parfit, by Theme

[British, b.1942, Fellow of All Soul's College, Oxford.]

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2. Reason / E. Argument / 7. Thought Experiments
Imaginary cases are good for revealing our beliefs, rather than the truth
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 2. Reduction
Reduction can be by identity, or constitution, or elimination
16. Persons / A. Concept of a Person / 1. Existence of Persons
Psychologists are interested in identity as a type of person, but philosophers study numerical identity
16. Persons / B. Concept of the Self / 5. Persistence of Self
Concern for our own lives isn't the source of belief in identity, it is the result of it
One of my future selves will not necessarily be me
16. Persons / B. Concept of the Self / 6. Denial of the Self
It doesn't matter whether I exist with half my components replaced (any more than an audio system)
16. Persons / E. Self as Mind / 2. Psychological Continuity
If my brain-halves are transplanted into two bodies, I have continuity, and don't need identity
Over a period of time what matters is not that 'I' persist, but that I have psychological continuity
16. Persons / E. Self as Mind / 4. Associated Self
Personal identity is just causally related mental states
16. Persons / E. Self as Mind / 5. Split Consciousness
If we split like amoeba, we would be two people, neither of them being us
It is fine to save two dying twins by merging parts of their bodies into one, and identity is irrelevant
If two humans are merged surgically, the new identity is a purely verbal problem
23. Ethics / E. Utilitarianism / 1. Utilitarianism
We should focus less on subjects of experience, and more on the experiences themselves