more from Derek Parfit

Single Idea 1391

[catalogued under 16. Persons / D. Continuity of the Self / 5. Concerns of the Self]

Full Idea

Egoism, and the fear not of near but of distant death, and the regret that so much of one's life should have gone by - these are not, I think, wholly natural or instinctive. They are strengthened by a false belief in stable identity.

Gist of Idea

Concern for our own lives isn't the source of belief in identity, it is the result of it


Derek Parfit (Personal Identity [1971], 6)

Book Reference

'Personal Identity', ed/tr. Perry,John [University of California 1975], p.220

A Reaction

This raises some very nice questions, about the extent to which various aspects of self-concern are instinctive and natural, or culturally induced, and even totally misguided and false. I can worry about the distant death of my guinea pig, or my grandson.